Awwwwww yeah, we're gettin' all multiplayer and whatnot on this week's edition of the Vault. While I am mostly strictly a singleplayer type of gal, from time to time a MMO has stolen my heart and all my free time, and we'd be remiss if we didn't talk about some of the oldest and best examples still tottering around out there on the web, yelling at children to get off their internets, and making you listen to endless stories about how in their day you used your imagination for graphics and by gosh you liked it. Here are three of my favourite golden oldie online gaming experiences that still stand the test of time and are just the ticket to dip your toe into whenever you feel like being social.
- Legend of the Green Dragon - With its roots firmly entrenched in the original 1989 classic of a different hue, this text-based RPG may have snow on the roof, but there's still fire inside. You play a young aspiring hero who wants only to slay the titular green dragon... just like everyone else in town, naturally. Combining turn-based combat, a robust community of erstwhile dragon-slayers, and a remarkable amount of secrets to uncover, treasure to find, and monsters to slay, it's a remarkably engrossing experience despite only allowing you to play for a little each day, and one I was always eager to come back to. To say it's spawned a lot of similar games is a bit of an understatement, and you'll probably recognise bits and pieces of its design elsewhere, but if you're looking for the perfect bit of "prithee my good sir/madam" online fantasy with just a bit of silly sass, Legend of the Green Dragon is still the choice of champions.
- Kingdom of Loathing - Chances are if you've got any interest in free online multiplayer RPGs at all, you've at least heard of this supremely silly and hilarious game. It's been around for quite some time and has almost become the standard by which all other RPG parodies are judged, so you know it's got to be good. Eschewing the traditional adventurer classes like "bard" and "barbarian" and "Leroy Jenkins", Kingdom of Loathing sends you out to save the world in the shoes of, say, a venerable Pastamancer, Disco Bandit, or Turtle Tamer. Get a Blood-Faced Volleyball for a familiar, or craft a meat car, hunt down a magical MacGuffin or just kneel at the Altar of Literacy. There are a ridiculous amount of quests, all packed with silly puns and jokes, and with a clever approach to replay value once you finish the main story it's easy to see why people have been coming back for more and more for over eight years now.
- Urban Dead - This zombie apocalypse themed text RPG holds a personal record for me for "most times rage quit, come back to, then rage quit harder", although you should take that more as a testament to how bad at it I was than the quality of the game itself. Urban Dead has a somewhat steep difficult curve and, at least at the time, lacked any sort of tutorial, so it meant the task of surviving and not getting stranded out when night fell or your character ran out of turns took a lot of trial and error. You explored a vast city, working with (or against!) other players or alone, trying to scavenge supplies and stay one step ahead of the zombie horde... lest you become one yourself, which happened often. In the years since, however, the Urban Dead has continued to expand and now provides a remarkably robust zombie-themed apocalypse role-playing experience. While it may take more effort to learn the ropes and become successful than the other two titles in this article, Urban Dead is still a stellar, challenging game you'll be happy to sink your crumbling, fetid teeth into.
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!