Probably my greatest and most constant gripe about fantasy MMORPGs is that for all of the freedom and imagination that this genre supposedly boasts, game designers keep going to the same boring well of tropes and limit themselves instead of exploring possibilities.
Nowhere do you see this more than in races. Dwarves and Elves? We’ve got bushels and barrels of them, all on sale at discount prices. There are regular humans, of course, and Slightly Bigger Humans, and Half-Sized Humans, and Blue Humans. But what about getting outside of this been-there-played-that cookie cutter design to offer some interesting playable choices?
Like fairies, perhaps?
I could never understand why we don’t see fairies more in MMOs. They are widely recognized in the fantasy genre, they seem to have popularity, and they even share some cross-over with Elves. But the poor fae have been unrepresented, so much so that it took a lot of digging to come up with a mere 10 MMOs that allow you to play as one, whether it be as a race or class. Let’s take a look!
1. EverQuest II
I’m going to headline this list with EverQuest II because darn if this game hasn’t actually tried to give players a wide selection of interesting fantasy races. It even includes not one but two fairy options: the Fae (mischievous good guys) and Arasai (torture-happy fairies). As one of these races, a character has a much smaller frame and the signature butterfly wings — wings that can eventually be used for true flight.
The Fae are one of the races planned for this upcoming PvP MMO, and while they are small (sporting the second-tiniest frame among races), the Fae are pretty deadly in their own right. With stealth, double-jumping, and pretty sweet wings, the Fae make great assassins or magic users.
Here’s where the flimsy pretext for this column starts to show its true nature. We’re going to have to go outside of strict labels to fill out all of the spots, but I think that Allods Online’s Elves should be included no matter what. Size aside, they look spot-on fairy-like, with fluttering wings, their graceful beauty, and the ability to hover while moving about. The game’s marketing sure seized upon their attractiveness for sexualized ads promoting the title.
“Murderous little butterfly people” is how the developers label this upcoming race, and I for one cannot wait to jump into one and flitter about, slashing tendons with my knives, and cackling maniacally. I can’t deny that the concept pieces bear more than a passing resemblance to a certain Sylvari race…
This hybrid MMO allows you to “resurrect” dead fantasy races for their assistance with your quests and city building. The fairies of this game are all about gardening and farming, so put them to work on your vegetable patch already and get back to raising the undead!
6. Free Realms
For all the little showing that fairies get across MMORPGs, in Free Realms they made up 50% of the racial selection options. Maybe fairies are supposed to be more for kids, who still hew to the tooth-extracting variety? I don’t know. But I can say that it’s a little confusing how the playable race was called “Pixies” while the smaller NPC variant got the label of “Fairies.”
7. MU Online
What’s better than a fairy or an elf? How about (drum roll please) a Fairy Elf? All the generic attributes of a fairy’s magical abilities and an elf’s archery prowess smooshed together to make the ultimate playable Mary Sue. Er, maybe I should call that… Mary MU?
Warframe gets the distinction of being the only sci-fi MMO on this list that also taps a fairy to play. This would be Titania, a pixie-themed warframe who has a host of “razorflies” that slice through the air around her while she can take to the air with her razorwings. She can even shrink into the classic-sized fairy when the situation calls for it.
If it has butterfly wings like a fairy, looks like a fairy, has a magical affinity like a fairy, is it a fairy even if you call it a Dryad? I guess we can have a completely lame argument about that in regards to Istaria’s race, but then we’d be arguing about Istaria and be completely out of our depths.
Trove isn’t so much about races as it is about swappable classes. The Fae Trickster is, as its name implies, a fiendish little fellow. It does ranged damage, can create tricksy decoys, and even summon multiple staffs for a magical beatdown. Plus, you get to hover about and feel all superior for it.