Jun 1, 2010

The “M” in MMO

I received an email a while ago from a company about a world war 2 based free to play MMO that’s currently in beta. I have been asked if I would like to pose a few questions to them which they will answer to post on our blog here.  I’m all for this kind of interaction with game developers whether or not it’s a game I chose to play.

The MMO in question states on their site that you can have up to 60 players playing in battles, this is where my question of the day comes from.

What makes the M in MMO? I’m talking about the first M, the massively part of the acronym, the part that makes an MMO what it is for me. There is also the point some will make that it’s the world you play in and it’s scope that has to be large, but you can see this in offline games such as Oblivion and others.

I no longer play offline games on my PC as after playing MMO’s for year’s I can’t play only against a computer AI when playing the kind of games I like to play. Some will argue that when your solo’ing in MMO’s your doing the same thing, but I disagree. When I’m playing solo in an MMO I have my guild to chat to, chat channels to watch and random players running around to chat to and observe. All these are the aspects of MMO’s that attract me.

Wodge one of our writer’s here asked a similar question in a post here where he asked about what makes an MMO. Does it have to be an RPG, have crafting, be persistent? This was all asked as he pointed out that none MMO’s are approaching player numbers of you can actually interact with at any one time. All are good points and I personally believe it doesn’t have to be an RPG, but instead has to have the ability to host a much larger number of players than 30-60. In relation to Wodge’s post I also think that an MMO has to be persistent in some way at least for a time. Battleground Europe is persistent for a campaign and then resets, but your persona’s persist between campaigns in regard to their ranks. Each campaign can last a week, a few weeks or even longer.

In the case of combat game like a world war 2 MMO I expect 100′s of players at least to be playing the game, in fact for any MMO I’d like there to be at least a few 100 players on a server. I’m not necessarily talking about them all having to be online at the same time, just that the option is there for those kinds of numbers to be online and playing the same game as me at the same time.

In Battleground Europe there are at least that many players subscribed I would guess and although you might not always see that many online, there are plenty of occasions when there are more than 60 players involved in a battle.

Large numbers of players result in a better more varied gaming community. Notice I don’t say quality, large and varied doesn’t mean good, just the possibility of it. Wolfshead touched on it in a recent post though whilst I don’t believe the communities in MMO’s are over, I do agree with Weflyspitfires that WoW’s is awful. I have only seen WoW’s from a friend that plays but that was enough to put me off the game. Everquest 2 my main MMO has a great online community in it’s chat channels and it’s one of the things I like most about the game.

So what makes the Massive in MMO’s for you? How many players does a game need to have before it’s a true MMO and not just an online game?

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