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Worldbuilding is an important aspect of RPGs and as such, IGN offers us their take on what the best RPG worlds are, in a convenient top 10 format. Each entry gets a short description and a spot in the accompanying video. Here it is:
And a few examples:
9. Sosaria/Britannia (Ultima)
The Ultima series allowed us to experience several centuries of history in Sosaria and Britannia, bringing its world to life in a way few games have. For new gamers, its medieval fantasy setting might seem bland at first glance, but those who have been with the series from the start will recognize a vibrant world with a living, breathing history all its own. Confidence in its own identity and philosophy work to ground Ultima’s world, so even as its people and places grew and changed across several iterations, it always felt true to itself.
4. Sigil (Planescape: Torment)
Video games had never really seen a world like Sigil before Planescape: Torment, and in the years following its launch in 1999, we haven’t really seen another since. Originally the setting of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, Sigil is contained within the inner walls of a hollow, three-dimensional ring, which hovers above an unimaginably tall spire. Also called The City of Doors, the surreal city is home to an endless series of portals leading to other planes of existence. The dreamlike qualities woven into the fabric of its several distinct districts made it the perfect setting to experience Planescape’s strange philosophical adventure.
2. Azeroth (World of Warcraft)
The comforting ambience of a crackling fireplace is accented by distant laughter and a melodic lute. Outside, a gentle breeze blows across the crisp green foliage of Elwynn Forest as two aimless max level players hone their skills in a friendly duel. To the north, the hustle and bustle of Stormwind City, to the south the dark, ominous danger of Duskwood. This is the experience inside the Lion’s Pride Inn, a single building, in a single zone, on one of the two continents that made up World of Warcraft’s original Azeroth; a remarkably unified game-world populated with thousands of players per server, each with their own destination. At this time, there was no way to circumvent exploration and interaction with this rich, massive environment and the emergent experiences it offered. A more engrossing and immersive multiplayer world has yet to be created.
1. Lordran (Dark Souls)
Lordran is at once a world of great beauty and terrible decay, and it’s FromSoftware’s effortless juxtaposition of the two that makes exploring its interwoven landscapes such an awe-inspiring experience. From the highest, sun-kissed peaks of Anor Londo to the darkest depths of the Catacombs and the hellish underworld of Lost Izalith, Lordran manages to make each distinct layer of its kingdom feel like a meaningful part of the larger whole. What feels like a vast and impenetrable world at the start of our journey becomes a second home by the end, familiar but still fascinating, cohesive but still mysterious. That’s because nothing in Lordran exists by accident — everything from the location of specific spells to the illusory walls that hide exciting secrets has some purpose in the telling of Lordran’s complex history, which makes wandering its dark and atmospheric realms a reflective journey like no other.