Human imagination is incredible and can come up with some of the most fantastic things. Through time, man has created myths that have a firm footing in their cultural beliefs at the time. Take the werewolf, for example.
It’s believed to be a superstition that gained popularity through German poetry and fiction in the 15th century. How technology has progressed that we entertain ourselves with werewolf MMORPGs while those would shudder at the thought of merely seeing one.
Over time as this fiction spread, so did the inevitable rivalry for this mythos. It would seem to me that we are not so different from people of those times; for every Batman, there is a Joker; for the werewolf, there’s a vampire.
I remember watching Van Helsing (the one with Hugh Jackman) and liking it as a kid, but what strikes me interesting is that the werewolf fiction has made its way through time for over twelve centuries, from bard songs and poems to a talking picture on our screens.
Like all media, video games also have their fair share of werewolves. One of my favourite ones being The Wolf Among Us, but that’s a game that directly focuses on the protagonist being a werewolf.
Some games might use lycanthropy as a broader game mechanic, like Skyrim. A player can go through Skyrim without realizing this ability exists (very hard to do that, though); the mythos of lycanthropy are embedded in the game’s lore.
But, I digress; here’s a list of MMORPGs that allows the players to play as Werewolves.
1. The Elder Scrolls Online
The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) is a third-person MMORPG developed by ZeniMax Online Studios (Bethesda) and released in 2014.
It was a game that didn’t do well upon release, but the developers got to work and focused on the criticisms resulting in an update “Tamriel Unlimited” that made the game more balanced grind-wise and did away entirely with the subscription-based model.
The game has enough content to keep a player hooked, discovering new things and exciting quests along the way. It’s a very polished game, and it doesn’t hurt to have the entire Tamriel to play in, with references to Morrowind and Oblivion sure to make some old-schoolers nostalgic.
As detailed as ESO is, it should be evident that becoming a werewolf is not a checkbox to be clicked on character creation. Instead, the player must actively look to become a werewolf in the world.
Players can achieve this by having a friend who is already a werewolf just ask them out for a bite. Alternatively, for those of us who are on a more of a solo venture, you could head on over to some of the spawns of werewolves and let the NPCs do it for you; these spawns are pretty rare, so I advise you to keep a guide handy for where to find them.
This is one of the reasons why I like ESO; the game makes it so that the player has to make an effort to become a werewolf. Worse, some players might unwittingly contract it by getting bit by a random werewolf-like Skyrim, becoming werewolf ties in some responsibilities for the players in the form of a quest.
That’s not a bad thing though, I mean players are offered the chance for more XP, and also an option to get rid of their Lycanthropy altogether.
2. World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft is a legendary game in the MMORPG genre, developed by Blizzard Entertainment and released in 2004; the game was favorably received by critics and fans alike.
The game plays like other MMORPGs, of course, since most of them were inspired by WoW. Players explore the world in search of quests fighting various monsters to gain experience and level up.
WoW has over one hundred million individual accounts registered and is so popular that a standalone version was released in 2019 that offered the vanilla WoW experience without any of the add-ons/DLCs.
WoW offers two different experiences, a normal mode for players to enjoy MMORPG in its full glory, the complete grind and kleptomania experience.
Alternatively, roleplay mode provides a similar experience but emphasizes players’ roleplaying decisions, allowing them to be more immersed in the world. Players can create different characters in all realms across all regions and can transfer characters between domains (for a price, of course).
Since its launch, WoW has offered many updates featuring a plethora of content; one such update was called WoW: Cataclysm, released in 2010. The game introduced major expansions and content for players to enjoy, including a new race-Worgen.
Worgen belong to the Alliance faction and have plenty of playstyles allowed to them. Unlike the myths of our ancestors, Worgens are pretty smart (relatively); they have an array of classes available to them, ranging from warrior to warlock.
Worgens also have an interesting appearance, as they might don a human appearance and blend in with humans but engage them in combat, and all doubt is shredded as they shapeshift into a killing machine, granting them great agility in combat.
A game like WoW’s lore is considered sacred by the community. Some wouldn’t stand for inexplainable plotholes or inconsistencies. This got me rather curious, and it turns out that the Werewolves do not behave like primitive animals because they retain the memories of the human beings they once were.
So instead of going crazy like Lupin (Harry potter Reference), they choose to keep their human traditions and memories close and sacred. It’s an interesting take at the Werewolf creature, enough to warrant its own media.
I for one, would love to see more intelligent Werewolves rather than the same old crazy out of control ones we see in every story.
3. Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 is another popular MMORPG developed by ArenaNet and released in 2012. The game is generally regarded as one of the best MMORPGs out there, and surprisingly it’s one of the few that don’t follow the traditional questing/grinding method.
That’s not to say that there is no grind to the game. However, the game claims to have a responsive storyline that considers the player’s actions, and it’s reflected in the world; certain quests might be locked or opened in response to the player’s decisions.
This is more of a single-player game mechanic to increase replayability, but to see such a feature in an MMORPG isn’t that bad. Considering everyone’s experiences could be different and might have had other rewards given to them is not bad after all.
The game is a step up from its predecessor, featuring a modified version of the same engine allowing the developers to push the limits; it plays in an isometric top-down view that looks aesthetically pleasing when exploring and turns into a strobe light of visual effects in battle.
The experience of becoming a werewolf in Guild Wars 2 is a mix of ESO and WoW. First, the players must play the Norn race to become a werewolf; the Norns have a strong cultural belief in the Spirits of Wild-the bear, the leopard, the raven and the wolf.
So, if you’re looking to become a Werewolf, you know which skill you must invest in the Wolf skill. It’s an elite skill, though, so it’s not as cut and dry; players must grind to level 31 to unlock elite skills.
“Become the Wolf” is the skill players must keep their eyes peeled for; it turns the characters into Werewolves for a short time and grants many buffs (passive and active) till the time the skill lasts (30 seconds).
I think this is the most lore-wise apt Werewolf transformation; while 30 seconds is not a lot, skilled players might be able to do some severe damage and even turn the tides of a lost battle.
The ability to turn into a werewolf is not treated as some decoration but a skill to be sought out and used wisely—more in line with the werewolf representation of 21st-century fiction.
4. Dark Age of Camelot
Dark Age of Camelot is a relatively older title developed by Mythic Entertainment and released in 2001.
As you can guess, a game this old has a deep and expansive storyline with pages worth of lore. While the game doesn’t feature Werewolves as a playable class, it allows players to face them in opposition.
Players looking to pick a bone with them can make their way to Varulvhamn, an underground society where two different kinds of werewolves live in a surprisingly political environment.
Several quests will send you to this place, and what makes this deal sweeter is that the game features a vampire class.
Shadowbane is another old MMORPG developed by Wolfpack Studios and released in 2003; however, the game shut down five years later.
Luckily, it’s made a resurgence on Steam under a different publisher. However, nothing is without corporate greed these days, and so the game is muddled with pay to win mechanics.
But for what it’s worth, in its glory days, players could enjoy this PvP centric MMORPG featuring Werewolves as a discipline. Additionally, the game further broke down the ability into three distinct playstyles (Tanks, Support, Attack) with their passives and stuff.
It truly is a mechanically deep experience that I’d recommend if it weren’t the sorry state of the game.
6. Secret World legends
The Secret World Legends is a third-person MMORPG developed by and released in 2012 originally, re-released in 2017 by Funcom.
The game plays like a standard MMORPG and doesn’t feature Werewolves as a playable race, but they exist in the world and have a specific quest related to them that grants players “Guise of the Werewolf” equipment.
It’s not much, but players can battle Werewolves in tab-targeted combat or action-based depending on their preference.
Additionally, the game offers up to 525 unique abilities that players can choose from. That’s a lot of content, and honestly, werewolves are a relatively small part of it, but they do have quests and some compelling characters, for what it’s worth.
Werewolves are sad creatures; to think there’s a monster inside a human that unleashes itself onto the world on a full moon with no regard for the person inside, their memories or morales, only for them to be hunted once the transformation subsides.
They are like The Incredible Hulk, losing all humanity at a moment’s notice and having to live with the consequences, interestingly some versions of werewolves are entirely aware of their human selves, and some don’t even transform back into humans.
Even more interesting is the myth that werewolves transform at a full moon, a relatively newer addition to the fiction that can be credited to the motion picture “The Wolf Man”.
The Movie had a shot of the werewolf taking form in a forest with a full moon in the background, unintentionally adding to the myth. I, for one, would find it interesting to know what the legend of the werewolf would be like ten centuries later.