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Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is a genre of computer role-playing games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world.

As in all RPGs, players assume the role of a fictional character (often in a fantasy world),[1] and take control over many of that character's actions.[2] MMORPGs are distinguished from single-player or small multi-player RPGs by the number of players, and by the game's persistent world, usually hosted by the game's publisher, which continues to exist and evolve while the player is away from the game. This is often referred to as being offline.

MMORPGs are played throughout the world.[3] Worldwide revenues for MMORPGs exceeded half a billion dollars in 2005,[4] and Western revenues exceeded US$1 billion in 2006.[5] In 2008, Western consumer spending on subscription MMOGs grew to $1.4 billion.[6] World of Warcraft, a popular MMORPG, had over 11.5 million subscribers as of December, 2008.[7]


Common features

Although modern MMORPGs sometimes differ dramatically from their antecedents, many of them share some basic characteristics. These include several common themes: some form of progression, social interaction within the game, in-game culture, system architecture, and character customization. Characters can often be customized quite extensively, both in the technical and visual aspects, with new choices often added over time by the developers. Many games also offer some form of modding in order to allow for even greater flexibility of choice.

Character abilities are often very specific due to this. Depending on the particular game, the specialties might be as basic as simply having a greater affinity in one statistic, gaining certain bonuses of in-game resources related in-game race, job, etc.


The majority of popular MMORPGs are based on traditional fantasy themes, often occurring in an in-game universe comparable to that of Dungeons & Dragons.[1] Some employ hybrid themes that either merge or substitute fantasy elements with those of science fiction, sword and sorcery, or crime fiction. Still others use more obscure themes, including American comic books, the occult, and other recognizable literary genres.[1] Often these elements are developed using similar tasks and scenarios involving quests,[1] monsters, and loot.


In nearly all MMORPGs, the development of the player's character is a primary goal.[1] Many MMORPGs feature a character progression system in which players earn experience points for their actions and use those points to reach character "levels", which makes them better at whatever they do.[1] Traditionally, combat with monsters and completing quests for NPCs, either alone or in groups, are the primary ways to earn experience points. The accumulation of wealth (including combat-useful items) is also a way to progress in many MMORPGs, and again, this is traditionally best accomplished via combat. The cycle produced by these conditions, combat leading to new items allowing for more combat with no change in gameplay, is sometimes pejoratively referred to as the level treadmill,[1] or 'grinding'. The role-playing game Progress Quest was created as a parody of this trend.

Also, traditional in the genre is the eventual demand on players to team up with others in order to progress at the optimal rate. This sometimes forces players to change their real-world schedules in order to "keep up" within the game-world.

Social Interaction

MMORPGs almost always have tools to facilitate communication between players. Many MMORPGs offer support for in-game guilds or clans (though these will usually form whether the game supports them or not).

In addition, most MMOs require some degree of teamwork for parts of the game. These tasks usually require players to take on roles in the group, such as those protecting other players from damage (called tanking), "healing" damage done to other players or damaging enemies.

MMORPG's generally have Game Moderators or Game Masters (frequently abbreviated to GM), which may be paid employees or unpaid volunteers who attempt to supervise the world. Some GMs may have additional access to features and information related to the game that are not available to other players and roles.


MMORPGs may encourage players to roleplay their characters, providing rules, functionality and content to this end. Games may offer "roleplay-only" servers that prohibit out-of-character interactions for those who wish to immerse themselves in the game in this way.[8] Community resources such as forums and guides exist in support of this play style.

Roleplaying players typically develop characterizations for their avatar, including personality and personal history, and then speak, act, and interact with others as their character would, and may or may not pursue other goals such as wealth or experience. Guilds or similar groups with a focus on roleplaying may develop extended in-depth narratives using the setting and resources of the game world.


Since MMORPGs have so many elements in common, and those elements are experienced by so many people, a common culture of MMORPGs has developed which exists in addition to the culture present within any given game. For example, since MMORPGs often feature many different character "classes", the games must be balanced in order to be fair to all players, and this has led players of many games to expect "buffing" or "nerfing", which is a term describing the strengthening or weakening of a subset of players, respectively. In many game cultures, however, "buffing" also refers to protective spells that certain classes of characters can cast on others to protect them in battle.

As another example, in many older MMORPGs the fastest way to progress was simply by killing the same monsters over and over again, and as this is still common in the genre all MMORPG players know the process as "grinding", or "camping" (sitting at a monster's spawn point in order to attack it as soon as it respawns). The importance of grinding in MMORPGs, and how much "fun" it contributes to the experience, is constantly debated. Many MMORPGs have taken steps to eliminate or reduce grinding, but few such attempts have met with success, and it is generally accepted by players and developers alike that some amount of 'grind' is required to maintain a stable playing experience.

MMORPG addiction, which has been a source of concern for parents,[9] also affects the culture. Some players might look down on those who invest huge amounts of time and or money into a game, while others might scorn those who can't put in the time to "play properly". The validity of such viewpoints is heavily debated, with both sides of the issue being discussed frequently on most games' forums.

System architecture

Most MMORPGs are deployed using a client-server system architecture. The software that generates and persists the "world" runs continuously on a server, and players connect to it via client software. The client software may provide access to the entire playing world, or further 'expansions' may be required to be purchased to allow access to certain areas of the game. EverQuest and World of Warcraft are two examples of games that use such a format. Players generally must purchase the client software for a one-time fee, although an increasing trend is for MMORPGs to work using pre-existing "thin" clients, such as a web browser.

Some MMORPGs require payment of a monthly subscription to play. By nature, "massively multiplayer" games are always online, and most require some sort of continuous revenue (such as monthly subscriptions and advertisements) for maintenance and development. Some games, such as Guild Wars, have disposed of the 'monthly fee' model entirely, and recover costs directly through sales of the software and associated expansion packs.

Depending on the number of players and the system architecture, an MMORPG might actually be run on multiple separate servers, each representing an independent world, where players from one server cannot interact with those from another; World of Warcraft is a prominent example, with each separate server housing several thousand players. In many MMORPGs the number of players in one world is often limited to around a few thousand, but a notable example of the opposite is EVE Online which accommodates several hundred thousand players on the same server, with over 50,000 playing simultaneously (February 2009[10]) at certain times. Some games allow characters to appear on any world, but not simultaneously (such as Seal Online: Evolution), others limit each character to the world in which it was created. World of Warcraft has, however, experimented with "cross-realm" (i.e. cross-server) interaction in PvP battlegrounds, using server clusters or "battlegroups" to co-ordinate players looking to participate in structured PvP content such as the Warsong Gulch or Wintergrasp battlegrounds.[11] Additionally, in the recent patch 3.3, released on December 8 2009, introduced a cross-realm "looking for group" system to help players form groups for instanced content (though not for open-world questing) from a larger pool of characters than their home server can necessarily provide.[12]


MUD, an early multi-user roleplaying game

Although MMORPGs, as defined today, have only existed since the early 1990s,[2] MMORPGs can trace a lineage back to the earliest multi-user games which started appearing in the late 1970s.[2] The first of these was Mazewar, though more would soon be developed for the PLATO system.[13] 1984 saw a roguelike (semi-graphical) multi-user game, called Island of Kesmai.[13] The first "truly" graphical multi-user RPG was Neverwinter Nights, which was delivered through America Online in 1991 and was personally championed by AOL President Steve Case.[13] Other early proprietary graphical MMORPGs include three on The Sierra Network: The Shadow of Yserbius in 1992, The Fates of Twinion in 1993, and The Ruins of Cawdor in 1995.

When NSFNET restrictions were lifted in 1995, the Internet was opened up to developers, which allowed for the first really "massive" titles. The first success after this point was Meridian 59, which also featured first-person 3D graphics,[14] although The Realm Online appeared nearly simultaneously and may be credited with bringing the genre to a wider player-base.[13] Ultima Online, released in 1997, may be credited with first popularizing the genre,[13] though Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds, released in 1996, was primarily responsible for mainstream attention in Asia, and EverQuest for the West.[13]

These early titles' financial success has ensured competition in the genre since that time. MMORPG titles now exist on consoles and in new settings, and their players enjoy higher-quality gameplay. The current market for MMORPGs has Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft dominating as the largest pay-to-play MMORPG,[15] alongside earlier such titles like Final Fantasy XI and Phantasy Star Online, though an additional market exists for free-to-play MMORPGs, which are supported by advertising and purchases of in-game items. This free-to-play model is particularly common in Korean MMORPGs such as MapleStory and Rohan: Blood Feud. Also, there are some free-to-play games, such as RuneScape &Tibia (computer game), where only about half the game is free and one would have to pay monthly to play the full version. Guild Wars is an exception. It avoids competition with other MMORPGs by only requiring the initial purchase of the game to play.


Since the interactions between MMORPG players are real, even if the environments are virtual, psychologists and sociologists are able to use MMORPGs as tools for academic research. Sherry Turkle, a clinical psychologist, has conducted interviews with computer users including game-players. Turkle found that many people have expanded their emotional range by exploring the many different roles (including gender identities) that MMORPGs allow a person to explore.[16]

Nick Yee has surveyed more than 35,000 MMORPG players over the past several years, focusing on psychological and sociological aspects of these games. Recent findings included that 15% of players become a guild-leader at one time or another, but most generally find the job tough and thankless;[17] and that players spend a considerable amount of time (often a third of their total time investment) doing things that are external to gameplay but part of the metagame.[18]

Many players report that the emotions they feel while playing an MMORPG are very strong, to the extent that 8.7% of male and 23.2% of female players in a statistical study have had an online wedding.[19] Other researchers have found that the enjoyment of a game is directly related to the social organization of a game, ranging from brief encounters between players to highly organized play in structured groups.[20]

In a study by Zaheer Hussain and Mark D. Griffiths, it was found that just over one in five gamers (21%) said they preferred socializing online to offline. Significantly more male gamers than female gamers said that they found it easier to converse online than offline. It was also found that 57% of gamers had created a character of the opposite gender, and it is suggested that the online female persona has a number of positive social attributes.[21]

Richard Bartle classified multiplayer RPG-players into four primary psychological groups. His classifications were then expanded upon by Erwin Andreasen, who developed the concept into the thirty-question Bartle Test that helps players determine which category they are associated with. With over 200,000 test responses as of 2006, this is perhaps the largest ongoing survey of multiplayer game players.[22]

In World of Warcraft, a temporary design glitch attracted the attention of psychologists and epidemiologists across North America, when the "Corrupted Blood" disease of a monster began to spread unintentionally—and uncontrollably—into the wider game world. The Center for Disease Control used the incident as a research model to chart both the progression of a disease, and the potential human response to large-scale epidemic infection.[23]


A user browsing the market for items in EVE Online

Many MMORPGs feature living economies. Virtual items and currency have to be gained through play and have definite value for players.[24] Such a virtual economy can be analyzed (using data logged by the game)[24] and has value in economic research; more significantly, these "virtual" economies can have an impact on the economies of the real world.

One of the early researchers of MMORPGs was Edward Castronova, who demonstrated that a supply-and-demand market exists for virtual items and that it crosses over with the real world.[25] This crossover has some requirements of the game:

  • The ability for players to sell an item to each other for in-game (virtual) currency.
  • Bartering for items between players for items of similar value.
  • The purchase of in-game items for real-world currency.
  • Exchanges of real-world currencies for virtual currencies.
  • The creation of meta-currencies such as DKP, or Dragon kill points, to distribute in-game rewards.[26]

The idea of attaching real-world value to "virtual" items has had a profound effect on players and the game industry, and even the courts. Castronova's first study in 2002 found that a highly liquid (if illegal) currency market existed, with the value of Everquest's in-game currency exceeding that of the Japanese yen.[27] Some people even make a living by working these virtual economies; these people are often referred to as gold farmers, and may be employed in game sweatshops.[28]

Game publishers usually prohibit the exchange of real-world money for virtual goods, but others actively promote the idea of linking (and directly profiting from) an exchange. In Second Life and Entropia Universe, the virtual economy and the real-world economy are directly linked. This means that real money can be deposited for game money and vice versa. Real-world items have also been sold for game money in Entropia, and some players of Second Life have generated revenues in excess of $100,000.[29]

Some of the issues confronting online economies include:

  • The use of "bots" or automated programs, that assist some players in accumulating in-game wealth to the disadvantage of other players.[30]
  • The use of unsanctioned auction sites, which has led publishers to seek legal remedies to prevent their use based on intellectual-property claims.[31]
  • The emergence of virtual crime, which can take the form of both fraud against the player or publisher of an online game, and even real-life acts of violence stemming from in-game transactions.[32]

Linking real-world and virtual economies is rare in MMORPGs, as it is generally believed to be detrimental to gameplay. If real-world wealth can be used to obtain greater, more immediate rewards than skillful gameplay, the incentive for strategic roleplay and real game involvement is diminished. It could also easily lead to a skewed hierarchy where richer players gain better items, allowing them to take on stronger opponents and level up more quickly than less wealthy but more committed players.[33]


Players interacting in Ultima Online, a classic MMORPG.

The cost of developing a competitive commercial MMORPG title often exceeds $10 million.[34] These projects require multiple disciplines within game design and development such as 3D modeling, 2D art, animation, user interfaces, client/server engineering, database architecture, and network infrastructure.[35]

The front-end (or client) component of a commercial, modern MMORPG features 3D graphics. As with other modern 3D games, the front-end requires expertise with implementing 3D engines, real-time shader techniques and physics simulation. The actual visual content (areas, creatures, characters, weapons, spaceships and so forth) is developed by artists who typically begin with two-dimensional concept art, and later convert these concepts into animated 3D scenes, models and texture maps.[36]

Developing an MMOG server requires expertise with client/server architecture, network protocols, security, and relational database design. MMORPGs include reliable systems for a number of vital tasks. The server must be able to handle and verify a large number of connections, prevent cheating, and apply changes (bug fixes or added content) to the game. A system for recording the game's data at regular intervals, without stopping the game, is also important.[37]

Maintenance requires sufficient servers and bandwidth, and a dedicated support staff. Insufficient resources for maintenance lead to lag and frustration for the players, and can severely damage the reputation of a game, especially at launch. Care must also be taken to ensure that player population remains at an acceptable level by adding or removing servers. Peer-to-peer MMORPGs could theoretically work cheaply and efficiently in regulating server load, but practical issues such as asymmetrical network bandwidth and CPU-hungry rendering engines make them a difficult proposition. Additionally, they would probably become vulnerable to other problems including new possibilities for cheating. The hosted infrastructure for a commercial-grade MMORPG requires the deployment of hundreds (or even thousands) of servers. Developing an affordable infrastructure for an online game requires developers to scale to large numbers of players with less hardware and network investment.[38]

In addition, the development team will need to have expertise with the fundamentals of game design: world-building, lore and game mechanics,[39] as well as what makes games fun.[40]

Non-corporate development

Though the vast majority of MMORPGs are produced by companies, many small teams of programmers and artists have contributed to the genre. As shown above, the average MMORPG development project requires enormous investments of time and money, and running the game can be a long-term commitment. As a result, non-corporate (or independent, or "indie") development of MMORPGs is less common compared with other genres. Still, many independent MMORPGs do exist, representing a wide spectrum of genres, gameplay types, and revenue systems.

Some independent MMORPG projects are completely open source, while others like PlaneShift feature proprietary content made with an open-source game engine. The developers of Endless Online have also released development information with details about their coding.[41]

The WorldForge project has been active since 1998 and formed a community of independent developers who are working on creating framework for a number of open-source MMORPGs.[42] The Multiverse Network is also creating a network and platform specifically for independent MMOG developers.[43]

Trends as of 2008

As there are a number of wildly different titles within the genre, and since the genre develops so rapidly, it is difficult to definitively state that the genre is heading in one direction or another. Still, there are a few obvious developments. One of these developments is the raid group quest, or "raid",[44] which is an adventure designed for large groups of players (often twenty or more).

Instance dungeons

Instance dungeons, sometimes shortened to "instances", are game areas that are "copied" for individual players or groups, which keeps those in the instance separated from the rest of the game world. This reduces competition, while also reducing the amount of data that needs to be sent to and from the server, reducing lag. The Realm Online was the first MMORPG to begin to use a rudimentary form of this technique and Anarchy Online would later take it to another level by creating a robust instance-based game experience. Since then, instancing has become increasingly more common. The "raids", as mentioned above, often involve instance dungeons.

Player-created content

Increased amounts of "Player-created content" may be another trend.[45] From the beginning, the Ultima Online world included blank 30-page books that players could write in, collect into personal libraries and trade; in later years players have been able to design and build houses from the ground up. Some non-combat-based MMORPGs rely heavily on player-created content, including everything from simple animations to complete buildings using player-created textures and architecture like A Tale in the Desert. However, these games are very different from the far more popular "standard" MMORPGs revolving around combat and limited character trade skills. Player-created content in these games would be in the form of areas to explore, monsters to kill, quests to carry out and specific in-game items to obtain. The Saga of Ryzom was the first of these "standard" MMORPGs to offer players the ability to create this type of content.

City of Heroes and Villains released Issue 14: Mission Architect (April 8, 2009), which added completely player-created missions. A problem popped up immediately: Some players were taking advantage of user-created content by designing easy missions that offer an unfair risk-to-reward ratio. Dealing with such problems is an ongoing issue in many MMORPGs.

Use of licenses

The use of intellectual property licensing, common in other video game genres, has also appeared in MMORPGs. 2007 saw the release of The Lord of the Rings Online, based on J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. Other licensed MMORPGs include The Matrix Online, based on the Matrix trilogy of films, Warhammer Online, based on Games Workshop's table top game, Star Trek Online, Star Wars Galaxies, Champions Online and Age of Conan. Additionally, several licenses from television have been optioned for MMORPGs, for example Stargate Worlds, which is currently in development.

Console-based MMORPGs

The first console-based MMORPG was Final Fantasy XI for the Sony PlayStation 2. EverQuest Online Adventures, also on the PlayStation 2, was the first console MMORPG in North America. Although console-based MMORPGs are considered more difficult to produce,[46] the platform is gaining more attention. Funcom's Age of Conan is to be released on the Xbox 360 in 2010.[47][48] Turbine, Inc. announced they are working on a console-based MMO.[49] Final Fantasy XI was originally released for PlayStation 2 and PC, but was later extended to Xbox 360, and later emulated as a PlayStation 2 game on the PlayStation 3. Also, Cryptic Studios will release Star Trek Online and Champions Online to both PC and console.[50]

Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix's second MMORPG in the Final Fantasy series has been announced for release in 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Sony's PlayStation 3.[51]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Tobold (16 July 2003). "What IS an MMORPG actually?". Tobold's MMORPG Blog. Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  2. ^ a b c Anissimov, Michael (2007). "What is an MMORPG?". wiseGEEK. Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  3. ^ Chart of Subscriber Growth,
  4. ^ Parks Associates (2005). "Online Gaming Revenues to Triple by 2009". Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  5. ^ Harding-Rolls, Piers (PDF). Western World MMOG Market: 2006 Review and Forecasts to 2011. London, UK: Screen Digest. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  6. ^ Harding-Rolls, Piers (PDF). Subscription MMOGs: Life Beyond World of Warcraft. London, UK: Screen Digest. Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  7. ^ "World of warcraft subscriber base reaches 11.5 million worldwide". Blizzard Entertainment. 2008-12-23. 
  8. ^ See e.g. World of Warcraft Roleplaying Policy
  9. ^ Indystar on game addiction
  10. ^ "EVE Online: Breaks The Wall Yet Again!". 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b c d e f Koster, Raph. "Online World Timeline". Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  14. ^ "Welcome to the world of Meridian 59!". Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  15. ^ Snow, Blake (2008-01-23). "World of Warcraft addicts 10 million subscribers". Retrieved 2008-06-15. 
  16. ^ Sherry Turkle (1997), Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, ISBN 0-684-83348-4
  17. ^ Yee, Nick (2006-03-20). "Life as a Guild Leader". The Daedalus Project. Retrieved 2007-05-16. 
  18. ^ Yee, Nick (2006-08-29). "Time Spent in the Meta-Game". The Daedalus Project. Retrieved 2007-05-16. 
  19. ^ Yee, Nick (2006-08-29). "An Ethnography of MMORPG Weddings". The Daedalus Project. Retrieved 2007-05-16. 
  20. ^ Nardi, Harris (2006), Strangers and Friends: Collaborative Play in World of Warcraft, Proceedings of the 2006 20th anniversary conference on Computer supported cooperative work
  21. ^ Hussain, Zaheer (2008), Gender Swapping and Socializing in Cyberspace: An Exploratory Study
  22. ^ Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology,
  23. ^ "Looking Back... World of Warcraft". CVG. 2005-01-04. Retrieved 2006-08-05. 
  24. ^ a b Privantu, Radu (2007-02-17). "Tips on Developing an MMO Economy, Part I". Retrieved 2007-04-21. 
  25. ^ Castronova, Edward. Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games. ISBN 0-226-09626-2, University Of Chicago Press
  26. ^ Castronova (2007), Dragon Kill Points: a Summary White Paper,
  27. ^ Whiting, Jason (2002-11-06). "Online Game Economies Get Real". Wired News.,2101,55982,00.html. Retrieved 2007-05-16. 
  28. ^ Lee, James (2005-07-05). "Wage Slaves". Retrieved 2007-04-21. 
  29. ^ Hof, Robert (2006-05-01). "My Virtual Life". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2007-05-16. 
  30. ^ Robert Shapiro (2003), How online games teach us about economics,
  31. ^ Blizzard Goes to War,
  32. ^ BBC News (2005), Game Theft led to Fatal Attack,
  33. ^ "Gamble your life away in ZT Online". 
  34. ^ Adam Carpenter (2003), Applying Risk-Based Analysis to Play Balance RPGs, Gamasutra,
  35. ^ Jon Radoff (2007), "Anatomy of an MMORPG," PlayerVox,
  36. ^ Frank Luna (2006), "3D Game Programming with DirectX 9.0c, a Shader Approach," Worldware Publishing, ISBN 1-59822-016-0
  37. ^ Jay Lee (2003), Gamasutra, Relational Database Guidelines for MMOGs,
  38. ^ GDC Proceedings 2005, Online Game Architecture: Back-End Strategies,
  39. ^ Chris Crawford (2003), Chris Crawford on Game Design, New Riders Games, ISBN 0-13-146099-4
  40. ^ Koster and Wright (2004), "A Theory of Fun for Game Design," Paraglyph Press, ISBN 1-932111-97-2
  41. ^ "Endless Online Technical Information". Retrieved 11 M a r c h 2007. 
  42. ^ "WorldForge History". Retrieved 11 M a r c h 2007. 
  43. ^ "About Multiverse". Multiverse. Retrieved 11 M a r c h 2007. 
  44. ^ Wilson, Steve (December 14, 2006). "Casual Play: Raiding Needs to Die". Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  45. ^ Jon Radoff (March 20, 2007), Gamasutra, Five Prescriptions for Viral Games,
  46. ^ "Analysis: Why Aren't There More Console MMOs?". 
  47. ^ "Age of Conan dawning on 360". 
  48. ^ "Age of Conan 360 a year behind". 
  49. ^ "Turbine Confirms Console MMO in the Works". 
  50. ^ "Cryptic boards Star Trek Online". 
  51. ^ "Square Enix Press release for Final Fantasy XIV on PC and PlayStation 3 (Japanese)". 

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Category:MMOG article)

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

The Massively Multiplayer Online Game (or MMOG) mode encompasses games which are played exclusively online. The scope of this category is not only limited to RPGs, but instead all types of massively multiplayer online games.

An entry about MMOGs can be found at wikipedia.

Pages in category "MMOG"

The following 110 pages are in this category, out of 110 total.








F cont.

  • Final Fantasy XI
  • Final Fantasy XI: Chains of Promathia
  • Final Fantasy XI: Rise of the Zilart
  • Final Fantasy XI: Treasures of Aht Urhgan
  • Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess
  • Final Fantasy XIV
  • Flyff



  • Horizons: Empire of Istaria




  • LaTale
  • Last Chaos
  • Lineage II
  • The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria
  • The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar
  • Lunia: Record of Lunia War




P cont.









Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) are a form of role-playing game played online. They differ from other RPGs with online capability in that they are designed to be played with other people, most often with no single player portion. Also, the scale of the online experience is vast compared to normal RPGs, with servers often supporting populations of thousands of players, and multiple servers on offer. Because of server upkeep, games usually charge a monthly fee, though there are exceptions with free trials (Anarchy Online) or a one-time fee (Guild Wars). However, there are games whose publishers rely on the real-money sale of in-game items for their income. These games are typically termed "free-to-play".


The Character System

Playing in a MMORPG requires playing as a certain character. In a level-based MMORPG, which is the most common type of MMORPG, this character starts off at a low level and begins to train to reach a higher level, where better skills and weapons and armor that are of a higher level can be accessed. Characters in these games can also be separated into classes, or jobs. In these MMORPGs each individual type of class have their own strengths and weaknesses, which can lead to certain builds that can be used to counter each class. This class-oriented system can lead to a more versatile gameplay. Bonuses also exist in each class which are not present in others.

Guild and Quests

MMORPGS usually have a guild system, where players can unite to form a kind of force that help each other defeat enemies. This form of organization can create friendly competition amongst guilds which enhances multiplayer gameplay. Quests are usually side adventures and stories that are linked in some way to the game. A quest usually consists of some form of task which has to be completed. At the end of a quest, a reward is usually the privilege that the player gets, for example an item or access to a hidden area or service.


Most MMORPGs use a fantasy theme in their worlds. Hybrid themes incorporating elements of other themes, including sorcery and spellcraft, swordsmanship, guns and even the dead are explored in various MMORPGs. Most of these games use exploration as a primary part of their games, to make the game last longer and to make gameplay unpredictable. Monsters, another major theme of this genres, may contain drops which characters could use. Items such as healing items (restoratives) and skill catalysts are a primary part of a character's tactics. The obvious theme, consisting of the HP (health) and SP or Mana bar, determines how long a player can withstand hits and the amount of mental stamina left to use skills.


A text-based MMORPG is usually one that is based on text navigation, usually on an internet browser. While these text-based MMORPGs do not draw as many gamers into them due to the lack of hands-on action and interactivity, these games have a tendency to be free in cost and in lag. These games have been criticized greatly for having no action and repetitive in nature, using only text and images to make attempts to recreate what would be a real environment in a real MMORPG.

The Client-Server System

The software that operates the game is usually run on a server which is connected to via clients by players. In private servers of games, GMs run the server using revenue that is generated by subscription fees or donations.


  • Some gamers feel that constantly paying for a game is too high a cost, even if it is necessary to the survival of the game.
  • Many MMORPGs feature what is described as a level treadmill or grind feeling that eventually settles in. The constant striving and repetative tasks & training to reach that next level or get that new item can come off as more of a chore and less of a game to some players.


See also

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This article uses material from the "Massively multiplayer online role-playing game" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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