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[Column] General: That's Not an MMO

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,595MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Often when a game is listed at MMORPG.com, it is said by some to "not be an MMO". In our latest Tourist column, we take a look at that charge and try to offer a bit of a different perspective on the matter. See what we think before leaving your own thoughts in the comments.

Forgive the aggression here, but it's a bit irritating to see Massively Multiplayer shilled off on so many bullet-point lists. It's one more example of marketing teams assuming the ignorance of the average gamer. I resent the term “massive” being used to describe 16 players on a single map. By using “MMO” they are cribbing a term which had clear definitions and muddying the waters. Even attached to other genre signifiers, stealing the most important part of our acronym makes it more meaningless than ever before.

Read more of Chris Coke's The Tourist: That's Not an MMO.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • BTrayaLBTrayaL BucharestPosts: 595Member Uncommon
    I got to say that this is the very first column written here that I truly stand behind. And I have registered a few years back...

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  • GrahorGrahor aaaPosts: 828Member

    The True Meaning of MMORPG, or who the hell cares? Who's the author to tell me what's Truly True (TM) MMORPG is and what isn't? Nobody, that's who.

     

    *shrug* why did I even read that...

  • FalcomithFalcomith Hastings, FLPosts: 800Member

    Oh geeze! And I thought it meant Most Men Online Role Play Girls.

    On a serious note, I agree with the writer. The meaning is in the words.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massively_multiplayer_online_role-playing_game

    "Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is a genre of role-playing video games or web browser based games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world.

    As in all RPGs, players assume the role of a character (often in a fantasy world or science-fiction world) and take control over many of that character's actions. MMORPGs are distinguished from single-player or small multi-player online RPGs by the number of players, and by the game's persistent world (usually hosted by the game's publisher), which continues to exist and evolve while the player is offline and away from the game."

  • ReklawReklaw Am.Posts: 6,476Member Uncommon

    Good article, thanks.

    I also like to mention that when I hear the term MMO or MMORPG I have certain expectations. Where the example's of what a MMO or MMORPG explained in OP is.

    When I enter a RTS game I expect a certain stratigic game. Same with FPS I have certain expectations. Same with what ever genre of games.

    And I will admit the line has blured to what is and what is not a MMORPG or MMO.

    Of couse there are people that just play games if they are fun to them and they don't care in what genre or segment the games belongs as long it's fun to them. But for those gamers that actually choose a certain genre of games they should expect that genre to atleast have the familiar basics.

  • CenthanCenthan Toms River, NJPosts: 483Member

    Very good article. Just a few random thoughts....

     

    I vaguely recall an article on here when Diablo III was being released that was explaining why it was being included on MMORPG. I forget what the reasons were, but the true reason in my opinion was that it was very popular and very hyped pre-release, and it was was simply listed here to get more viewers to the page. I guess if you only had true MMOs on this site, it would be pretty desolate, having maybe 20 games or so.

     

    That said, the MMO requirements for listing games here are pretty thin. When I think “massively”, I think of 100's or even 1000's playing together on the same server, interacting directly (glad you mentioned Planetside2). Any “match” based game with a fixed number of players on each side (LoL, Smite, Global Agenda, etc..) just doesn't fit this category. I mean you might as well call video poker and Farmville massively multiplayer as well. Think about how many thousands of people are playing those games around the world right at this moment. It doesn't matter that they are not playing them together, the games are still being played at the same time, and based on the way games make the list, I think should be included on this MMO site. I guess the problem I have is that the term “massively” applied to many of these games is very misleading. Same goes for the term “free” being applied to many FTP games, but that is a discussion for another post...

     

  • tordurbartordurbar Alexandria, VAPosts: 429Member
    Agree with the OP 100%. However, I believe the push to expand the MMO definition is slowing, if not going the other way. Investors now are after the mobile market and dumping MMO startups right and left. If it was not for Kickstarter the MMO landscape would be much worse. 
  • GardavsshadeGardavsshade Cedar Springs, MIPosts: 756Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Grahor

    The True Meaning of MMORPG, or who the hell cares? Who's the author to tell me what's Truly True (TM) MMORPG is and what isn't? Nobody, that's who.

     

    *shrug* why did I even read that...

    I care. I agree with him. I couldn't have explained it better. I have been waiting for an Article like this to be featured on MMORPG.COM for years. It is long overdue.

     

    Notice this website is name mmorpg.com. An Article like this actually belongs here.

     

     
     
     
     
  • Jairoe03Jairoe03 Winthrop Harbor, ILPosts: 732Member


    Originally posted by Grahor
    The True Meaning of MMORPG, or who the hell cares? Who's the author to tell me what's Truly True (TM) MMORPG is and what isn't? Nobody, that's who. *shrug* why did I even read that...


    This is a topic that I have seen MMORPG written about before and I'm sure it is a topic that continuously gets revisited like the other heated debates of P2P vs F2P, Sandbox vs theme-park etc.


    IMO its a good topic to revisit and to somewhat remind people where the boundaries stand at least for the site (or maybe more specifically for the writer for those picky enough to point that out).


    It isn't necessarily about how one person wants to define "true meaning of MMO" as opposed to pointing out the lines that are "drawn" and where MMO begins and ends on a broader scale. I don't think there's anything outrageous in the writer's claim and he keeps it to the obvious. Like no one here will call a MOBA an MMO, otherwise it wouldn't need its own genre "MOBA", same with Multiplayer FPS, Action RPG/Hack n Slash etc.


    I think this is good because not only does it show where things don't fit into MMO's but how MMO's fit into the genre in the first place and I think this is something many forget especially when players are quick to point out how every MMO is a clone of another because of the similarities that games within a genre all HAVE to share.

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 19,989Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Grahor

    The True Meaning of MMORPG, or who the hell cares? Who's the author to tell me what's Truly True (TM) MMORPG is and what isn't? Nobody, that's who.

     

    *shrug* why did I even read that...

    For the same reason we have to argue over the true meaning of the word "football"

    Most of the world is terribly confused over its usage versus some strange game called Soccer.

    LOL, while I agree with the author, I also have to agree with Narius (who should make his way here shortly) who will argue that word meanings evolve over time, and perhaps the term MMO really is much broader and applies in fact to games such as MOBA's and D3.

    But keep away from the term MMORPG, that's where I personally draw the line and feel that is more in keeping with the types of games the OP was describing.

     

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • KonfessKonfess Dallas, TXPosts: 949Member Uncommon

    Big, Persistent World, I hated EQ2 because of all the load screens when you changed zones.  Same goes for AO (Anarchy Online).  I'm sure none here have played it, since so few have.  The wilderness had visible shimmering boundaries for its many zones.  The game seemed like a copy of SWG in so many ways to me except for this.  These two games are classics of the MMO genre but fail your definition as I read it.  What say you to that?

     

    Real Players, Real Connections, when I played UO, AC, and DAoC I never joined a guild and never made a single real connection.  I have met and interacted in a much larger community in my years playing in D1, D2, & D3.  These are lobby games.  But they are Massive communities, more so than the single player experiences I had with UO, AC, and DAoC.

     

    My first Guild was in Planetside 1, so I am glad you mentioned P2.

    Pardon any spelling errors
    Konfess your cyns and some maybe forgiven
    Boy: Why can't I talk to Him?
    Mom: We don't talk to Priests.
    As if it could exist, without being payed for.
    F2P means you get what you paid for. Pay nothing, get nothing.

  • WereLlamaWereLlama Lubbock, TXPosts: 243Member
    Actually, this forum is a bit like an MMORPG.  
  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member
    What about quasi-mmo's? ;) Eg Star Citizen, Shroud Of The Avatar ?
  • CecropiaCecropia Posts: 3,472Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Gardavsshade
    Originally posted by Grahor

    The True Meaning of MMORPG, or who the hell cares? Who's the author to tell me what's Truly True (TM) MMORPG is and what isn't? Nobody, that's who.

     

    *shrug* why did I even read that...

    I care. I agree with him. I couldn't have explained it better. I have been waiting for an Article like this to be featured on MMORPG.COM for years. It is long overdue.

     

    Notice this website is name mmorpg.com. An Article like this actually belongs here. 

    I care, as well. We classify things into categories for a reason; it makes it easier to navigate and find what you're looking for. This is some pretty basic stuff, really. Imagine what a library would be like without any organization and just books randomly placed wherever. I mean, really.

    Watering down the meaning of mmo(rpg) for the sake of marketing is irresponsible and quite frankly idiotic. I am confused why some are not seeing this and just jumping on board without using any common sense whatsoever. It's strange.

     

    "Mr. Rothstein, your people never will understand... the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you something, partner. You ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the governor." - Pat Webb

  • jmcdermottukjmcdermottuk LiverpoolPosts: 976Member Uncommon

    I've been saying the same thing for years and have pointed out in quite a few posts here that some games covered on MMORPG are not really MMO's at all.

     

    I'm right there with the author. It pisses me off to see the MMO term applied to so many blatantly "multiplayer" games that only have 15v15 maps.

     

    Personally I put it down to pure greed. Devs see the way F2P is taking over and slam "MMO" onto their game to justify a cash shop. WoT, War Thunder, Blacklight Retribution, the list goes on. It's just a grab for cash.

     

    Just one more reason I'd rather have a sub based game that's well made and worth the money.

  • charlizdcharlizd sydneyPosts: 922Member
    Personally I don't think we cant deny they are wrong, where in mmorpg does it say it has to be co-op? In essence if it allows for masses of people to login to a server and play on the same world co-op or not then it is exactly as it is named
    I know we assume or are used to the old school genre of mmo to be co-op but either way if we like it or not if mmo's have massive amounts of players play on said games, if anything I think the whole RPG part is missing not the mmo

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  • charlizdcharlizd sydneyPosts: 922Member
    Personally I don't think we cant deny they are wrong, where in mmorpg does it say it has to be co-op? In essence if it allows for masses of people to login to a server and play on the same world co-op or not then it is exactly as it is named
    I know we assume or are used to the old school genre of mmo to be co-op but either way if we like it or not if mmo's have massive amounts of players play on said games, if anything I think the whole RPG part is missing not the mmo

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  • SamhaelSamhael Huntsville, ALPosts: 696Member Uncommon
    Excellent article and I wholeheartedly agree with the "what's not a MMO" part!
  • GameByNightGameByNight Columnist / Podcast Host Rochester, NYPosts: 122Member Uncommon
    Hey guys. Thanks for the comments! It's late and I am on my phone, but I wanted to chime in just to clarify why posts on League or D3 might appear here. Essentially, those types of games rub shoulders with MMOs and tend to be of interest to the community. In this article, I am railing against people classifying them AS MMOs, which we out of all gaming sites don't do. We cover them because our readers care, not because we're saying they're something they're not. 

    Writer of the RPG Files
    Official Podcast Host
    Blogger at GameByNight.com

  • KonfessKonfess Dallas, TXPosts: 949Member Uncommon

    @GameByNight, back in the mid 90's I too a look at MUDs.  I don't know their populations then or now, do you consider them MMOs?  If a MUD had a simultaneous user population over 1000, would that qualify?

     

    The basic question is does a lobby count in determining ownership of the title MMO (not mmorpg, just MMO).  Realize that we may not think of the game lobby as a part of the game, because all we can do their is socialize and interact verbally or textually.  But If I said the lobby is a pre-spawn point or game limbo and added lore support info, could every get on board?

     

    Instead of sounding like champions of MMO purity, you are sounding like old men left behind as the modern world progresses.  "You kids and your rock and roll music, your dungarees and motor bikes.  Why in my day we rode a hoarse and carriage, and we liked it."  I say get on board or get left behind.  We may not always like change, but it is inevitable.

    Pardon any spelling errors
    Konfess your cyns and some maybe forgiven
    Boy: Why can't I talk to Him?
    Mom: We don't talk to Priests.
    As if it could exist, without being payed for.
    F2P means you get what you paid for. Pay nothing, get nothing.

  • karmathkarmath Posts: 828Member Uncommon
    Please forward your article to as many publisher's marketing teams as you can please.
  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,715Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kyleran
    Originally posted by Grahor

    The True Meaning of MMORPG, or who the hell cares? Who's the author to tell me what's Truly True (TM) MMORPG is and what isn't? Nobody, that's who.

     

    *shrug* why did I even read that...

    For the same reason we have to argue over the true meaning of the word "football"

    Most of the world is terribly confused over its usage versus some strange game called Soccer.

    Actually the world is pretty consistent and calling it football, except US and Canada... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_for_association_football

    "Within the English-speaking world, association football is now usually called football in the United Kingdom, and mainly soccer in Canada and the United States. Other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, may use either or both terms."

     

    I've never even heard the word soccer before I took english as my second foreign language :)

  • ignore_meignore_me Apple Valley, CAPosts: 1,987Member
    Vindication!

    Survivor of the great MMORPG Famine of 2011

  • jbombardjbombard SapporoPosts: 530Member Uncommon
    Big, Persistent World? How much of the worlds we play are in really persistent, unless you mean it doesn't matter what you do and the world will persist in the state it was designed.  The worlds we play in are anything but persistent, if you kill it it will simply respawn, for the most part you cannot make changes to these worlds that will persist.  The developers may patch in changes that persist but that isn't what we are talking about.  If being persistent is a requirement of an MMORPG there aren't many MMORPGs.
  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,183Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by jbombard
    Big, Persistent World? How much of the worlds we play are in really persistent, unless you mean it doesn't matter what you do and the world will persist in the state it was designed.  The worlds we play in are anything but persistent, if you kill it it will simply respawn, for the most part you cannot make changes to these worlds that will persist.  The developers may patch in changes that persist but that isn't what we are talking about.  If being persistent is a requirement of an MMORPG there aren't many MMORPGs.

    You do not understand what he means when he says persistent world.  It means that you see the same world as everyone else and the world is not an instance for you and your group.  It has nothing to do with the ability to actually change the game world.

    Good article.  I agree with it.  

    I really don't understand how people can play a MOBA after playing a MMO, there a tremendous amount of depth difference, besides MOBA's having about the worst playerbase possible.

  • ariestearieste toronto, ONPosts: 3,308Member Common
    Originally posted by Ozmodan
     you see the same world as everyone else

    So basically, the only MMO is EVE then?  Because pretty much every other MMO (maybe with a few smaller exceptions), has people seeing different copies of the world.  Whether it's copies called "servers" or "phases" or "instances" or whatever the technological term is, but there are very few MMOs where everyone is always part of "the same world". 

     

    People really need to worry less about definitions and more about making better games.

     

    And about "real players, real connections", honestly - lol.  I think by most people's definitions a game like GW2 is certainly a MMORPG, yet it is probably the most anti-social, anti-connection game i've ever played.  It's basically dozens of people all soloing next to each other without ever saying hello.  I've probably talked with more people while playing shooters than while doing the raids in GW2.      

     

    And i don't care what label you stick on the things.  I just want good games to play.  All "massively multiplayer" means is that it supports more people than "traditional" multiplayer.  Everything else is bullshit. 

    "I’d rather work on something with great potential than on fulfilling a promise of mediocrity."

    - Raph Koster

    Tried: AO,EQ,EQ2,DAoC,SWG,AA,SB,HZ,CoX,PS,GA,TR,IV,GnH,EVE, PP,DnL,WAR,MxO,SWG,FE,VG,AoC,DDO,LoTRO,Rift,TOR,Aion,Tera,TSW,GW2,DCUO,CO,STO
    Favourites: AO,SWG,EVE,TR,LoTRO,TSW,EQ2
    Currently Playing: EQ2, Firefall

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