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Reader Comments (86)

Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 10:12AM Rialle said

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Originally it seemed that MMO implied:

1. An instance of the game server/world hosts MANY players (hundreds or thousands) at once, who can all interact with each other. This doesn't count the lobby/matchmaking service as Battle.net.

2. The game server/world is always available (barring scheduled maintenance) and doesn't close/reset when set criteria are met (as they would in an FPS or RTS match.

The advent of the instance and a blurring of the lobby and game world kind of warped the definition. Guild Wars is a good example, because instead of using a Battle.net-style lobby, they use "shared" areas where you can meet up with others.

World of Warcraft is a pure MMO, but the instance now overshadows the non-instanced world these days. For many players, aside from mining/herbing runs, there is little functional difference between WoW and GW because most are content with sitting in town and waiting for their instance/BG queue to pop.

I think that game designers really need to rethink how they are doing their games and instancing. Instanced content has become the dominant activity over the MMO for the most part, but this has ultimately lead to MMOs feeling more like small/limited group games than actual MMOs.

Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 11:56AM corpusc said

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@Rialle i agree with most of what you are saying, but strongly disagree in calling WoW a pure MMO. in fact, WoW is the chief reason why the term is abused so often, because its de facto instancing of dungeons has so permeated the group think ideas about MMOs. "thats just the way you do dungeons".

before that, instancing was a rare thing, and dungeons were public and just as immersive as the rest of the world.

WoW was LARGELY an MMO. but still a hybrid. a significant part of the world was massive. but over time with queuing for instances, and phasing and all that, its become less and less so.
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Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 10:44AM pancho72 said

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MMO
Large system where lots of players (more than 50) can potentially meet through the course of normal gameplay.

Games where people meet through matchmaking systems don't qualify because the matchmaking is separate from gameplay. Those are in the broader category of multiplayer games.

Seamlessness and non-instanced zones is often a feature of MMOs, but not a requirement if players can freely travel between the zones or instances. Eve Online is an example of a MMO with seams (solar systems connected with jump gates).

The original Guild Wars is a bit of a special case.

Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 10:48AM Wispur said

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From what game does that screenshot at the top of the post come from?
I do love me some dinosaurs.

Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 11:18AM Dumac said

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@Wispur
That's a Tyrannus from Guild Wars. The Asura lands in the EOTN expansion have dinosaur themed wildlife.

http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/Tyrannus
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Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 12:04PM Irem said

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@Wispur
To add to what Dumac said, many of them are also awful to fight (appropriate for dinosaurs, I guess!). I'd like to kick Angorodons as a species down a cliff, specifically.

Lovely zones they're in, though! Some of my favorite places in the game.
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Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 11:05AM Jorev said

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My definition of a true MMO is one that maintains and respects the virtual boundaries and mimics many realities of our real world experience.

It cannot have instancing. It should be an open sandbox where players have freedom to choose their own path. All items and rewards must be earned in the virtual world, real world money does not exist.
There are significant consequences for failing in battle. Travel must be realistic for the genre. Characters must have carry weight limits.
Characters cannot change their names or respec. Those actions require rerolling from scratch with a new character.

Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 5:26PM Marz said

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@Jorev

Which is why there are no True MMO's, (at least by your definition of it) because ultimately games are supposed to be fun to play.
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Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 5:29PM Marz said

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@Marz
Sorry I should have said "Very few" of those type of games, not that there aren't "any."
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Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 11:08AM Dumac said

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-no offline single player, the most important thing
-centralized server system, that is no lan, private servers etc
-the feel of it, i admit this one is tough to define but if i left it out i couldn't say TOR is a single player RPG with always on DRM and a subscription :) (i'm kidding obviously)

Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 11:22AM Borick said

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What makes a game MMO is persistent play in the proximity of others.

MMO doesn't mean raid or die.

MMO doesn't mean 'story driven'.

MMO doesn't mean PVP or persistent gear or having an end-game grind. It's all about having a community of people playing in the same world.

Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 11:28AM DarkWalker said

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I would define MMO as any game where a really large number of players (preferably over a hundred) have a chance to meet in the same game space and interact with each other in meaningful ways.

I wouldn't include lobby/instance based games, though, unless a really large number of players could jump into each instance.

As for RPG, I don't really see most MMOs as qualifying. A RPG game should allow players to roleplay their characters, to make meaningful choices; most non-sandbox MMOs are just glorified action games (or even disguised turn-based games) with level and gear progression, and where either there is no real choice, or the choices don't actually matter.

RPGs, after all, are all about roleplaying. Gear grind, levels, etc, don't make a game into a RPG; they aren't even required for a game to be a RPG, for what matters.

Want to see what a computer RPG can be? Go play a game like Fallout (any one of them should qualify). Multiple ways to solve each issue (usually not limited to just a good and a bad approach), with wildly varying results, and the changes reflected in the game. It's a game where, if you decide to not help a city (or, in some cases, just postpone because you are indecisive), it won't be there if you come back. Heck, you can even obliterate the cities yourself if you feel like playing a really bad character.

Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 11:28AM (Unverified) said

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MMO - a massive amount of users has the feeling of being connected with a common game via a network connection. This includes social games and instance based games like League of Legends. As long as the server structure is transparent to the players and they perceive the game as one application instance and any arbitrary limited group of players can communicate one may call it MMO.

Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 11:54AM Budukahn said

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Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of players.

Or to be more specific, 65 players or more in a single play area.

Anything less is a game of Battlefield dimensions. Still big, but not quite MMO'ish.

Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 12:54PM theBeast said

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I was wondering this when I saw that Wildstar was an "MMO" but had a character selection screen vs. character creation screen.

Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 2:50PM Irem said

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@theBeast
From what I understand, WildStar will have character creation, and the character selection was for the demo only.
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Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 3:42PM theBeast said

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@Irem I hope you are correct. I love the aesthetic of that game, but I value character creation much more. =)
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2012 1:32AM Daeths said

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@theBeast Which is why im not going to bother with the Marvel game thats coming out
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Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 1:02PM SkyStreak said

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My take on it is an MMO is a any game that allows a large number of people to play through a shared series of events that are ever changing over time.

Posted: Jan 22nd 2012 1:24PM Tizmah said

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Ahh, to me an MMO is a virtual world where you play as created character who is an extension of yourself and the decisions you make affect the world and the people you encounter.

However, everything so instanced and solo now I don't think we have many MMOs out on the market right now. Just seems like a single player game with smarter "NPCs"(Players) and occasional group content.

That's just how I define it myself while matching what I look for in an MMO.

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