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Posted: Jan 23rd 2012 12:44AM (Unverified) said

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MMO = gameplay involving arbitrarily large numbers of players playing in a persistent area.

If all the gameplay involves fixed and limited numbers of players - e.g. Diablo et al, HoN/LoL et al, World of Tanks - then it's not an MMO.

Adding lobbies, towns, etc. with arbitrarily large numbers of players, while keeping the actual gameplay in instanced zones with fixed and limited numbers of players - e.g. Guild Wars, Rusty Hearts, Spiral Knights - does not make it an MMO, imho.

The fact that a game has lots of instanced, limited-numbers gameplay - e.g. WoW and derivatives - does not stop it from being an MMO as long as it also has gameplay in persistent areas involving arbitrarily large numbers of players. Which WoW and derivatives do.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2012 2:01AM (Unverified) said

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MMORPG - Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game
I see it as two concepts 1) Massive Mutiplayer Online and 2) Role Playing Game.
The O of MMO excludes LANs, this means there must be some sort of online presence (this is usually a game server somewhere), MM however is more difficult because what is massive? Ten years ago having more than 16 people was seen as massive, games like MAG host up to 256 player simultaneously... thus massively is very era specific (in a few years form now we might have 1000 player FPS multiplayer maps).
RPG is a bit tricky since by definition if the games allows you to play a given role then its a RPG (thus modern warfare is by definition a role player game as you play the role of a soldier). More commonly RPG the definition bares a lot of hallmarks to old school DnD, xp, leveling etc.

Thus a MMORPG in my opinion is any game which allows for a large number of people (subjectives but lets throw a ballpark figure of several hundreds) to simultaneously connect to the same instanced work / area using characters with some sort of backstory / plot and some of the conventional RPG mechanics like levels and xp.

However no where in the MMORPG do I see the concept of a persistent world and in fact I think that having persistent worlds might a negative impact on the RPG component.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2012 3:20AM CistaCista said

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It's easy to define ;)

MMO is defined by the ability to randomly encounter and interact with random other players.

From this follows that the world must be persistent, and open enough to the degree that chance encounters can happen in places where you didn't know they would.
And also that the size, or more importantly the number of players, is so large that you cannot predict who you will meet.

Naturally, GW etc are not MMOs in my eyes.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2012 5:23AM Snichy said

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One word: persistence! That means NO instances, NO waiting areas or lobbies, NO loading screens between areas and a world that is living, breathing, evolving and challenging just like the real world.

If it had the world size and persistance of WoW, the features and potential for exploration of Rift, the economy of Eve, the customisation of CO/APB and the investment of SWTOR I would have my perfect game. I doubt there's any game out there that tick all those boxes although Archage might come close...!

Posted: Jan 23rd 2012 6:43AM pancho72 said

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@Snichy

Persistance is a bit of an odd feature to attribute to MMOs. Technically it just means that changes are saved, so any single player game with a save feature has persistence.

In an MMO context persistence usually means that player activity is tracked and impacts the game world.
WoW has very little persistance. Gathering nodes respawn quickly after use, quests have no effect on the world, vendor economy is constant, players can't build or do anything else that leaves a lasting impact on the gameworld.
Very few MMOs have persistance, probably for a good reason. Wyrm Online is an interesting example I think of a game with persistance, so was Second Life.
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2012 6:53AM MithranArkanere said

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No matter how the term stated, now it's a broad term.

MMO just means that many people can play together in a continuous multiplayer gameplay.

The "online" part is very easy to define. You'll need some kind of Internet connection to the other players. At least until those guys in some country like USA manage to finally break the Internet.

Then we have the 'massively' part. This clearly implies "many people".
I will go with about a thousand people connected to one server, even if they get split between areas, districts, etc...
It's not like everyone HAS to be in the same place all the time, as long as they CAN.

MMORPG would be an MMO with RPG elements.

Being seamless or not, having instances or not, those have become irrelevant for the term, despise some 'purists' sticking to the initial "classic seamless grinder MMO".
Why? Well, because things change over time. Technology, increased detail along hardware limitations, new improvements... things keep changing.

Now, what makes them "multiplayer". The "multiplayer" in MMO is not just "play together" but "play with who you want".
For example, two people with different progress in their character story can play together.
That's very different when the game is not an mmo.
An example of this can be seen in the last days of Neverwinter Nights, when they added persistent worlds that were played as mmos.
Unlike normal campaigns and modules, that started with a team and advanced for all players equally, many of these persistent worlds saved progress for each character, and each character could play the same story separately or together with others. And even replay it if they joined someone playing their story.

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