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Reader Comments (58)

Posted: Sep 9th 2010 3:30AM alinos said

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I'm not sure why people get so hung up on persistence as a defining attribute in MMO's
Persistent worlds are often just a way of separating an area into 8 separate zones with different monsters to give boring quests of which most people play solo and start screaming their heads off if anyone kills one of the spiders they are trying to kill, or if someone tries to help finish something off(I thought this was a multiplayer game)

where in an instanced realm you know where the players are going to start and where they're going to be aiming for and you can tailor a challenge for them.

what we need is an adequate merge of both persistent and instanced realms

Massively and Multiplayer

just means you have a large world and have a game that is multiplayer by nature, the persistence of a world is useless because normally it's the same as playing the game solo. In my stint in WoW the only time I ever was in a group was for an instance, at any other point in the game everyone I played with(vent channel of about 30 at any one time) was always off doing their own things

GW(which many of you will say isn't an MMO) had one advantage when I reached content because of the nature of the game I always had the full party to at least attempt the game if I couldn't get a full group of people to do whatever needed to be done.

The nature of MMO like the RPG is different to everyone and while one person may not view one game as a MMO another does. To me it merely means Large world, can play with a huge variety of people and interact with them

Posted: Sep 9th 2010 3:38AM Pan1 said

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You'd think half of the people commenting never even played a MMORPG.

Posted: Sep 9th 2010 3:44AM cic said

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Oh, this feels mean, but what the heck....

You know what is really funny? You work and collect a pay check from a company that runs a site on MMO news. And then you ask, what is MMO?

You can't actually define the product you have been feeding off for how many years?! You're currently asking what you're selling to it's customers.

Why not just find a job selling magic? Then again Lindelof and Cuse have that covered.

Posted: Sep 9th 2010 4:04AM cic said

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"you have been feeding off for how many years"

Yes. I know you haven't been on here this long, it was an exaggerated statement based on usual a gaming community response

Posted: Sep 9th 2010 4:52PM Brianna Royce said

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To be fair, what Massively is "selling" is advertising, by way of delivering news. We're not in the business of making or selling MMORPGs. :)

Honestly, it would be neglectful of us not to ask and re-ask this question in the pursuit of both journalism and curiosity.


Posted: Sep 9th 2010 4:06AM cic said

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Feck you english language

Posted: Sep 9th 2010 4:20AM (Unverified) said

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A really good article that finally raises this subject. Many have a very shallow view of what an MMO is and instead they should have a broad view....which is of course not easy when you being fed the same games over and over again.

I have kind of even tried to get Neverwinter Nights acknowledged as an MMO as each server is kind of like an mini-MMO in its own right.

I think MMO is quite an old term and refers to the first time that like 20+ people could connect to a server. Remember that the first multiplayer games usually where shooters and I think they usually had a maximum of like 10-20.

So the possibility to have more than that and start populating "worlds" with the players was what was the difference.

I don't think we should get hung up on numbers though and also I don't think we should get hung up on the need for a "world" or an avatar.

Instead we need to think about what the abbreviation actually stands for and how broad it actually is.

Again. Great article. Thanks for trying to broaden the view for some people that probably need it...

Posted: Sep 9th 2010 4:57AM cic said

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I agree, on some aspects. But now a days 'massive' to me and I hope others, is over 1,000 people in a single instanced zone or 30,000+ on a server (yes shards) as EVE is doing atm. Sure more than 4 people in a co-op might be massive back in the lan days of the early 90's.

This is 2010, pushing the envelope... there really should be no need to instance your world unless you are pumping the most elaborate environments and crazy character models and animation. I'm sure Beau would agree as f2p is so ahead of the game and p2p needs to catch up on this dynamic atm.

Posted: Sep 9th 2010 10:41AM alinos said

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But Cic when is there a need for anything more than a 100 in any area

realistically its all well and good to say you should have 30,000 people on a sever at any one time

but the fact of it is that theres 30,000 people spread over a large amount of terrain

and normally means you still end up seeing no one anyways until you go to the town/quest hub(although in open PvP they always seem to be able to find you)

As i said in my earlier post instancing has a place and we need a meld of both thats more than the 6 dungeons in the game that dont really play any different than the open world other than the fact they all have uber stats)


Posted: Sep 9th 2010 5:15AM Seffrid said

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Shackle commented "I think any game where you play with more than 3 other people simultaneously online counts as a mmo".

Admit it, you only set the limit that low in order that Alganon would qualify :)!

As for the definition of MMORPG (which I pronounce the same as "morgue", the second "M" being silent), I'm not bothered how it is defined other than when the more cretinous players insist that "Massively Multiplayer" means obligatory grouping.

I'm personally happy with a relaxed definition that a MMORPG is an online game based around traditional role-playing game concepts and played by multiple players on the same shard or server.

Posted: Sep 9th 2010 12:10PM Pingles said

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I just wanted to clarify that the word "Massively" in the term MMORPG is tied to the second word "Multiplayer".

They are Multiplayer games that are MASSIVELY multiplayer.

It's not "Massive-sized Multiplayer game" as a few threads here seem to define it as.

While the word Massive is open to interpretation I think it was pretty clearly set up by the original definer to differentiate between MMOs and the 10-30 people you find in deathmatch games.

Posted: Sep 9th 2010 1:04PM Tom in VA said

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Personally, I wish we'd all just DROP the first "M" (for "massively") entirely.

It's too often misused and ill-defined. Some people think "massively" refers to the number of players online in the game at a given moment, some people think it refers to the area of gameplay within a given MMO, some people think it refers to the number of players that can coexist within a confined space or instance at a given time.

Please PLEASE, can we just drop the "massively" and simply refer to games as "MORPG", "MOFPS", etc., for multiplayer online role-playing games. (Yes, massively.com, this may be an issue for you ;) )

It is commonly accepted that WoW is an "MMORPG", but how much of WoW is spent -- in terms of actual playing time -- utilizing massive numbers of other players simultaneously? It might as well be Guild Wars, in terms of actual playing mechanics. You form a small group or you play alone, just like in Guild Wars or DDO.

The only places I ever see "massive" numbers of players in WoW (and LotRO, etc.) are in the major cities and NOWHERE else. Most of the content in these games (surely 95% of it) is accomplished SOLO or in SMALL GROUPs, just like in all "massively" multiplayer games.

The fact of the matter is that, in real terms, the "massive" part has virtually no bearing or relevance to these games whatsoever. It only refers to the potential pool of players from which to draw teammates. Let's either (1) drop the massively "M" or (2) say it refers to the player pool online (that's my preference), meaning that any game that has a large player base concurrently online and mutually accessible could be considered an "MMO."

Posted: Sep 9th 2010 3:03PM Aetrix said

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MM = Massively Multiplayer (lots of people together...)
O = Online (on the internet...)
RPG = Role-Playing-Game (being nerds.)

I can't understand what is difficult about the concept, or why it spawns these intense discussions.

Posted: Sep 9th 2010 3:09PM Djinn said

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While I think the topic is interesting to ponder in a philosophical sense, I think you are overanalyzing the term.

"MMORPG" simply is an extension of previous terms. We start with "RPG". Single player RPGs didn't have the issue of "roleplaying" in the Tabletop or LARP sense because you were one person playing within a defined world. You were playing a character that was not you, therefore you were "roleplaying" and that is what they called the games. The difficulty came with games with characters that were not scripted and allowed multiple people to play at the same time. You still played an avatar that was not you. You still did quests and advanced your character in various ways like an RPG. So they still called it an RPG.

Regarding the size, of course that was also a progression from Single Player, to Multi-Player, to Massively Multiplayer. Nuff said.

Online simply distinguished between Multiplayer that was done via Lan Party and Multiplayer that was accomplished by logging onto the internet.

Yes, the term is outdated but it sticks because it is what we are used to like so many other terms. A game is a MMORPG to me if I have the potential to interact with a large number of people while I play. Instanced or not doesn't matter although I prefer an open persistant world like WoW or LotRO.

Posted: Sep 9th 2010 6:53PM (Unverified) said

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Makes you wonder. Is WoW really an MMO. From level 1-80 you spend it soloing or in small groups, mostly soloing quests.

At level 80 you do the following things
Battleground: instanced (cross server)
Arena: instanced (cross server)
Heroics: instanced (cross server)
Raids: instanced (wtb cross server)
Daily Quests: usually solo, some small groups.

With 3 of the items occuring cross server, honestly, how is it any different than Diablo2 or Guild Wars, where you gather in a social hub (Dalaran, Shatt, Capital city) which is theoretically no different than the out of game chat rooms in Diablo2, and then set out for a small excursion with a small group of people. Both games have equal sized pools of people.

Honestly, in some ways I would love if WoW just dropped the idea of "servers" altogether and put us all in one giant instanced pool. That way when I want to raid at 1:00am my time I have the potential to draw from the entirety of the playerbase, rather than just the tiny amount of players online at 1:00am on my singular server.

Posted: Sep 9th 2010 9:41PM lucas42 said

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I think in most cases a discussion like this is abstract, except when it comes to deciding which games a focused site like Massively will report on. Then it's important when it could mean they don't report on your new pet game for whatever reason.

That said, yeah it's really hard to define. MMO is a very inclusive term right now, comprising a lot of trends. Perhaps in a few years defining it will be easier once some trends become established and others die away. I think RPG is superfluous and incidental. I disagree with any definitions of RPG that categorize a game as one simply because it represents character development with numbers. Role playing is something some games allow, and others have no need for it. I'd like to see MMO as the catch-all, and MMOs that are RPGs treated as such.

Posted: Sep 10th 2010 11:09AM twittles said

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a couple is 2 a few is 3 massive is thousands if not millions.
game companies use it all the time to descibe their game even though most aren't massive.
Games don't have to be massive to be enjoyable, either. the content just needs to be fun and accessible, regardless of what platform its on.
this is alot like the free in free to play a way to spin the game so it appears more appealing to the consumer, you never hear a company say we are going with the cash shop model and likewise you will never see them admit the game is fun and accessible but not massive
look it up in a dictionary and decide for yourself if 2 or 3 or even 100 still fits into the meaning for you.
i dont blame them for this as ive seen how gamers tend to swarm where they know there is a large player base already existing. i.e this guy had two guilds linked via a private chat channel in a game i played. the guild wasn't anything of note and the leader was a bit of a jerk. he would random invite all day then log in the next day and kick 20 or 30 people. so that he could invite more. some of those he kicked he had invited the day before. even with all of that eventually he and his officers started getting invite requests daily because people would see the guild tag all over.

Posted: Sep 16th 2010 10:10AM (Unverified) said

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Attempting to define MMORPGs as you said is hard because of the constant changes but I think it's fairly easy to just go by the standards that 1) it's a form of social interaction and 2) there are a few hundred people at the very least playing it to provide a variety of interactions. I don't think the technicalities of being in an instance or not are all that important, as long as the social aspect is present.

On that note though... I agree with Jeromai that FPE's provide a more disjointed world and I feel it's really important that MMORPG's offer that type of immersion in lore and a virtual world. I wouldn't find WoW as exciting if I didn't know the storyline driving it but I don't really care what the storyline of Borderlands is as long as I get to kick some ass.

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