ZAM checks out Dofus, one of the most popular MMORPGs in the world - and it comes from France!
In the gaming world, there are a few MMORPGs that have grown to become synonymous with the countries in which they were developed. World of Warcraft, for example, has become the poster child of North American MMO gamers because Blizzard developed WoW in North America first (and some have jokingly noted that WoW suits the North American lifestyle with its low work, high reward system). Other MMOs, like NCsoft's Aion, which was developed and released in Korea first and Square Enix's Final Fantasy XI, developed in Japan, are both considered to be iconic representations of their home countries as well. Even Iceland, Greece, Norway and Russia have their "home town" MMOs in the form of EVE Online, Darkfall, Age of Conan and Allods Online.
Of all of the countries that can boast of having marquee MMORPGs, however, perhaps one of the least known and, surprisingly, one of the most popular MMORPGs of all time has to be France's Dofus, developed by Ankama Games. Boasting an amazing 10 million+ players worldwide, Dofus has had a rather unique history as an MMORPG. In an age when players are demanding better graphics and sharp controls, Dofus is a flash-based MMORPG that relies on turn-based combat, click-to-move mobility, sprite graphics and a lot of heart to compete in this crowded industry. Just recently, Dofus went through a major graphical overhaul as well (to Dofus 2.0), allowing them to really show off their artistic abilities, so we decided that now would be a perfect time to check out the game and put the spotlight on one of the largest, most underrated MMOs in North America.
For experienced MMORPG players, one of the unique aspects of Dofus is how it deviates almost completely from the classic "noble" adventure of MMO gaming. Where other MMORPGs try to immerse players in heroic storylines and "serious" gaming, Dofus's light-hearted approach to the MMO genre allows it to create some of the most unique character classes we've ever seen. Of the 12 classes available to players, all of them are named after various inside jokes or puns created by the team, and all are incredibly diverse in their presentation. For example, the Enutrof's (that's fortune backwards) Fingers class is a race of elderly treasure hunters that can buff their teammates or smack their opponents with their shovels. Other classes, like Xelor's (Rolex backwards) Sandglass, specialize in slowing down their enemy's actions while teleporting around the battlefield.
Of course, there are more "standard" character classes, like Iop's Heart, a melee warrior class named after the yogurt drink "Yop," as the team decided to name their first three character classes after their favorite office snacks. The other classes with snack names are the rogue and tank classes, Sram's (Mars, aka Mars Bar) Shadow and Feca's (Café, with the letters jumbled, which is French for coffee) Shield, respectively. Overall, however, players who are tired of playing through that same old selection of Warrior, Mage or Cleric, may be happy to see the unique variety that Dofus offers its players.
Combat in Dofus is also unique, as it forgoes the faster paced combat of World of Warcraft's free-flowing combat or Diablo's click-to-attack combat. Instead, players engage through turn-based rounds, with each new round allocating them a specific amount of movement points and action points with which to attack. Fans of tactical offline RPGs like Disgaea or Final Fantasy may feel more comfortable with Dofus's combat system and, while fighting can feel somewhat slow (especially if you have slow teammates), Dofus makes up for it with a lot of tactical depth. In fact, Dofus's combat has been so popular that Ankama games launched a competitive "Dofus Arena" version of their game, where players can engage with each other by managing 6 unit teams in combat. Much of Dofus's strategy stems from a player's ability to maintain his or her distance (if you are a ranged attacker) while trying to outmaneuver opponents. At later levels, when players can team up to tackle bigger dungeons, many players will discover that the 12 unique classes in Dofus mesh well together, and team combat takes on a whole new degree of depth.