An Introduction To MMORPGs
by Kilivin, Contributor — Category: Editorials
Hello and welcome! The goal from these articles is to give you, the player, the scope on how MMORPGs work in general from this young MMORPG veteran. My credit in MMORPGs comes from playing them for the past 11 years, ever since Asheron's Call 2. Many of you might have not played MMORPGs before, or you have only played a select few. You might also be more of the ES side to TESO, and any deviation from the single-player might turn you off from the game. I aim to help link the bridge between MMO and Elder Scrolls with these articles!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1) An Introduction To MMORPG's
3) MMORPG Gaming Community
4) MMORPG Mechanics & Game Design
5) MMORPG Lore & Quests
6) MMORPG End Games
An Introduction To MMORPGs
An MMO stands for a Massive Multiplayer Online (game), sometimes referred to as MMOG. This is a very broad term, however, and requires one to take a deep dive into what this means to understand what these games are like. There are many different types of MMOs, however. Almost every branch of game such as RTS, FPS, RPGRTS, etc all have an MMO counterpart. What do all of these variations have in common? For the most part, the community of MMOs tend to stay the same. We'll stick to the classic MMORPG or Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game which is what TESO will be.
MMORPGs encompass the vast majority of MMOs today, and whenever someone says "MMO" it is generally what they are referring to. These games are, in simple terms, RPGs in which there are thousands of other players playing along with you. This might sound like a very simple concept, but it is actually a very difficult system to implement properly. This is due to the factors that help one become immersed in the world which are much easier to do when you are alone. These factors range from quests, to lore, to combat, to environmental mechanics, player interaction, and more.
The following will provide a broad overview of what to expect from the Table Of Contents listed above.
An Introduction To MMORPG History
The history of MMORPGs is riddled with a numerous amount of titles. The first usage of the term "MMORPG" was by Richard Garriott, the creator of Ultima Online in 1997. Each new title offers a large variety in what to expect, but you will find that they all share many similar qualities. Some of the distinguishing features in past MMORPGs has come from characteristics such as dynamic events, crafting, economics in the game, PvP, public questing, sieges, and more. Probably one of the biggest noted MMORPGs in history is World Of Warcraft. World of Warcraft reached a milestone of twice as many players as the, at the time, king of MMOs - Everquest 2. Such a game has changed the scale of what MMORPGs can achieve today. From this, MMORPGS that have followed have been given the infamous title of, "WoW Clone." Not to worry, I am not one to buy into this stereotype, as games were similar to WoW even before WoW existed. MMORPG history is possibly one of the most crucial aspects to appreciating TESO and all it is doing to make your experience a memorable one.
An Introduction To MMORPG Game Mechanics
The game mechanics of MMORPGs are one of the more crucial characteristics to MMOs which veterans, such as myself, look towards to determine a good or bad MMO. While questing, endgame, environments, etc are all useful things to have - they are not often what many MMO players notice. Some examples of game mechanics are seamless worlds, combat, environments, dynamic events, etc. All of these things, while to the average gamer appear to be simple game design, are also different for MMOs. Where a single-player game would load the world all at once, an MMO might do clever tricks to ease the stress on servers or your machine. All & all, Game mechanics is a crucial portion to MMOs that is not something to merely glaze over. It is also something that you will find TESO having a lot of very unique Game Mechanics. All of which, hopefully, I will have everyone realize how monumental they really are.
An Introduction To MMORPG Lore & Quests
Lore & Quests is actually an issue many MMOs have had in the past. As a matter of fact, many MMOs still suffer from this today (disregarding games such as SWTOR). The strangeness of this part of the game in MMOs, however, is that a very large portion of the community in MMOs does not concern themselves with it. This issue ranges from bad writing, poor motivation for quests, or that the lore isn't captivating to the MMO fan base. There are many reasons as to why this is the case though. One of which being that you are one player in the band of thousands or even millions. From this, your actions are done by many others - so the goal changes from, "helping this person" to merely a will to get rewarded for your efforts. While questing might not be the MMO player's adoration of a game, it most certainly is the RPG player's adoration. From this, there are a lot of expectations for TESO's quests, but they are something you'll find possibly more attractive than the single-player ES game's quests.
An Introduction To MMORPG End Games
The final major characteristic which is somewhat of an exclusive thing to MMORPGs is the endgame. MMORPGs are largely regarded by the majority of gamers as time sinks. Where a single-player version of an MMORPG might take you 80 to 100 hours to complete - the MMO version has an innumerable number of hours. This is due to an extreme amount of time put in by developers to work on what is called the endgame portion of an MMORPG. While ZOS might be saying you are going to be spending 150 hours to get to level 50, you still will have hundreds of more hours in PvE or PvP content to spend in the game. This is not including the 300 more hours in 50+ and 50++ game modes. End game content has stretched in a variety of ways, but all have similarities just the same. It is these similarities that, hopefully, you'll come to enjoy as much as the people around you. It is also TESO's idea of an end game you will come to love as much as the 199 people around you.
From all of this, MMOs can seem a bit overwhelming. This has caused MMO players to be in their own separate group for the longest time. My hope for TESO is that it succeeds in connecting this divide MMORPGs have had over the years. I write these articles to help everyone understand and appreciate this divide, and all that ZOS is doing to bridge the gap. Hopefully, you will also understand all the unique implementations of lore, quests, game mechanics, and community that ZOS has for this epic title.
Keep in mind that this was only an introduction to the topics I will be discussing in the future articles of this series. Stay tune to get an in depth scope on all that was briefly touched upon above! If I have raised any questions of you, the viewer, as to how MMOs work - Feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me a message with a question on MMORPGs. I'll do my best to answer it on the spot or include it in the following Articles!
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