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Are you looking for a new game?
Are you looking for something truly different?
Are you looking for something that involves commitment and dedication?
Are you looking for something that doesn't always give the easy way out?
Are you willing to try something different?
Are you willing to try a game that's been obscured and has very few players just for the sake of playing something different?
If you answered yes to more than one, or all, of these questions, look no further, I have some suggestions that you might like.
Blue - P2P or One Time Payment Released (that a game has a trial is safe to assume)
Green - F2P Released (this does not take into account optional subscriptions or RMTs. Any game with an unlimited F2P option is under this category)
Red - In a form of testing under NDA (Alpha/Closed Beta)
Yellow - In an open form of testing
Pernica (www.starfireresearch.com/pernica/pernica.html) - a game focused on community, truly focused on community. You need other players to advance. Not to mention, you're forced to pick a job to make money and determine your lifestyle. John literally lets you do anything. The game still, to this day, with its small player base, has the occasional Developer-run event. John's dedicated to the game. Perhaps with a few more players, he'd be convinced to expand it. Other perks? If you prove you're dedicated to the game and will stay with it, even if only active once a week, John will be sure to have a custom-made house for you. Anything you want. During my first tour of the world, I saw things such as hobbit holes, treehouses and even mansions.
Rise: The Vieneo Province (rise.unistellar.com) - a game that most would compare to EvE, but more sandbox-like and more complex. It's essentially a driving and flight sim, but at the same time a sandbox MMO. It's been dubbed an MMOSIM and has a 100,000,000 km world. You can stay to flying suborbital or leave the atmosphere and visit one of three space stations or even other planets if you so dare. You have the whole world at your disposal. You can buy land and create mines, farms or even develop urban regions. In each city, not only is there a player-run economy, but there are citizens whose happiness is affected by the economy.
Faunasphere (faunasphere.com) - some would argue that it's a children's game. I disagree. It's hosted by BigFishGames and is simply meant to be casual. Look at their record. You'll get it. However, it's got quests-a-plenty and it has a great genetics system for determining what each new Fauna you hatch will be. Not to mention, you've got your own personal Faunasphere where you can tailor the terrain to whatever you want it to be. It also has community projects and a pretty good crafting system. I personally enjoy it.
Knights of Dream City (www.knightsofdreamcity.com) - another sci-fi game. It has a pretty basic quest system, but I personally like it. It's not insanely demanding on time and it feels a lot like a dungeon crawler. A lot might not like the instanced world, but it works for the feel it gives. Plus, with a great crafting system in place, it's well worth the $20 one time payment.
Puzzle Pirates (www.puzzlepirates.com) - everyone might know this game, but how many have actually played it? How many have simply looked at it and cast it aside? Exactly. With it now being an F2P with RMT on some servers and an optional subscription for more content on others, why wouldn't you try it now. It's the best pirate MMO we have right now, in my opinion, and before it went F2P (not sure anymore), it had one of the best communities I'd ever seen. Sure, everything involves a puzzle, but where can you go wrong with every station on a ship needing to be manned in combat?
Mytheon (www.mytheongame.com) - a game based on Roman and Egyptian mythology. It seems to be daring to do something different with a clear strategical element to go along with the MMO-style gameplay. It also features summons that are rooted into stones that one collects throughout the game.
Dark Solstice (www.solsticeserver.com) - a game that seems to take things back to the days of The Realm Online. It seems to be much more in-depth but I don't know enough about the game to say. I'd keep an eye on it though. It could always end up being a hidden gem.
Darkwind: War on Wheels (www.dark-wind.com) - a turn-based car combat, reminiscent of Car Wars, in a persistent online world. Duke it out against the AI, fight in PvP and even own your own town! It's a pretty neat experience that truly takes some skill to master. Just try the tutorial match. It gets insane.
Face of Mankind (www.fomportal.com) - a fully player-run MMOFPS-style game with absolutely no NPCs. It's based on cooperation among your faction, politics, and blowing the hell out of each other when things go south. Combat can be insane and there's a great group of people dedicated to their role in most factions. Don't let the MMOFPS feel misguide you. It's got a lot of depth that's left to the individual willing to go the extra mile to get to it. One of the big complaints is the limited scope of maps.
Roma Victor (www.roma-victor.com) - a PvP based MMORPG set in ancient Rome featuring a war between Romans and Barbarians. It features strategic twitch-based combat and a dynamic skill system that changes based on how often a skill is used. Friendly player base dedicated to making sure you have everything you need and never have to spend extra Sesterces to have a good time.
Vendetta Online (www.vendetta-online.com) - I'm pretty convinced Jumpgate played a big role in influencing the style of this game. However, it's a little more mouse and keyboard friendly and is based more on PvP than anything else. There is mining and trading, but it's been suggested that that be an after thought. Everyone in-game is helpful, as well. Not to mention, Mac and Linux native!
MegaTen (megaten.aeriagames.com) - one of the greatest F2P games I have ever played. It allows for capturing demons and then combining them and using some as mounts. It has one of the better, more hack and slash-esque combat systems with a little more depth. However, it is a bit of a grind at times.
Wurm (www.wurmonline.com) - a complete sandbox based in medieval times. The game isn't the most popular, due to the MUD-like interface and being forced to hold down a mouse button to look around, but it's got a great community that will help and even house you.
Craft of Gods (www.craftofgods.eu) - a fantasy/mythological MMORPG featuring free, no-loot PvP with a player protection system, with 3 factions (2 opposing and 1 neutral) with no chat between opposing factions and the ability for the neutral faction to act as a mediator. Any animal can be used as a pet and a mount. Features 14 skills and 15 abilities per skill, and a level cap of 100. Has in-depth crafting with over 1500 items available to craft, as well as housing, families and guilds. Dungeons are tailored to your level.
Hostile Space (www.hostilespace.com/Portal/login.asp) - a cool sci-fi MMORPG from about a decade ago. It's actually pretty interesting and features you piloting a spaceship and fighting in a pseudo-arcade game combat setup. I was in for a bit of a surprise. I don't have much of an opinion formed yet, but will be working to get one and hope that someone else might write a description for me. (Thanks Hatter!)
Project Visitor (www.projectvisitor.com) - the fan-made reincarnation of the first MMOFPS ever, 10six, that also served as an MMORTS. The game allows you to choose one of 6 factions and create a base, all the while ranking up through funds. After reaching a sufficient rank, you create an army of rovers and take them to war with other factions. It's actually quite a bit of fun and is one of the few persistent MMOFPSs out there. Worth a look at the free trial at the very least. It was originally made by Sega, after all. That is, Sega in their heyday.
Underlight: Shades of Truth (underlight.ixios.net) - a completely player run first-person MMORPG set in a dreamscape. The game features no NPCs but has one of the best and friendliest RPing communities I've ever seen. There are strict RP rules instilled, but it's for the better. You'd know why once you've played. It's older and has graphics that are reminiscent to the quality of Doom or Duke Nukem 3D, but it's well worth a look. One of the best features is the Teacher system, which forces you to choose a mentor for leveling. Once you hit the 9th, 19th, 29th, etc Orbit (level), you cannot advance without your mentor giving you a task and then, once completed, having them approve you reaching the next level. The task could be anything. The task I got during my time playing was to "Find four people that you think are helpful and tell why."...in a little more detail than that. The tasks could literally take weeks to complete, but it's engaging, nonetheless.
Puppet Guardian (www.puppetguardian.com) - a game that seems to focus on dungeons. It has stylized but simple cartoon-esque graphics. The dungeons have a twist though. In the dungeons, you're in a sort of board game and at each spot, you gather items, fight enemies and roll dice to move to the next one. It has some pretty crazy bosses. Not to mention, despite cosmetics being based on RMTs, you can craft pretty much any useful item out of what you gather in the dungeon. The one huge con I see is that you have a daily limit of 99 dice rolls. It also seems to only universally work for everyone in IE7.
Ghost X (ghostx.gamekiss.com/main.jce) - Ever remember going to the arcade and playing games till your pocket money was gone? Well this time you can play for free. The game has a very arcade style gameplay, its really an action MMO. Besides combat there's some fairly fun quests to do but there not out of the ordinary and can get repetive. The game is a grind based game as many others of its kind, but if you want to just log in smash some things around and go to your daily routine its an excellent game. (Thanks Gabby!)
WWII Online (www.battlegroundeurope.com) - another of the few persistent MMOFPS games set in a 1/2 scale digital replica of Europe as it was during WWII. The main gameplay involves conquests over different cities and expansion of your military's influence. The game involves a heavy amount of realism, including in the air force branch of things. It's often recognized by its players as a massively multiplayer online wargame, rather than simply an MMOFPS.
Cities XL (www.citiesxl.com) - a game that you could call the closest thing we're getting to a Sim City MMO any time soon. The game features the creation and interaction of player created cities with real-time interaction between its NPC citizens. From what I hear the game is constantly expanding and growing to become a better experience.
Gatheryn (www.mindfusegames.com) - one of the few steampunk MMOs available. It's a game that focuses on adventure, socializing and a lot of puzzles, rather than more common features like combat.
Istaria (www.istaria.com) - one of the earlier 3D MMOs that often got, and still gets, overlooked for its more popular counterparts such as Everquest. The game advertises itself as a community game and as family friendly. It features player housing and from what I hear, a pretty neat crafting system. You can even play as a dragon (if you subscribe)! Along with the change in management, an unlimited free trial was introduced, but the trial is limiting in a few ways, such as you can only be human and no lair/plot of land.
Spellborn (spellborn.acclaim.com) - one of the few twitch-based fantasy MMOs on the market currently. It never saw much popularity, probably due to undermarketing, but I wouldn't take my word on it. It recently went free and is shifting to a cash shop model. I personally don't know much about the game and would appreciate someone else putting a description in. (Thanks Gabby!)
Ace Online (ace.subagames.com) - a space flight MMORPG that has features such as leaving your plane, leveling, and interchangeable parts. (Thanks bloodaxes!)
LinkRealms (www.linkrealms.com) - an indie sandbox MMORPG that is going to feature player-created content. It uses an isometric viewpoint. I don't know much about the game but I hear from Ultima Online vets in Closed Beta that any UO fan won't be disappointed. (Thanks qombi!)
A Tale In the Desert (www.atitd.org) - a sandbox MMORPG set in ancient Egypt. Involves an in-depth crafting system, worship, all sorts of player tests, and a great politics system. Players can get elected to be Demi-Pharoahs and any laws passed by the players will be hard coded into the game by the developer himself! Has been called the ultimate crafter's game before and is very community oriented.
Perpetuum (www.perpetuum-online.com) - a mech MMORPG that boasts a complex economy and destructible terrain. Description needs more detail.
Force of Arms (www.forceofarms.com) - description needed. (Thanks Cerion!)
Afterworld (www.afterworld.ru) - a first person sci-fi/post-apocalyptic MMORPG. It starts out slow, but provides all you need in the beginning and has a pretty in-depth crafting system. It also features twitch-based FPS style combat. Also boasts the first real free market economy.
Haven and Hearth (www.havenandhearth.com/portal/) - a wilderness survival MMO with 16 bit graphics. Similar to Wurm, but a whole lot different. In my experience, staying anywhere near the starting point isn't a good idea.
Pirates of the Burining Sea (www.burningsea.com) - a pirate MMO with more moden graphics. The game features a robust economy, the ability to raise an empire of production and a combat system like you've never seen before. Land and sea combat are both realistic and most of the game is based on player skill. In sea combat you even have to line up the enemy ship with one of the sides of your ship! It should be noted that it's been said that a level 15 in PotBS can be viable against level 50s if they manage their character correctly.
Myst Online: Uru Live Again (www.mystonline.com) - a very unique MMO based on the Myst/Riven series. You can expect all the fun, challenge, and possibly even frustration of those games here in MO:ULagain. The game features a persistent, dynamic world, which to describe, they cite the example that if you kick a rock in one player's world, it will stay that way when the next player enters the room. The game is also going open source soon and players will be able to build their own worlds from the ground up for MO:ULagain!
Other online multiplayer games:
LOVE (www.quelsolaar.com) - a game about cooperation and working together to achieve a common goal. It's got it's roots in FPS gameplay and allows 500 people per server. The game focuses on working together to make the best base possible and fending off the AI. Not to mention, it has a procedurally generated world and one of the craziest visual experiences I've ever seen. Alpha has been open for some time and with content being added all the time and beta getting ever closer, you'd be hard pressed not to at least check it out.
Mount and Blade (www.taleworlds.com) - one of the greatest indie projects ever. It's a sandbox RPG and allows for near endless possibilities. Combat is instanced but it also is twitch-based and provides the best horseback combat I've seen, by far. The sequel, Warbound, will feature a multiplayer component, that with any luck, might go the way of Neverwinter Nights and allow for a psuedo-MMO to come out of it.
Savage 2 (www.savage2.com/en/main.php) - a recently gone F2P MMOFPS style game with a significant number of troops to choose from and a bit of a learning curve. It is a great game and harbors quite a bit of an online community, still.
League of Legends (www.leagueoflegends.com) - the most recent DOTA game and arguably the best. There's not much to say about it other than it's an F2P DOTA game done right.
Gods and Idols (http://www.godsandidols.com) - a 3D 4x strategy game set in space. Easy to learn, no complicated micro-management. Join alliances, expand your empire and defend against invaders. Also has a leaderboard and the ability to check your empire's stats from the game's website. (Thanks Lynx!)
KrabbitWorld Origins (www.krabbitonline.com) - a game featuring a crazy race of colored people with huge ears, dubbed "Krabbits." The game has one of the most insanely strategic combat systems I've ever seen in an RPG and there's a multiplayer expansion to the game coming out soon which I'm pretty sure will make the game borderline MMO, though I could always be wrong.
Terra: Battle for the Outlands (www.terracorps.com) - description forthcoming.
...for those that couldn't tell, yes, this list is slowly growing as I find/remember and add more underrated MMOs. Feel free to suggest additions. =D
Think something doesn't belong on this list? Tell me why!