The Daily Grind: Is Destiny 2 an MMO?


Massively OP reader Sray suggested we open a can of worms today, and I just happened to have a can opener handy.

“Is Destiny 2 an MMO?” he wondered, noting correctly that “this argument is going to keep happening as we approach the PC launch” in October. We’ve already had people telling us we shouldn’t cover it for – as sure as we’ve had people telling us we ought to cover it more – all on the basis of its MMOness or lack thereof.

Destiny 2 is candles and breakfast food, that I know – but an MMO? It seems to me as much an MMO as classic Guild Wars, another borderline online title whose MMO status people to this day fight over, never mind that the darn thing’s lodged in maintenance mode.

Without having played D2 yet on PC, I’m willing to be convinced by consolers one way or another. Is it an MMO or not, and critically, why?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Nathan Aldana

Uh, yes. Its basically shooty bang bang Guild Wars 2. Anyone saying it isnt an MMO is quibbling over the stupidest, narrowest distinctions.

Angus Mcduff

Guild wars 1 is mostly thought of as an MMO and you only had social zones occupied by players unless they grouped up.

Destiny has players out in the world, even if it’s limited, it is comprised of strangers,with more in social zones.

Since it also has a group finder that pulls players from a population much higher than most current MMOS I think it’s safe to put a massively multiplayer moniker on it.

Elitists will disagree, but that’s what they they will do anyways.

Destiny 2 is a great title that deserves to be in the MMO sphere. I’m sure anyone with friends on Bnet is going to find out pretty quickly just how popular it is.

I’m more curious how the PC community will react to heavy repetition in a month after launch. While the game has excellent gunplay and a decent amount of lore, it lacks alternate end game progresion besides a limited gear treadmill, a raid,and “nightmare modes” of existing dungeons with timers and scaled up enemies.

It’s a great initial joy ride but after a month or so of heavy driving, the countryside is all the same.


I have a few criteria for this.

Does it allow more than a handful of players (>50) to be ‘adventuring’ in the same outdoor area at a time?
Being in a lobby disguised as a city or base doesn’t count as adventuring. If an outdoor area doesn’t have players doing what they do alongside many other players doing what they do, then it’s not a massive multiplayer game. At best it’s a MO, not a MMO.

I also specified outdoor areas because these days a lot of dungeons are instanced and only cater for a group or raid. While a raid might count as massive, a group doesn’t.

A game that only allows for a few participants in a match or whatever doesn’t count as a MMO.

Is the world persistent?
This is a bit tougher, not many actual MMOs offer real persistence, as in if you change something in the world it remains, but most offer at least character persistence in that things like quests and achievements remain assigned to your character. Not just temporary leaderboards.

Is there character progression?
I think this is a big part of the whole MMO experience, building a character. Either levels, skills, or some other form of advancement is necessary for character progression. If a game is just a FPS set in a semi-persistent world. (ie. you just play various maps) then I don’t see progression in a MMO sense.

If those three criteria aren’t included in a game, at least in a rudimentary form, I’d have a hard time calling it a MMO (let alone a MMORPG.)

As for Massively covering it or not. Well, I’d prefer to see you stick to covering MMOs but I’m not all that fussed. If you started covering every single player game under the sun, and stopped covering MMOs, then we might have a problem. ;)

Sally Bowls

My immediate reaction was “of course it is not an MMO; it is successful!”:-)

IMO, ten years ago, it would clearly not been seen as an MMO.
IMO, ten years hence, it will be seen as an MMO.

So I see it as just how reactionary/progressive you want to be in this continuum of lexicological evolution.

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Kickstarter Donor

Nope, but it has MMO’esque elements I guess.

Frankly I wish it WERE an MMORPG as their stories and lore and incredibly good and I enjoy it when they add more of them, but it is just a shooter with RPG elements making it seem MMO’esque.

Loyal Patron
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Nothing mechanically massive in Destiny 2. As regular readers should realize that 1) It wouldn’t be an MMO and 2) not being an MMO won’t stop Massively from covering the game.

Alex Js.
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Alex Js.

Well, if you consider 4-player teams (for all PvP modes) as “MASSIVE” then I guess so. But it’s kind of a pointless question/discussion, as nowadays many gaming-related sites consider ANY multiplayer game with more than 1 live player as “MMO”, simply because they need something to write about (to earn those Ad $$$).

Mark Mealman

I’d call it a MMO, mostly because it’s a type of game that appeals to a specific audience: persistent, online, character progression system, and a large “connected” playerbase that can interact(group). So in that respect, MMO players will gravitate towards it and find it interesting.

It and games like it(The Division, Warframe) are in the MMO spectrum which includes sandboxes, single world instances(Eve), and sharded/instanced theme parks.

A Dad Supreme

“I’d call it a MMO, mostly because it’s a type of game that appeals to a specific audience: persistent, online, character progression system, and a large “connected” playerbase that can interact(group).”
You realize you just described this “MMO”, right?

Nathan Aldana



Without having played D2 yet on PC, I’m willing to be convinced by consolers one way or another.

I guess the decision has already been made, yet its direct predecessor… ;P


Lol. Nice cap. And it just goes to show, IMO, that devs in general don’t like or want to use the term MMO. The term has been so water down and applied in so many ways that it’s lost it’s meaning.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
The Weeb formerly known as Sray

I think most devs avoid MMO as a term because to huge numbers of gamers the term means “World of Warcraft and all the crap that entails” (subscriptions, tedious grinds, unfocused experience), regardless of whether or not that’s actually true.