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I'm a massive MMO fan and for years its mainly what I've played. It was always great logging into your favorite toon and getting messages from your guild or people on your friend list and setting out on an adventure. The social interaction(for good or bad) added to the worth of the game(one of the reasons I am a massive advocate for pvp only servers in mmo's)
Back in my days of UO, SWG, Vanilla WoW so socially driven. Which added to the already amazing gameplay, because you had to coordinate with people, build a network. You couldn't get that with a MultiPlayer game at the time cause it was just you in a room with ya friends or family. But now that has so changed because of the internet becoming so much more, and also for the recent crap mmo's that have come out this year.
I still am apart of a massive MMO group that started in SWTOR and those guys just made that game so special. yes SWTOR has its kinks but it was over looked by the fun of doing content with people you enjoyed. We all got ESO and even though we had a great social aspect(we were a big guild in the EP we deteriorated because the game was just bad. People enjoyed the group atmosphere so much that even though they didn't like the game they would still join us in TS to just chat. Even I a guild officer unsubbed to eso, and this got me realizing that no amount of great community can save a terrible gaming experience.
I started playing borderlands2 and was surprised when people joined my game and where talking to me and just playing and enjoying the content that was there. It wasn't a hundred players like it would be in an mmo but just a few people just bullshitting and having fun. The same can be said for Diablo 3, where you get a similar effect. I use to laugh at the who hub system of original GW and Phantasy Star and how they tried to pass that off as an MMO when it was clearly a MultiPlayer Online experience.
What made me even think of this is while watching an interview with the head of the studio that made borderlands 2 he was asked if they had any plans on making Borderlands a MMO, and the head of the studio asked, what does it mean for a game to be an MMO any more? Is it having a lot of people on your screen at once, or just being able to play a game online with other people regardless of the number.
Is there even really a difference any more, and if there are where exactly is our place in gaming. I've tried more Multiplayer games of late and when asked what games I typically play I call myself an mmo'er and the sound of disgust in some people's voices become really surprising. Seems as though we've become the cesspool of gamers where as all those Multiplayer games where you just pick up and join content, and leave as you please seem to be a happier crowd.