Like many other people out there, some of the experiences I've had in MMOs have been just as exciting, frustrating and rewarding as some offline ones. Much of my time away from the computer is spent planning how best to maximise the time I'll be spending online, and how best to wring every last bit of content out of my experiences in-game. For a lot of players, not matter how immersive the game experience is, it's simply not enough, and the static nature of a game's story frustrates them to the point where they are driven to expand on it themselves. Or perhaps they simply don't want to be restricted to the game mechanics to tell their character's story.
Unfortunately, fan fiction has a bit of a bad reputation these days. I myself have written a couple of pieces of fan fiction in the past, and still find myself thinking of the term with a little sneer (for which I hate myself already, so no flames please), but maybe if we understood fan fiction a little better, we might look on it a bit more favourably.
Whether you know the term or not, the most infamous type of fan fiction is the 'slash' genre – slash being the term given to fan fiction with homo-erotic elements where there were none in the original. Look hard enough and I'm sure you'll find someone writing about Thrall and Garrosh getting a little 'cosier' than they ever do in-game. Fan fiction labelled 'lemon' will contain sexually explicit material, while anything labelled as 'lemon scented' won't contain anything sexually explicit, but will imply it in some way.
Most fan fiction is rarely specific to a certain game, and is instead based in the game universe at large. You're much more likely to find fan fiction labelled for 'Warcraft' rather than 'World of Warcraft', or for 'Star Wars' rather than 'Star Wars Galaxies', for example. Everquest and Everquest 2 share the same universe, so are more often than not simply labelled as 'Everquest' on its own.
There are plenty of resources out there for fan fiction based on MMOs. Your first stop should really be FanFiction.net. Jump over to their Games section, and you can find plenty of Warcraft, Everquest and Star Wars material (bear in mind that the Star Wars section covers more than just Galaxies). Strangely, there doesn't seem to be anything for EVE Online on FanFiction.net.
For a slightly more specific look, you could always visit some of the following sites:
- A simple Google search for WoW fan fiction will find bucketloads of hits for you to peruse, (2,470,000 hits when I tried), but I think it'd be a safe bet that some of them could do with some editorial guidance.
- The Fan Fiction forum over at World of War.net is another place to get your WoW fan fiction fix.
- Blizzplanet lists a metric tonne of fan fics on their site, however the links all appear to be dead or pointing to a site I find suspicious, so I'm not going to link directly, go find it yourself if you wish.
- Tabula Rasa appears to have embraced the idea of fan fiction, having created two official areas for fan fiction – the aptly-named Fan Fiction page in the Community section, and the Soul of a Soldier page, which is geared more towards 200-300 word blog style entries.
- Eve Library looks like a good place to start the search for EVE Online fan fiction.
- As mentioned above, Galaxies-specific fan fiction seems to be harder to come by. The Internet is, of course, packed to the rafters with general Star Wars fan fiction. Of course, theforce.net is a fantastic source for all kinds of Star Wars fan fiction, particularly in its literary and visual forms. The site is updated on a regular basis with high-quality material, but some older pieces remain my favourites.
- The Star Wars Galaxies Vault over at ign has some Fan Fiction there, not much though, and some of it hasn't been updated in a while.
- If Everquest floats your boat, FanFiction.net has plenty of material for you perusal.
While there are plenty of works of fan fiction out there which are painfully, painfully bad, much of it is simply the work of dedicated fans whose love for a game is such that they're driven to expand on their experiences and share them with others. Take a chance and have a look around - you may be surprised at what you find.