Why MMOs Rock
By Kei Beneza (dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
As you may know MMO games have been around and hooking players for more than a decade. If I were to compare this addiction factor to other genres, I’d say the other gaming categories are way behind. The MMO industry has been rapidly evolving (andgrowing) since the MUD1 interface (one of the first MMOs) made its debut in 1978, and now, the population of MMO gamers knows no bounds. So what makes this genre addictive to begin with? Is it the epic mount that epically flies you around the epic valley of epic snow? Or is it the fact that you’re living in a moving and breathing virtual world? Many have invested their cash on single player games, saying the ultimate gaming experience can be found in a small box that gives you pinches of online content along with online versus mode.
I SAY NAY FIEND! Today we’re going to talk about what makes MMOs rock and how they are superior in their own way… *mind controls your eyes to scroll down*
When it comes to player-to-player interaction, nothing beats the persistence of MMO gaming. As much as I would want to, I think it’s irrelevant to compare MMOs with single player games, especially since the word SINGLE pretty much proves my point already. Don’t get me wrong though, single playergames like Call of Duty, Demon Souls, and Fat Princess also have their own multiplayer options, allowing gamers to interact with other players in an instanced stage. Well, they may have multiplayer… but we have the word MASSIVELY backing us up. Seeing other players is always a treat as it gives you the benefit of company. If a dungeon is too hard for you, you can always just ask the dancing Orc next to the summoning stone.
The Difference of Living and Playing
Another thing that single player games are not able to establish is the bond between the player and their virtual character. I guess single player applications can still hook them with a few hot characters, but know that you’re still playing as an EXISTING character that most players have used. In MMOs, you play as yourself, or at least a cooler, braver, and extremely tougher version of yourself. The level of immersion in MMO games is quite different in my opinion. The main fact that you’re able to eat, travel, raid, and choose your NON-PREMADE path makes it an unbeatable experience.
Social Networking On Steroids
What makes MMOs rock? Well, it’s literally a social network on steroids. Gaming zen aside, MMOs serve as a great way to make friends. You’ll be meeting different individuals from different parts of the globe as you work your way through the game. If you think about it, it’s like Facebook, only with dungeons and dragons (no pun intended) and not stupid 2d cows.
Want to be my friend??
It’s Your Story
Yes, I’m sure other genres let you experience open-ended scenarios like that of Dragon Age, but it’s still a lot different than that. There’s no doubt that Dragon Age (a singleplayer game for the PS3, 360 and PC) is a very interactive game, and living as one of the Grey Wardens is a marvelous experience, but it’s still somewhat linear in a way. Let’s see, the difference between your life as a character in a single player game and your life as an MMO gamer is the role factor involved. In MMOs, you can wander around the world and still make progress, even if you separate yourself from the storyline or your current objective. There is no WRONG WAY here my friend. In single player games you focus on things that matter to AI characters, and stuff that is essential for you to finish the game, while in MMOs, you offer your services to REAL people. I guess it’s a lot different when you contribute your skills to real people who THANK you in real life… not a programmed thanks that most players who have played the game have received.
In MMOs, your virtual life story is yours alone, and not a single soul has gone through the same experience. Here you are presented with your own life, possibly your own rival, and your own virtual dramathon. Hmm… no wonder peeps turn into bums.
My story: I’m a sexy elf looking for some adventure. Oh, you too??
Oh yes, the drama… There’s always drama in MMOs, and I’m not talking about the poor farmer who sends you on a quest to get back his daughter. I’m talking about Guild dramas, PVP dramas, and race chat bombarding XD. Like I said, no one will ever play the game the same way you did. Dramas are generally a part of MMO games, especially since you’re stuck with a bunch of individuals who also have ideas of their own. Although it’s as noobish as hell, it does add up to the game’s immersion level, thus taking you deeper into the game.
Who hasn’t had drama in an MMO?
If I’m right, Virtual Roleplaying is exclusive to the MMO world, unless you’re into tabletop games. Virtual Roleplaying is a subcategory of the noob drama you see above. I myself have tried numerous RP servers and I’m rather impressed with the whole fantasy world thing. Here, there are no pre-made speech choices that will eventually lead to the next pile of AI banter; just you, your keyboard and other players (voice chat if you’re interested, though that would be pretty awkward). Isn’t it great, being able to create and live your own script? Nothing says RPG better than actual role-playing. It does mean ROLE PLAYING GAME after all.
It’s EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE
If you think that Street Fighter is the only thing that can provide you with tons of competition, then you’re dead wrong. What’s great about MMOs is that you have tons of people to prove your skills to, and believe me, it does get pretty competitive in PVP. Unlike single player games that instantly dub you as the next big thing since Chuck Norris, giving you all sorts of special treatment, you really have to work your way to the top when playing MMO games. In order to gain your party’s approval, you really have to strive hard. Want to be a real hero? Build your character well and perform adequately. You’re not exactly the last Demon Slayer on this side of gaming.
I’ll get you for that!
It’s Basically All Genres with Pimped Up Multiplayer
What’s great about MMOs is that it’s not really limited to MMORPGs like most people think. There are various sub-genres in the MMO category. If you want to race, then there’s a long line of racing MMOs to choose from; each with their own respective communities that will grant you specific challenges, which you must face to get better. So whether it’s fighting, shooters, rpgs, racing, puzzle, or even browser games, you’ll always have a community to join in. Also, an MMO game doesn’t necessarily focus on one specific play style. Unlike some single player games that are separated into genre, MMOs can feature other genres inside their virtual world. A good example would have to be World of Warcraft, which lets you experience different genres through instances and dungeons. For instance, there’s the ram racing event which lets you race against other players, and the Ulduar tank system which sort of feels like a semi shooter. As for the pimped up multiplayer part, it’s not called Massively Multiplayer for nothing. Once you enter a game, you can bet your axe there will be someone playing with you.
A good reason to gank someone.
One of the features I think is exclusive to the MMO genre is the rapid updates. Unlike single player games, these updates are not necessarily there for bug and glitch fixes. Some updates actually add new content. Some patches add new skills for players to use, while others contain new locations and various dungeons. If you think the current world is big enough, then you would be happy to know that MMO worlds expand through time. This means that there will always be something new to look forward to be it in game or on your MMO’s online marketplace. These are not minor patches my friend.
A Living And Breathing World
Another thing that makes MMOs rock hard is the way the story is presented. Unlike single player games, MMO events don’t need you to press the “I’m ready” button for them to take place. It’s a living and breathing world, meaning you are but a character in a world that moves on its own. One good example would be Granado Espada, a free to play MMORPG by IMC Games., Co., Ltd,. Much like any other game, MMOs are not stuck in a specific time loop. Once certain conditions are met, the game undergoes another update for the story to progress. This by far is one of the best features in MMO gaming. It’s a bit troublesome if you have slow internet, but heck, it’s always a treat to see new changes. WoW itself could also be a good example as it updates regularly and even features a trailer of the latest chapter upon patching. It’s amazing how these new chapters come out as it sort of gives you an idea how long your character has been alive and what hardships he or she hath endured over time. It’s actually a very great story to tell newbies who are interested in the game, especially since being there to witness these changes occur can also be considered as a personal achievement for most games. It’s like you’re some kind of war veteran, only tougher XD.
Probably the Best Part Of All
So what’s better immersion, drama, role-play, and variety combined? The fact that most are free to play of course. YES! Buying a game often forces you to commit instantly. In an attempt to feel your money’s worth, you’ll most probably spend your time finishing a crappy game you just bought for the sheer purpose of not wasting cash. Well, that’s where the MMO goodness comes in. Here, you no longer need to worry about mixed reviews and 10 day trials, because you’re free to judge the game on your own. Just download a game, and if you like it, COMMIT THYSELF!!!
So Why Again?
I’m not sure if I stated everything there is to know about ROCKIN features, but damn! That sure is a lot of content. When you play Final Fantasy 13 (may it rest in peace lol), do you actually feel your worth? When you talk to Leliana in Dragon Age (or ask her to sleep with you), does it actually feel REAL? Hell no. Playing a video game is much different from living in one. Why settle for less when you’re basically given a FREE ticket to a virtual world where you can meet new people? Tired of finishing the same game and seeing the same ending? In the MMO world, there are no endings (unless you decide to try another game). There are times when finishing a game takes a lot out of you. If you’re searching for an eternal adventure with tons of UNIQUE characters, rapid content, and a continuous storyline, then MMO games are what you’re looking for. Pseudo-real-life noobzor drama, interactivity, massive player population, and a variety of genres, all mixed into an epic concoction of dragon slaying goodness… My friends, this is exactly why MMOs ROCK!