Art Role Playing Games, or "ARPGs" are a style of game developed on and for deviantART. They are some mixture of MMO, breeding sim, and forum game, with the unique mechanic that in order to progress in the game, you must make or otherwise accumulate art of the creatures you own. It is the collection of all of these games and their players which forms the deviantART ARPG community.
These games have a heavy focus on collaborative story telling and personal growth. The games are often designed in such a way that they encourage players to use the given lore and prompts in order to tell their own stories.
Each game typically has a deviantART group to serve as the hub for all its activity. The groups provide structure, background, lore, and events for the players to work with and build off of. They work off the concept of "Closed Species," imaginary species created by an individual or group of individuals whose members cannot be freely created. All individuals of a certain species have their origins within a certain group, and while there is nothing stopping someone from creating a very similar type of creature for their own use, only those that are officially recognized by the group may be used in the group's activities, events and community.
The games typically have two main possible goals: collection and story-telling. Players that focus on collection are seeking to collect all possible traits that appear in a group, or perhaps just their favorites. This can be quite challenging, as many traits can be bred for, and the chances of a trait passing can be very slim.
Players that focus on story-telling are more interested in using the creatures they own to tell their own stories. They may build off the lore and prompts given by the group itself, or they may form their own set ups and work solely within those. Story collaboration is also very common.
Some players also choose to focus on the monetary aspect of the game, and use breeding and collecting as way to gather assets which can then be resold or used to produce even more valuable creatures.
Common ARPG Terms
How to Join
ARPGs are open for anyone to join! Visual artists are the most common, but there are also many writers, sculptors and crafters in the mix, as well as some who don't create at all but still enjoy the game and the community.
You do not necessarily have to have your own creature to participate in the community or group events, although it is advised to obtain your own as quickly as possible. Many groups have systems for newcomers to get their first creature for free or minimal effort. Members may also offer deals and freebies for newcomers. Otherwise, they may be purchased with money through Paypal, or with art, or bartered for other goods.
If you are looking to join in group events while you save up for your first, you may inquire about leasing creatures from the group or other members, or you may offer group specific commissions.
Once you have one of your own, you are free to do as you will with it!
Each group has its own economy based on its traits and mechanics. To say that they are completely isolated from one another is not correct, as members are always bartering creatures of one group for those of another. But they do, for the most part, maintain their own microeconomies, although some groups are much more lucrative and species from said groups are considered more valuable than those from the less lucrative groups.
List of All Current ARPGs
- Ethers of Pandora
- Moren Ezen
- Pools of Nirava
- Primeval Age
- Realm of Serpents
- Realms of Kitsunari
- Saliko Tribe
- Shedu Cats
- Shivali Empire
- Souls Between
- Taiga Mustangs
- Those Who Went Missing
- World of Atran
- World of Reos
- Zarkantas (no longer active as an ARPG)
A Brief History of ARPGs