A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORG) with safe chat and optional combat (with no blood). The game is free to play but children may wish to have special in-game items such as pets or fancy outfits that cost money to purchase. There is also content that is not free and it becomes available with a $4.99 per month fee. If parents choose to activate it, there is menu chat for young players. The game also has filtered open chat where the filters cannot be turned off.
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What's it about?
FREE REALMS is an MMORPG – a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game created by veteran MMORPG studios, Sony Online Entertainment. It is targeted at children 10 to 14 and their families. Children choose a character –- either human or pixie -- to represent them in the game. They are free to explore this wide open world as they wish and play it in the way they want to choosing to take on jobs, going on missions, fighting others, and/or playing minigames.
The game is flash based and played through the Free Realms website. All character creation is done on the website and once satisfied with the character and the name, clicking play launches a new window and the character arrives in the world. Movement and most actions in the world are accomplished by mouse click. Others are automatic, such as teleporting to certain points in the world you've visited by clicking on that point in the map, and obtaining rewards.
Is it any good?
The website is like a social networking page where children can share their likes and dislikes, links, and messages. This, however, can be controlled by the parent. The choices for things to do in game are very broad. The child can simply run around, exploring the land, or learn a job by doing a task. Each job has its own associated outfit and the character is automatically dressed for the job. Combat in Free Realms is also a choice as well.
The world is massive and the quests or tasks available in any area are plentiful. Younger children may get confused when faced with so many choices; parents may want to assist or play along to provide a little focus. Because there is so much choice within the game, this game will appeal to kids, but adults playing with their children will not be bored. This is a game that can keep families entertained for many, many hours.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can calk about why games are not truly "free." How do the game developers make money in this game? Families can also talk about choices, why one may wish to focus on certain jobs in the game, be a jack-of-all-trades, or try playing every one of them, or not many at all. Why are jobs and skills something that has to be learned? Why does experience help?
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