zOMG! A Gaia Online MMORPG


By: Angela Russo (@NerdGirlForever)

Gaia Online is a website that values the preferences of its members, and seeks to provide the experiences that are important to them. Over the years, Gaians clamored for the staff to create an mmorpg. In November of 2008, zOMG! was released to the community.

The premise of the game is based off of Gaia’s ongoing original manga. The community has seen an influx of magic, vampires, aliens, and more, and all these story elements are woven masterfully into the narrative of the quests. In zOMG!, users complete a variety of quests and battle “The Animated,” which are everyday items that have become animated (and sometimes mutated) by an unknown source of Ghi energy. These creatures vary from lawn gnomes and Kokeshi dolls to ghostly lanterns and sand golems. The Animated are becoming more intelligent, forming armies throughout Gaia. It is our duty to defend the realm!

Gameplay Overview

The structure of zOMG! gameplay is very similar to the third person RPG format of Bioware’s Baldur’s Gate or Neverwinter Nights, with the prominent differences being the animation and the absence of character classes. Overall, the game is easy to learn with a convenient in-game manual, and customizable hotkeys for attacks, targeting, and movement. The simple anime-inspired flash graphics may not be the most dynamic out there, but the game more than makes up for it by presenting an ever-increasing challenge to the player as they level up and progress through the mmorpg.

Players travel through over 15 map areas and sub-levels via quests, and collect powerful rings that provide abilities to the wearer such as healing, attack skills, defense, buffs, and debuffs. In order to level up, users need to use charge orbs (granted regularly throughout gameplay) to boost the power of their rings. Using rings in battle will boost your “rage rank.” Drawing from this power, players can tap into more powerful capabilities for each ring.

Null Chamber

The Null chamber is the magical safe-zone where users can take a breather to level up their rings, or to apply protective buffs. Players will also be transported to the Null if they become overwhelmed in battle. When dazed, rings become temporarily locked as the user recovers.

Initially, players travel manually between map areas. Once you’ve entered the crystal of the Null chamber in each map area, you can simply transport through the null to those locations instead of laboriously trudging through each section. Inside the Null, you can only see other users if they are a part of your crew. Crews primarily utilize the Null to coordinate an assortment of equipped rings between the members, and to apply team-wide buffs before battle.

Crews & Quests

Crews are temporary teams of zOMG! players who band together for the social joy of it, and to help each other through boss zones and quests. Quests are completed by performing a variety of tasks for NPCs such as collecting items, scouting missions, and defeating major bosses. Some quests are one-time ventures, whereas others are designed for continuous replay. All major bosses and “dungeon” areas can be fought through an unlimited number of times at varying difficulties. Crews often choose to form up and take on these areas at max difficulty in order to accumulate massive charge orb bonuses. Success at the hardest level is usually reliant on hav-ing a dedicated healer and buffing up the crew prior to entry, but the rewards are five times greater than those reaped from a solo run.


One of the best parts of Gaia is the interactive nature of the community. Clans are a form of guild specifically for zOMG! where players have access to Gaians who are serious about organizing crew strategy, coordinating ring-sets, and assisting newer players in leveling up throughout the map areas. Some clans have trainers assigned for specific regions, ring levels, dungeon levels, or bosses. As an added bonus, certain clans are active on Discord to enhance the social aspect even further. If you’re in a zOMG! clan, you’re never playing alone.


The simplistic animation and graphics for zOMG! easily integrates the anime-inspired avatars from the main community and manga into the game. This means that whatever your Gaian is wearing will automatically transfer over, and the simplicity enables the game to be free to play with no download. This is convenient as more graphics-heavy mmorpg’s tend to take up a lot of disc space or require a more powerful graphics card. If you’re looking for an intense, visually modern, highly intricate gaming challenge, zOMG! may not be quite your speed. However, if you’re looking for a moderately strategic challenge with long-term play value, an entertaining quest system, and a highly interactive in-game community, then the graphics are easily over-looked.

Future of the Game

zOMG! has vast potential for long-term play and future expansion. Although there are 16 playable areas, only half of Gaia’s known map regions have been integrated into the game thus far. There are over 10 uncreated zones, many of which are currently referenced by NPCs in quests and at roadblock areas on the edge of current maps. This leaves a wealth of possibility for future game expansion that is honestly quite exciting. Gaians have yet to discover what is happening with the robot rebellion in Aekea, alien activity near E-Corp and G-Corp, or the mysterious dangers at any of the four Durem locations.

Until any expansion occurs, there are ample challenges in the current gameplay zones from quests, battle arenas, and dungeon missions, to map-specific challenges, and seasonal holiday manga updates with in-game quests, events, and special bosses with limited edition prizes for participation. When all is said and done, the future of zOMG! looks quite promising.

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