The Daily Grind: What makes a game feel like an MMO to you?

    
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Everyone is very mature.

Bethesda is at it again. Years after its subsidiary bent itself over backwards to protest that Elder Scrolls Online wasn’t an MMO, the gaming studio is now saying the same thing about Fallout 76 in the guise of a sponsored post at PC Gamer.

It’s a strange read because along the road of this argument about how different Fallout 76 supposedly is from a standard MMO, Bethesda lays out many familiar elements to games in that genre. And putting aside whether or not Fallout 76 technically is an MMO, we all know that games can feel like MMOs despite its feature list. Case in point: the original Guild Wars. Remember the “It’s not an MMO it’s a CRPG!” battle cry? That phrase got so much pushback and so many people insisted that it was an MMO because it felt like it.

So that brings me to our question for today: Technicalities and definitions aside, what makes a game feel like an MMO to you?

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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hamblepants
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hamblepants

– Other people
– Other people who remain persistent (i.e. no mega-servers unless they put me with the same people all the time)
– Persistent world
– Rolling landscapes (i.e. not every zone is just a valley)
– Meaningful ways my character can interact with the world (build things, destroy things, trade, kill monsters, talk to people).

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mysecretid

What makes a game feel like an MMO to me?

1) A large, immersive, expanding world/setting.

2) Other, live players sharing that setting with me. Their mere presence lends a semblance of life to the setting that a world wholly populated by NPCs can’t.

That’s about it. For me, everything flows from these two points.

Cheers,

Reader
Sorenthaz

When I go somewhere and see a truckload of people in it. When I see others in the areas I quest in, either fighting with me or nearby me. Part of what makes an MMO an MMO to me is when it feels like a big open world shared by hundreds/thousands of other players.

Alex Js.
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Kickstarter Donor
Alex Js.

what makes a game feel like an MMO to you

That’s easy: when I run into a city hub (or any other in-game open world area) and see several dozens or hundreds of other live players, all visible to me in same area, without ANY kind of instancing (such as, for example, my friend visiting same exact location on same server but we would be unable to see each other unless we group up because of some idiotic “instancing” system). Or (if the game has open-world PvP) see 100’s of players fighting with each other, again without any kind of idiotic “instancing” system (decreasing view distance depending on number of players is ok, though). THAT what the first “M” letter means to me in an MMO abbreviation.

And no, FO76 is definitely not it. During today’s BETA test, I got automatically connected to semi-empty server. You know how many players I’ve managed to see (without specifically trying to meet them) during 2 hours? Exactly one. And in previous tests, even on a FULL servers, I never seen more than 3-4 players at same location. I also managed to explore 2/3 of the in-game map during all latest BETA tests for it, with a total “played” time of maybe a 24 hours. THAT is how small this game is (which is perfectly OK if all you want is a co-op play with a couple of friends).

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Sorenthaz

Yeah 76 is nowhere near being an MMO, and each server instance or whatnot only fits like 25 or so players which is smaller than most survival sandboxes have. Idk if they’ll crank up that number or not, but it definitely makes the world feel lonely if you’re not playing with others.

At the same time it also makes it less likely you’ll get attacked by others, nuked, etc.

kjempff
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kjempff

I will not fall into the trap of defining every letter in mmorpg, because it does not cover the meaning. And I will also assume mmo is short for mmorpg.

Persistent world
This means not a lobby game, and it means running on a dedicated server and the majority of the world is a shared space (aka not instanced).
So, there are claims that the term mmorpg does not have to be a persistent world because the 6 letters don’t mention it. But it is still implied, has always been, though there is pressure to try and change that.

Role playing
The game puts a player in a role and set up a system for players to interact with other players through their role. This is a slider can be very role heavy like trinity/trinity++ or almost roleless with zerg mechanics, and it can also be influenced by non combat roles. It is subjective how much emphasis a game needs to put on a roles to be a mmo-ROLE-PLAYING-game.
My subjective idea of this is that is has to have some percentage of co-op based on roles that makes working together achieve the synergy effect (1+1=3); both for in and out of combat systems. A role does not have to be static and it does not have to be a combat role(grouping);
What role playing means is that it needs to connect players by building dependence on other players.

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Roger Edwards

If there’s some asshole jumping around in your peripheral vision while your at a vendor, bank or auction house, then it definitely feels like a MMO.

Oh and some twat called “legolazsz” or perpetuation thereof.

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Kickstarter Donor
Rees Racer

A lot of games “feel” like MMO’s to me, as long as I dismiss any that revolve around a lobby to enter the core of the game (e.g. World of Tanks).

The truest example is EVE Online, where I can come across any and all players at any time in the game…even in a wormhole.

Reader
Danny Smith

Asshole randos. Seriously.

Reader
McGuffn

MMO= Inventory Management Simulator Online.

Reader
Mr.McSleaz

“Massively” is the KEY Word in “MMO”

Kids these days seem to think 4-10 players = Massively Multiplayer.

“Massively” to me means Hundreds, if not Thousands of players on a Single Server, Able to interact with each other

Alex Js.
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Kickstarter Donor
Alex Js.

Yea, it always amuses me when people try to cram any multiplayer game under “MMO” definition, even games which consist of a couple of 16-player teams fighting each other in an instanced area with a timer. By their logic, we should also consider CS:GO or any Battlefield game as an “MMO”, or even Dota2.