Every so often I get hooked by a casual, web-based MMO. You know, the type you don't have to check every single day and you can play around with at work. For a while that was ForumWarz for me. While I'm still into that game, lately I've been pretty taken by a new contender.
"...a web-based American Football MMORPG. We've written a custom football simulation engine to provide you with the ultimate football experience on the web."
Well, ultimate is a little strong but this game is fun. You start off by creating a player. You pick the position for your player and a name. Note that "glamour" positions like QB or WR are far more popular and it can be harder to find a team if you go that route.
The game then "rolls" your starting stats for you, both physical (speed, vision, etc.) and football (tackling, blocking, etc.). You can re-roll these and, when you're done, you can use skill points to add to those base stats. Skill points can also be used to work your way up skill trees which give special abilities (i.e. Big Hit, which increases the chance of causing a fumble).
Once your player is set up, it's time to join a team. You can join a human-run team but this can be tough at first when your player is low level and you don't know anyone. However, there are also CPU-run teams which will offer you a contract.
You never actually "play" in the games - your player does but it is just simulated. There is still plenty to do though. You can tweak your training regimen, buy equipment, set your in-game tactics and keep an eye on your morale and energy level. As you earn XP from training or playing in games you get additional skill points to spend.
This game would be fun enough if you could only have one player. But it's a lot more fun to have multiple players going. Of course, creating a player costs flex-points and you start with a limited amount. Flex-points can also be used to buy equipment for a player or "boosting" stats.
You earn flex-points by referring other players. The other option is to buy them with real money. I am not crazy about the whole flex-points thing. I hope you can also earn them just by playing, but I'm not sure on that. I believe they give some out at the end of the season.
Of course, the game itself is free. And your player can be absolutely great without using flex-points - it just might take longer. You start with enough to create multiple players and can get them back by retiring. I just wish there was a way to purchase a team without them.
It looks like things get exponentially more fun when you can get your own team. That adds a ton of other options and strategy (team chemistry, depth charts) to the game. I have not reached that level yet. But I think it's a good idea that you get familiar with the game first before you jump into team ownership.
If you are interested, I recommend you check out the faq and some of these guides before creating your first player. My one tip is to add skill points to bring your stamina up to at least 20 when you are first setting up your player. I screwed that up the first time...but you can always retire and begin anew.
I have definitely not played enough to give an actual review of this game. I'm a noob who just started over with a new player. But I know Bandit has played for a longer period of time and enjoys it quite a lot.
I'll revisit the game when I have more experience with it. However, I wanted to give you a heads-up now because a new season is beginning soon.