Dunegons & Dragons: Daggerdale looks most interesting. I wonder if this is the way for online adventure games to go: a new sub-genre of what are essentially traditional single player RPGs, but with online co-op play. It seems a much more sensible way to involve story in an online RPG, rather than trying to cram a fourth pillar into a ‘massively online’ model for RPGs that doesn’t need the extra support, as games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic are trying to do.
Having played in fixed static groups in several MMOs and found it to be one of the best ways to enjoy the game at a sensible pace, and at the same time having played co-operatively as part of a small group in various online console games, I really feel that the Small Party Online RPG genre is one that is worthy of consideration; persistent worlds, an engaging story that revolves around all of the players, and huge cinematic events – these things are not only possible but easier and considerably cheaper to produce in a game where the number of players is dramatically reduced and the balance of classes is more strictly controlled.
I believe there’s huge potential to tap in this market, and it will be interesting to see if games such as D&D:Daggerdale and LotR: War in the North will prove successful. It will only take one game with high production values and a staff that really understands the power they hold in the way their game differs from traditional MMOs, and we’ll see a whole new sub-genre, maybe even an entirely new genre, spring up; I don’t think that time is too far away, so get those pun-based blog names reserved, the next exciting movement in online RPGs may well be just around the corner.