Jef and I were talking this past weekend about something Star Wars Galaxies got really, really right: the Jump to Lightspeed expansion, which brought joystick-driven free-form space exploration and combat to the sandbox. More importantly, it brought multi-person ships to a genre that simply had nothing like it. Imagine bringing your ground-based party to a totally different place where the holy trinity was pilot, gunner, and mechanic and the endboss was a star destroyer. It was awesome.
Jef told me that after JTL launched, he spent almost all his time in space. And that got us debating games-within-games — not timewastey /gems or card games, mind you, but the kind of large-scale game systems that are so rich and entertaining in their own right that they create entire subcultures dedicated to them and attract players who do little else in the game but that one thing.
We’re trying to think of others in today’s TDG. What’s the best game-within-a-game in the MMO space?