I haven’t been shy about my opinion on the meaning of MMO and MMORPG, which is that because the genre and the terms have evolved over the last 25 years, defining MMO objectively is basically impossible and any definition tells us more about the definer than the genre.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t try anyway because this is an MMO site and of course we will try and keep trying even knowing it’s destined to result in tears and failure. Case in point: I’ve seen several squabbles in the comments and on Reddit now about whether or not Diablo IV counts as an MMO.
Now, we can make a distinction here and cede the term “MMO” over to “multiplayer” or “multiplayer games-as-a-service” titles, which is how a lot of the broader gaming industry uses it, separate from MMORPGs, even as some MMORPG players still consider it merely shorthand for a specific type of traditional MMORPG. That’s certainly part of the fuss.
But Diablo IV also has a lot of the “always-online” elements that a lot of MMO players look for, even if it reaches “massive” only in scope and not in “zone quantity.” I’m curious what our readers think. In your opinion, is Diablo IV an MMO as people use it here in 2023 – and why or why not? And how would you bin it if not?