Years ago, John Smedley gave a keynote address at AGDC, which amounted to, in so many words, “the future of the MMO market is in Asia. And I’m going to bring it to America.” Tomorrow, the culmination of that launches, as Freerealms moves swiftly from open beta to release.
Have no idea what Freerealms is? Too busy getting your Noblegarden bunny ears or wiping in Ulduar? You’d probably better catch up. SOE is going all-in on Freerealms, and it shows. From a Disney-reminiscent friendly art style, to forgiving yet complex class-based gameplay systems, and even including a Pokemon-style CCG – Freerealms not only has younger teens bracketed with laser-beam accuracy, but is also polished to such a high degree, in both technology and design, that older players are raving about the game as well.
It’s a bet that’s likely to *hugely* pay off for SOE, and bring them back into contention as a top-tier MMO studio. Which is good not just for the folks at SOE, but for the MMO industry as a whole. Competition is a good thing, and to date every MMO that has launched into the teeth of Blizzard has been chewed up. Freerealms looks set to not only break that trend, but *shatter* it. And that is a very good thing, indeed.