Commentary on Massively Speaking #60

Massively Speaking is an MMORPG podcast that this week talks some about “redefining MMOs”, “Runes of Magic” as well as other current events.

Their “redefining MMOs” series is interesting, and I actually wrote a piece that hits on that subject, while pointing to a possible evolution of where MMORPGs may be headed in the future (see Gamebunny Article).

More directly to Massively’s first article on the terminology.  I feel the social terms that have developed naturally are still sufficient:

  • MMO
  • MMOFPS
  • MMORTS
  • MMORPG
  • Etc…

I think those are very adequate to describe online games.  I think the focus is on how the person uses those terms.  I always try to be careful in delineating between just MMO or MMORPG when I’m discussing games.

I think there may be changes in terminology and how we should be using it, but I think the heart of it is that the terms are being shaped by the small, recent evolutionary changes that many genre of MMOs are undergoing and players perceptions on how they are deriving fun from MMORPGs.

  • Casual based like Freerealms are becoming popular
  • MMORPGs are inserting more horizontal gameplay that resembles activities in other virtual worlds like Second Life.

The player base seems to slowly be evolving as they are changing how they get fun out of these games.  There’s still raiding and gear grinding, and will always be those focuses in a game.  But as a whole I think players are starting to explore more how they are having fun, out of a desire to want(or need) something new.

Games like Everquest, that’s been around for 10 years, may be around for another 10.  Players who want nothing but arena PvP and raiding for gear will always find joy in World of Warcraft.  The fact that WoW has the largest player base shows these player perceptions aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

On the other side though, games like Everquest have been slowly adding massive amounts of horizontal gameplay with player housing and crafting.  Freerealms is garnering much attention with their very casual atmosphere and mni-games.  Runes of Magic and EVE online have slowly but steadily been getting more players as time goes by and both these games offer a lot that isn’t directed toward reaching level cap, and raiding for gear.

It will be interesting to see where this progression takes MMORPGs and other MMOs in the next 10 years.

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