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What Makes a Great Massively Multiplayer Online Game?

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By hearstDate: Jan 28 2018 Views:

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Many think of World of Warcraft as the first massively multiplayer online game - and they are wrong. The genre appeared much earlier in the video game timeline - in 1974, to be exact. The game Mazewar, the first networked game ever created, originally worked over serial cable but was enhanced to run on Arpanet - the precursor of the Internet - when the developer went to MIT. Since then, online multiplayer has become a very popular feature in video games ranging from simple puzzles to the multiplayer slot machines among the All Jackpots casino games. There are many titles currently played by masses of players, from LoTR Online, DoD Online, and many others. And many of them are considered great, too. But what makes an MMO "great"? What makes players be absorbed by it for hours upon hours each time?

WoW Legacy Servers

The Backstory (A.K.A Lore)

Let's return to the example above - Blizzard's World of Warcraft. It's hard to think of any other video game that has a backstory richer than this one. Entire websites are dedicated to the world of Azeroth, to its characters, politics, locations, and monsters. The yearly expansion packs released by Blizzard made this lore even richer, by adding new stories, new characters, and new adventures to choose. 

A Huge World

Exploration is among the most attractive features of any massively multiplayer online game, so the bigger the universe it takes place in, the better. Giving players a lot to explore and discover, giving them amazing places, amazing settlements, amazing landmarks, and amazing adventures to uncover, and they will consider the game to be "great". Make sure there are many things the explorer can marvel at - strange creatures, monolithic buildings, flying rocks, you name it.

The Player

Customizing the player's in-game character is an adventure on its own. By being able to customize all aspects of a character, from head to toe - literally - will make the player feel that said character is his or her own, and easier to identify with. In The Secret World, players can not only choose which faction to join but they can also customize almost every aspect of their avatar, from body build to tattoos and their cars. In Guild Wars 2, players could collect paint and apply it to pieces of their armor pieces for a completely unique look of their character. 

The Looks

Oh, and make the game look amazing. The artwork of a game is also very important. Of course, video games were great even before they became almost cinematic - but think of how many players are still enjoying System Shock II, for example, with "better looking" MODs to make the game feel less dated. Games like Guild Wars 2, EVE Online, and LoTR Online amaze their players with more than just their expansive universes and rich lore but their great looks, too. 

WoW

The Rewards

Last but not least, there's the question of loot - things that players can pillage during their exploring the game's world. The best example for a game with great loot is, once again, WoW - it has an extensive list of unique items, each one with their specific set of powers and their own backstory. 

What else do you think is needed for an MMO to become "great"?

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