Hi. Welcome to my latest blog. I was doing my usual troll of news sites but nothing came up of interest. After a few failed attempts, I decided I’d blog about one of my favourite hobbies. MMO’s.
What is an MMO?
In case you’re not familiar with what MMO or MMOG is, then you’re about to learn. Now, just in case any gaming guru is reading my blog, I’ll begin my stating the following. MMO’s have been around for many years, and I’m aware the concept wasn’t pioneered by Blizzard with their ultra popular MMO “World of Warcraft”.
The key component that separates an online multi-player game from an MMO is the volume of real players that you can interact with in the game. Just because you can play a game online in multi-player mode doesn’t qualify it to be an MMO. It’s pointless to put an exact number on it, but massive does conjure up a certain expectation.
The game may be played in a single universe, world or map for players to explore while others have multiple copies of the exact same universe, world or map. There may be hundreds of servers. Large games usually have server farms in the US, Europe and Asia. On occasion there are servers in Oceania, although that is not as common. Players usually select a server that gives them the lowest latency, which is commonly known as ‘lag’. Each has its own pros and cons. Personally, I like the idea of every player existing in the same universe.
The main sub-genres of MMO are RPG, RTS, and FPS. Lets have a brief look at all three.
MMORPG – the original MMO
Role playing games existed before computers, and were played on tables or floors. There have been many, and I have no desire to list them. Basically, in an RPG, you assume a role of a character and build their inventories, character skill sets, attributes and powers over time as you complete quests and gain points by slaying your enemies etc. In the early days, you slayed or interacted with NPCs (non player characters), as it wasn’t online and no real players were involved. A classic example of an RPG would be the Elder Scroll series, including it’s latest realease, Skyrim. In Skyrim, you choose your race, character name, and alter the appearance of your character from facial hair colour, to bodyshape among other things. Personalization of character is key within these games. From there you focus on particular weapons or magic and develop the respective skills in order to master your art. There is usually a main quest-line to complete, although numerous side quests are often available. Goods are bought and sold, as you strive to acquire the toughest armor and most devastating weapons. They have come along way in years past. Skyrim is an amazing game. In lacked one thing though. Real players to interact with. The creators of Skyrim are creating Elder Scrolls Online, however. Watch that space.
I personally suggest playing http://www.eveonline.com
I’m not personally sure about what constitutes an MMORTS, as I’m not aware of any online real-time strategy game that has massive amounts of players in its world. Most are probably claiming MMORTS status. The good news is, Kickstarter, has come to the rescue of this sub-genre with an awesome new game that takes on traditional RTS features and combines them into a massively multi-player world. Planetary Annihilation. The closest thing I can find to a real MMORTS. I personally supported this game on Kickstarter, and am expecting big things. Any true RTS fan will be drooling over this. Inter-plantary base building, no unit caps, up to 40 players. This should truly be epic. If you like RTS, go to the link and buy it right now https://store.uberent.com/Store/PreOrder?titleId=4&sessionId=h55757c84r
True massively multi-player first-person shooters may also be fiction, as current leaders like Battlefield 3 have a server size of 64 and below, although apparently there is potential to increase that.
I played WarZ, which promotes itself as an MMO, a post-apocalyptic zombie survival MMO. Truthfully, it suffered from making false promises and is currently beleaguered by hacking, as a lot of games are today. It was a truly fun game and it has great potential. For example, you dropped all your gear when your character died, and conversely, when you put someone down, you could pick up their gear. This made dying so painful, and killing so rewarding. WarZ was designed for PvE (player vs environment). Basically the constant battle for survival against zombies, hunger, thirst and other potential hazards were supposed to be your main enemy. However, PvP (player vs player) was immediately the most popular style of game-play, as players quickly started killing each other on site, as they learned that trust was a liability they could not afford. Groups were quickly formed for mutual protection, as associations of friends in the real world logged in and coordinated activities together. Then the disease of hacking quickly set in, granting extra powers to gamers willing to pay for hacks. Hacking could result in you being permanently banned, but in the beginning this was not a big concern as it was difficult to catch the hacker. It quickly impaired the game for non-hackers, as they didn’t stand a chance, and were disposed of swiftly and easily. Overall, it was a very challenging and addictive game. I hope it survives and eradicates their hacking problem.
What I’m really excited about is a MMOFPS shooter by the name of Planetside 2. It was released late last year. This is FPS on an epic scale. PIcture massive maps, thousands of units, and battles that can potentially last for weeks. WTF! How come I didn’t know about this game earlier.
The Social Aspect
Contrary to popular belief, MMO’s are quite social. They are designed for interacting with other people, which, evidently, we humans desire. It’s certainly more social than reading a book, or watching TV. Just like non-virtual life, people make friends and fall in love with people they have meet in these games. Take this article for example http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/gateway_relationships.html. There are probably many more examples, but I’m running out of time. I have to go meet someone in real life.
I really enjoyed writing this blog, and I hoped you enjoyed reading it too. As always, leave comments, and share if you like it.