Free Realms: WoW Killa

freerealm1The NDA to the soon-to-be-released Free Realms is down, the beta is exploding in numbers, and reports are pouring in.  To sum up the general sentiment of this kiddy-centric MMO: (1) it’s easy to get into and play, (2) very polished, (3) cartoonish in the WoW style, (4) has a wide variety of “jobs” and minigames, (5) very much on the “easy” side of the difficulty spectrum, and (6) is not quite so free as its name suggests, especially if you’re looking to have permanent pets and the like.

Spinks gives Free Realms good odds at hacking away at WoW’s dominant spot at the top of the MMO heap, and I think this is an interesting argument.  Other than superficial similarities in art style, the two games have virtually nothing that overlaps.  They’re both “casual”, in a sense, and Free Realms might be primed to take the ultra-casual, kiddy/family market by storm, but Blizzard’s idea of casual ends up being a 25-person raid that lasts until 4am and requires a minimum of seventeen addons.  Free Realms is accessible to little people who, as of only recently, are able to tell the differences between colors and shapes.

Will FR make it big?  It certainly has a great chance of doing so, and other free-to-play titles (enhanced with RMT purchases, of course) marketed with younger gamers in mind have netted hordes of players: Runescape and Wizard 101 come to mind.  Its true success will be measured in how much it penetrates into the adult demographic — how cutsey can we swallow to enjoy something on the same level as children? I’ll just sit back and see how it pans out.  I have reservations, but will certainly give it a go alongside my wife when it actually launches.

In the meantime, there’s a host of reports: Cuppy gives FR glowing praise, even though (by her own admission) she’s got some major bias when it comes to this title.  Tipa calls it “Technicolor WoW” and sings its qualities to the heavens.  Some are just thrilled about the trading card game (I’ll admit — I’m right there too).  Stargrace says it’s okay as a “secondary game”, but nothing full-time.  Ogrebear likes it, mostly, although slams it for lack of a Mac version.  Seriously Casual: “Free realms is for kids and for people that think WoW is too hardcore.”  Epic Slant drops key words like “polished” and “beautiful” like candy… yummy yummy candy.

6 thoughts on “Free Realms: WoW Killa

  1. Sorry, is this really the future of the MMO?

    Super simple games for the whole family? Happy colorful Carebearland?

    I am definitely not a pvp player. But I would like an engaging virtual fantasy world. With more than just combat, a place to socialize actually.

    But is this kids stuff really that good? Maybe I could forget about the graphics if the game would be good.

    But very easy difficulty and colorful babyland colors make me fear that this game is even more boring than the dumbed down WoW 3.1…!

  2. You cant get much dumber than WOW after Lich King came out.

    I might have to check this out, for a time waster if nothing else. I know I wont be going back to WOW ever..

  3. I don’t know maybe I should start work on a Carebear MMO, and reopen my Carebear blogsite.

    Another WoW killa. If I had a dime for everytime I heard that, I could afford a Beamer.

  4. It is very well polished and enjoyable enough to play in short bursts, but it is clearly after a different demographic than most of us fit into. They can easily project millions of players, but only a small percentage of those are going to sink any money back into the game.

  5. @Centuri: you need to be aware than most of the teens in this days have they own credit card or could burrow one for some smalls buyouts. If they are able to take 10 dollars (that is really low right now) form a teen every three months on average, they will pay for the development and servers

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