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Reader Comments (13)

Posted: Sep 24th 2009 3:29PM archipelagos said

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Great read.

Posted: Sep 24th 2009 3:31PM Dlangar said

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A fascinating peek into the minds of some of the people behind the biggest games in the genre out there. Some of the respondents simply used it as an opportunity to pitch their game (sadly), but some of them actually spoke at length about the issue and addressed it head on.

What I find really interesting is the sharp contrast in views between Josh Drescher and Jeffrey Steele in the current state of the genre. They both see MMO's in the same state, but Mr. Drescher dismisses that state as "Massively Single Player", and even goes so far as to say that all those other people out there playing around us are just window dressing, and could just as easily be NPC's.. where as Mr. Steele recognizes that it's become like the old school arcades -- where you want to only play with one or two people, but you want to do so in a room full of other people.

Obviously, I resonate more with Mr. Steele's view of the state of the genre, and honestly find Mr. Drescher's a bit dismaying, considering the sway he has over the kinds of games I love to play.


Posted: Sep 24th 2009 3:40PM Scopique said

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I agree with Dlangar 100%. I've never believed that the only way to play MMOs was to play with other people. Considering the attitude of many MMO players, that's like asking someone to collect dog shit from people's lawns while they're on vacation.

Posted: Sep 24th 2009 3:48PM Pingles said

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Jeffrey Steefel, The Lord of the Rings Online Executive Producer, Turbine: "You don't want to play pinball with 10 people, but playing by yourself in a crowded room is a lot more fun."

Wow, nail on the head for me.

Posted: Sep 24th 2009 3:49PM Evy said

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This was a fascinating article. Two thumbs up.

Posted: Sep 24th 2009 4:04PM Wisdomandlore said

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"Seventy-five percent of the titles on the market that claim to be 'MMO' are actually single-player or limited group-oriented games that just happen to have lots of other people running around, doing the same things and having no impact on one another. In my view, to truly be a 'massively multiplayer' experience, the extant population of the game world has to have some sort of impact on you – regardless of whether or not they're in your raid group or guild."

Completely agree. This is everything that's wrong with MMOs today.

Posted: Sep 24th 2009 4:31PM Minofan said

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A fascinating read.


"I've heard 'massively single-player' batted around by various people, and I think that's close. Or maybe 'Massively Multiplayer Online Disney Land' – safe, clean, simple and predictable with lots of polished, shiny goodies that never, ever change. Ya know, assuming Disney Corp. doesn't mind the trademark dillusion."

Oh, my dear Warhammer; you never stood a chance - it's like a forum troll just wandered into the conversation. : (

Posted: Sep 24th 2009 5:04PM (Unverified) said

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One good advice for the above "masters" of mmorpg's.

The ideal MMORPG for the next 10 years is something like this:

"Hop in, find a group or do solo, game for 1 to 2 hours and "better" your avatar in the choices of play YOU want to do (or are in the mood for).

Use the world behind it as a background story."

The grouping element should be FREE and fast. Grouping must be so easy as to push 2 buttons and wait for 1 minute and do a dungeon or a grouped up PvP play.

Make OPTIONS in all aspects of the game.

Hop in - game - hop out.

In fact I just described WOW CAT (with the clustered server dungeons) or Diablo 3 for the more narrowed choice.

The only thing lacking in WOW post CAT, is that it could be played on a console.

All the rest is blablabla and so niche it isn't even worth trying.

Until then: ALL your subscription based trials in western play will be played for 3 months and then die (yes Aion included).

Apparently only Blizzard knows the above ...... they were not even in the panel....

Typical. The giant with a 80% marketshare knows what we - normal players with a fixed time scheme - want.

Reread and study the above.

Oh yeah, one more thing.... IGNORE Forums. They are a pain in the ass and filled with frustrated teenagers who have NO clue what a G A M E is.


Posted: Sep 24th 2009 5:07PM (Unverified) said

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Hasn't Massively already tackled this subject? -> http://www.massively.com/2008/02/14/ask-massively-the-mmeaning-of-second-life/

Whatever happened to that guy? He was BRILLIANT! ;-)


Posted: Sep 24th 2009 5:14PM Tom in VA said

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The problematic word is "Massively", imo. (Sorry, Massively website!)

I for one, always liked Guild Wars' workaround acronym "CORPG", which stood for "Competitive Online Role-Playing Game", though I would change the initial "C" to "Cooperative" for PvE-oriented games and reserve "Competitive" for PvP-oriented games.

This, in effect, is what most self-described MMORPGs actually are because, even though there may be bazillions of players online at any given moment, you are basically only playing with very few (or none) of them at any given moment in most of these games.

In fact, I'd have to say that my love of MMOs is essentially the solo and occasional (and entirely optional) small-group content.

A massively populated virtual world is good for a sense of life and immersion and a healthy in-game economy, but, when it comes to actually playing these games, the focus is primarily not massive at all, but rather on small-group and solo content. Thus, the "massively" is a bit of a red herring, imo. It is not really a core feature of most of these games.

Posted: Sep 24th 2009 7:53PM Lionhearted said

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Fascinating article. I will admit to thinking there is a need to differentiate between games like Second Life or Sims Online versus games like WoW and EQ. However, especially with many of the freebies out there, there's starting to be more intermingling between those two -- for example, is Free Realms more like Second Life or more like EQ? It has elements of both and the fantasy realm in which it exists is mainly a means to deliver the game's goofy and somewhat addicting silly mini games. Free Realms, to me, is still mostly a Virtual World and less a MMORPG, but the line is certainly blurred.

Additionally, I agree with the above commenter: CORG may be a better fit. First, MMO is a mouthfull and "massively" is somewhat of a redundant world. In reality, these are really "cooperative online roleplaying games." Cooperative is a better word because it implies the fact that there's many people and it also suggests one key element of *every* MMO out there today: the fact that people must work together -- cooperate -- to achieve any significant goals. Uber loot, epic quests and leveling to the max requires assistance and working together, at least to some extant. It could be with giant groups of people, "massively," or just a few friends, so the word is far more accurate in its actual description.

That said, at this point, 10+ years into the genre, after EQ then WoW and now a whole line of new games, some of which appear ready to even challenge WoW's dominance (Old Republic, Star Trek Online, Aion, etc.), I doubt there's going to be any change to the name of the genre. It's stuck now, even if there are better and more accurate options... which aren't quite as much of a mouth full.

Posted: Sep 24th 2009 11:01PM Valdur said

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There's only one "MMO" with a persistent world and it's called EvE Online.The rest are single player with multi option in a virtual world.

When people try to define MMO it's like saying "There was an old lady there" but defining "old" varies from one person to another.At what age do you consider someone to be old?
a.60 years old
b.70 years old
c.80 years old
d.90 years old.

Posted: Sep 25th 2009 7:06AM cray said

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I agree with the majority of the developers that the term MMO is going obsolete. I don't think there is need to define a game because of online play. 90% of all games made are connected online, and because of this little fact, games have every right to call themselves a MMO. Which pretty much makes the term useless.

Honestly I have no idea what would be a better classification. I suppose if the term incorporated Persistent and interactive it would better describe what a true massive online game is.

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