Every now and then, we all have someplace else we’d rather be, some more so than others. For those folks, there is nothing like full immersion in another world. Virtual worlds have been a popular online staple for some time, and the escapist fare ranges from farm life to mythical warfare. Here’s a look at 10 of the most popular online virtual worlds:
- FarmVille – Created by Zynga, Inc., FarmVille has been making farmers out of Facebook members since 2009. It allows gamesters to manage a virtual farm, including such tasks as raising livestock and harvesting crops. FarmVille is actually a knock-off of another Facebook favorite (see below).
- Farm Town – Also launched in 2009 , Farm Town (developed by Slashkey), quickly became the most popular app on Facebook. Players start out with tracts of land which they develop according to individual taste and work to earn coins by harvesting crops and raising livestock. Members can work cooperatively to grow their net worth as well as their farms.
- Second Life – Very much suited to the creative-minded, Second Life is a virtual world where members – or Residents – can build virtual objects of any sort, and establish communities limited only by the members’ collective imaginations. Developed by Linden Lab, who in fact provide for users to retain copyright for any of their virtual creations in Second Life.
- Azeroth (World of Warcraft) – World of Warcraft, or WoW, is a MMORPG (massively multi-player online role-playing game) that takes place in the virtual world of Azeroth. Players travel the landscape via their custom avatar, battling monsters and completing quests along the way. They can also choose whether their realm will be player-vs.-player, player-vs.-environment, role-play or role-play/player-vs.- player. WoW has the most subscriptions of any MMORPG.
- YoVille – Another Zynga, Inc. game, YoVille is the original Facebook “Ville”. Set in an urban environment, YoVille lets its players mingle in social venues much like Sim City.
- Habbo – Formerly Habbo Hotel, this is a social networking site intended for teens and developed by Sulake Corp. Habbo’s social environment centers around its hotel, where young people can mingle and chat via public rooms or guest rooms (which the user can custom-design).
- Blue Mars – Developed by Avatar Reality, Blue Mars offers its members an editor suite which allows them to create 3D virtual cities, worlds, businesses and homes in which to interact with other players via chat, text and voice messaging.
- Club Penguin – A MMORPG developed by Club Penguin Entertainment, Club Penguin was designed for children age 6 through 14. Players have penguin avatars, socialize in such places as the Coffee Shop and Book Room; and can own and raise pets called “puffles”.
- Stardoll – Originally Paperdoll Heaven on Geocities, Stardoll is one of the most popular virtual world games among the 15- and under demographic.
- Gielinor (Runescape) – Developed by Jagex Games Studio, Runescape holds the Guinness Book World Record for most popular free MMORPG. Runescape takes place in a medieval setting of kingdoms, monsters and customized avatars. Players battle beasts and complete quests along their journey through the mythical world of Gielinor.
There’s a virtual world online to suit just about any taste or age group, with enough customizable content to satisfy even the most fertile of imaginations.