Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account


Help reveal MMO mythology, facts, stereotypes, and marketing ploys in the industry of gaming by sharing your opinion


Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.

  • You cannot reply to this topic
14 replies to this topic

Poll: Help define and discuss what is an MMO today (8 member(s) have cast votes)

Was this topic helpful?

  1. Yes (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. No (5 votes [62.50%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 62.50%

  3. Not sure (3 votes [37.50%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 37.50%

Was the nature of this topic interesting?

  1. Yes (3 votes [37.50%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 37.50%

  2. No (5 votes [62.50%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 62.50%

  3. Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. More please. (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 ActiveUnique   Members   -  Reputation: 768

Posted 25 May 2013 - 07:47 AM

tldr; Tell us what you think "MMO" means a game is in your own words. Help define MMO in ways a dictionary will not. What experiences have you had that set an MMO apart from other games?

Before reading, see the list of rules at the end of this post.

I've seen this going around, on dev forums there's a sticky thread that warns ~ mmos are expensive, you need millions to even get a crack at it, nobody will take an mmo idea seriously. Based on my tight definition of mmo, I agree 100%; and I won't reveal my logic, because I want to hear an opinion or a story from anyone else.

This may require a state of mind, rather than an explanation, to understand where I'm coming from. Today I was watching Penny Arcade: Extra Credit, (even they support the previous point about mmo = $$$), they stated in one episode I'll drop a link to at the bottom: "Gamification is going to be big and it's probably going to be awesome. Just be wary, because someone out there is going to try and use it against you. Just keep your eyes open." As a little side-game I'll rate any replies that follow my own logic hot or cold depending on how close they come.

I decided, this is a good starting point. I even did the tiniest research and in quick concession I threw each conclusion away in disgust and satisfaction that the MMO meaningfulness is for all intents and purposes over the open web a lazy way to say multiplayer.

A country of the biggest online gaming population in the world, China, does not appear to have an official definition for MMO. On one of their versions of Wikipedia-type websites baike.baidu pointed that distinction out, stating what it means in English instead, (I read this with Google translation). I think that's more of a finger-pointing tactic because we sort-of defined something, and never completely nailed down what it meant; they aren't touching it, we could really clean up this mess.

ref:
Websites accessed May 25th, 2013
"... someone out there is going to try and use it against you..."
http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/gamification

"Define MMO," this is a confused and candid article I found pretty quickly in a single Google search. Please don't fill up on opinions here, come back and leave your own.
http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/01/22/the-daily-grind-how-do-you-define-mmo/

 

MMO RPG , is in English Massive (or Massively) Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game abbreviations. There has not been MMORPG official Chinese translation, while in China the more common translation is "massively multiplayer online role-playing game" is a network game.

http://baike.baidu.com/view/96213.htm





Rules that will help keep the conversation civilized.
Three Simple Rules:

1. Share insights and opinions, and explain as little or as much as you like.

2. If you want to debate with a person, use the pm system and be patient, it takes 1 or 2 weeks to notice there's mail sometimes.

3. Direct replies must be questions only, or the thread will self-destruct. e.g."Why did you think so. about so.?" she asked, slowly reaching for a baseball-sized coconut. See #2 for any other reply.


Mr. obvious was too ironic - ActiveUnique


Sponsor:

#2 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 27478

Posted 25 May 2013 - 10:30 AM

It is what it says. Massively Multiplayer Online. A game where you can interact with a massive amount of other players, online.

 

Massive is deliberately vague, as is the means of interaction. If you're in a mini-game segment where you're only able to interact with 30 people, but after this segment is over you're able to interact with a different 30 people, out of 10000, it likely still counts as being in MMO territory as long as there is some large part of the game that persists across this transition (such as your character in an RPG).



#3 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4495

Posted 25 May 2013 - 03:15 PM

If you're in a mini-game segment where you're only able to interact with 30 people, but after this segment is over you're able to interact with a different 30 people, out of 10000, it likely still counts as being in MMO territory

I would not even say "likely", but definitely. Interacting with 30 people at a time is quite massive already. Few people can concentrate on more than 7-8 people at a time. The contubernium (tent group) of the Roman army consisted of 8 legionaires, presumably for that reason.

Interacting with a group of 150-200 people even not at the same time is too overwhelming for 99% of people.

 

There are even (self-declared) experts/researchers who claim that "man is not made to interact with more than a hundred people". I'm sceptic to such general statements, but there's probably a grain of truth in it. So yes, your mileage may vary, but 30 here and another 30 there is probably quite a lot for most people.


Edited by samoth, 25 May 2013 - 03:15 PM.


#4 Shippou   Members   -  Reputation: 1317

Posted 25 May 2013 - 03:26 PM

Massive Multi-user Online


 Reactions To Technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

- Douglas Adams 2002


 


#5 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18823

Posted 25 May 2013 - 04:45 PM

MMO already has a meaning, as both pointed out.

Online games already has a meaning. Typically an online game may have 10, 20, 30, 50, or even a few hundred people at once.

The whole "MM" thing was added to note that the server was hosting many thousand concurrent players.

Only a small percentage of users are generally online at any given time. Based on the telemetry I have seen for certain popular sports games, we typically have a peak usage of 0.5%, and that peak happens once per week.

So getting 20,000 concurrent players in a "massively multiuser" game means you need a player base of around 4,000,000 players. 4M players means you need to sell around 6M copies. Which puts the game firmly in AAA territory.

The datacenters required to run MMO games cost tens of thousands of dollars PER DAY.


Anybody can make an online game. Skilled programmers can make online games that support a few hundred concurrent players, and they can do it with relatively cheap hardware.

Very few companies can make an MMO game. Teams of experienced skilled programmers struggle to cope with the data needs, and they require expensive data centers.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#6 Jastiv   Members   -  Reputation: 146

Posted 26 May 2013 - 01:23 AM

Now the idea of MMO being based on the number of players doesn't sit quite right with me.  Some games can scale up or down in the number of players and still be playable and fun.  There is no reason to get a massive server for ten simultaneous players, on the other hand, if MMO's are defined by the number of people playing, they can't really be MMO's until they launch.  They shouldn't focus so much on being massive, and instead focus on getting the game play right, and then gradually grow the user base.  This way seems like it would have less risk to it, and less chance of creating a failed game that everyone hates because the game mechanics suck.

 

Also, sometimes a server instance might be limited to a couple thousand people, but you might just set up a number of servers based on the number of users that you have the want to play the game.  Is only allowing a couple thousand in an instance not massive enough?

 

That said I think any game that meets the mmo definition needs the following items.

1) persistent world, it needs to be available most of the time, sure you can have some down time, up to an hour a day, but much more than that and its not really persistent.

2) not a bunch of instanced worlds like diablo2 or those type of games.  You don't just set up a world instance for the players and then take it down after they all leave.  Its not really quite an mmo then, but more of a network playable adventure game.

3) number of players, this one is open to interpretation.   Its hard to call a server with 0 or 1 players on it massive, no matter how many players the server can theoretically or actually handle, on the other hand where do you draw the line.  Does it need to be over 1000?  Is 500 ok?   how about 200?  I'm not sure there ever was a clear answer on this one, in theory or in fact.



#7 ActiveUnique   Members   -  Reputation: 768

Posted 27 May 2013 - 11:44 AM

The comments so far weren't disappointing. Not many people want to spend time seriously thinking about -this- if they'd rather experience more of -this- and maybe people who actually work on an unreleased MMO labelled game are required legally to be silent, bear that in mind.

 

Massive is deliberately vague, as is the means of interaction. If you're in a mini-game segment where you're only able to interact with 30 people, but after this segment is over you're able to interact with a different 30 people, out of 10000, it likely still counts as being in MMO territory as long as there is some large part of the game that persists across this transition (such as your character in an RPG).

 

You're at least on to what I have in mind here {{cold}} the M in MMO is vague and I'm not sure if it's really so important. Have you intentionally held back the question why? I think if we all asked ourselves why it is being preserved as vague, we'd understand a bit more about mass media and the MMO.

 

Is an MMO really required to be persistent?

Who has ever played a game where they came back and found it waiting for them, saved, or constantly running/updated by time as a bad thing?  Let's try and overlook faulty implementation like "auto-checkpointing" that leaves you trapped in a spiral of doom, which is persistently depressing. The idea of persistence is a core virtue of all video games and doesn't necessarily lend itself to an MMO.

 

...Interacting with 30 people at a time is quite massive already. Few people can concentrate on more than 7-8 people at a time...

...Interacting with a group of 150-200 people even not at the same time is too overwhelming for 99% of people...

 

Huge crowds of people 100+ and being overwhelmed is actually something that occurs in reality all the time, stadiums rallies marches festivals!  I think moreso, organized insanity prevales on the street and in the news.  MMO will not so much bring this to our minds, and why is that?

 

Maybe I'll answer my own question here. Not really wanting the players to do and break all the things as they please is a constant, because broken is the ugliest word in use today for describing a game.  Does MMO remain an appealing concept while this view is in sight? (why/why not?)

 

The whole "MM" thing was added to note that the server was hosting many thousand concurrent players.

...if MMO's are defined by the number of people playing, they can't really be MMO's until they launch.

 

True. On the other hand couldn't a game automatically be an MMO upon release if it held a preempted beta phase, simply for the benefit of already hosting ~1000 players or the biggest number of players possible at peak hours before the grand opening public reveal?

 

...not a bunch of instanced worlds...

 

Also similar to what I thought about early you're at least {{cold}} here in my logic. I'm not sure, were you trying to correlate this gameplay element to the persistent world you mentioned or is there some other reason?

 

 

I'd really like to get more opinions to see just how far other people can take this. It's important not to force any viewpoints here because I'm sure some of us would like to define MMO as. this -->"[i^i]"<--- But people with an expansive knowledge may want to say an MMO is ---> "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat." <---

 

In my opinion MMO is like an iceberg. Look at the acronym and it seems so easy, look at the design and it can be complex.  How can we try and measure it, how deep can the massive submergance be? Please share your opinions and ask questions. MMO may be a few clear-cut acronyms (not one), perhaps it is simply misleading, the concept looks a bit distorted from any perspective I've tried.


Mr. obvious was too ironic - ActiveUnique


#8 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18823

Posted 27 May 2013 - 12:29 PM

You seriously need to learn some history.

Go learn about the MUD genre. It was the MMORPG without the MM in front of it. MUD, or Multi User Dungeons, started back in the 1970s.

Richard Garriott, a guy you probably should know about because he helped define and re-define the genres under discussion, is the one who coined the term and also defined what it means. He did it back in 1997, when people were looking for new words to describe a graphical MUD with over 100,000 subscribers.

People were asking, basically, "What do you call these MUDs with a hundred thousand online subscribers", and the name massively multiplayer was created. That is what it means.

MMO has a definition. You may not like the definition, or you may feel like it is up for debate. It really isn't a matter for debate. It is already defined by the industry.


Massively Multiplayer Online games are those with very large player bases, generally the low end is those games hosting tens of thousands at a time.
There is no magical threshold, such as moving from 99,999 to 100,000, but that should give you a feeling for the scale of concurrent subscriber to be termed an MMO game.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#9 Rakilonn   Members   -  Reputation: 421

Posted 27 May 2013 - 12:42 PM

I think the 3 points of Jastiv resumed well my opinion.

MMO have been created to give something really huge and unique to the players.

 

(Of course take the numbers with a lot of salt)

 

So in terms of numbers there should be at least 1000 players on a server. Why 1000 ? because a MMO with less then 1000 players feels really empty or small even for a MMORTS. 

 

It may be possible to have 64 players at one location. 64 players because it has been possible to have 64 players at one location since (at least) the tribes series so there is nothing huge if it's not the case (and tribes is really old now and it's not a MMO). Of course it may vary depending on the type of the game.

 

Not instantiated world like Diablo as it has been said Jastiv, and so the world must persistent in some way. Again if you look at my definition if the game is only a multiplayer game with a lot of players that doesn't sound right. The persistent aspect of the MMO goes well with their goal (give something huge and unique to the players). It's so huge, it becomes a (virtual) world, which is very appealing. It's like a player dream in a way.


Edited by Rakilonn, 27 May 2013 - 12:51 PM.


#10 ActiveUnique   Members   -  Reputation: 768

Posted 31 May 2013 - 04:04 AM

There's not a lot to go on because only 6 people contributed so far. I've kept quiet but here I'll try to offer a bit more of my mind.

 

Based on this topic alone I can tell players who join an MMO expect a lot of other players in one service base, as well as many on one server, or just in one location (which to be fair is beyond many MMO's control). So here are two seemingly irrelevant facts: Facebook has millions of players who can interact and is one service provider; chatrooms and chat enabled websites have ~ 100 - 300 players in one server.

 

To differentiate just a slight amount I see people want "persistent worlds." It fits... ok, a chatroom with 300 people is persistent, and there's very little downtime for most chat systems, they're very easy to maintain compared to multi-billion dollar server clusters. A database for service providers maintains information about its customers, and a database when properly defined is required to be persistent.

 

Ok let me look at a chatroom, this is the first and simplest case, it meets the multiplayer need: users are interacting. There's usually a user profile on a database: persistence. There are levels and scoring all visible while chatting on some websites: standard game elements. People have their own goals and they create minigames by leaving comments, shouts, pms, forming alliances "friending" people they don't actually like: PvP, RP, user based content, and imaginative creativity for endless replay value. As long as there's frequently over 1000 players chatting with the same system there is continuous immersive play available, when the population in one dips low you can move to another with 100 players.

 

A chatroom is effectively MMO territory, but I understand, Chatroom = shotty MMO, not the fun graphics oriented MMOs. When it is broken down like so I have to conclude an MMO business model can cost very little, it's one chatroom website! and the all mighty MMORPG that costs millions to maintain was (perhaps) premature, and everyone looked at it, drooled and ran head first into a solid wall trying to imitate. I think it's fair to call big huge vast endless games a prototype which helped create social gaming, the minimized version of an MMO. Later when technology catches up big huge MMOs will no longer cost millions of dollars annually, right? I'm just getting started, this is a prelude. So, are many cheap MMOs existing in one location, and simply lack a chatroom - Facebook and Kongregate? This could be an MMO right now.

 

In any case, I want to introduce something. When you see someone release a new game and say new MMO! what comes to your mind? What comes to my mind is "this is likely just [deathmatch [teams]] a time delay/lag, [browser based [farm and [social engineering management]]], and a p2w shop. Run and escape, you'll be indentured for weeks to get an hour of enjoyment from a time delay game that demands money."

 

Yeah I just typed MMO 12 +1 times now, what else should I call it, capital-L?


Mr. obvious was too ironic - ActiveUnique


#11 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3325

Posted 31 May 2013 - 01:53 PM

You're being over-literal, deliberately I think. 'MMO' is a gaming term. 'MMO' basically means 'MMORPG, except not necessarily an RPG'. It does not mean 'anything that is massive, has multiple participants, and is on the internet'.
 
As with pretty much every term defined outside of the sciences, it is not necessarily meant to represent a discrete category where everything in life is either in that category or out of it. Instead, it carries a list of connotations and correlations which imply certain characteristics. eg. Most MMOs will have a persistent world (and some may not). Most will have some sort of character progression like traditional RPGs (but some may not). Most are expected to be played over long periods (but some won't be). Most will have hundreds of open connections to each server (but some won't). Most involve real-time game play (but some don't).

 

This topic comes across as if you have some sort of agenda that you're trying to prove via other people's definitions. What are you aiming at?



#12 ActiveUnique   Members   -  Reputation: 768

Posted 31 May 2013 - 03:15 PM

This topic comes across as if you have some sort of agenda that you're trying to prove via other people's definitions. What are you aiming at?

 

Thanks for your input. Quite bluntly I am trying to gather data about myths, facts, and sterotypes, as well as the use of the word "MMO" which is most often when it has been hyped or trailed through dirt in advertising. I want to know, "why is the being overused by the same industry that is defining it?"

 

I want to sit back and read impartially, because I don't think someone will respond with the perfect solution. I'm reflecting what I can to prove everyone's opinion matters. Also I'm offering something each time so I don't behave functionally as a black hole, and more like a contributor.

 

Besides, if I tried to define an MMO I'd include this: it's a game where I frequently feel the weight of the game mechanics and carry entire groups of players and can only finally relax when I solo, although I think this is meant to be the other way around.

 

Most are expected to be played over long periods (but some won't be).

...

Most involve real-time game play (but some don't).

 

This an example: You're the first to bring up these three facts and talk this way, some are some aren't going to have things, long periods of play, and real-time interaction. If I felt like the meaning wasn't clear enough I'd ask.

 

Did you mean when played for a single sitting or non-consecutively over years? I would initially think you meant in one sitting.  I believe console types took a criticism hit from requiring extended play in one sitting, this because they all came with a standard eye strain warning.


Mr. obvious was too ironic - ActiveUnique


#13 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4560

Posted 31 May 2013 - 04:42 PM

I think that MMO is a category of genres rather than a single cohesive genre.  I'd define MMO as all multiplayer online games, excluding

1. games where there is no persistent world (such as lobby-based short duration pvp games)

2. games where the persistent world is singleplayer and all multiplayer interaction takes place in non-persistent arenas, or in formats that aren't really "worlds", e.g. forums

3. games where players cannot interact in a scored way, whether economic or competitive/combative.  (Those are social sites instead.)

4. games with no graphics (those are MUDs, MUCKs, etc. instead)

 

There are always going to be borderline cases like:

- Wizard 101 (they did their best to eliminate all scored persistent player interaction except for the fact that bosses require players to fight cooperatively against them, including players being able to heal each other)

- GaiaOnline (it includes a small MMO within a larger social site, but the social site itself has a persistent money and avatar system as well as a full range of economic interactions between players)

- Evony (players fight over territory in a persistent world, but the actual interaction between two players is quite limited and the graphical world exists only at the level of buildings and maps)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me.

#14 ranakor   Members   -  Reputation: 439

Posted 01 June 2013 - 09:52 AM


The datacenters required to run MMO games cost tens of thousands of dollars PER DAY.

This sounds like exactly the kind of info that needs to be debunked, of course they DO NOT cost anywhere near that there's no reason why they would, bandwidth is pretty much free for any large company / datacenter with direct peering, processing power required to host a million players + is nowhere near 20K$/day, hell for 40K period (not per day, just raw cost minus electricity) so basically the conservative estimate of what you think 2 days would cost, you can buy a server with 160 threads / 1TB of ram capability, and a single one of those should be able to handle 20K concurrent players, maybe 2 or 3 for the most demanding games. Let's be extremly pessimistic and say you need 10 (that's 10TB of ram / 1600 threads @ >2.5GHZ of xeons, basically 1 xeon thread per 10 person, a person mostly being someone who just sends position data most of the time!) that's still just 400K total cost, far far from 20K / day, over a 3 year period that's less than 500$ / day, and it sounds like overkill, make that 1K and you've got redundancy electricity and bandwidth covered.



#15 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3325

Posted 03 June 2013 - 06:14 AM

I want to know, "why is the being overused by the same industry that is defining it?"

That's a question like, "why are you still beating your wife?" It's a leading question and I don't agree with the initial premise.

Did you mean when played for a single sitting or non-consecutively over years? I would initially think you meant in one sitting.

I meant over a longer period of time, eg. weeks and months. But the fact that you misunderstood what I said is nothing to do with what MMOs are - it's about communication between you and me.

So the question remains - what is your actual point here? You're trying to imply something but won't admit to what it is.




Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.



PARTNERS