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I've been hit with a wave of nostalgia for the old days of AD&D. I miss the depth of pen and paper. I miss using my imagination. I was thinking about what MMORPG means and where this concept came from. I have a bunch of questions for our community and for whoever wants to take a stab at answering them. Please be as opinionated and subjective as you want (I know you will anyway), but also help me out with examples and illustrations, so I can better understand what you are saying.
Where did MMORPGs come from? What foundational concepts are they based on?
I mean, I went back into thinking about JRR Tolkien and Gary Gygax and up to how MMORPGs are just becoming MMOs and Co-op RPGs. They are, aren't they?
What's a "true" MMORPG? How is it different from just an MMO?
I was thinking just this morning about how AI can never replace human creativity, especially in the context of games. Aren't MMORPGs computerized games of D&D or some other variant of RPG from pnp days? Are computers and their AI replacing DMs or GMs? Is it possible? What do DMs and GMs do that AI can never do? What does AI do that human DMs and GMs can never do?
How is RPG better and/or worse with real human DMs and GMs than with computer AI and developer programming and story options?
Now, to wrap up, some less philosophical and more immediate practical questions about my pnp gaming. Yesterday, I spent several hours and a lot of money searching the internet and ordering original first addition AD&D books, other Gygax related arcana, and some new polyhedral dice (almost impossible to find where I live). Please don't construe this as me saying AD&D 1st edition is the best, or that Gygax is the one true prophet. I'm just going back to my start. I'm going back to see what it was that started me on this path back in the 1970s. What was that magic? As a DM, I made worlds and even galaxies. I had AD&D campaigns started with Gygax's and TSR's help and then I wrote my own. Hundreds of pages text and maps, all gone now, into the mists and dusts of time. Probably in a landfill somewhere. And I even had lost spaceships from Star Frontiers in my AD&D worlds that could link my players to Gamma World, or Earth. I had time travel from there, so they could go into Boot Hill, Gang Busters or Top Secret. I wrote it all up. I had maps. We never got that far with the people I played with, but I wrote it and envisioned it (I spent a lot of time alone as a kid, so I had time).
So that brings me to my questions. I want to know where else to look. What other truly great games are out there? What are the best AD&D books and writers? Beyond AD&D, what are the best pnp RPG games out there? Who are the best writers? Are there any amazing reference books you want recommend? What else?
What are the best pnp RPGs out there? What books do you recommend that I read?
EDIT: If you know any good websites or forums where geeks talk about this stuff, please let me know or link them up. Cheers.
Also, I'm interested in anything, not just fantasy or sci-fi. I am particularly interested in games that might deal with alternate dimensions or shifting realities.