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Posted: Apr 27th 2010 1:42PM (Unverified) said

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I consider 'Massively' as a breakdown of 3 categories. Thus, requiring only 1 of the categories to be filled for valid coverage.

Scale - The size of the play-field avatars find themselves in. The 'size' depicting a roughly estimated continent, since the majority of MMOs are scaled to at least a continent of content. (depicted by maps)

Player-base - The amount of players that participate in said title. It should also be considered that a massive amount of players might cover a country, city, or even a country area. It is safe to say that the bare minimum should roughly estimate a few thousand per server.

Prerequisites - As above stated, I highly agree that it must be multiplayer and online. I also agree it should be persistent, but not specifically classified as a world, since we can all agree games like EVE Online are not played on any particular planet.

Posted: Apr 27th 2010 1:42PM Svenn said

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I don't think I would qualify tabletop gaming as persistent in any way. I love tabletop gaming, and I even run a tabletop gaming website ( http://tabletopgeeks.com/ ) but the lack of persistence is one of my biggest problems with them.

With a few minor exceptions, tabletop games are a 1 shot deal and then they are over. If you play something with a campaign that's somewhat persistent, but still limited. So while something like Lord of Ultima might have a few similarities to tabletop gaming, I'm not sure it's a fair comparison.

Posted: Apr 27th 2010 1:48PM Mr Angry said

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I just think you guys need to have a separate section for web browser based games or technologies, and another for what us MMO snobs refer to as "proper games". :) It could be as simple as another tab at the top of the screen to filter out what people are looking for.

I do enjoy looking at the web stuff, and just think on how Massively can offer specific advertising to each group of readers!

I don't doubt that browser games can be 'massive', I just feel they are a different audience to the people who think it's perfectly acceptable to pay $15 / month. Accessing both from this website would be good, and I feel there are real benefits in terms of both news and also contributions to nurture each community side by side, rather than to post everything together.

When Massively started out, there weren't as many games to cover, but with the recent explosion of Web based and free to play games, I think it might be time to have a bit of a reorganization, just to make the site a little easier to navigate, and from my point of view get more value from the excellent articles published here.

I don't know what others think, just my personal view. I've nothing against web browser games and I play two of them regularly. It's not they lack depth or are badly made, however I feel the community aspect of commenting on these needs to grow, and having a special section may foster that desire.

Also, why don't you guys have a section to 'get a trial here'?

People come here to read news, why not refer traffic to a free trial page, so after reading, people can get straight to the game, download it, or even login to browser games. I think you all do an excellent job, but don't know why you don't monitor your referral traffic, as it helps you cross market and also monitor popularity of games form your own figures?

Posted: Apr 27th 2010 1:50PM Wisdomandlore said

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What is "persistent?" Do instanced-based games with virtual lobbies (DDO, Phantasy Star Online, that new iPhone/iPad game) count? If so, Massively dropped the ball last week in not covering the launch of the Wii's newest MMO: Monster Hunter Tri.

Posted: Apr 27th 2010 1:57PM (Unverified) said

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Monster hunter would not qualify, since it can be played offline.
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Posted: Apr 27th 2010 2:07PM Svenn said

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@Unicron

Why does having an offline mode matter? If two games are identical, but one allows you to play a version of itself offline and the other does not, why would one be an MMO and not the other one?

Just to clarify, Monster Hunter is not an MMO (at least, Tri is not, there IS an MMO in Japan, called Monster Hunter Frontier). However, it's not because of the fact that it has an offline mode. You can only have 4 people playing at a time using lobbies. That's just regular multiplayer gameplay.

Also, Monster Hunter rules! ;)
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Posted: Apr 27th 2010 1:52PM (Unverified) said

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Just to clarify, no I do not consider it a MMO if it does not fit all 3 of the criteria. I do however, think that it could be covered if it encompassed at least 1.

For example, you can't have a MMO without a player-base. If you are the only one playing, then how is that considered an MMO. If you only cover MMOs, then how can you cover games not out yet? They have no player-base, and if they do, then the game might have just been announced. Therefore, it should only be required to cover 1 instead of all 3.




Posted: Apr 27th 2010 3:39PM Bhima said

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Do you mean POTENTIAL player base or actual player base determines what is an MMO? I'm guessing you mean potential player base because if you took a game like WoW, and magically, you were the only one playing the game at the time, would it cease to be an MMO? Of course, there are plenty of games that have potential for a large player base, but are they all MMOs just by that definition? Possibly, though I'm not sure.
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Posted: Apr 27th 2010 2:16PM Glorbo said

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How about games like Halo: Reach and StarCraft II, games that have a persistent online component that includes experience and leveling, huge player bases. And the multiplayer part is entirely removed from the single player portion of the game.

Where do you draw the line?

Posted: Apr 27th 2010 2:21PM Anatidae said

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Good article.

The first thing that strikes me is the loss of "Role Playing". I believe that most of this is simply due to that fact that MMOs have become so much "game" and less "virtual world" that they simply lack the vision to encourage natural role play.

By that I mean almost every modern MMO revolves around reducing an opponents health and bolstering your own. Gone are the days of Ultima Online's rather pointless Polymorph or Summon Creature. In fact, many skills in UO were completely pointless other than "just for fun". Yet people did them, and had fun!

Without going too far into the RP topic, I think if a large scale MMO were to add in the right tools for people to organically RP, it would come back.

And with those tools, comes the whole thought of sandbox worlds again. Out of any MMO, the sandbox worlds feel the most massive to me. And even today, most of the new sandbox MMOs are being developed completely around combat. Going back to Ultima Online again, upon launch one could have been, say, an armorsmith and found wealth and fame within the game and never once killed a monster. Thinking like that feels even more massive to me - massive world, massive possibilities.

EvE feels incredibly massive. They have designed a number of non-combat ways to excel in that world too.

WoW is massive in size. If you ever decide to take your lvl80 guy for a tour around the world for the heck of it, you'll remember all the zones that are ghost towns, devoid of players, but take up a huge amount of space. WoW is also where RP really died off is mass. Previously, EQ, AC, DAoC, etc... had lots of it floating around. WoW... well...

Then we jump to modern games.
Champions, Star Trek - instanced so much with small zones that it feels more like a game than ever before. This is where I start to think "MMO?" I suppose so... but they are weak ones. Not to say the gameplay isn't fun. But if you compare Star Trek to EvE as far as a massive universe, EvE wins by a long shot.

Before that WAR, a game that seems like it should have felt more massive, also felt contained. Their approach to having almost a single trail to follow along in each realm made the world feel very small and somewhat like walking down a valley. Then they added in Scenarios, pulling more of the players out of the world and into instances reducing the feeling of massiveness even farther.

But then these other games... Well. I even have a hard time calling Guild Wars an MMO. I wouldn't call Diablo one nor would I call any game like Battlefield one. I also have a hard time calling Global Agenda massive.


I guess, having lots of players might be one way to say massive, but if that is the criteria for an MMO, then we would need to include a lot more games. Just about every Steam based FPS game would fall under a MMO heading too.

Obviously having persistent cause/effect to the game would does not make a MMO. I can't do a darn thing in just about any MMO that will last upon my logging out - to the virtual environment anyway. Otherwise I'd blow up that darn floating city in WoW. Come on, a floating city? How pompous. They deserve to have that blasted to rubble.

So it seems to come down to the "feeling" of massiveness that makes a true MMO. If you present me with a small house and tell me that when everyone goes inside they get their own instance - I still see a small house. If you take everyone to the superdome and we stand inside, we can all agree what a massive building we are in. You can also have us walk through a large hotel in Vegas and we will probably all agree it is massive. Yet if you only took one hotel room and instanced it for everyone, we would see a very small hotel.

With that logic, I think some of the games you mentioned are fun lobbies with instanced content and fall in the simple "Online Game" category. Even Global Agenda with its somewhat persistence. Games like Star Trek are painfully low on the massive and are just barely cutting the MMO title.

That said, I still like the coverage of Massively. I think it is great you guys cover some games out of the MMO box. I wouldn't mind more fringe MMO stories actually. In fact, you could tag them "Fringe-MMO" so people could know to skip the article if they don't want to hear more about the game.

Posted: Apr 27th 2010 7:07PM Enikuo said

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This sorta reminds me of that quote about porn, "I know it when I see it."

I always thought of MMO's in terms of scalability and goals - can it be scaled to handle thousands of players and does it include goals that requires a group to achieve? But, I see how difficult it is to define when you get down to the hard numbers and defining qualities. I think you did a great job hashing it out in the article.

As far as what you guys should write about, I'm glad you're more flexible. I was a pay-to-play snob, but I came around and have recently enjoyed reading about and trying out a lot of the f2p games. They seem to be changing. And, the market seems to be changing. I think the lines are beginning to blur anyway.


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