Lo and behold! OrbusVR is the very first MMORPG to grace the PC VR catalog, and I’m excited to dive into the juicy fitness potential waiting inside. But first, for newcomers to gaming, what does “MMORPG” mean?
An MMORPG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role(p)laying Game, is a persistent virtual world where thousands of people can exist in the same space and complete structured adventures together while building up their own powerful characters. Don’t think Skyrim here; think World of Warcraft, Runescape, or Guild Wars.
Granted, the entire MMORPG genre has a nasty reputation for sucking hours upon hours away from players—leaving them obese, unemployed, or in some cases, dead. But what happens when you take the addictive online gameplay of an MMORPG away from the keyboard and mouse and place it directly into the body of the player?
What you get with OrbusVR is the perfect carrot-hook for a LISS workout disguised in an online multiplayer RPG that you can binge for hours, guilt-free. So today, you’re going to learn how to get the most out of OrbusVR as both a potent exercise tool and also as your newest gaming addiction.
Create Your Character
When you first load up OrbusVR, you will choose your avatar’s name and appearance. Once you complete these first steps and spawn into the game’s world, you’ll be greeted by an NPC (Non-Player Character) who gives you a tutorial quest that introduces you to the basic gameplay of OrbusVR.
Most of the game’s content comes in the form of completing quests, slaying monsters, and collecting loot—alone or with others. After you’ve gotten a feel for the game’s controls, you should go into your Inventory menu (as explained in the tutorial quest) and choose your class. There are 4 character classes in OrbusVR, determined by the type of weapon you have equipped.
The Warrior is the most intense class to play in OrbusVR. As a Warrior, you wield a sword and a shield. The harder you swing when your shield isn’t raised, the quicker your enemies take damage and perish.
You also need to properly time when you raise your shield to block enemy attacks. And if you’re playing alone, a single battle as a Warrior can invoke enough repetitive upper-body motion to burn 10-15 calories.
A Ranger fights enemies with their bow and arrows. While not as intense as the Warrior, being effective as a Ranger still requires repetitive motion from the player.
Especially if you use Natural Locomotion (more on this later), playing as a Ranger can be a good LISS workout simply by the fact that you’ll spend so much time nocking back your arrows and running to increase the distance between yourself and your enemies.
The Musketeer is the least intense class in the game, as you’ll spend a lot of time standing in one place and shooting a self-loading musket at enemies. Musketeers are still fun to play, with a variety of different types of magical “orbs” that you can imbue into your weapon to make it do different things. But for now, let’s keep moving.
Because it’s locked behind a quest that requires some item hunting, I didn’t get to play with the Runemage when I dove into OrbusVR. From spending time playing with other Runemages, this class seems like it could be on-par with the Ranger’s calorie burn potential.
It’s the perfect class if you want to cast spells and wield powerful magic. But instead of pressing a button to cast a spell as you would on a regular flatscreen game, you have to physically draw “runes” in the air—colored symbols that represent the spell you’re trying to cast.
This is why the Runemage is possibly the toughest class to play in this game; to be good at it, you have to maintain a sharp memory and enough real-world stamina to cast each spell in succession.
OrbusVR Loves Natural Locomotion
I revere Jayson Paglow’s coverage of Skyrim VR from last month because it got me into Natural Locomotion. So here’s a friendly reminder that NaLo sells on Steam for around $9.99, and it’s fantastic. It’s a piece of software that lets you “walk” or “run” in expansive VR games like Skyrim VR or OrbusVR by pumping your arms back and forth.
“But what’s the fun in Natural Locomotion?”, you say. “It looks so fake when he stands in place swinging his arms like that!”
I understand your concern, which is why my next 3 recommendations are important:
Run In Place
When you run (or walk) in place, you pump your arms naturally. I do this whenever I use Natural Locomotion for a free-movement game like OrbusVR, and it immediately makes my simulated locomotion experience feel 100% more… natural.
Broadly speaking, running in place is how you can add a thicker workout to regular stand-in-place VR gameplay, all while making you feel more immersed. And yeah, sure. It’s cool to make your OrbusVR character “run” from NPC to NPC whenever you’re busy finishing quests. But you haven’t lived a day in your virtual life until you’ve literally ran from one town to another; maybe to go meet your friends who still insist on using thumbsticks.
Whenever I start running in place in VR, I somehow end up on the opposite side of my bedroom from where I think I am. I turn around and move forward, thinking I’m still in the center of my room. And then I crash directly into my bookshelf and knock over my favorite coffee mug. Which is why I invested in a ProxiMat: a low-tech circular foam mat that tells me exactly where I am in my space.
Of course, you don’t have to use a fancy foam mat to enjoy or benefit from OrbusVR; all I’m doing is distinguishing the center of my floor. With patience and creativity, you could achieve a similar effect with any item that doesn’t bruise your soles. Regardless, you should always be able to identify your position within your play space—preferably to keep you in the center of it.
Weighted gear has slowly become my best VR fitness companion over the past month.
Back in June, I was still testing the waters with weighted gear. But after losing 10lbs with my weighted vest this past month, it’s clear that weighted gear makes a difference. So what is weighted gear and what does it do? Basically, with weighted gear, you’re adding pounds of sand over your body in the form of a vest, ankle weights and/or wrist weights.
This way, you create extra resistance that makes your muscles work harder to do mundane things that usually aren’t difficult. For example, being a Warrior in OrbusVR is tougher when you feel the added resistance of weighted gear bearing down on each sword swing. The trade-off is how much more immersive and weighty OrbusVR feels in that circumstance.
Simply put: If you’re here for the full experience, go for weighted gear.
OrbusVR is a compelling VR game, let alone a great first entry into the VRMMORPG genre. Running in place with Natural Locomotion is important for bolstering your activity and to increase immersion, especially when you add in weighted gear and a ProxiMat for safety.
Based on the character that you build, the fitness benefits you gain from playing OrbusVR will vary. However, you should think hard about what class you’d like to play before starting. Because the game’s progression system can be slow, you’ll feel more rewarded for seeing a single class through to level 20—the maximum power level your character can attain in OrbusVR.
All that said, it’s not for everybody. Some may hate its graphical minimalism, and it’s not as feature-complete as other MMORPGs on the market, but it really is the only game of its kind in VR. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hooked for hours. And instead of feeling like you’re wasting away at a computer desk, you’ll actually be engaging in a solid LISS exercise activity.
Have you tried OrbusVR yet? Let us know in the comments.