IGG launches Moonlight Online as F2P MMO for Facebook

Galaxy 2.0 developer IGG  is continuing to expand its presence in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game market with its new Facebook title Moonlight Online, an action-heavy, 3D MMO inspired by European mythology.

The game can be seen as bit of  a return to IGG’s origins as MMO developer.  The fantasy-themed game asks players to take on the role of a human, vampire or werewolf in order to stop war that has been prophesied to end the world.

As opposed to IGG’s previous game Galaxy 2.0, Moonlight Online’s gameplay is much faster-paced. Players can use the acrobatic free-running of parkour and/or mounts to explore the 3D world, engage in multiplayer tower defense matches or engage in real-time player-versus-player combat in the game’s arena. The PvP mechanics are also expanded via player guilds and castle sieges, though this option seems to be limited to higher-level characters. The game is free-to-play and monetizes through microtransactions for in-game currency, items and equipment, as opposed to the social game standard of refilling energy bars.

As opposed to most Facebook games, Moonlight Online isn’t a universal title. Instead, it’s currently only playable with a computer running Windows. IGG COO Kevin Xu tells us this is because the game is designed to initially appeal to a midcore audience and the PC version allows players to set the graphics to a high quality setting. IGG plans to offer a downloadable version of the game next month for hardcore players, and Apple users will be able to play the game when its Flash version is released in two months.

Free-to-play MMOs can be extremely popular, both as web browser games and full-fledged titles. With Facebook, though, the genre hasn’t really caught on, especially with 3D titles. Milmo, which launched in December 2010, peaked within a few weeks at 516,000 monthly active users and 32,000 daily active users but wasn’t able to expand on its success. The game currently sits at 20,000 MAU and 1,000 DAU. By comparison, Moonlight Online has nearly 83,000 MAU and 18,000 DAU.

IGG has a large player base to promote Moonlight Online to, largely due to its success with Galaxy 2; the English-language version of the game peaked in April 2011 with 1.3 million MAU and 138,000 DAU and now is holding steady at 130,000 MAU and 40,000 DAU. Non-English versions of the game, meanwhile, are still regularly appearing on our lists of weekly gainers. Xu tells us IGG is happy with how Galaxy 2 is performing, particularly across non-English-speaking territories and the company is planning to support the game for the foreseeable future. Xu also tells us IGG plans to launch six more games over the next two months.