E308: Social networking and web-games in Free Realms


For a game that's not actually browser-based (though it will only require a small download and stream content in the background, Free Realms is a client-based game), Free Realms will have an unprecedented amount of browser-based content. Free Realms will have all of the web content you would expect from a modern MMO... and some of the web content you would expect to see in a social networking application like Facebook. Each player will have an online player profile listing all of their in-game friends (with links that will launch the game client and take you right to your friends' location) and newsfeeds that give you information about what's going on with your character. Not even Free Realms' game elements are restricted to the client. Many mini-games will also be playable via the web -- and give you in-game benefits for doing so (as long as you're logged on). So if you played the Bejeweled-esque mini-game via the web during your lunch break, your character in-game would gain ore and experience.

In-game, characters will connect through a non-traditional guild system. When we asked Lead Designer Laralyn McWilliams about guilds at E3, she informed us that SOE is "exploring other kinds of social arrangements, like different types of friends. So you could have your BFFs, your regular friends, and your family." They're also exploring a "club" system. McWilliams said, "Guilds are exclusive -- so we'd like to really recognize the fact that someone might want to be in the gardening club and the dog-lover's club and the ninja club. Those would all have collections associated with them because Free Realms is ultimately a collection. There's a collection of jobs, a collection of clubs... we're all about letting you collect things in the game and show off your achievements."

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Free Realms at E3 2008 Interested in Free Realms? Then check out all of our E3 coverage of SOE's latest free-to-play online game!
This article was originally published on Massively.