Fantage is a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) involving a virtual world containing a range of online games and activities, developed by Fantage Inc. Players are able to customize the appearance of their cartoon avatars, called "Fantagians", with items ranging from hair to clothing and accessories. Fantage released to the general public on March 17, 2008 and has since expanded into a large online community— the game had over 16 million registered users by January 2012 and over 30 million registered users by December 18th, 2014.
|Release||March 17, 2008 |
The game was designed for the ages of 6 to 16. According to its founders, Fantage was focused on child safety, made possible by a three-tiered safety system. This safety system had several features, such as professional chat moderation, automatic word filtering, an in-game user reporting system, and varying chat options for parents.
Fantage began development in 2007 by David Hwang and Peter Bae. A closed beta version of the game was available on October 29, 2007, which granted beta testers full access to features normally available through a paid membership, and the game went open beta on January 1st, 2008. The game eventually released on March 17th, 2008, where beta testers were gifted with a month of free membership, 1,000 Stars, and exclusive Beta Tester hair items, while new members received 2 weeks of free membership.
In 2009-2010, Fantage received strategic investments from Nexon. These investments allowed Fantage to hire additional designers and key developers. The resulting site expansion and quality enhancement led to swift growth. In less than four months, from November 2009 to February 2010, Fantage completed the entire site renewal, which involved upgrades of more than thirty mini-games. Within a year, the user base grew from 3 million registered users to 7.7 million registered users.
Fantage.com developed and employed its own real time mass data processing technology which enables 20 million users to access site without any inconvenience. This database and server side program was created by Fantage’s key developers–Byungsoo Son, Frank Kim, Sungwon Um, and Dongpyo Lee. Fantage.com Inc. is currently headquartered in Fort Lee, New Jersey and run by Nexon.
On December 14, 2009, it was reported that Nexon was releasing Fantage in Japan in February 2010. The game was eventually released on February 10th, 2010 as "Oshare Land Fantage" (おしゃらんどファンテージ), which was nicknamed "Fantage Japan" by players outside of Japan. As Nexon of Japan owned this version of the game, a Nexon Japan ID was required to create an account and to log in, and Nexon Points were used as another currency for the game. Many features from the game made for this version eventually were released internationally, such as two eye sets and some clothing items (though they were altered somewhat for unknown reasons). Notable features exclusive to this version of the game were Rare items being accessible from shops (they are normally available by gem combinations in the original game), the absence of a paid membership, and Magic Boxes, which contained special items. Oshare Land Fantage shut down on December 15th, 2010.
Nexon of Europe released a version of Fantage for European users in 2010, and similar to Oshare Land Fantage, the game required a Nexon Europe ID to create an account. The game shut down on July 20th, 2011.
Since 2011, Fantage, Inc. has created several mobile applications, such as Fantage IDfone, Fantage Bullseye, Fantage Fish Fish, and Starblaze. Their apps are available on App Store and Google Play, though some apps are not available on Google Play. In 2014, Fantage released an iPad app called Fantage Comet, which was similar to the original game, but took place on a different area. Recently, many of the apps have received negative reception from players due to the lack of recent updates.
Fantage started out as a self-funded organization but received an infusion of capital by Korean online game company Nexon Corporation. Initial admission into Fantage is free and users can continue to use it as such; however, premium membership is required to access the full site including most clothing items, rare items, most gems, customization options, and most pets.
Users also can purchase eCoins or Gold, which are additional currencies alongside Stars, in bulk amounts for set fees to use in-game for micro transactions. eCoins and Gold can be used to purchase almost every item, but only eCoins can be used to buy pet codes to speed up pet hatching, while only Gold can be used to purchase Limited items and items from other players in MyMall, an area in the game that provides users with premium membership the ability to sell items.
Once users create an account, they are given a basic tutorial and eventually a few items and a basic house. Players have the option of opening their home to everyone, just their buddies, or no one other than the owner themselves. Players are also given IDfones, which are accessible by clicking on the user's avatar and act as information about the user. IDfones are also where players can check how much in-game money they have, if they click on their own avatar. Players can also gain levels for their user, which essentially shows the character's accomplishments. Many of these medals are only viewable to others with a premium membership and/or are from events and activities.
Fantage is a floating island that currently consists of 13 main areas for users to explore: Downtown, Uptown, Mt. Fantage, Castle, Carnival, Beach, Forest, Fantage School, Pet Town, User Home, Sea Breeze, Lighthouse, and the Island; inside most of these main areas have additional smaller areas, such as shops and areas containing mini-games. There are several shops where players can purchase items with any of Fantage's 3 currencies; Stars, eCoins and Gold. Stars can be earned by playing games; eCoins by buying, watching advertisements or daily check-in; and Gold by buying, or through a transfer system in MyMall.
Fantage has a selection of mini-games, some of which are multiplayer games. Some of the website's notable games are Top Models Fashion Show (a game where players dress up appropriately in a fashion show to earn points), Splash! (a game where players in teams pelt each other with water balloons), and Rocket Board (a game where players avoid obstacles where riding on a roller coaster). Users earn a quantity of Stars depending on the player's score. Most of the mini-games in Fantage are available in the Retro Arcade, located at the Carnival area.
There is also an area located in the Forest called the Creature Arena, where users can enter as a Creature purchasable from the nearby Creature Shop and play with a variety of trampolines, cannons, and other things while collecting Stars.
In 2010, Fantage introduced Pets and the Pet Town to players. Users can collect pets by purchasing and hatching eggs or by using pet codes. Premium Members can hatch all pets using eggs; non-Premium members can only hatch two pets using eggs. Users who obtain eCoins are able to purchase Magic Codes to hatch a specific pet they want and at a faster rate. There are three magic code hatching times available 1 hour, 20 minute, or Instant. Sometimes, there are holiday pets that Premium members can buy for a certain number of stars. An additional family, Codies, are only available by collecting and assembling multiple items from Captain Cody, Fantage's resident superhero.
Premium members also have the option to have their pets trail behind them as they explore Fantage and to let pets wander on the first floor of their home. All users can use their pets for Pet Games, which are games located in the Pet Town area that specifically uses pets. For players without pets (or enough pets, in the case of one game, Wild Rumble), Pet Games will lend them a pet to play with. Top Models Fashion Show, a popular multiplayer game in Fantage, allows all users to use their pets to earn more points.
In 2013, Fantage introduced Farms to all players. Farms are accessible from the player's house or through their IDfone. Players are given 3 plots of land to plant seeds of various plants, which can be bought with Stars and planted with Sun Energy. After a specified period of time, the resulting crops can be harvested with Sun Energy to earn Stars. Farming also gives points to a certain Farming medal for your user's overall level.
Much like FarmVille, players have to wait real time for plants to grow and can help out farms belonging to other players. Players can help out an unlimited number of people a day, but each farm can only be helped out 3 times per day.
Fantage has a Mission Center where players can participate in Missions. Upon completion (or re-completion) of a Mission, players are rewarded with points on their Mission Medal, which counts toward the overall level of the user. Many of these missions have segments with mini-games and puzzles, which must be completed in order to progress further into the mission. These missions often are related to the creation of certain areas, such as the Lighthouse being created for the Mad Scientist mission, and some have provided some characterization to Fantage's NPCs.
Users may add up to 200 friends, or "buddies", and chat one-to-one through instant messenger, or through a group chat where you can chat with many buddies at once. Users can also click on a player's avatar and click the ignore button, so that the ignored user's chat won't be seen to the player. Users can delete a buddy any time. If any user is bullying or using inappropriate behavior, players may click on the report button and the reported user is immediately ignored.
Added in 2010, Parties could be used to invite large numbers of people to the player's house. Players may choose the theme of the party and whether the party is for everyone in the server or their friends. Only one party can only be hosted at a time, even if the player leaves one server and tries to create another party in another server. Each party costs 50 Stars, but players can add additional features to the party, such as piñatas and exclusive party-themed stickers. Parties previously were limited to premium members, but as of 2014, parties can be hosted by all users.
Education and charityEdit
The Fantage School was introduced in 2011 and includes a variety of educational games ranging from math and chess to language arts and geography. The first floor contains art, math, social studies, and language arts, while the second floor includes chess, checkers, and a trivia game. The bottom floor also contains an area where players can create Private Classrooms, where groups of players can enter and try to beat each others' scores on the mini-games provided in this area.
Fantage has collaborated with a school in Los Angeles in 2012, where a fifth-grade class would participate in the "Fantage School Challenge.". The challenge consists of the fifth-grade class being separated into two teams, where they would play Fantage's educational games to see which team had the better scores.
Fantage received the Editor’s Choice Award from the Children’s Technology Review for excellence in children’s interactive media. Children’s Technology Review. Gaming sites including Gamer’s Info have lauded the world for its safe social environment  VentureBeat praised Fantage’s ability to double its membership in the midst of competition amongst kids’ virtual worlds during a recession, contributing its success to constant refining of the site.
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