I really do not like adhering to strict definitions when it comes to explaining MMORPGs.Â To me, this is a subject that goes beyond just words.Â Â I want to focus on the part of MMO’s that I consider more of a feeling and less of a rigidly defined structure for how these games should operate.Â One of the defining attributes that I assign MMORPGs is the idea of time.Â I think of MMO lasting months or years and I even associate the longer lasting ones with quality.Â Compare that with a game like Zelda or God of War 3 which can last a month or two at most for a serious player.
This is totally my opinion here, but I feel that MMORPG’s should be games that last a long time or are set up so that players can lose themselves into one of many aspects, including but not limited to: Character progression, the habitation of the world, or the social experience over the course of many months or ideally years. There are many “kinds” of MMOs now so I won’t try and lump them all together, but I really feel that longevity is an inherent trait that must be there.
This gets all messed up when a game like DCUO comes out.Â On one hand you have a great game that nailed the right kind of PvP and PvE but on the other hand you have a game that, for many, is “a game to fill the void before Rift/Swtor/etc” comes out.Â A lot of this is fueled by the fact that DCUO is a shorter game right now with maybe two months of content. Â This question was asked in the comments of one of my posts last week: Can a MMO be designed as a short game experience and still be considered ‘good’?
Knowing my thoughts already that a MMO should be a longer, deeper, and all-encompassing experience, I’m inclined to answer that sure, they can be… but they shouldn’t be.Â That’s not a cop out, I swear.Â At this point I’m just brainstorming out; maybe MMO’s really should receive more focused labeling.Â Maybe a game like DCUO shouldn’t be called a MMO (even though it is a MMO, just a short one.)
My mentality comes from my background.Â I see MMORPGs through the lenses of someone who was actively involved with the community when the first one came out.Â I see the EverQuest’s, Star Wars Galaxies, and Dark Age of Camelot games when I see the label “MMO”. To me it’s just a ‘feeling’ I get when I log into a more virtual world experience that I’ve attached to the meaning of the genre.
What do you think?Â Answer the question about whether or not a MMO can be a good MMOÂ (or rather a MMO at all) if it’s designed to be short and maybe add your thoughts about why or why not you draw distinctions between the EQ’s and the DCUO’s in your mind.