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Massive(ly) multiplayer online role-playing games or MMORPGs, are virtual persistent worlds located on the Internet in which players interact with each other through cybernetic avatars, that is, graphical representations of the characters they play.

MMORPGs are computer games that trace their roots to non-graphical online MUD games, to text-based computer games such as Adventure and Zork, and to pen and paper role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons.

Some of the most popular MMORPGs are EverQuest (1999), Ultima Online (1997), Asheron's Call (1999), and Anarchy Online (2001). Of all MMORPGs, Lineage has the most subscribers and is the most popular in Korea. These commercial MMORPGs generally require a monthly fee to play. There are also several projects in development to create a free MMORPG, such as Planeshift, or a free game engine for MMORPGs, such as Arianne.

MMORPGs have begun to attract significant academic attention, for example in economics.

Genre Challenges

MMORPG developers face many challenges:

  • It is impossible for one player to realistically affect the overall state of the world. In a normal RPG, the player or party is the hero and singlehandedly saves the world. In an MMORPG, every player can't save the world.
  • Inflation. In many MMORPGs, the economy becomes imbalanced.
  • Bots. In many MMORPGs, you can set up scripts to play the game, performing the same task over and over again, and reap a huge rewards. This lets you build up a powerful character just by letting your computer run unattended. This flaw is built into almost the very essence of a RPG "leveling", that your character becomes more powerful primarily by repeatedly killing things.
  • Player Killing (PKing). In order for a world to be realistic, players should be able to kill anything, even other players. However, this is very discouraging to new players, who are slaughtered by experienced player killers.
  • Time Commitment. A character's power represents how much time is invested in playing, rather than skill. Again this is due to the "leveling" aspect of the game. Being killed is discouraging for casual players, who are interested in 1-3 hours a week without dedicated their entire life to the game. This also leads to the problem that powerful characters and items are sold on eBay.
  • Pay to play, Pay even more to win. Due to the problems just mentioned, one can receive a great advantage in game by buying another persons' already powerfull character.
  • Rude Players. There also is a problem of rudeness by other players. Some MMORPGs discipline nasty players.

External Links

Links to popular MMORPGs

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