As names go, Dofus is not a good one. It's so bad that it suggests government intervention: a product, surely, of a dystopian future where all of mankind's work is arbitrarily assigned a title by an uncaring (and possibly malfunctioning) master computer. Ankama Studios' flagship MMO has style, charm, and an intelligent air - yet while most fantasy games go for names that suggest the promise of elaborate adventure, Dofus, a glamorous blend of both 'oaf' and 'doofus', invokes the kind of person who regularly gets their tongue caught in barbed-wire fences.
You could argue that Dofus is the worst product name ever conceived, were it not for my discovery, years ago in a foreign supermarket, of a breakfast cereal named Crapsy Fruit. Crapsy Fruit was French. So, as it happens, is Dofus. There, luckily, all similarities end.
From the sophisticated art, to the gently cerebral turn-based combat system and elegant in-browser interface, everything about Dofus suggests an MMO that confidently walks its own path. That's certainly true, but unlike Continental curios such as The Saga of Ryzom before it, Dofus doesn't appear to be paying a heavy price for its distinctive personality when it comes to finding an audience. There's a contradiction here: while MMOs like Tabula Rasa ape mainstream genres but struggle to win followers, Dofus is giddily skipping in the opposite direction, and somehow managing to get by. In fact, it's quietly thriving: according to MMOGChart.com, it's the sixth-biggest subscription MMO in the world.