Apr 8, 2009

Future MMO?

MMO’s are now 10 a penny, if you look at the game list over at MMORPG.Com you’ll see a huge list of current games and games that are in development.

The list is pretty impressive for this game style; however I’ve yet to find a sci-fi mmog that captured my imagination.  Sure Eve Online is probably the most successful of these games with Anarchy Online coming a close second.

For he is the Quizacks Haddock RackAs an avid reader of sci-fi and fantasy novels I’ve always liked the idea of an MMO set in the Dune environment.  Frank Herbert put together a universe that was anything but frilly, it was incredibly well thought out with diverse cultures striving for power.

For those who have never read the book or seen the movie, Dune is set in the future, a feudal intergalactic empire, the planets are controlled by houses and the novel tells the story of Paul Atriedes who is heir to his fathers throne of the House Atreides as they relocate to ArrakisArrakis is the only source of the spice Melange which is the most essential and valuable commodity in the universe, melange is a drug that gives the user a longer lifespan, greater vitality, and heightened awareness.  it can also unlock prescience in some subjects, depending upon the dosage and the consumer’s physiology.  This prescience-enhancing property makes safe and accurate interstellar travel possible.  Melange comes with a steep price, however it is addictive and withdrawal is fatal.

The history of the universe is immense with many differing races and many different classes already outlined within the book itself to me the game would consist of potentially 4 races;

House Atreides, House Harkonnen, House Corrino & The Fremen.  If like me you’ve read the book you’ll know that House Atreides are the house that get manipulated by House Corrino to take over the spice production, House Harkonnen are the baddies of the book, they want control of the spice production and are backed by House Corrino who have fallen from grace that are pulling the strings in the background and finally The Fremen who are the desert dwelling people on Arrakis who just want everyone to bugger off…

Each planet is different, House Atreides (Caladan) is a wind swept green planet, Harkonnen (Geidi Prime) is an industrial wasteland where greed and gluttony are rife along with heart plugs.  Arrakis is a desolate desert planet inhabited by giant worms and The Fremen, add to that Salusa Secundus the imperial prison planet (raiding hello!) and IX (9 because it’s the 9th planet from the sun), IX is all about Ixian devices and technology (lets call this the tradeskill planet).

Holtzman ShieldsBack in 2001 there was an attempt to turn it into an MMO but nothing came of it.  The class structure is written into the book, Atredies are the warriors of the book, they have shield generators and the ability to use their voice to increase their attack powers.  The Bene Gesserit are martial art specialists, who have total control over every muscle in their body, Harkonnen use brute force and are one with technology.

Melange would be the binding element, it would give you increased power, however once you have succumbed to it you are forever in its power and it then controls you, requiring you to keep feeding the addiction.

I think there is definitely something there within the fabric of the dune universe that could be turned into a MMORPG, lets just hope EA don’t get hold of it. :)


  • "Atredies are the warriors of the book, they have … the ability to use their voice to increase their attack powers."

    No, no, no! That's not in the book at all, that was made up purely for the film to turn the Atreides fighters into elite, Sardukar equals and the fremen into their inferiors.

    In fact, the fremen were naturally the better than even Sardukar and would've ripped into the typical Atreides fighters with ease. The fremen were taught by Paul the Bene Gesserit prana-bindu methods, which made them even more dangerous.

    That said, I'd love to see an MMO based on Dune, but don't see how they could do it without really bending the lore. Space travel was uncommon and extremely expensive even for the noble classes. Probably the only people to travel regularly would be members of the guild, and even then, the majority of travel would undoubtably be on business.

  • You're right, I'm mixing the film with the book, I've read the book once and seen the film 3 or 4 times. Space travel could well be the big problem of such an MMO I'd agree, but I'd look the other way if they did want to make space travel a little less problematic :)

  • The only sci-fi MMO I've played was Star Wars Galaxies, It wasn't a bad game until the dreaded combat update. The one thing that ruined that game was making jedi's too easy to achieve.

    I prefer high fantasy MMO's to be honest but I'd give a sfi-fi MMO a try if it was worth trying.

  • Yep, I'd go with a Dune based MMO. I've also read the prelude to Dune series and would agree that the scope allows for a far-reaching conversion to an online game. Ever other story arc/genre has been converted to an MMO, so why not Dune?


  • [...] on from my earlier post about Sci-Fi MMOs, I decided to take a look around some of the Sci-Fi MMOs that are due to be released this year [...]

  • Warhammer 40k, now that would be a universe that gives plenty of opportunities for action, whether it would be a Planetside style game or a RPG MMO though I'm not sure.

    Maybe both?

  • A proper Phantasy Star Online MMO would be nice, not one of those fully instanced console rpgs they've done so far, looks great, storyline is good and lots you can do with the universe.


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