During last year’s April Fools’ Day, I wrote about the important topic of MMO NPCs as muffins. At the time, I felt my work complete, but then a conversation in the MOP Slack brought to harsh light that I had not considered an even more pressing question:
What Jell-O flavors would MMORPGs be?
After weeks of madly scrabbling in my notebook, hissing at people who tried to ask what I was doing buried under a bundle of bed comforters (nobody is allowed admittance in the Big Juicy Brain Fort of Pondering), and trying to recall the last time I had a bowl of Jell-O, I have come up with this list. And no, I’m not late for April Fools’; science knows no schedule and arrives precisely when it’s meant to.
The Elder Scrolls Online is lime Jell-O
We’ll begin with the game that started this thought exercise and was part of that aforementioned Slack conversation. We’ve already noted that the Arcanist class is very interesting and very diverse, but it also is very, very green. And it’s been an irrefutable fact that every villain is lime. Therefore, since ESO will likely be absolutely full of these lime-flinging casters soon, that means this game tastes like lime Jell-O. Or it will soon. It probably tastes like lime right now anyway.
Final Fantasy XIV is berry blue Jell-O
The Final Fantasy series has used crystals as a central worldbuilding feature, and FFXIV is no different with its Mothercrystal, the central crystalline being that’s understood to be the source of the world’s prime deity Hydaelyn. If you haven’t seen it, this crystal is really big, and since it’s effectively the core of the game’s world, I’m willing to bet that FFXIV would taste like berry blue Jell-O if it were condensed into gelatin dessert form. I would ask Zenos if I’m correct since he crunched down on the Mothercrystal in his dragon form, but he’s dead now, and I wouldn’t like to speak with him anyway.
World of Warcraft is strawberry Jell-O
If we’re all honest with ourselves, strawberry Jell-O is kind of mid. It’s a fine flavor overall, but it’s also not really doing much to blow people’s expectations. It’s just it’s own thing, seemingly never changing and wobbling along through life since 1897. Some might call that stalwart, others might call that comforting, but I kind of call it unwilling to strike a new path. So that’s what WoW tastes like.
Embers Adrift is peach Jell-O
Here’s a fun fact because I actually did honest-to-gosh research on Jell-O for this goofy article: Peach Jell-O was discontinued in 1920 presumably due to low demand but came back in 1975. It’s a flavor that kind of fell out of vogue but then returned because some people claim that it’s delicious, yet it’s still a niche flavor overall. Much like the old-school design sensibilities of Embers Adrift: It’s taking old MMO ideas – or the vague memories of those ideas – and serving it up to people regardless of who asked for it. And some people like it and that’s fine, I guess.
Lord of the Rings Online is a Jell-O shot
EVE Online is lemon Jell-O
Lemon Jell-O is another one of the original four flavors when the dessert brand was introduced in 1897, where it’s been a staple ever since. And I’m willing to bet it thinks it’s soooo high and mighty. Don’t you, lemon Jell-O? Oh, you think just because you’ve been around for decades means you’re owed tenure and respect? You self-important little wobbly dessert. Similarly, EVE Online kind of has that same sort of air about it. Also, lemon Jell-O tastes awful, and I wouldn’t want to put EVE near my mouth. Go away, lemon.
Dungeons and Dragons Online is island pineapple Jell-O
This is another one of those flavors that’s kind of not to everyone’s taste. In fact, turning pineapple into a shlorpy wobble blob of gelatin is kind of weird. The flavor of pineapple itself is wonderful, but its application in foods and desserts can be surprising, off-putting, and ultimately unique. That sounds like the kind of niche that DDO has fallen in to, and so that’s the flavor I attribute to this still-existing but ultimately kind of oddball MMORPG.
New World is strawberry banana Jell-O
The strawberry banana flavor is something of a late arrival in the wider Jell-O timeline, launching in the early to mid-’60s. This was about the time when people were doing completely mad stuff with Jell-O like forming them into weird, savory salad horror beasts and then blopping mayonnaise on top of them. New World feels like an MMO that arrived in a similarly loud, splashy, and extremely noisy manner, and it was also arguably full of similarly bad ideas. But just like boot cut jeans, it’s still doing it’s own thang, just adapting to the modern times. Also the corrupted areas kinda look like they’d have that taste to them.
Black Desert is black cherry Jell-O
No, I promise I’m not coming to this conclusion because both have the word “black” in them. I actually thought long and hard about this one, and I came to the conclusion that black cherry is one of those random flavors that you crave out of nowhere, completely without invitation or prompting. I kind of get that way about BDO very often as well, and usually when I have a taste of both black cherry Jell-O and BDO, I’m kind of reminded why I don’t go for that flavor too often. But who knows, maybe this time will be different? I’m gonna have a little spoonful just to be sure.
The Secret World is cranberry Jell-O
Cranberry desserts are freaking delicious. I will not be taking arguments on this matter and will happily die on this hill. It’s a crying shame that cranberries are relegated to a national holiday, and they shouldn’t be thought about only once a year, if at all. To that point, TSW has a similar kind of vibe to it – beloved yet neglected and forgotten, tart and surprising, but pretty much not to everyone’s tastes. Certainly not to Funcom’s anymore, anyway.
Now I’ve made myself sad. I think I’ll have some pie to console myself.