Final Fantasy XIV: 5 things I loved and 3 things I didn’t

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After 300 hours of playtime across 18 months, I’ve finally finished Final Fantasy XIV‘s MSQ. Watching the end credits scroll I realized that I had just wrapped up one of the great gaming experiences of my life. A game which genuinely made me reconsider what the genre, heck even the entire medium, could achieve in the realm of storytelling.

But it wasn’t a journey that was without its ups and downs. The very fact that it took me well over a year to get through the main story is revealing in and of itself. Sure 300 hours is a considerable amount of time to spend in any single game but spread over 18 months that’s only about 16 hours a month.

I didn’t play this game in such a steady manner though. Rather, the bulk of that playtime came in a handful of frenzied weeks, at moments where the story picked up enough momentum to have me desperate to log in. This mostly coincided with the end of each of the game’s expansions and would subside when a new one began.

So FFXIV is, in many ways a game of two extremes. There are things I absolutely adored and things which frankly almost made me throw in the towel altogether at many points in my journey. In keeping with the moral of Endwalker‘s story though (don’t worry, no spoilers here), you can’t have the good without the bad, hence why this list weaves the things I loved with the things I didn’t.

Loved: Soloability

With such a strong cast of supporting characters why would you need real people?

Okay, so this one isn’t terribly uncommon in modern MMOs, but the fact that there’s an ongoing effort to make the main story as soloable as possible is a major boon. I recently wrote a little about how much I’ve been enjoying story-driven MMOs and a big part of that is the feeling of still playing in a shared space, but being able to do stuff on my own and at my own pace. The old introvert thing of enjoying being around other people, but without the pressure of being forced into actually maintaining some form of person-to-person interaction.

The dev team are currently in the process of converting all of the MSQ’s four-player duty missions into solo dungeons, but after that I’m hoping the eight-player trials will get a similar treatment. Some people don’t want to be subjected to the MMO experience at all, and when a game’s story is this dang good it’d be a shame for them to miss out on it because of the anxiety that comes with having to group up.

Didn’t Love: Combat is tough

Rage-inducing froggy man.

Look, I’m not good at videogames. It’s probably one of the main reasons I play MMOs. I like to explore, collect things, and just generally have a chill time. I’ve never really played games ‘for the challenge’.

Most of the time that isn’t a problem because MMO combat is relatively undemanding outside of endgame raiding and PvP. Some of those mandatory duties and trials in FFXIV had me seriously tearing my hair out though. I have neither the reaction times nor the spatial awareness to keep track of everything that’s happening on screen as well as trying to keep my combat rotation going.

Solo-duty missions give you the option to switch to an easy-mode version of the instance if you fail. Once all the four-player dungeons are made solo-able I don’t think it would hurt to give them the easy-mode treatment too.

Loved: Friendly playerbase

“GG” “tyvm”

Bless the Final Fantasy XIV community for being so danged forgiving when I just couldn’t help but continually make a hash of the mechanics in each dungeon’s boss fights.

I never joined a Free Company so all of my group runs were from the game’s exceptionally easy-to-use dungeon finder tool. Not once did I encounter any kind of offensive trolling, bursts of anger, or rage quitting. On more than one occasion I would have given up on a boss fight had my PUG allies not rallied me to try ‘one more time’ when I was convinced I just didn’t have the reaction times necessary to pull us through.

Didn’t Love: Slow pace

Beautiful lands await you in FFXIV. You’ll get to know them well.

As such, it wasn’t the game’s difficult spots which stalled my progress, but the moments in the MSQ where everything seemed to slow to a crawl. I can’t really explain this any better than JoCat did in this lengthy, but very much worth watching YouTube video.

The questing in this game simply isn’t fun. Sometimes there isn’t really any questing at all and you can play for an hour at a time without doing anything which would actually constitute gameplay. Running from one end of the map to the other only to be subjected to nothing but another lengthy monologue genuinely had me yearning for a good old-fashioned ‘kill 10 rats’ quest at some points.

Loved: The story and worldbuilding

Anthropomorphic elephants. Now that’s my kind of worldbuilding.

Yes, the pacing is uneven, but my goodness if it doesn’t all come together in the end. Each expansion’s story works on roughly the same formula: solve the problems which ail the peoples of each landmasses individual provinces before rallying them all for one final push to overthrow the evil regime.

This simplistic plot however offers a huge amount of freedom in exploring the larger history of the world(s) and their peoples, and FFXIV goes all in on making sure everything ties together in a satisfying manner.

Do a YouTube search for ‘FFXIV lore’ and you’ll find a whole bunch of videos and even entire channels combing over every aspect of the game and for good reason. After nine years, a relaunch, and four expansions, the world of FFXIV already feels as expansive as decades-old franchises like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and there’s still so much room for the story to grow in the years to come.

Didn’t Love: The Cringe

Me at the start of the game: “So lame, so cringe”. Me at the end of A Realm Reborn: “I will protect this tiny royal lady at all costs”.

Oh, the cringe. I’m going to be honest, I was put off from playing this game – like so many other MMOs – for the longest time because of certain elements that just don’t sit well with me.

Anime cat/bunny girls/guys, the childlike Lalafell, the game’s oft-mocked ERP scene. Not to mention the genre-obligatory lewd armor options. At face value this game is kind of embarassing, especially if you share a house with someone who isn’t keyed into the whole anime thing.

So that my two cats can come and go as they please, I generally don’t close the door to the spare room where my desktop sits. There were a handful of occasions *cough* Costa del Sol *cough* where I found myself rushing through cutscenes for fear that my fiancée would walk by and see what I was playing.

That isn’t how I want to be spending my gaming time.

Loved: Genuine Emotion

;_;

One aspect of the game’s cringe factor is that it 100% wears its heart on its sleeve. That can be jarring at first (particularly to a western audience), but once you bend your mind to FFXIV‘s way of doing dialogue, it’s a breath of fresh air in a media landscape which is so often saturated with cynicism, irony, and an inability to let a serious moment sit without throwing in a quip.

Because of this the game can handle complex villains rather than lean on one-dimensional threats. You can form real emotional connections with your fellow Scions. And when, in the latter stages of the game, you’re confronted with really rather thought-proving philosophical questions and existential themes, it feels deserved.

It may seem like a bold claim, but Final Fantasy XIV is, in my opinion, one of the great pieces of romantic art of our times.

Loved: The music

Children of the land do you hear…

And what is romantic art without a musical element? People will tell you that FFXIV only gets good at the end of A Realm Reborn, or in the Heavensward expansion. And yes, there’s a step up in the storytelling department at these moments in the game. What really hooked me around this time however was the music.

Masayoshi Soken’s score is a consistently great MMO soundtrack. But my goodness, the collaborations between composer Nobuo Uematsu and vocalist Susan Calloway which cap off A Realm Reborn, Heavensward, and Stormblood just quite simply make the spirit soar. Yes, that may seem a little purple, but in the spirit of the game, why mince words?

Then there are the quieter moments – some of which aren’t afraid to pilfer from Final Fantasy‘s rich 35-year history. The track below, adapted from a Final Fantasy IV number, was a particular highlight for me. Coming so close to the end of the game it just seemed to stop me in my tracks, making me sit and acknowledge for a brief moment, the beauty of the world to which a small part of me now belonged.


I started playing Final Fantasy XIV because I kept hearing how great the story was; how it was the new benchmark for MMOs. I didn’t intend to stick around. I didn’t expect to find a home. But now I’ve finished the journey I set out to accomplish I feel a genuine pang of sadness at the thought of moving onto pastures new.

I don’t think it’ll be long before I return to Eorzea.

I finally appreciate story-driven MMOs

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The Warrior of Darkness from Final Fantasy XIV

Last night I decided to check out the new 1.0 update on the Star Wars Galaxies Restoration server. I created a handsome-looking Ithorian character and was promptly dropped into the middle of Mos Eisley. I had no idea what to do next.

Obviously, having played the game on and off for nearly two decades, I knew what to do in terms of the game’s mechanics and systems. In a way, it wasn’t so much not knowing what I wanted to do next, but not knowing who I wanted to be.

Star Wars Galaxies Restoration is unique from other Star Wars Galaxies rogue servers in that it is based on the short-lived Combat Upgrade version of the game. As such, its combat is a little less slow and clunky than the launch game’s, but you’re not locked into one profession as with the NGE version of the game.

An Ithorian player character from Star Wars Galaxies Restoration
My new Ithorian best boi.

Therefore, when I landed in Mos Eisley I had no clear progression path – my character was essentially a blank slate.

Back in 2003 when the game launched, this was pretty much standard issue for the genre. As the years have progressed however there’s been a hard lean into the themepark style of MMO game design, with story becoming a more prominent part of an MMOs gameplay and marketing.

Much of my time in MMOs these past few years has been spent in Star Wars The Old Republic and Final Fantasy XIV. These two games are probably the most story-driven MMOs of all, with your character not just being a part of some wider narrative, but ‘The Chosen One’ responsible for the fate of the entire planet/galaxy/universe.

For years I had totally abhorred this kind of storytelling in MMOs as it doesn’t make any sense to be sharing a virtual world with thousands of other players who are also ‘The Chosen One’. Somehow though I’ve ended up spending hundreds of hours in the two MMOs which most egregiously violate this rule of what should make a great virtual world, when plenty of other games haven’t managed to hold my attention.

A Nautolan player character and Kira Carsen from Star Wars The Old Republic
If you’re logging on to dress up your character and their companion especially for the holiday season then I’d say you have a certain amount of investment in them beyond being a stock avatar.

Spinning around in circles outside the Mos Eisley spaceport last night, it hit me: I am totally devoid of creativity.

Why this is could be down to a number of reasons. In that specific moment, it could be that it was the end of a hellacious week at work and my brain was totally fried. Good old adulthood.

Tiredness alone however may only be one reason why adulthood is responsible for my lack of creativity. There’s also the general sense of losing the ability to use your imagination as you get older. The concerns of the real world exert more stress on the brain leaving less time to fantasize. If you don’t use it you lose it or something.

Alternatively, it could just be modern entertainment sensibilities, with so many choices and other distractions at our fingertips, the most immediately engaging, and least effort-requiring form of media are in many ways the most appealing. You’re no longer beholden to the one game you took home from the store, but every free to play title, Game Pass game, or weekly Epic Store freebie. There’s always something else to play.

Similarly, there’s not so much hype generated in the lead-up to a game’s release, when you’d sit and read through every morsel of information on a game, building up in your mind the kind of character you’re going to create and what place they’re going to have in the virtual world. A cinematic trailer might sweep you off your feet in the moment, but everything feels a little more ephemeral than those days when magazines and pre-Web 2.0 fan sites were the go-to’s for news and discussion.

Bring back game manuals you freakin’ cowards!

There are moments when I feel that creative spark creep into my mind, and in those moments I yearn for the sandbox MMOs of yesteryear. I no longer feel that story-driven MMOs are a taint on the genre, and I no longer feel guilty about enjoying them, because honestly, I’m not sure if I would have stuck with the genre had it not continued to evolve beyond those supposed halcyon years which people are so keen to put on a pedestal.

Ultimately I formed connections to my characters and the worlds of both SWTOR and FFXIV that had nothing to do with the core storyline. Where I might have bounced off of these games otherwise, their relatively rigid progression tracks made repeatedly logging into them an easy and reliable way to spend my gaming time. As I was taken by the hand around the game’s many locations, ideas of the kind of character I wanted to be in the game world slowly took shape over many hundreds of hours.

That’s completely different to a game like Star Wars Galaxies (particularly before the NGE provided simplistic levelling and heaps of quests), where, sure your character will take shape as you play, but having some preconceived notion of who your character will be in the world is practically a must.

There’s long been an argument that big, ambitious, ‘Chosen One’ narratives don’t belong in MMOs, and when so many of them are almost entirely solo-able it’s easy to suggest that you should just play a single-player RPG instead. However, while they may not strictly make a lot of sense from a shared world perspective, I think it’s high time we admit that having different types of MMOs available has turned out to be a good thing after all.

Star Wars Galaxies Rogue Server Roundup – July/August 2022

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Restuss on Rori in Star Wars Galaxies

It’s fair to say it’s been a pretty quiet summer for Star Wars Galaxies rogue servers. Last month was almost devoid of any news whatsoever, so I decided to skip the monthly roundup for the first time since starting the column back in October of last year.

August hasn’t been much better, but between the two months there’s enough to report to make this post feel worthwhile. With the big summer event (Empire Day) having drawn to a close on most servers now, things have turned to looking ahead at what the development teams have planned for the coming months.

Naturally, the Galactic Moon Festival is just around the corner, but there’s also plenty of server-exclusive content on the horizon. I don’t know about you, but after a summer of unbearable heat, the prospect of cosying on up indoors and playing some SWG with a warm beverage sounds more inviting than ever.

SWG: Beyond (NGE)

The closest thing to a full winter roadmap came from the Beyond server, who teased a list of upcoming content on their Discord channel. With yet another Legendary Heroic announced, as well as new GCW leaderboards, it really feels as though Beyond is establishing itself as the premiere NGE server for combat-focused players.

As previewed back in May, they’ve also got their new species update ready to go live soon, and looking a little further into the future they’re promising further additions to the Rare Loot System, new 7-piece Heroic jewellery sets, leaderboards for more content systems, and profession and expertise reviews.

SWG: Legends (NGE)

August’s Community Transmission didn’t reveal anything new, but it’s a good recap of just how much community activity there has been on the server recently. Looking ahead they’ve reaffirmed that the previously teased Star Viper update (which is primarily space-based), and the Player City update are not too far away.

This coming weekend however players can relive the Battle of Restuss event. Originally taking place back on the live servers in 2006, this multi-phase event saw the destruction of the city of Restuss on Rori, with the ruins of the city becoming a huge PvP zone.

Legends hosted their own version of the event back in 2016, and they’re now giving old and new players alike the chance to see how it plays out all over again. The event commences on Friday, September 2nd and runs for 25 hours.

SWG Restoration III (CU)

1.0 is coming! After launching to much fanfare back in May 2021, the first major update for Restoration III is due to hit sometime in the coming month, with a tentative date set for September 17th.

As the team revealed in their roadmap at the start of the year, 1.0 will see the release of Mustafar, their unique Jedi unlock system, and their Server Progression System. As the only server running a variation of the CU combat system this could be a good time to check out the Restoration if you’re looking for a little shake-up to your usual SWG gameplay.

An Empire in Flames (Pre-CU)

After first teasing us with a look at a flame-thrower gauntlet back in February, Halyn at EiF has been sharing more GIF’s of what we can expect from the server’s next update. Electro and acid gauntlet’s are also in the works, as well as a rotary blaster cannon (with barrel’s which actually rotate, because this is EiF after all).

Dark Rebellion (D20)

Having concluded their prologue chapter, solo-Admin/Dev/DM, Borrie has been over on Discord teasing some of the new planets that are coming to the server. Don’t expect the usual suspects though, Dark Rebellion is pulling out deep cuts from the Star Wars lore, with planets such as Abregado-rae and Malastare being developed among others.

ProjectSWG (CU)

Work has finally begun on implementing combat over at ProjectSWG, with testers now able to utilise skills from the Brawler tree.

SWG: Prophecy (NGE)

This month finishes on a low point as we commemorate the closure of the Prophecy server. After almost five years in operation, Project Admin Chavex announced in July that the server would be shutting down for good on August 13th. Staffing and difficulties with continued development on the existing codebase were cited as the reasons for closing.

YouTuber Project Dorkkopia documented the server’s final hours, but even better is this video of him exploring some of the server’s best player houses. A great way to preserve the many hours or hard work and love that were no doubt devoted to these player’s own little corner of the galaxy. Here’s to hoping they are all able to find new homes.

Dragon Ball Online was a failure which changed the course of the franchise

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It’s fair to say that there’s a big crossover audience for MMORPGs and anime. But while major MMOs such as Final Fantasy XIV and Maple Story have successfully adopted an anime aesthetic, the same cannot be said for games in the genre which directly adapt established manga and anime franchises.

Just last month I took a look in on the quite terrible Digimon Masters Online and being a glutton for punishment (as well as a terrible sucker for new release hype), I’ve spent the last couple of weeks diving into Dragon Ball Online. With the latest film, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, having just hit theatres, now seemed like the perfect time to check out this game – one which I knew to have had a short, and not too successful lifespan, but which has subsequently had a large impact on the future of the franchise.

Dragon Ball Online never received an English release despite a reasonable amount of excitement having been built up around the game when it was announced back in 2007. The concept was ripe with potential. World of Warcraft was reaching the zenith of its popularity, while the Dragon Ball franchise had effectively been dormant for the past decade (although the final episodes of Dragon Ball GT, the most recent series at the time, had only finished airing in the US in 2005). The MMORPG genre would arguably never be more popular, and fans of the venerable franchise were hungry for something new.

Female Majin in Dragon Ball Online
Character customisation in Dragon Ball Online is fairly limited, but being able to play as a Majin or Namekian was something of a novelty before Xenoverse came along.

From the outset, the game was evidently not going to be a major global success. Developed by a new studio, NTL, in collaboration with Bandai Namco Games (Netmarble would come on board down the line to get the game over the finish line), early screenshots showed a game with adequate, cel-shaded character models, but muddy, spartan environments and a clunky UI.

While it would still be a few years before the rest of the genre caught up to World of Warcraft‘s level of polish, expectations had already shifted (at least in the west), and it was evident that the grind-centric gameplay and general unwieldiness of South Korean MMOs were starting to be seen with a measure of distaste.

If the game wasn’t going to set the MMORPG community alight however, there were plenty of signs that the game would be a must-play for Dragon Ball fans. Series creator Akira Toriyama was credited as having contributed to the game’s story and character designs, and with the game being set 216 years after the ending of Dragon Ball Z, this promised to be the biggest expansion of the franchise since the end of the divisive third – and then final – series of the show, Dragon Ball GT.

Promoting Future Trunks – one of the series’ most popular characters – to a leading role was a canny move, allowing the player avatar to time travel to alternate versions of established events in the Dragon Ball lore as they are corrupted by a new villainous group the Time Breakers. Your character is recruited to become a part of Trunks’ Time Patrol faction in opposition.

If you’re a Dragon Ball fan who hasn’t played Dragon Ball Online but is finding all of this rather familiar sounding that may be because the game’s story was essentially transplanted directly into 2015’s multi-platform ‘mainline’ Dragon Ball game, Xenoverse.

Time Patrol Trunks in Dragon Ball Online
Players are introduced to Time Patrol Trunks in Dragon Ball Online’s tutorial.

By the time Dragon Ball Online was finally released in 2010 the MMO genre was on the cusp of a major shift that saw a slew of big-budget, polished titles being released as the industry finally caught up to the hype that WoW had generated. The start of the decade saw the launch of Star Trek Online, DC Universe Online, and Star Wars The Old Republic, as well as the initial iteration of Final Fantasy XIV. By comparison, Dragon Ball Online looked and played incredibly dated right out of the gate.

Still, the game initially reached a large audience, spending a couple of months in the top ten most played games in South Korea, before swiftly dropping off the charts forevermore.

When Dragon Ball Online‘s shut down was announced in 2013, it had failed to gain a foothold in the east, and in the west, another MMO trend had further diminished its chances for success should it ever have been localised. During the 2000’s South Korean imports found a certain popularity as free alternatives to the subscription model that was prevalent across western MMOs, but beginning with Dungeons and Dragons Online in 2009, a switch to free-to-play business models had started to become normalised across the entire genre. With more high-quality, modern options available for gamers on a budget, DBO was left only with its IP to draw a following.

But while the game was the sole hope for the continuation of the franchise back when it was first announced in 2007, this wasn’t so much the case by the time it was shut down. A Japanese exclusive arcade/card game, Dragon Ball Heroes, debuted the same year as DBO and it had, by the second year of its ongoing live support, begun to integrate original characters into its storytelling. Furthermore, a new feature-length film, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, was announced in 2012, truly revitalizing the franchise.

Goku and Grandpa Gohan in Dragon Ball Online
Would you have chosen to play a game which looked like this in 2013?

The demise of Dragon Ball Online in 2013 coincided with a general shift in how the franchise would be approaching its videogame output from here on out. Ever since the release of the Super Butoden trilogy on the Super Nintendo, the series had made a success of close-to-annual releases of new games in the fighting genre. Something of a cycle had been established whereby every few years a new “series” of games would begin, introducing a new combat system along with a reduced roster. Each subsequent entry would refine the gameplay and increase the roster before things would be rebooted again.

This formula served the franchise well for a long time, with newer console generations offering increased roster sizes, improved graphics, and flashier battles, but things started to stagnate following the 2007 release of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 on PS2 and Wii consoles. Featuring an absurd 161 playable fighters, the impulse to once again reset the release cycle seemed a little less worthwhile.

With fewer than half as many characters, the series’ next core title, Burst Limit, brought the franchise to the next generation of consoles but felt largely redundant. One of the major reasons behind this was that outside of a few ‘what-if’ scenarios, the story mode offerings in every Dragon Ball game rarely diverged from the tv show. After spending two decades replaying the same storyline every year, Dragon Ball videogames were in desperate need of a shakeup.

As a new decade dawned and a new film was set to reignite the fandom, Dragon Ball was once again beginning to view itself as more than a legacy franchise. The chance to introduce new stories and characters to those picking up a Dragon Ball game was to be treated as a given going forward.

Player avatars in Dragon Ball Xenoverse Conton City
As well as being an online lobby, Xenoverse 2’s Conton City also uses player avatars as NPCs to fill the overworld.

Dragon Ball Online failed to offer a gameplay experience that matched the frenetic action that the series was known for, but it did provide a story template that would work perfectly in future games. Dragon Ball Heroes was the first game to begin absorbing elements of DBO‘s story, but 2015’s Dragon Ball Xenoverse was the first to bring the story of Time Patrol Trunks, Mira, Towa and the Kai of Time to a global audience.

Moreover, the game incorporated persistent online elements such as a lobby-type overworld, customised player avatars, and RPG-style character upgrade systems. Its sequel, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, was released a little less than two years later and featured even more MMO-lite elements such as an increased overworld size, and raid battles.

In many ways, the Xenoverse model is reminiscent of Bungie’s Destiny, which released its sequel only a short time after the original game, with much more long-running support for that game than its predecessor (unlike Destiny however, Xenoverse developer Dimps has done the great honour of recently making the original game’s story content playable in Xenoverse 2 (for a price of course)). Xenoverse 2‘s latest DLC was released in July this year, and with a roster clocking in at well over a hundred characters and counting, as well as heaps of new story content and mini-games being added, the Dragon Ball franchise seems to have found its perfect final form.

Oh, sure the game isn’t a technical masterpiece; it’s janky as heck, its online modes are rife with hackers, and it has horrendous balancing issues, but when you have a fighting game that’s this expansive then you kind of have to take that as a given. I picked up Pokemon Let’s Go on the Switch earlier this summer and I feel similarly about that game as I do about Xenoverse. While both have their issues, I can’t help but feel how amazing it would be to go back in time and show my much younger self these video game versions of two of my favourite franchises.

Revisiting Goku and Chi-Chi’s first meeting in Dragon Ball Online.

Although Xenoverse is Dragon Ball Online‘s true spiritual successor, that game’s take on the franchise runs deeper than any single title. As previously mentioned, Dragon Ball Heroes was the first game to bring elements of DBO into another title, but since then characters such as Mira, Towa and Cell X have appeared in the 3DS titles Extreme Butoden and Fusions; the multi-platform RPG Kakarot; the mobile gacha game Dokkan Battle; and Bandai’s physical Dragon Ball Super Card Game.

In case any of you lore-heads out there were wondering, Xenoverse‘s story takes place 150 years before Dragon Ball Online‘s. Frankly though Dragon Ball‘s lore has always been an absolute cluster fudge, so while you can kind of stick everything on a timeline and make it work, you probably shouldn’t worry too much.

DBO‘s introduction of the Time Patrol gave birth to the most perfect fan service vehicle that Dragon Ball fans could ask for. Not only can players relive the story they know and love (in alternative histories or with their own custom avatars), but they can also zip around the timeline to events far in the future and everything in between. All this time travelling nonsense being a perfect excuse to bring ‘non-canon’ events such as the movies, anime filler, and GT into the main timeline as established in the manga. Essentially, Dragon Ball Online was the beginning of the Dragon Ball multiverse.

No longer would fans have to argue over whether Super Saiyan God was stronger than Super Saiyan 4, or if Omega Shenron could beat Golden Freeza. These battles were being adapted into video games, anime, and manga of their own.

Player character doing a Kamehameha in Dragon Ball Online.
Pulling off a Kamehameha never felt so unsatisfying.

Having spent some time in the game this past week (on one of the many English-translated rogue servers which have sprung up over the years), I can’t in good conscience recommend Dragon Ball Online in 2022. It’s a game built on a mass of systems whose time has long since passed, and unless you have a particular yearning for mind-numbingly dull grinding and unresponsive tab-target combat you’re better off spending your time with any number of other Dragon Ball games or MMORPGs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that fans have preserved this virtual world, and there are plenty enough active players who obviously enjoy the game enough to warrant so many servers. Outside of hardcore Dragon Ball lore junkies however, I’m not sure how much there is here to offer anybody who doesn’t already have a history with the game.

So Dragon Ball Online shall remain a footnote in both its franchise and its genre’s history. Another Dragon Ball MMORPG seems unlikely (one sorry effort entered beta in 2019, but swiftly disappeared without a trace), but a Xenoverse 3 seems as much of a sure thing as possible. And honestly, that’s the way it should be.

Earlier this year Capcom debuted footage from their upcoming title Street Fighter 6. It touted a Battle Hub mode which appears to function not too dissimilarly to Xenoverse‘s Toki Toki City. With the increasing prevalence of live service elements sneaking into every facet of the gaming sphere, it is possible that in some years’ time we will look back at Xenoverse as the progenitor of the (M)MOFG ((Massively?) Multiplayer Online Fighting Game) genre. If part of that game’s success can be owed to Dragon Ball Online then perhaps that short-lived virtual world’s legacy isn’t so small after all.

An Empire Revisited: I finally made it to Bespin

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Bespin SWG Legends

This week the itch has been upon me. I’ll be going about my day and then my brain will start to conjure an image of the Mos Eisley cantina or a strain of John Williams’ score. That’s my cue to head back to Star Wars Galaxies.

It’s been a good few months since I’ve played with any regularity, and part of me had been putting it off the past few days because I knew I’d log in and find a mountain of guild mails facing me, and potentially I might have been kicked from my guild. When I finally sat down to play on Sunday evening I found that I really shouldn’t have got worked up. Sure I had a long list of mails, but it didn’t take any more than a minute to hammer delete on them all. And I hadn’t been removed from my guild either so that was a bonus.

The thing is, even with the many QoL improvements that have been made on SWG Legends, the game is still one which requires you to carve a good chunk of time aside whenever you want to play. Or at least it feels that way.

Before you trek out to do anything combat related you’ll need to grab three things: an Entertainer buff, Medic buffs, and Officer stims. These buffs aren’t really optional as all high-end content is geared towards you having them and the boosts they give you are quite substantial. Thankfully there are always bots dolling out Medic and Officer buffs, but getting an Entertainer buff requires you to find an active player as each buff package is tailored to how you want it.

In reality, getting all these buffs only takes a few minutes, but having these mandatory extra steps before you get going can make your brain feel like doing anything in the game requires much more effort than modern MMOs.

Ithorian Entertainer and holograms in Star Wars Galaxies
Last night we had a new Entertainer playing in our guild cantina.

Earlier this year I finally tried out the game’s Hoth instance, which was something I never did on the live servers. Completing the instance meant that I could finally start the SWG Legends exclusive Bespin content. I’m not terribly far into the main questline, but so far I’m having a blast. I’m astounded at the amount of detail that has been put into making the planet feel unique, but suitably fitting with the rest of the game.

One thing I didn’t take in during my guided preview of the planet was just how much consideration the team put into the sound design. The music cues are perfectly selected and placed around the world, and the sound bites which accompany NPCs such as Death Troopers and protocol droids are a welcome jolt when the game’s aural landscape has been so well established in my mind after all these years.

An angry Rodian on Bespin in Star Wars Galaxies
I was a little miffed when I made it all the way into the underbelly of Bespin before realising I had forgotten to get Medic buffs.

I hadn’t long gotten started on running through the quests when I noticed a group forming up in our guild chat. The Bestine Invasion was about to take place on Tatooine and our guild was going to send in the cavalry to win the day for the Empire. As I never really cared for the GCW stuff in the live game this was, once again, something which I’d never tried before.

But, in my renewed efforts to try and sample a wider variety of what the game has to offer, I decided to throw my name into the proverbial hat and get in on the action. I brushed up a little on the SWG Wiki before things kicked off, but for the most part I like to just see how these things are explained by the game itself rather than rely too heavily on guides.

Guavian Death Gang AT-ST on Tatooine in SWG Legends.
Someone at the Invasion pulled out one of these Legends exclusive Guavian Death Gang AT-STs.

It was… chaotic. But my guild was pretty well organised so I generally just followed the crowd. There were strong numbers on both sides so it made for a good battle (one which the Legends server handled admirably). One thing which I didn’t know about Invasions was that they’re mostly a PvE activity. There were moments where people were switching to PvP status, but there’s no obligation to follow suit. This meant that my character felt useful even though I’m not fully geared up.

I’ll definitely do another of these at some point now that I have a better idea of what’s going on, and hopefully I can earn a few extra tokens to eventually buy myself the Imperial Gunner Helmet. Yes, it’s dorky, but it’s iconic, right?

The Complete List of Star Wars Galaxies Rogue Servers 2022

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LucasArts and Sony Online Entertainment may have shut down Star Wars Galaxies‘ official servers back in 2011, but rogue servers have been making the game playable in an unsanctioned capacity since long before then. That means some of these projects have now been around for more than a decade, while many others have sprung up more recently.

In 2022 SWGEmu and SWG: Legends are the two most popular servers, reviving the game as it was during its 2005 and 2011 iterations respectively. Legends, along with most other servers have made some not insignificant changes to the game’s systems, and have even added a large amount of original content. Until 2021 SWGEmu remained focused on recreating the game exactly as it was before the game’s notorious CU patch, but with the launch of the Finalizer server, they have committed themselves to future content updates as well.

The beauty of rogue servers however is that there is unlimited freedom for different projects to offer player experiences which can appeal to niche tastes. Don’t write off the other servers on this list just on the basis of their somewhat smaller communities. Some of them have done some truly incredible work with Galaxies‘ ageing game engine, adding new areas to explore, a diverse range of fresh character customisation options, and quality of life features which make the game a lot more accessible to modern gamers.

Servers are listed in alphabetical order with the Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) prefix omitted. Unless otherwise stated Pre-CU servers are running versions of the SWGEmu codebase, while NGE servers are running versions of SOE’s leaked source code. This list is updated monthly along with the Rogue Server Roundup.

An Empire in Flames

An Empire in Flames

Homepage: https://www.empireinflames.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/uvNrseC
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2017
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content: Heroics, Themeparks, Quests, Planets, Species, Events, Cosmetics
Highlights: Roleplay QoL features; post-RotJ setting; unique Jedi unlock; huge number of new playable species
Upcoming Content: Mandalorian Enclave; Underworld faction

Attack of the Clones

Homepage: https://swg-aotc.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/BzrVgjs
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2020
Active Development? Yes (infrequent updates)
Custom Content: Quests, Cosmetics
Highlights:
Conversion to Clone Wars era factions
Upcoming Content:
Server relaunch

Aurora

Homepage: https://www.swg-aurora.fr/
Discord: https://discord.gg/hCtknAvqYW
Game version: NGE
Launched: 2021
Active Development? Yes
About: French language server

Awakening

Homepage: https://swgawakening.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/QxQSXwY
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2014
Active Development? Yes (infrequent updates)
Highlights: Tweaked vanilla experience; custom Jedi unlock

Beyond

Homepage: https://swgbeyond.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/ycuQZqA
Game version: NGE
Launched: 2019
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content: Heroics, Quests, Professions, Events, JtL, Cosmetics
Highlights: Rare Loot System; Vanguard profession; Tusken Hardmode Heroic; community/event engagement
Upcoming Content: Multiple new species; more Hardmode Heroics

Dark Rebellion

Homepage: https://darkrebellionrp.wordpress.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/8bgXHvJEsC
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2022
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
About: Heavily customised D20-style roleplay server set in an alternate post-ROTJ timeline.

Infinity

Homepage: https://www.swginfinity.com/
Discord: https://discord.com/invite/gN22kcG
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2017
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content: Themeparks, Quests, Events
Highlights: Mandalorian quest line; Infinity Heritage Themepark; Big Game Hunting

Legends

Legends

Homepage: https://swglegends.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/ZBXvVDN
Game version: NGE
Launched: 2016
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content: Heroics, Themeparks, Quests, Planets, Professions, Events, JtL, Cosmetics
Highlights: Bespin expansion; farming and ranching systems; Jedi Themepark; huge number of new cosmetic items; community/event engagement
Upcoming Content: Star Viper questline; New planet – Felucia; Jedi Themepark Pt.II

myswg

Homepage: https://www.swgemu.com/forums/showthread.php?t=217130
Discord: https://discord.gg/kzc46Rz
Game version: NGE
Launched: 2018
Active Development? Yes (infrequent updates)
Highlights: Intended for solo gameplay

ProjectSWG

Homepage: https://projectswg.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/BWhBx4F
Game version: CU/NGE
Launched: In Public Testing
Active Development? Yes
About: Emulation project. Attempting to rebuild the game with custom content and systems.

Reckoning

Homepage: https://swgreckoning.com/
Discord: https://discord.com/invite/XfzfdZ4u
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2015
Active Development? Yes (infrequent updates)
Highlights: Tweaked vanilla experience; NGE item implementation; custom Jedi unlock

Restoration

Homepage: https://swgr.org/
Discord: https://discord.gg/swgr
Game version: CU
Launched: 2021
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content:
Cosmetics
Highlights: CU-era combat and profession system; community engagement
Upcoming Content: 1.0 launch including unique Jedi unlock

Resurgence

Homepage: https://swgresurgence.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/PJpnKM7TNg
Game version: NGE
Launched: 2022
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content: Themeparks, Quests, Events, Cosmetics
Highlights: Expanded content implementation
Upcoming Content: Unique new planet

Rogue One

Homepage: http://www.swgrogueone.net/
Discord: https://discord.gg/n82x6JEbYN
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2016
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content: Quests, Planets, Professions, Species, Cosmetics
Highlights: Bespin expansion; farming and ranching systems; Jedi Themepark; huge number of new cosmetic items; community/event engagement
Upcoming Content: Star Viper questline; New planet – Felucia; Jedi Themepark Pt.II

Sentinels Republic

Homepage: https://swgsremu.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/cEMtM99wwc
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2016
Active Development? Yes (infrequent updates)
Custom Content: Heroics, Themeparks, Quests, Planets, Events, Cosmetics
Highlights: 8 unique planets; new playable species; regular event schedule

Sunrunner II

Sunrunner II

Homepage: https://swgsunrunner2.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/q6mHDqR
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2019
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content: Heroics, Quests, Planets, Species, Events, Cosmetics
Highlights: 12 unique planets + integration of modified expansion planets; 11 new playable species
Upcoming Content: Expanded Mandalore content; unique Jedi, GCW systems

SWGEmu

Homepage: https://www.swgemu.com/
Discord: https://discordapp.com/invite/JH3t7Qh
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: In Public Testing
Active Development? Yes (Finalizer server)
About: Emulation project. Almost complete rebuild of the game as it was before the CU patch. In development for well over a decade. Will maintain vanilla and custom content servers once 1.0 milestone is reached. Basilisk server due to shutdown in 2022 with Finalizer acting as the new primary test server.

Tarkins Revenge

Homepage: https://home.tarkinswg.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/kgY3zHdzQE
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2019 (Formerly operated as SWGCanon and later Tarkin/TarkinII)
Active Development? No
Custom Content: Quests, Species, Cosmetics
Highlights: NPC-city player housing; roleplay QoL features
Upcoming Content: Expanded Mandalore content; unique Jedi, GCW systems


Related Projects:

Expanded

Homepage: https://swgexpanded.fandom.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/wEENHws
About: Creating custom content that other public and private servers can implement for their own use. Content includes custom quests and cosmetics.

TCGEmu

Homepage: https://www.swgtcg.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/QXS7UcxeZB
About: In-development emulator of the Star Wars Galaxies: Trading Card Game

The Complete List Of Rogue Servers For Dead MMOs 2022

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Wildstar CoH Tera Header

It’s always a sad day whenever an MMO is shut down. Whether it’s because of licensing issues, a dwindling playerbase, or a shuttered studio, there’s a community out there struggling to come to terms with the loss.

Sometimes publishers keep their game’s servers running in maintenance mode, but when this isn’t the case players will take it upon themselves to resurrect the virtual worlds they were turfed out of.

The teams behind these projects are volunteers – due to legal rights issues they cannot make money from their efforts. Yet, their role in preserving MMO history is a vital one, and for that, they should be commended.

Some of these rogue servers, emulators, or private servers are rebuilt from the ground up using only the game’s client-side assets, whereas others are a result of the game’s source code having been made public either officially or via a leak.

There are of course private server projects for games which are still running in an official capacity. This article will however only list private server projects for games whose official servers have been sunsetted.

Disclaimer: The vast majority of these projects are distributing unsanctioned software which could potentially contain malware. MMO Folklorist takes no responsibility for any malicious software distributed by individuals or groups mentioned in this article. Please ensure you do your own research before downloading any files!

Age of Empires Online

This cartoony version of the ground-breaking RTS series probably wasn’t the right direction for the franchise to take at the time of its release. Now that we have a real AoE4 however, there’s a certain charm to AoE Online. No wonder then that the game has been revived by a team of fans. Project Celeste brings the game back to life with new content and events.


Asheron’s Call

The original Asheron’s Call has a well-established emulation community which has been recreating the game since Turbine closed the live servers in 2017. The two main open-source emulation projects are ACEmulator and GDLEnhanced. Both projects recreate a highly playable experience with content and features which are comparable but different.

The ThwargLauncher tool is used to access servers running both versions of the emulated client. There are many servers to choose from, each featuring a variety of different rulesets, content, and playerbase sizes. Popular server lists can be found on TreeStats and AsheronDB.

At present, there are no playable servers for the game’s sequel, Asheron’s Call 2: Fallen Kings. However, there is an emulator with very limited functionality that can be used to explore the game world (there is no combat, quests, or NPCs). Head over to the game’s unofficial Discord community to gain access to the client.

Auto Assault

Described as a vehicular combat MMO, this was definitely one of the most unique games to come out of the genre’s mid-2000s boom. It couldn’t find a sustainable audience and shuttered after only a year. An emulator is in the works, but it’s been left spinning its wheels until more help comes on board.

Battlestar Galactica Online

A playable emulator for Bigpoint’s browser MMO is currently in public testing. It isn’t feature complete, but it’s not far off. Check out their Discord if you want to jump in.

The Chronicles of Spellborn

Having only been live for under two years before being taken offline, Spellborn was one of those MMOs which wilted quickly in the late-2000’s rush to publish a WoW-killer. If you ever wanted to play this “rough diamond” as the Spellborn Reborn team have referred to the game, you can head over to their site to get on board their open beta.

City of Heroes

In 2019 when the news that a private server for City of Heroes had been secretly operating for several years after the game’s 2012 demise, players of the beloved MMO were shocked. The story rippled throughout the entire gaming sphere, becoming the most widely reported story on private servers since Blizzard shut down the World of Warcraft private server Nostalrius in 2016.

It was a messy affair, but one which ultimately ended up with a feature-complete version of City of Heroes finally being widely playable once more. There’s now a choice of servers available, with the Homecoming server proving to be the most popular. Almost all of these rogue servers offer custom rulesets and content.

There were discussions held between members of the emulation community and NCsoft with regards to some kind of official sanctioning on the game’s rogue servers, but these seem to have ultimately proved fruitless.

Darkfall

Rise of Agon is an official revival of Darkfall in that the team have been granted the rights to the IP. Still, the team are currently working on a volunteer basis, so this is certainly a community led passion project.

Defiance

As Defiance (and it’s semi-reboot Defiance 2050) only shut down in 2021 it’s no surprise to hear that efforts to create an emulator for the game are not very far along in the development process. Still, if you want an early look at what the team are planning, you can head on over to the Project Defiance Discord channel.


Dragon Ball Online

Although this MMORPG based on the renowned anime series never made it to the west, its storyline and character designs have informed the franchise in myriad ways. Its direct successor was the multi-platform Dragon Ball: Xenoverse – a fighting game with MMO elements. Its sequel is still receiving regular updates, but those looking to play the original MMO are in luck.

Fan translations for the game began almost as soon as it was released in Korea, and English language private servers have been operating for a number of years. Popular servers include DBOG Revival, DBOUniverse Revelations, DBO Crisis, DBO Unchained, and DBO Hope. All of them feature custom content.

Dungeon Runners

There were efforts to resurrect this F2P MMO from NCSOFT, but they’ve gone dark. There’s a community Discord if you have any interest in reviving these efforts.

Earth & Beyond

The lifespan of this early sci-fi MMO from Westwood Studios and EA was cut mercilessly short just two years after its 2002 launch. The game has since been revived by the team at Net-7, where the game can be enjoyed once more with new features and seasonal events.

Earth Eternal

A revival of this furry friendly MMO is in the works over at Terra Aeterna. The server includes the fan made expansion Valkal’s Shadow.

Endless Online

This 2D pixel graphics MMO has been brought back to life by the folks at EOSERV. They conveniently have a list of all servers running the emulator over on their site.

EverQuest

OK, this one is totally cheating because EverQuest is absolutely still alive and kicking. But, 20+ years of development can change a game a lot, and some people would rather stick to playing an older version.

Project 1999 is a completely volunteer-led, fan-operated emulator that includes content up to and including 2000’s Scars of Velious expansion. In 2015, Daybreak Games gave the server legal permission to continue operating alongside the live game.

EverQuest Online Adventures

Way back in the early days of the genre there were very few MMORPGs available to console gamers. PlayStation 2’s EverQuest Online Adventures was one such game, but unlike Final Fantasy XI, which made the jump across console generations, EQOA never left the PS2 and was eventually shut down in 2012.

Since then players at Project: Return Home have been working to reverse engineer the game to make it playable once more via PS2 or on PC via emulators.


EverQuest Landmark

The cancelled MMO EverQuest Next‘s, cancelled sister title Landmark has an emulator project in development (Landmark RE:Build), but progress seems to have stalled.

Fallen Earth

Fans of this post-apocalyptic MMO were rewarded for their continued loyalty to the game (which was shuttered in 2019) when an official server was brought online at the end of last year.

FHX (Ferentus, Herrcot, Xiones)

This hardcore South Korean MMO which was launched globally under several different names is being emulated by the group at FHX Restoration. They’ve combined elements from both the Korean and Global versions of the game to create a new client which runs on their server.

Free Realms

There was a lot of hype behind SOE’s child-friendly MMO when it launched back in 2009. After shuttering in 2014, an emulator has been in development for several years. FR Sunrise isn’t in a public testing state yet, but progress is steady.

FusionFall

This MMO based on characters from various Cartoon Network shows has had a bit of a troubled history, with multiple private servers being shuttered in the years since its live servers went dark.

As such, it’s difficult to recommend any one server, but if you’re interested in playing the game your best bet is to head over to the Wiki page for OpenFusion, the modified source code upon which all FusionFall rogue servers are based.

Glitch

An unusual, but much-beloved MMO, players can now jump back into the colourful world of Glitch thanks to the efforts of the Odd Giants team. This rebuilt version of the game is still in development, but new patches are frequent.

Hellgate: London

Ah, Hellgate – the game with a thousand launches. London 2038 brings the original Hellgate: London back to life (as opposed to the version of Hellgate Global which is available on Steam). Yes, I’m aware that I said I wasn’t listing rogue servers for games still actively operating, but this is kind of a Star Wars Galaxies situation where the old version is practically a completely different game, therefore I’m allowing it.

Jumpgate

This 2001 space sim MMO is fully playable once more thanks to the fans at Jumpgate TRI.

Lego Universe

Sadly there are no public servers available for Lego Universe. Darkflame Universe created a functioning emulator of the game and previously hosted a public server, but following discussions with The Lego Group, they were forced to shut up shop.

However, upon closing the server they released their source code for all to use in the creation of private servers. This means that while you won’t be getting the Massively part of the MMO experience, you can set up a server to play the game either solo or with friends and family. This requires a little bit of technical tinkering, but there’s a good video guide here.

Maple Story 2

We hardly knew ye at all, Maple Story 2. Despite being the sequel to one of the most popular MMOs of all time, Maple Story 2 didn’t quite catch on in the way that publisher Nexon was hoping for, pulling the plug after only two years of live service in the west.

Fans are rebuilding the game as MapleServer2, and a public test environment is available already.

The Matrix Online

An online game set in a franchise based around simulated realities sounds like a pretty good fit, but SOE’s The Matrix Online never really took off. A full emulator of the game isn’t available, but MXOEmu allows you to explore the game world with other players. Considering that the game’s combat was notoriously bad, this may be something of a blessing. Regular in-game events such as DJ nights will keep you engaged, but if you ever wanted to check out the game’s story then it’s worth downloading this extremely in-depth PDF archive of the game.

Monster Hunter Frontier Z

Despite having never been released in the west, Monster Hunter fans have managed to not only get this game running on private servers, but have also begun an English translation patch.

Neocron

This cyberpunk MMO has been run by a player volunteer team since 2012. Neocron Evolution continues to build upon the game with regular updates, including a texture overhaul in 2021.

Perpetuum

This is kind of a strange one. Development for this mech MMO stopped back in 2018, but the developers made the very excellent choice of handing over the game’s source code to the community. It’s still available on Steam for players to download and set up their own private server, and there’s also a community for those who are adding new content to the game.


Pirates of the Burning Sea

In a perfect world no MMO would be shut off, with publishers instead handing the game over to the players once they wish to cut ties. That’s exactly what happened to Pirates of the Burning Sea, which has been operating with continued development under an entirely fan-led team since 2019.

Pirates of the Caribbean Online

Revived under The Legends of Pirates Online, this emulation project has not only rebuilt the game to an almost finished state but has also added swathes of new content, including a major patch earlier this year.

Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst

This PC adaptation of the Phantasy Star Online games that began back on the Sega Dreamcast is available to play once more on the Ephinea, Ultima, Destiny and EdenServ servers. Their revival of the game includes new content and events.

Alternatively, you can play the Dreamcast and GameCube versions of the game (including the GameCube exclusive Episode III) again thanks to the Schthack and Sylverant servers. This requires a little bit of hardware tinkering. This video from Nighttime Gaming gives a good overview of how to get each edition of the game running in 2022.

Phantasy Star Universe

The other Phantasy Star MMO to have shuttered (Phantasy Star 2 is still alive and kicking) was revived in 2020. Phantasy Star Universe: Clementine is a fully functioning rogue server with new content.

PlanetSide

This classic MMOFPS is playable once more on PSForever. They have a guide here on how you can join the game.

Project Torque

Before Ubisoft’s The Crew came along, Project Torque was the car enthusiast MMO of choice. As of 2019, the game is being operated by a volunteer group called Jogara Ltd. It’s available via Steam, but new content updates are infrequent.

Rusty Hearts

An action combat MMO with an anime aesthetic. Rusty Hearts can be played one more thanks to the volunteers at Rusty Hearts: Revolution.

Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine

This MMO based on the beloved franchise from Atlus has been revived by fans as ReIMAGINE. The rogue server is based on the final Japan version of the game which had more content than the western servers.

The Sims Online

This online version of the game which lets you build the house of your dreams and then turn it into a torture pit for those trapped within it is back at FreeSO. They’ve brought the game back to life and added new quality of life and content features.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures

Following on from Free Realms, SOE released a similar kid-friendly MMO based on The Clone Wars animated series. The game outlived SOE’s other Star Wars MMO, Galaxies, by a few years, before it was killed off in 2014. Fans are working on an emulator for the game, and the team at CWAEmu have a playable server available for testing.

Star Wars Galaxies

Thanks to its unique gameplay and IP this game has by far the most rogue servers of any dead MMO. Follow this link for our complete list.

Tabula Rasa

With Richard Garriott at the helm and NCSoft as publisher, people were expecting huge things from Tabula Rasa. When it was released to a lukewarm critical reception the game stalled and was shuttered after just a little over a year of live service.

It’s no wonder then that there hasn’t been much of a community pull for a rogue server. There’s a small team attempting to rebuild the game under the banner of Infinite Rasa, but progress is slow and no public test server is available as of yet.

TERA

TERA‘s official servers were sadly and unexpectedly shuttered this year, but players had been operating private servers for years prior to this. In 2022 the most popular servers are Menma’s TERA and TERA Starscape. More servers along with their differences can be found in this thread on the game’s subreddit.

ToonTown

Disney’s child-friendly MMO has been given new life by three impressively active volunteer teams. Toontown Rewritten and Toontown: Corporate Clash offer versions of the game which contain hosts of new content, while Toontown Offline has built a version of the game which can be played well, offline.


Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

Vanguard had a whole lot of promise as a true successor to EverQuest, but a rushed launch effectively killed any chance the game would have had at being a success. Still, there were plenty of fans who enjoyed this unforgiving high fantasy title, and the VGOEmulator has a thriving community working on bringing the game back to life.

The dev team are describing the current playable test server as being in an alpha state, but players can still partake in some early-level questing and crafting.

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning

One of the great rogue server success stories. Not only have the Return of Reckoning team made this MMORPG based on the table top wargame franchise available to play once more, but they’ve added huge amounts of new content. The server has been running since 2014 and has a sizeable dev team working on it.

Wildstar

The team at Nexus Forever are plugging away at rebuilding the game from the ground up. It’s going to take a while, but you can download the current code and set up your own testing environment if you want to see what they’ve accomplished so far. Maybe one day soon NCSoft will have the good sense to just revive the game themselves… maybe… but don’t bet on it.

Wizardry Online

This short-lived MMO based on the old-school Wizardry series of games is in the process of being revived by volunteers. Although the game was released in English, the team have decided to base their server on the Japanese version of the game, so players should be aware that there are some untranslated elements at present.

Digimon Masters Online is the worst Digi-World

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A show about Digital Monsters in a Digital World. On paper, the Digimon franchise seems a perfect fit for an MMO. It is, therefore, no surprise that there have been two MMORPGs based on the franchise, with a third, Digimon Super Rumble, currently in beta testing.

None of them are any good.

Launching in the west back in 2011, Digimon Masters Online has been knocking around for over a decade. We’ve seen plenty of other MMOs come and go in this time, yet Digimon Masters endures. More than that, it is apparently thriving, with a full graphics and engine overhaul announced for sometime this year.

With two new anime series, a string of movies, and a wildly successful card game under its belt, the Digimon franchise has seen a surge in popularity over the past few years. A long-awaited multi-platform single-player game, Digimon Survive, is set for release later this month, which is sure to bring even more new and returning fans sniffing around for what else the franchise has to offer.

Some of those people might be tempted to check out Digimon Masters Online. You could consider me to be one of them.

<Very Glad> Tentomon. That makes one of us.

My history with the franchise stretches right back to the days of the one-sided Pokemon vs Digimon wars at the turn of the millennium. I liked both. Pokemon had superior games and trading cards, while Digimon had a better anime.

During the mid-2000s (that most fertile time for new MMO releases), I came across an English fan translation community for a Korean turn-based MMO called Digimon RPG. I dabbled a little bit, but the translation was barebones, and with so many other new MMOs rolling out at the time, it didn’t do enough to hold my attention.

Digimon RPG received an official global launch in 2010 (as Digimon Battle), with Digimon Masters arriving the following year. I never played the official version of Digimon Battle (which was shut down in 2013, but is set to relaunch sometime this month), but I was keen to try Digimon Masters at launch.

I had high hopes for the game, watching Digimon Data Squad (the series upon which DMO is based) as I waited for an invite to the closed beta. When I got into the game I must have played for about an hour before realising that the whole thing was a terrible botch.

Surely though, after 10 years of continuous development, a Steam launch, and a playerbase big enough to warrant a remaster, the game must be a fairly solid experience by now. It is not.

I knew that I was in for an uphill battle when, try as I might, the game’s official launcher just would not run. I eventually gave in and downloaded the Steam version, which mercifully ran without a hitch.

You can look at the other avatar options but you can’t actually buy them until you’ve already made a character. Makes sense.

Character customisation is extremely limited. You begin by selecting your tamer, which is one of the four main characters from the Data Squad series, and from there you can select a clothing option, of which there are a maximum of four per tamer. That’s it as far as customisation goes. No changeable body types or hairstyles, no facial markings or eye colour changes, just the option to dress your teenage avatar in either a hoodie or a swimsuit. Hmm.

There are of course many more tamer character models available via the game’s cash shop. They’re dangled in front of you on the character creation screen, but as far I could tell there was no way to pony up your cash there and then to play as one of these other characters (which are all from the much more popular seasons of the show).

Next up, you pick yourself a Digimon partner. As before, you are shown lots of options, but not many that you can actually pick at this point. It’s all just there to get you prepared for the amount of wallet cracking you’ll have to be doing once you get into the game.

After a short and utterly pointless tutorial, you get sent into the real game, where the supposed “main quest” begins. Or at least that would be the case if the game was even marginally intelligible.

Everything in the game, from the UI to the NPC dialogue has quite obviously just been spat out by some kind of auto-translation software. There isn’t really any story to speak of anyway, so that isn’t a concern, but the biggest problem with the game’s terrible localisation is in trying to make any sense of its many bizarre systems.

I truly cannot fathom how anybody has made any sense whatsoever of how to do anything in this game besides tapping your two attack keys to execute the game’s mindless combat.

YouTube videos did little to enlighten me, and the game’s official website is just as much of a mess of Engrish as the game itself. The only luck I had with figuring out how to hatch a Digimon – surely one of the game’s most essential systems – was a guide on a wiki for one of DMO‘s private servers.

Suffice it to say, all of the game’s systems are based around having extraordinary amounts of luck. Par for the course with this sort of F2P, cash shop-driven grind-em-up, but there’s something to be said for games that at least chuck some development resources behind explaining how their game works in an effort to get you throwing down your hard earned dollar.

Going out on a limb and saying that this player’s Beelzemon won’t have come cheap.

Still, there are evidently people who have taken the time to figure these things out. I can only imagine what inconceivable sums of time and money they have invested to obtain their dream Digimon. I played on one of the less popular servers and even then the game’s main meeting ground was full of players mounted upon fan-favourite Digimon like Omegamon and Beelzemon.

I tried to interact with some of these players but got no response. In fact, nobody I encountered in the game world was ever willing to acknowledge my existence.

Upon checking my inventory however I realised I had been gifted a megaphone item at some point during the game’s early quests. I used it to send a server-wide message: “Hi, I’m a new player, does anybody have any advice?”.

I received three replies. One person told me to switch to the more-populated Omegamon server. Another told me to “stop playing this ****, do your normal life sir”. When I asked this person why they continued to play the game they responded that they just played it to kill time. I wanted to know more about this person and the mindset behind their reason for playing but they didn’t dignify me with any further responses.

A third player was much more useful, teleporting to my location and gifting me a whole bunch of items which I had no idea how to use. They were obviously a high-level player, and clearly in a hurry, so while I didn’t quite receive the socialisation I desired, it was reassuring to know that there were at least some helpful members of the community.

Players can create NPC shops to sell their goods. This makes for a messy main hub.

I was curious to know more about what was compelling people to continue playing this game. People’s social ties were apparently wafer-thin, and the gameplay was awful in every aspect. From poking my nose in on various communities on Discord and YouTube though it’s obvious that people are just playing the game because it’s their only outlet to tame and show off their own Digimon.

From the original Digimon World on Playstation to the multi-platform Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, there are a host of other, quite decent, games out there where fans of the franchise can level up their own partner Digimon, but (in the west at least) DMO is at present the only game that lets you compare and battle your Digimon with other people’s. What a shame it is then that even those players seem to be in agreeance that the game is the very worst kind of janky, predatory, rubbish.

Star Wars Galaxies Rogue Server Roundup – June 2022

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Rebel Soldier kneeling in front of downed ATAT in Star Wars Galaxies

Picking a quarterly holiday theme in an MMO is pretty simply. Typically you’ll find a Christmas-themed event in Winter, a Halloween/Thanksgiving-themed event in Autumn, and a Valentine/Easter-themed event in Spring.

Summer is a little less obvious. Many other MMOs go for a beach-themed event or perhaps a festival theme, but Star Wars Galaxies embraces the Galactic Civil War which provides the backdrop for the franchise and gives that some time in the limelight.

I guess the closest real-world analogue to this would be the July 4th celebrations, so it stands to reason that the Empire/Remembrance Day celebrations usually take place between June and July.

A handful of servers are running the event this year, but as with the Ewok Festival of Love event they’ve mostly done little more the flipped the switch to activate the event. As such I’m only highlighting the Legends server in this (very short) monthly roundup as they’re providing some unique event content.


Sunrunner II (SWGEmu-based server)

The one server which provided players with a big slice of fresh content this month was Sunrunner II, which celebrated its third anniversary. To mark the occasion they’ve finally released their long-awaited custom planet, Mandalore.

While some of the content that will fill the planet is still in the works, players can now catch a flight to the homeworld of the Mandalorians, where they can begin new quests and check out all of the incredible POIs that the team have hand-crafted.

You can find the patch notes for both the third anniversary and the Mandalore updates here, with the team promising the second half of Mandalore’s content within the coming weeks.

SWG: Legends (Custom NGE rogue server)

As we’ve come to expect from the Legends server, the events team pulled out all the stops to make a big deal out of their version of Empire Day. Sure you can do the usual event dailies (and claim some server-unique rewards), but there were also a whole host of live events running across the period.

A host of factional and holiday-themed items were also given a texture upgrade in the June patch.

Here’s a roundup of every other server which is hosting an Empire Day event in 2022:

Star Wars Galaxies Rogue Server Roundup – May 2022

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May: a month which has inexplicably become a big thing for Star Wars fans over the past few years. In the world of Star Wars Galaxies, rogue servers started the month off with a bang, but pretty much fizzled out afterwards. Most servers hosted some kind of May the Fourth celebration, but there wasn’t much to speak of in terms of new content.


SWG: Legends (Custom NGE rogue server)

Released on the very first day of the month, Legends players finally got to check out the Ranching and Farming update, having waited an entire, er, two weeks since it was announced. Yep, this was a spectacularly quick turnaround from reveal to release.

Obviously, this update isn’t going to have the broadest appeal (and the patch notes had little to offer beyond the addition of the new systems), but if you’re the sort of person who suspected they may have liked a proper farming system in Star Wars Galaxies, then you certainly won’t be disappointed by what the Legends team have delivered.


Galaxies‘ crafting is still recognised as being one of the most robust crafting systems not just in the MMORPG genre, but in the entire medium. It’s not really something you can dabble with on the side if you want to do anything more than scratch the surface, and Legends has followed in those footsteps by creating a new system which can quite comfortably be your full-time job in the game if you want it to be.

There are a whole lot of layers to this thing and the community have been having a ball trying to figure out how to grow all the new plants and tame all the wild creatures. A month has passed since the update was released and there is clearly still a long way to go in getting everything pinned down. There’s at least one community spreadsheet in the works now though, so that’ll give you a good idea of how serious things are.

It’s really nothing short of mind-blowing how this thing has been developed by a volunteer team, and it isn’t even as though this is the only thing that’s been in the pipeline, because we already know that the Star Viper update is hitting servers pretty soon. There are, of course, a lot of logistical differences to weigh up, but the fact that Legends are delivering this much content to every kind of player while so many commercial MMOs have been underdelivering recently is really something.

SWG Infinity (SWGEmu based server)

This server had slipped out of my regular checks, but they’ve been doing some solid work recently. At the tail end of April a new update brought in an original Big Game Hunting system, and they’ve also added a Mandalorian themed quest earlier in the year. Infinity has been running since 2017, so if you’re looking for a pre-CU server which has a few years of original content under its belt then now might be a good time to have a look at this one.


ProjectSWG (Custom NGE emulator)

With the leaked source code giving rise to so many NGE era servers, it’s no surprise that the team at ProjectSWG have turned all their attention to creating a CU emulator instead. They’ve drummed up a roadmap of how they will be implementing the major features, and have announced that a public test server will be opened “very soon”.

SWG Restoration III (Custom CU rogue server)

There’s no two ways about it, SWG is a terribly optimized game. It began development two decades ago and you still can’t really run it at maxed out settings even on the most powerful gaming computer. It’s therefore reassuring that the team at Restoration have taken the time to improve things on this front before the server launches in its 1.0 state.

Boasting over 140,000 lines of changed code in their latest update, players should find their play experience a little more stable. This, they claim, will also pave the way for future upgrades “including 64-bit support, DirectX upgrades, a 4K user interface, and more”.


SWG: Beyond (Custom NGE rogue server)

‘Dailies’—repeatable content that can be completed for rewards once every 24 hours—have become standard issue in modern MMOs. It’s a reliable source of endgame content that keeps players checking in each day. It’s easy to be cynical about this kind of hamster wheel content, but there’s also something quite nice about being able to log onto a game after a long day of work, knowing that you can just jump straight into doing something without having to dedicate much thought to it.

Now at least one SWG rogue server has its own version of dailies, with Beyond having launched its own Daily Missions System. There are over 20 quests available, so there’s something for every kind of player to get stuck into if they want to earn some extra credits. There are also additional rewards for completing multiple dailies.