The Daily Grind: How do you define ‘old-school’ MMORPGs?


One of the topics that comes up every year come award time is how we decided which MMORPGs are old enough – whether by style or by age – to constitute being a “classic” MMO and therefore eligible for awards like “best classic MMO.” Anybody telling you this is an easy call is lying, and you can spot it right away by trying to figure out where WoW Retail and WoW Classic goes. This is a genre where extremely “classic” MMOs like EverQuest have their own classic and legacy servers much newer than the originals – and where one of the biggest MMOs in the industry is 20 years old and still getting AAA marketing and dev budget.

I recently saw the MMORPG subreddit grappling with the same question on how to define “old-school” – and that term suffers from some of the same problems when games as different as Ultima Online, EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, City of Heroes, and World of Warcraft all came out in the first seven years of the genre. They’re all old-school in spite of being very little alike except in massiveness. Massivity. Massiveliness. Mass?

And yet if I say the words “old-school” or “classic,” you probably still have a vision in your head of what that means. So tell me about it. How do you define “old-school” MMORPGs? If a developer claims his game is an old-school MMO, what would you assume he’s getting at?

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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