MMORPG, ya know, it’s an acronym. Internet people like acronyms. As an educated internet person, as most of my friends and family are, you may already know what this MMORPG thing is. Most likely though, you’re asking yourself “WTF is an MMORPG?”
Fear not slightly-less-geeky-than-me people. I will explain!
MMORPG is an acronym for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Lets break it down a little more than that.
RPG = Role Playing Game. Role Playing not in the inappropriate to discuss at work sort of way, but in the D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) sort of way.
O = Online. Since you’re on the internet, I’ll assume you understand that piece.
MM = Massively Multiplayer. In other words, LOTS* of people play the game at the same time and in the same virtual (online) space. (*LOTS varies quite a bit by game and will be discussed more later)
So, an MMORPG is an online game that LOTS of people play together while assuming the roles of people in a fantasy world.
Yeah, I can see by the look on your face that you’re still confused. I’ve been playing MMORPGs for years, so I take for granted that people know what I’m talking about when I explain them.
In an MMORPG, you have a character or an avatar that you play. It is a little person (or ship in some games – bleh) that is part of the game world but you control. Your avatar has a class. It’s sort of like their job. To relate to a fantasy everyone knows, your avatar might be a wizard like Gandalf, a tank like Gimli, a hunter like Legolas, or perhaps a thief like Bilbo. Your character will also have a race such as Elf (Legolas), Hobbit (Bilbo), or Dwarf (Gimli). Your character’s class generally dictates how they contribute in a fight, and their race generally gives them some special benefit.
In the MMORPG world, there are other little people. Some are Non Player Characters; Characters that are part of the persistent game world and are just part of the program. Others are Player Characters; The avatars of other people who are playing the game.
I mentioned earlier that MMOs have LOTS of people playing the same game at the same time. The “LOTS” varies quite a bit. It can be as few as a hundred or so people, to as many as thousands all connected to the same game world at the same time.
Your MMORPG avatar will be given quests that you will complete using your class’s combat abilities. Some of these quests have to be completed alone, while others will benefit from grouping together with other players in a “party” or a “fellowship” to aid each other in completing quest goals.
Most MMORPGs are fantasy based (and most are based in some way off of D&D) and some are science fiction based, but they all have different and incredibly rich stories. As you move through an MMORPG you gain levels (kinda like growing up in real life), become more powerful, and move forward through the story of the MMORPG world. Most MMORPGs update the game world on a regular basis including expanding upon the existing story.
People connect and play from all over the world, and often friendships forged in MMORPGs last across games and outside of those games for years.
And, well, that’s it in a nut shell. I could go on and on, but the easiest way to understand is to give it a try.