Find your soulmate. Find a whole bunch of them, in fact.
The MMORPG. It is a strange beast, one that unites and divides, thrills and disgusts. Since the rise of Everquest, stories involving the true social implications of MMOs have run the gamut from long-lasting friendships and even real marriages to virtual funeral raids and cases of jealousy and murder.
On that spectrum, the free-to-play Lucent Heart plants itself firmly in the former camp, the colorful animé-style characters and soft, bright tones fostering a community that stands steadfast like a beacon of humility and human decency amidst the sea of elitist jerks and trolls that swarm other online games. Those friendships and marriages are not just encouraged in Lucent Heart, the game hinges upon them.
The biggest thing differentiating Lucent Heart from its competitors is the approach to the social elements that are at the core of any MMO. LH uses horoscopes which, in addition to the obligatory fortunes, give you a global chat channel that you share with anyone of your sign, stat bonuses that change from day to day and encourage grouping with players who have bonuses that complement your own, and romantic (or friendly) matchmaking.
You can use a cupid-ish NPC in town to search for partners based on any number of parameters, like level, astral sign, and gender—after which you and your match become “soulmates” in-game. Soulmates who party together enjoy perks like increased experience and access to a variety of buff-bestowing lovers emotes, from simple kisses to jealous slaps to something along the lines of “woohooing” in The Sims. You can have many soulmates (kinda cheapens the whole idea, doesn’t it?), but only partner up with one at a time, which can easily lead to juicy in-game drama.
But this isn’t just some dating sim—it’s a full-fledged MMO with all the standbys. You don’t actually choose a class at first, not until later on when you’ve gained a few levels. At that point you can go with a basic class like a warrior or mage. Then further on down the road, you can change class again into a further specialized version. And if you’re willing to start out with zero skill points, you do have the option of fully changing your class later in the game to something completely different.
As for dungeons, there are the regular five-man affairs that are tailor-made by the developers, but also customized dungeons. You’ll occasionally find special dungeon-creation gems when looting enemies, and if you use the gems in tandem you can enter a custom dungeon, with an environment, monsters, and difficulty of your design.
When not exploring, many Lucent Heart players enjoy chilling in town and socializing with others. The GMs in this game are extremely vocal and active within the community, unlike other MMOs where they lurk in the shadows, only popping out occasionally to drop the ban hammer on folks or give a factory-approved response to a bug report. LH GMs converse in the local chat channels, hang out with the player base, and give prizes out to people at all hours of the day.
They also dance, which is quite the amusing pastime to many a Lucent Heart player. In fact, an upcoming patch lined up for the game will expand the dance emote to a level far beyond that of any MMO to date. You can choreograph and save a whole string of your own dance moves, making your character mimic the latest Lady Gaga or Britney Spears video (or whatever you crazy kids are into nowadays).
Lucent Heart is available to download and play right now. Check it out if you want to play a lighthearted MMO that really goes out of its way to make a friendly environment in which players can go adventuring, relax, and hang out with one of their many soul mates (and get some whoopee on the side).