Just think about that title for a second. Of all the games genres you've played, isn't it MMOs that feel most like carbon copies of one another? Level systems, the character creation process and class archetypes are nearly universal, with hundreds of games sharing the same characteristics. Don't you sometimes wish that MMO developers would step back and reassess the genre they have collectively created? This week, as part of Massively's "Redefining MMOs
" series, it's my turn to muse on a topic and I've chosen to look as whether it's time the MMO mould (or mold, as my American editors would say) should be broken and re-examined.
Many aspects of MMOs, such as classes, levelling, raids and bosses, endure simply because they work. After all, if it ain't broke why fix it? But sometimes it feels like you need a breath of fresh air, to step back and smell the roses. This is especially the case when carbon copy MMOs start being rolled out. In the last few months I've tried MMO after MMO and can literally play each one blindfolded. Mages are mages, warriors are warriors and clerics by any other name are still priests. While the archetypes of these classes -- the healer, the tank, the caster, the melee damage-dealer and the pet-toting badass -- differ slightly between genres and titles, they are part of a formula that seems to define the MMO genre.
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