Wheel of Time MMO

Wheel of Time Books

I think I lost my sanity around about book ten

When I were a lad the first book I read that really got me into the fantasy genre was Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. Until then I pretty much only read trashy sci-fi based on Aliens and Predator, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Star Trek and Star Wars, throw away novels that tantalised me with tales of my favourite characters but didn’t offer much (in most cases anyway) of an epic storyline. Being introduced to the Wheel of Time saga changed all of that though and gripped me in a way that my previous reading material never did. It set me up on my long road of progression to become an avid reader of “mature” novels (as in “grown up”, not as in “adult”) and over the next seven years I lapped up nine of the WoT volumes (until eventually the gaps between releases became so great that I forgot everything that happened and gave up).

I hadn’t touch any of Jordan’s books for well over seven years until a couple of weeks ago I suddenly, for no apparent reason, felt the masochistic urge to start reading them again. So, thanks to modern technology, I downloaded the first novel onto my Kindle in a split second and embarked on some nostalgic eye-to-brain pleasure. The original book isn’t perfect but I’m still finding it very enjoyable a second time round and, the more I read it, the more I keep thinking about a Wheel of Time MMO…

Maybe it’s the obvious ties to Lord of the Rings or just the fact that Jordan was probably one of the key players in giving birth to modern fantasy but there’s something quite appealing about the idea of a WoT MMORPG. It offers a huge world, backed with tons of lore and filled with obvious goodies and baddies and plenty of different cultures and iconic roles, all of which just beg to be populated by virtual inhabitants. Although an online WoT game would probably lend itself more to the traditional type of RPG inspired MMO rather than anything particularly innovative, it still could be a lot of fun and certainly would have the fan base to give the thing a hefty kick start.

Funnily enough, I did a little digging in preparation for this article and it turns out that rumours of a WoT MMO have already been circulating for years. Apparently a few years ago a developer (anyone know who?) even started worked on a MMO called Wheel of Time: Ta’veren but it was shut down because Robert Jordan didn’t approve the concept (he had full rights to the IP at the time). No reason was given (at least that I can find) and nothing was mentioned since.

Of course now the old boy’s dead and a company called Red Eagle Entertainment has secured the rights to the whole Wheel of Time IP, apparently with plans to not only release a MMO but also a series of films to tie in with it. That was a couple of years ago and all has been quite hush-hush since then with even the Red Eagle Games website containing very little info about what they’re doing other than the fact that they signed a distribution deal with EA back in January 2009 and partnered up with Obsidian Entertainment at the start of this year.

It’s all rather strange as, for such a big IP, there seems to very little information or marketing hype about the proposed MMO which really makes me doubt it’s future and how realistic it is that it will see the light of day (or be any good).

Anyway, one can dream.

-Gordon

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46 Comments

  1. Longasc says:

    I quite like the Wheel of Time, even more so now that Sanderson has taken over. He is a better writer than Jordan, who was in turn so far a much better creator of worlds (or rather of one world, he focused pretty much on WoT and only wrote a few Conan novels otherwise IIRC) and visionary.

    I would start as Aes Sedai and wonder if I would pick the Red Ajah to inflict serious pain on other dudes or the Green Ajah, to have a ton of bonded pets. ;)

    The thing is, MMOs nowadays seem to be all more or less EQ/WoW style clones and too many people expect pretty much nothing else and are fine with that.

    Let’s see what Red Eagle is going to do with the IP.

    • Gordon says:

      I think his writting isn’t bad except for that he was starting to get far too absorbed in the minutiae and lost all sense of the grand scheme. The last couple of books I read (9 and 10) really started to drag and offered no end in site. I’m glad Sanderson is determined to get it all wrapped up and give us some closure.

  2. Occam says:

    I’ve been thinking about something like this recently. Not so much about WoT specifically, but about MMOs and why they aren’t doing it for me like they used to.

    Someone needs to make an MMO with a really intricate and detailed world, one that is as much of a character in its own right as any NPC. What got old for me, especially with EQ/EQ2, was that each new expansion almost always included a new continent being discovered or some portal being opened. Meanwhile, the old zones become ghost towns.

    I think WoT could pull something like this off. You’ve got Caemlyn, Tar Valon, Illian, Cairhien, etc., all with their own distinctive flavor, atmosphere, and politics. That would be a nice stage for some interesting storylines, and it wouldn’t be polarized as good or evil, like EQ2 tends to be. Another series that really got me thinking about this was A Song of Ice and Fire. That would be another interesting MMO, or at least an RPG.

    • Gordon says:

      I actually think the closet thing to a WoT MMO out there at the moment is Vanguard. It tried to do the grand scale setting that WoW it all about and offered lots of factions and politics etc. Maybe someone could just mod that? :)

  3. Oakstout says:

    Many years ago there was an unsuccessful shooter based on the IP. I remember this because I tried the demo and was very disappointed, which is why I’m sure Jordan was very protective of the IP. But I would be very interested in a MMO.

  4. Funny that you’re rereading the WoT novels now, because I plan on reading the series as well, but for the first time. I’m not sure if I’ll like it, based on some mixed reviews I’ve read, but I’m still looking forward to checking it out and at the moment I’m still itching for more epic fantasy. I need to get through a few more books before I start though.

    • Gordon says:

      I haven’t read them all but they are good, the middle few especially. I’m enjoying the first one again.

      • Everblue says:

        The 13th (!) came out last week and it’s excellent.

        Overall I think the first 6 are really good books, with the 6th being the best. 7 to 11 are where it went wrong and there’s no real progress – it’s comfort reading if you like the characters, but you can skim read it and not miss much. The two recent books written by Sanderson really start to pull the whole series together and are very satisfying.

        • Gordon says:

          I haven’t read past 10 but I’d agree with you about books 7+. I found the pace just slowed so much and so little happened it became frustrating. I do want to finish the series though but it’s going to take me a while to read through them all again from the begining.

  5. Stabs says:

    Some industry gossip here:
    http://forums.f13.net/index.php?topic=15303.0

    A look at the copyright aspects here:
    http://stabbedup.blogspot.com/2010/02/mmos-wheel-of-time-copyright.html

    I re-read the series last year and I really enjoyed it. I’d certainly be up for playing this game.

    I don’t think we’ll be hearing anything soon. If we are expecting a 5 year development cycle then a 2008 start will be headed for a 2013 launch. Even with a SWTOR style overhype they won’t start that till next year and I suspect a 12 month hype cycle would serve them better.

    • Gordon says:

      Yeah, for sure it’s a long way off. Just odd how little hype there is about it though. Usually MMOs are hyped up years in advance of release :)

    • Colerejuste says:

      Development of a WoT MMO is something I’d leave a message with my grand kids with, so they can tell theirs. Heh, perhaps Duke Nukem Forever might be out by then.

      I remember being crushed by the slow release times of those books. I think I have Winters Hearts around somewhere, but I can’t remember if I’ve actually read it. It certain introduced a vow never to read a series unless it’s actually been completed. As a result, I’ve halfway through The Gunslinger.

  6. Bhagpuss says:

    Never read any Robert Jordan and don’t plan to. There’s an MMO in development based on Tad Williams’ “Otherworld” IP though, and that’s one that I am interested in.

  7. Tyler says:

    I just read the new book by BR. His writing is much easier to read then JR’s.

    As for WoT MMO, there is a site that dicusses the concepts for one. http://wheeloftimeonline.com/ The few articles there seems interesting.

    There was an old Shooter made for Wot, but it failed to impress. (Built on a well-known engine, but was slow and didn’t have much of a feel of the WoT world.)

    There are also a few MUD’s based on WoT. I played http://wotmud.org for a while, but I’m not much of a MUD fan. It was fun though, for a while.

  8. pkudude99 says:

    I started reading WOT right about as book 6 came out. When 7 came out I kinda remembered what was going on, but by the time book 8 did, I was totally lost. I told myself then that I’d do a complete re-read once Jordan pronounced the tale “done.” Since he died, I was gonna wait for Sanderson to finish the last book, but now even he’s stretching it out to 3 more (well 2 more now after the 1st one he wrote) so…. I’ve got waiting to do still.

    That said, I totally agree that Sanderson’s a better writer. Love all his stuff — especially Elantris.

  9. Sara Pickell says:

    You know, I have some fond memories of the Wheel of Time series. So, frankly, I don’t want to see an mmo about it. I don’t want to see the same stupid crap in a different setting, or even marginally different crap in a different setting. When someone shows that they can actually make a connection between setting and mechanics, I might start looking forward to it. Until then, I’ll be happy to keep the happy memories where they are, unexploited.

  10. Dblade says:

    It would have been a great series at 7 books. Past that, it got old, very fast. Plus, it’s gender dynamics are screwed up even for this misanthrope: women are either unsufferable or spanked, and guys seem befuddled or berated by them. Not to mention male power at it’s core is tainted and men with it are stilled or killed by women. The series is at its best when it forgets that.

    An MMO would be a hard sell. Male characters couldn’t use saidin or any magic by the rules of the world: Rand can, but last I read he was going insane from it. They’d have to be Warders, Wolf-friends, or people with some form of the Old Blood. Women would have to be Aiel or Aes Sedai. Sometimes lore can work against a game as well as for it.

  11. Northenstar says:

    Speaking of Bradon Sanderson, you really must read the Mistborn trilogy (has an amazing and original magic system):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mistborn_series

  12. Bronte says:

    Oh dear god yes! A WoT MMO would be solid! If they don’t make it, let’s you and I form an MMO studio with out first $10 millions, and make it ourselves.

    Damnit.

  13. Bolder63 says:

    I believe I read the first 3 maybe 4 of the books. I realized that he was telling the same story over and over again. I did enjoy them but I was done after that. I honestly believe Jordan would have milked that cash cow forever (much to the delight of his publisher I am sure).

    Regardless of my opinion of the series, the popularity of it would insure a large audience at launch. After that it’s all about the gameplay.

  14. Shadow War says:

    I’m a WoT fan. Hugely so. I started reading right when book 6 was released. I read them through, then re-read the series through every new release after (barring this most recent), as well as a few additional times. I’ve gotten at least four different friends to read the series, and hooked them into like a good pusher should (“Just read the first book, and you can decide from there”).
    That said, I can’t imagine how movies or a video game could do this world justice. I just can’t see it being something doable on any type of realistic budget. It’s just TOO big. I love that someone aspire’s to do it, but apsiration and actualization have large gaps between them.

    • Gordon says:

      I agree that a film, or even a trilogy, would be too hard to do and would never do the books justice. They would simply have to cut too many things out. However, an ongoing TV series would be perfect for it.

      • Shadow War says:

        As long as it didn’t fall into the terribad episodic drivel that “Legend of the Seeker” did. I’m not even a big fan of the series, and yet, was able to hate the show even more than I disliked the books. That’s an accomplishment!

  15. The Necromancer says:

    I read the Forgotten Realms books especially R.A. Salvatore’s books about the dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden best series ever!

    Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion are classics no doubt and the Hobbit too.

  16. Darraxus says:

    I absolutely love this series. If you pick up the Sanderson books, it really get cooking. I literally could not put the 13th book down. The next one will be the last and should be epic.

    I would love to play a WoT MMO. I could imagine playing many of the different classes. Aiel Warrior/Maiden, Warder, Aes Sedai, Ashaman, Seanchan Blood Knife, etc etc.

    I would only hope they do the series justice. I would highly recommend picking up the series after where you left off before.

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