PBBG Listing Standards
I only list what I consider to be the very best Persistent Browser Based Games or PBBG’s.
PBBG’s are categorized into 3 types: Browser Based MMORPG’s, Browser Based Strategy Games sometimes referred to as “Strats”, and MUDS many of which can be played in browsers now. My focus is entirely on browser MMORPG's and the only time I'll include a strat is when the game is exceptional. The reason for this is because most other PBBG sites don't distinguish between the two and most gamers have a specific type of game in mind when searching.
I try to post only the best PBBG's but in all cases, every game that I stumbled upon or that was submitted for review can be found in the Mammoth PBBG List.
It is impossible to rate games impartially and no attempt has been made to do so. However, common standards have been defined.
RPG PBBG Standards
The following defines the standards for how I judge whether or not an RPG PBBG ranks well enough for my top ranked list.
- The game must be portable meaning that it can be played through a browser, a browser plugin such as Flash* or Java*, or available to play through a variety of cross-platforms compatible devices. This will include Unity. In some cases no plugin is required, these are usually HTML5 websites.
- The game should not require any manual downloads. Automatic cache downloads of temporary files such as those found with games that use plugins are okay. Most browsers cache files. Optional downloads such as image pack downloads are okay too. This standard helps to define the games portability so that it can be enjoyed from public PC's and PC's at work or school.
- The game realm must be persistent, this means no scheduled resets. This is why I rarely lists strategy games; because they usually reset over time.
- The realm should feature a "walkable" world map. A walkable world permits your character to travel using an Interactive Graphical Map (IGP). A game that is traveled by clicking a selection from a list of locations to instantly transport to that location is not walkable. This isn't a strict rule, but more of a preference.
- The game must offer you one character to manage, not an army or fleet. This does not include parties, pets, or alts. Some exceptions may apply depending on the circumstances. Generally speaking, an army of characters would define the game as a Strat, not an RPG.
- The game should provide a playable free version. The free version should not impose significant penalties on players such as level limits or limitations that would otherwise render the game unenjoyable unless premium services were paid for. Optional premium services are okay. I'll list free to play PBBG's, and in rare cases subscription only games when they are amazing but I will not list Pay To Win PBBG's.
- The game must be a massively multi-player PBBG, IOW, it must be an MMORPG played in a browser.
- The game must not be a MUD. There are numerous sites that list quality MUD's already and very few sites like mine that focus on PBBG's.
Though rare, some of these standards may be overlooked. For example, Kingdom of Loathing does not contain a walkable world map but it's extreme depth and popularity are factors that could get it ranked on this site.
RPG PBBG Extra's
The following standards are applied with more leniency. They may not necessarily be required of the game, but they are certainly things that I look for in a good RPG PBBG.
- The game should feature an economy system.
- There should be a character development system to improve the abilities, skills, or attributes of your character.
- Players love crafting, and so do I. I love sandbox MMO's even more.
- PvP, FvF, and GvG are features that will also improve game rankings.
- There should be no consistent occurrences of gross staff misconduct. While this does not represent a game feature, in some cases it may reflect in game-play in ways that affect the enjoyment more so than the game features. *Some* games have been removed or omitted from my site due to poor staff behavior. An occasional slip or error is understandable, we all misjudge, but a pattern of bad behavior will weigh strong on whether or not to top rank a game.
Hands on experience
Due to time constraints, I am rarely able to progress a character to veteran level. Instead, I'll play the game to get some hands on experience and then talk to the players that have progressed to veteran level to benefit from their insight and experience. In the event I do progress a character to veteran level, it is due to the fact that I loved the game and that will be reflected within my reviews in a few ways, most notably, the length.
Other factors that I look for that are largely biased include a clear and intuitive GUI, original content or common content done well. Colors that are easy on the eyes or consider players that are color-blind or color-confused, and games that are not geared towards racism or hate. Content is very important but if a game offers something truly unique when compared to others, it may still get ranked even if it lacks content.
STRAT PBBG Standards
In the early days of my original Crane & Dragon PBBG List, this site was divided into RPG's and Strat's and I had standards for Strategy PBBG's too. These days, even though I also presently list my top PC games, my site is focused primarily on browser based MMORPG's, or RPG PBBG's. It's rare for me to include a Strategy PBBG on this site unless it has significantly impressed me and at the time of this writing, there are only two that I've ranked, with one being a 4X game.