We're living in the age of smart phones, when there are more cell phones than there are people on this planet. I can't go anywhere without seeing people constantly whipping out their little rectangular companions for the constant stream of information, social connection, and Candy Crush interludes.
While MMOs aren't making great headway on these devices, in part due to the limited input scheme, several wise studios have made good use of the mobile market to give players a way to keep in touch with their games even while AFK. Today we're going to count down, count up, and count sideways 10 official mobile apps that will enhance your MMO lifestyle.
1. RIFT Mobile (iTunes, Android)
As a RIFT player, I'm a big fan and user of this app, so much so that I wrote a column on it a while back. It's one of the only apps that I know of through which you can earn in-game loot (via the "lootables" section). Using it every six hours or so to scratch off a few cards and pull in artifacts and planarite gives me goodies to enjoy next time I head into the game. This app also has functional guild chat, zone event alerts, and basic guild information. Unfortunately, the devs have shown little interest in improving or expanding this app following its launch, but at least it's still quite handy.
2. World of Warcraft Mobile Armory (iTunes, Android)
While part of this app used to require payment, these days the World of Warcraft Mobile Armory is 100% free to use. Probably its most helpful feature is access to the auction house, although it does go well beyond that with a character viewer, item browser, guild chat, talent calculator, and realm status. Some players have complained that it is a "broken, barely working mess," but others are quite delighted with it.
3. Fallen Earth Companion (iTunes)
This app was one of my first downloaded programs to my second-gen iPhone back in the day, but both it and that phone have fallen into extreme disrepair since then. It did have nice features such as access to crafting and chat, but from the sounds of it, the devs are no longer supporting it, it has since been removed from the Android market, and it is hard to get working for iOS. I'm still including it on this list for completion's sake, however.
4. EverQuest Worlds (iTunes, Android)
Unlike many of the other apps on this list, EverQuest Worlds is both game and application. Players go on "quests" revolving around the entire EverQuest franchise to unlock various rewards, including music, beta keys, and Station Cash. There's also support for guild chat, character viewing, and mail access.
5. Final Fantasy XIV: Libra Eorzea (iTunes, Android)
The official companion app to Final Fantasy XIV is primarily a knowledge database -- and in that, it succeeds quite well. There's access to information on quests, characters, bosses, mobs, items, achievements, and more, all at your fingertips. It's still being actively supported and expanded by the studio, which is a great sign of a helpful application.
6. RuneScape Companion (iTunes, Android)
I'm really impressed by the clean and functional interface of this companion app. It contains a robust plug-in to the game's economy, including access to the grand exchange and the stock market. App users can also track D&D and talk with friends and guildies. It also has push notifications in case you want to track a particular sell or buy order.
7. Entropia Universe Virtual Tycoon (Android)
I'm finding that MMOs and virtual worlds with heavy emphasis on the economy are more likely to have a mobile app to support those transactions, and Entropia Universe definitely fits that bill with Virtual Tycoon. Crafting, the auction house, and access to character details are at the centerpiece of this app. Unfortunately for iOS users, this is currently Android-only. Sorry!
8. DUST 514 Neocom (Vita)
Yeah, I'm going to remind you that this was a thing. On the PlayStation Vita. How's that working out for you, DUST 514?
Massively's Jef recalls one Neocom memory: "I do remember Hillmar strapping a Vita to his arm at GDC 2012 and swearing to me that they were going to bring some sort of VR s**t to the game where people could press a button on their 'Vita Armor' and call down a strike in EVE."
9. Wizardblox (iTunes, Android)
As you might expect from the Wizard101 folks, Wizardblox is mostly just a fun little game in line with the MMOs many in-game minigames. However, it deserves a spot on this list because you can earn game swag for your characters including "gold, potions, and other surprises!"
Many MMOs have added two-step authentication to increase player account security, and while key fobs used to be the big thing, the genre's since moved on to mobile applications. There are several to consider here depending on your chosen MMO:
Age of Wushu Matrix Authenticator (website)
Of course, there are plenty of other useful apps and authenticators that deserve a mention, so please do so in the comments!
Justin "Syp" Olivetti enjoys counting up to ten, a feat that he considers the apex of his career. If you'd like to learn how to count as well, check out The Perfect Ten. You can contact him via email at email@example.com or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.