The other day, I was looking through the archives of the Queen of Wands comic when a banner ad caught my eye—advertising an online role-playing game you play in your browser. It stuck in my mind enough for me to remember the URL and have another look at it later.
AdventureQuest is advertised as a "lunch-break sized" game; at first I was skeptical that it would work behind the firewall but since it runs in a Flash applet in the browser and not, say, through telnet, it works fine. And it's enjoyable enough, though so far I've only gone through random encounters and not gone on a quest or anything with a storyline.
Some elements are pretty typical: money is "gold", you have experience points and hit points and go up levels when you get enough XP; you also have mana points (MP) which you can use to cast spells (each spell costs a certain amount of mana and when your mana is used up, you can't cast any more spells). There are potions which give back hit points and mana and you can also be healed (HP and MP brought back up to full) between encounters. At first I thought there was a catch but there appears not to be one.
Money is needed to buy better weapons (you start off with one sword), armour (you get one suit), shields, spells, and pets. (You can't cast any spells at first—you have to buy them.) Some items are restricted to characters of a given level. Pets can fight alongside you and hurt enemies.
One thing I haven't seen elsewhere are the eight elements: fire and earth, light and darkness, water and energy, ice and wind. Various creatures are more susceptible to attacks by some elements than others (attacks with some elements may even heal them!) and so you have weapons for various elements, as well as shields and armour protecting against certain elements (and usually making you more vulnerable to the "opposite" of each element). So there's no such thing as "+2 chain mail"—nearly all armour provides element-specific protection. (But you can change armour during battle if you want; it's turn-based.)
So yeah. Kinda fun, and a little addictive :) But there are only 4000 free users allowed on the server at once, which can fill up occasionally. Also a way of encouraging users to become Guardians through a one-time donation of $14 (reminds me of Fastmail.FM Membership, which is $14.95, also one-time): they can always logon. They also get various in-game benefits.