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Week 6: What Defines an MMO? 05/23/2010

Posted by Dynas in Video Games.

What defines a MMO?  This is the question that was brought up in a recent article I read on Allakhazam’s website today.The author felt that an ever persisting world was one of the “traditional” and mostly main requirement to fulfill the definition of an MMO. I feel somewhat differently.

Whether it be a MMORPG, MMORTS, MMOFPS, or whatever 3 letter acronym you can tack on to MMO, I do believe there are certain criteria involved with labeling something as such.

It’s true that consoles games with online multiplayer are quite the norm nowadays, but I believe that hardly makes them MMO’s. Sure you’re playing across the globe in a game that many people are playing, but are they all playing in the same world at once?

This is the factor that defines the MMO experience for me, many players playing at once in the same world. 16-32 multiplayer frag fests do not a MMO make. If you’re going to call something an MMO you should be able to do something with hundreds of other players in the same world.

The only other requisite I would place on defining an MMO experience is the ability to communicate in some sort of meaningful way. You can’t really get to know the guy that headshotted you with a sniper from across the map really well, nor would you want to.

In an environment with hundreds of players all competing, sharing, and experiencing the same things community must be an integral part. Without a community to interact with and get to know, MMO’s by default will fail. Why do you think FFXI has survived so long?



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