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Video Game / Free Realms

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Nine realms, one world- infinite possibilities

Anne: I'm sure you wouldn't like it - it's a lure for young people. One creates a kart racing fairy chef who, when not playing with kittens, explores mines while building decks for a magical card game. You can also be a wiz-
Gabe: EEEEE!

Free Realms was an allegedly free Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game developed by Sony Online Entertainment and was released in April 2009. Unlike in many other MMORPGs, combat was optional and the game's focus was spread over several other job paths such as kart racing, construction work, soccer and exploration, so there was something for everyone. The game also had its very own online Trading Card Game.

The game was set in the fantasy world of the Sacred Grove, which was divided in to several different regions, each with its own theme. Despite being a whimsical place, there was an ongoing storyline, which hinted that not everything was what it seemed.

Said to be a casual World of Warcraft, Free Realms hit over one million players 18 days after it was launched and by its one-year anniversary had over 10 million players. Sony had since released versions for the Mac and Play Station 3, but Free Realms became a Defunct Online Video Game on March 21st, 2014, SOE citing dropping player numbers and the difficulty of monetizing younger players. However, there is a fan effort to revive the game, dubbed FR Sunrise (from the same group behind Toontown Rewritten and FusionFall Retro).

Tropes used by Free Realms include:

  • Aborted Arc: When you defeat Geoffrey in "The Queen's Last Hope", he mentions that "my master... still pulls the strings... from the shadows..", hinting some Man Behind the Man was behind his coup attempt. However, this was never followed up upon.
  • Allegedly Free Game - Unless you subscribed, you were unable to advance to level 5 or higher in the Jobs, a wall you could hit in most jobs in just a couple of hours of play if you took it easy. Of course, standard stuff like decent clothing, pets, mounts, also required a subscription and/or buying Sony's "Station Cash." Many quest-givers also refused to let you progress beyond a certain point in their storylines unless you became a member.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes - This was the standard reward from many job-related quests, and generally considered a better reward than mere coins. For the combat jobs, the clothing also happens to act as armor.
  • Artifact of Doom: Some later missions and in-game events had Gloam Council artifacts posing a threat to the players- one time, they even managed to infect all of Shrouded Glade!
  • Bee People: The Bixie were literally this, looking like a cross between a Pixie and a bee. Complete with Hive Caste System, although some of the workers were beginning to rebel...
  • Collection Sidequest: This game was chock full of them. There were several dozen general collection quests and this didn't include the additional ones for each job path. This trope ran into Fake Longevity at times and since it appeared to be luck based, it could get frustrating at times.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: There were references throughout the game to lands outside Sacred Grove such as Black Forest, Lavender Coast, Silver Hills and Sunstone Valley, where other races had retreated to after the Great Offscreen War. There are even roads which lead to them which have been blocked off. Only Sunstone Valley was opened up before the game was shut down- it was deserts and mesas.
  • Evil Chancellor: Geoffrey to Queen Valerian- he was the one who drove away Princess Lavender and caused her to become Darkthorne, exiled the Chugawugs and nearly started a war between Sanctuary and Briarwood; he poisoned the King and Queen and killed them before the events of the game.
  • Fantasy Character Classes: The combat jobs were Archer, Brawler, Medic, Ninja, Warrior, and Wizard.
  • Minus World: If you knew what you were doing, you could get past the barriers to places like Lavender Coast pretty easily. There was mostly just flat land out there, but you could occasionally find weird things like the edge of Seaside's ocean, which abruptly ends.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: Chugawugs. Originally their race acted as guards for the Pixie royal family, but when the prior King and Queen were murdered they were exiled and individually decided to follow their own paths.
  • Portal Network: Objects dubbed Warpstones were sort of a cross between this and a Warp Whistle- all the major areas, and some minor ones, had these floating somewhere nearby; when you clicked on one that would save it on your map, and you could use it to instantaneously transport to another Warpstone, typically one near wherever you needed to go (this could save time on a mission, or if you were just really impatient).
  • Racing Minigame: A pretty impressive minigame which had two separate job classes, Demo Derby Driver and Kart Driver.
  • Randomly Drops: You didn't even need to fight anything; you would just find the occasional Robgoblin Junkpile scattered across the landscape.
  • Rebellious Princess: Princess Lavender, who was falsely blamed for the murder of her parents, the previous King and Queen; she retreated with half the Heartseed to Briarwood, forming a duplicate Royal Palace and took the name of Darkthorne.
  • RPGs Equal Combat: An aversion; combat classes only made up about a third of the jobs and didn't factor into the large amount of non-job-related content.
  • Schizo Tech: Distinctly fantasy medieval things alongside such stuff as racing karts and stereos.
  • Scenery Porn: A lot of the in-game area was just rolling meadows and hills, and it all looked awesome.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: In the camping area. When caught, the perpetrator even finished with "And I'd have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for You Meddling Campers!"
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sigil Spam: The "tree" icon (representing the World Tree, the seat of power for the pixies, located in the heart of Sanctuary) could be found all over the place- as the icon on the Windows taskbar, to the Daily Wheel, to even an in-game cafe (which kinda evoked Starbucks).
  • Spiritual Successor: Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, also by Sony, borrowed a lot from Free Realms. It also went in reverse, with the Clone Wars Adventures game "Card Commander" being adapted for Free Realms as "Treasure War".
  • Surprisingly Creepy Moment: Merry Vale, the 24-hour party place where everyone has fun! ...too much fun to notice that their kids are getting abducted.
  • Swiss-Army Tears: The Pixie Queen Ayani caused plants to grow, and rivers and lakes to form, when she cried.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Snowhill, which was a more snowy and less slippy version.
  • The Lost Woods: Both Briarwood and to a lesser extent Blackspore Swamp qualified.
  • Travel Cool: The rides. Some of the available ones:
  • 20 Bear Asses: Partially averted in combat quests; quest givers either said "kill X monsters to drive them off" or they'll ask for an item, but it'd have a 100% drop rate. Played annoyingly straight when questers wanted you to harvest some food; you could have dozens of starnuts but they'd want fresh ingredients so you'll have to get more.
  • Virtual Pet: Started with dogs and cats; by the end it included dragons, various dinosaurs, penguins, spiders, miniature tigers, living bits of cake...