Players of computer games have never had it so good. We live in an age of immersive graphics, great soundtracks, amazing sound effects and even professional Hollywood actors performing voice acting for animated characters. Can the variety of free online RPG games ever compete with this kind of product?
All good marketing comes back to one essential feature – serve the needs of the customer. So what does a player of an online game really want? If a person plays a role playing game (RPG) then are their needs really any different to a person that plays a first person shooter (FPS)? What unites the players of most online games is a desire for escape. This can be a few minutes of harmless fun manipulating blocks in games like Tetris, or it can be mayhem and carnage in games like Grand Theft Auto, but the basic desire is the same – escapism. The desire to do something different than you might otherwise do in your daily life.
Players of the free online RPG games are also looking for an escape from the daily grind, but they need something more too. Obviously they are looking for value and a free game certainly gives this in abundance. Players of this type of game are also looking for an opportunity to see a character they have created grow and change. This is probably what sets this market apart from FPS games. In an FPS you will frequently have inventory, character attributes like Strength, Health and so on, but the character never really develops. Charging around in Wolfenstein never makes the character physically fitter, shooting their gun never makes their aim truer and so on. If the desire of the player is to be involved with their character then a FPS game will most likely never serve this customer need.
However even the most diehard player of RPG games will sometimes look for a change of pace and perhaps the so called “god game” genre would present a new challenge. If growing a character and watching them develop was fun, then surely doing the same for a town would be even better?
One of the free RPG games online that fills this need is Evony. There are many free online RPG games that are kind of lacking, but Evony offers a lot to do and also allows you to interact with others players and not just a computer program. While not a true RPG game as the scale of the game goes far beyond the scale of an individual, Evony does allow the development of heroes and allows you to equip them so they are better at their chosen tasks.
Perhaps the biggest advantage offered by games such as Evony is that they are free to play. With many online games charging monthly subscriptions this can soon add up, but a free to play browser game with no installation required does offer a unique charm. At the very worst there is nothing to lose by trying them out.