Like Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Games (MMORPG)? Like the Middle Ages? On Facebook? If you said yes to all three, an online game to consider checking out is Vikings of Thule, where you play a character trying to make his career in ninth-century Iceland.
The game is the creation of Gogogic, an Icelandic company formed in 2006 by gaming enthusiasts. “The idea from the very start was to create an authentic social multiplayer role playing game that based the settlement of Iceland in the ninth century and subsequent feuding which culminated in the civil war of the 12th and 13th century,” said Jón Heiðar Þorsteinsson, Chief Marketing Officer for Gogogic. “Additonally, we build upon Norse mythology and Viking culture in general. The game is really a tribute to the epic Icelandic sagas and beautiful Viking poetry such as the Edda. Our team of designers consult the findings of archaeological research and history books and websites when designing the look and feel of the game, and the items and characters within it.”
Players create their character, a Viking chieftain who must claim land, gain followers, put them to work, upgrade their home, and manage resources. Players can fight duels with other players, or do social networking (medieval style) by trading with merchants, talk with friends or embark on a quest to defeat a horrible monster that plagues the land.
Vikings of Thule has seen many developments since in was conceived in late 2008. “The game has been transformed from a really simple duel based game to a fully immersive Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Game (MMORPG),” notes Jón. “Since August  we have boosted our servers to cope with the influx of new players, added a single player quest, a chat room, enhanced the way players level up in the game and we have added fully interactive Viking settlements. Additionally, we have added dozens of different weapons, armor and clothing.”
On Facebook the game has now reached over 125 000 active players (it is also available on the hi5 social network). The decision to use the popular social network to base their game in was an easy one for its developers. Jón Heiðar Þorsteinsson tells Medievalists.net that Facebook made “it easy for players to play the game with their friends. The game is devised in a way that the more of your friends play the game, the easier it will be for you to accumulate resources and get ahead. Playing with your friends is simply more fun in any case.We see our game as a hardcore fully immersive Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Game (MMORPG) that sits inside a social network. Social networks such as Facebook do not have a lot of high quality multiplayer or role playing games so that is an added motivation for us.”
Being able to draw upon the tens of thousands of Facebook users also allows for a great deal of interaction between the players and game developers. Even Gogogic’s CEO recently went online into the game where he was available to answer questions. Click here to see their official forum.