MMOs: A Pinch Of Everything (But Just A Pinch)
By Kei Beneza (dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
It’s amazing how MMOs managed to broaden their scope by experimenting with different genres. We have Shooter MMOs, RTS themed ones, Fighter-based games, I’m sure you get the idea. The thing here is, MMOs may have all these genres locked in their multiplayer goodness, but let’s not forget that it’s merely a pinch of what their original genres are made of.
The Origins Of The Genre
If you think about it, MMOs were quite generic a few years ago. The game play concept was merely to put tons of players in a static world of grinding while allowing them to interact to fill up the holes left by the lack of content. One of the reasons why it was fun playing MMOs is that you will never be alone and MUST NEVER be alone to stand a chance against the persistent world. First off, the challenges offered cannot be soloed on most occasions, as players will eventually need the help of a party member in order to achieve their next level (not to mention their proper gear). Secondly, players also need to interact through combat for them to enjoy the game further. Since grinding can get old after a few hours of hacking and slashing, players needed another way to entertain themselves while recovering from the grind slump. Yes MMO gaming is fun, but just like any game, it also loses its shine once the users get used to the same repetitive game play.
A golden oldie
The Other MMOs
To broaden their horizons, MMOs ventured into other genres that have also captured the hearts of gamers, copying (or rather duplicating) a part of its game play goodness to allow MMOs to give these gamers a taste of their preferred genre along with some massively multiplayer add ons. From FPSes to Browser games, the MMO virus (as I call it) has infected tons of other genres, allowing them to capture those who have not been impressed by the whole MMORPG fad. It’s amazing how MMOs have spawned countless hybrids, constantly changing and mixing genres as they continue to attract new players.
Other MMO types
So Why A Pinch?
Although we know that the MMO genre has branched its now subcategories, we cannot deny the fact that it only copied the shallow surface of the said game. How should I put this… We’re very much aware that there are tons of MMO Fighting Games out there. Rumble Fighter, Grand Chase, GetAmped, and sure they all have different game play and gimmicks, but they do not share the very soul, which makes fighting games what they are. Let’s see, MMO fighting games are usually mindless and are much similar to a beat em’ up games compared to a pure fighter-based ones. There are no technicalities, no input precision, nothing but mashable buttons that instantly perform combos upon tapping the G key. If we compare it to old fighting games like Mortal Kombat 3 and Street Fighter 2, you’ll see that they havefewer technicalities to offer despite the age difference.
A bit of everything
Believe it or not, the same thing applies to RPGs. Exactly what was the last single player RPG you played? For now let’s keep an open mind. MMORPGs are the soul core of MMO game play. Not only are they the first form of MMO goodness, they’re also the most played (not to mention the ones that divide like crazy). Yes, MMOs are superior when it comes to their player base, no doubt the world is breathing through theirmassive population. But aside from the whole aspect of population and interactivity, the world is stuck on a specific timeline. You’re given a nice storyline about Old Gods and Elder Dragons with you being the mythical hero about to bring balance to the force or whatever. It’s a good thing as RPG does mean ROLE PLAYING GAME, but to be stuck in a specific timeframe completely ignores the whole idea of you being the main character (mythical hero) of your own adventure. You may beat the elder dragon, but the story will always stay as is (with you preparing for what is yet to come), ignoring your accomplishments and the story you’ve established for your character even though you’ve practically solved the galactic problem.
Yes, A Pinch! But We Added More
Although we have established the fact that MMO games have copied elements from other games, it does not change the fact that they did personalize them with their own touches. Systems such as leveling up in fighting games and customizing your OWN fighter’s move list can only be found in MMO fighting games. To encourage gamers to play more, these game clones (except for the RPG ones) allow players to level up.
Bet You Liked Our Idea!
One thing about this method of copying is that it also inspired the “copyee”, forcing them to add online multiplayer functions to attain the same massively multiplayer charm. The funny part is that now, some games let players level up (or rank up) to unlock more content. Sounds familiar?
I think I’ve said “genre” and “MMO” a bit too much to prove my point; still; I hope I managed to explain it well. MMOs have copied a lot of genres and are still copying some of the newer ones. They may have copied a pinch from each, but they did incorporate their own personal touch, allowing players to enjoy a different experience while playing the same thing. From rhythm games to browser games (would you believe it? BROWSER GAMES!), MMOs have expanded into what they are today, a gaming monster of variety. Isn’t it amazing being able to play different genres inside a single one? Although it has worked its magic for some, other gamers (especially fighting game ones) can’t accept games like Rumble Fighter as a real fighting game. So what are these games exactly? Is it a fighting game? A shooter, or an RPG maybe? Hell no… This my friend is an MMO… A little bit of everything, blended into one solid genre. The best part? It continues to grow as more games come out. 😉