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Back in the days, computer shops were filled with people playing massively multiplayer online games like Ragnarok Online, Flyff and Perfect World. There were players who would spend a night at their local computer shops just to farm or grind whatever item it was they needed for their next guild war or raid. Queues for servers in games like World of Warcraft would reach an hour or even more during a new expansion and often causes the game to crash due to the tremendous amount of players active. The era of MMOs were incomparable to any other genre of game back when they were at their peak.
Why is it so addicting?
Personally, I like to believe that playing these sort of games gives players a lot of satisfaction by achieving extraordinary feats or finishing longer than usual quests that take both skill and time to complete. The sensation of knowing that you are better and superior compared to a lot of people gives you the push needed to further your character even more. This is probably the common mindset people think of when they experience the said feeling.
As mentioned, there are other players to beat in whatever manner there is possible and players you meet along the way that you consider like family. There would always be friends that are willing to try these sort of games as long as they have friends to play with. Knowing that people will play with you, foe or friend, is a huge factor when it comes to MMOs. Having empty or dead servers is rather discouraging for a game since we tend to look for places to socialize and enjoy at the same time.
Availability would be another huge factor to keep in mind when playing MMOs. There are games such as Black Dessert Online that are region restricted- people in some parts of the world don’t have access to it. The talk about availability does not stop there, however, as it also covers if the game is free-to-play or not. Most of the successful massive-multiplayer games back then were free. Meanwhile, the leading ones these days are usually ones that come in with a monthly subscription. Regardless, fans and critics rate these games highly.
What happened to the MMO community?
Despite people becoming more fond of games and newer technology, the population of massively multiplayer games is slowly declining. It is most likely that the generation of gamers that succeeded the older ones prefer more accessible and bite-sized genres than MMOs.
Games such as Dota, League of Legends, Fornite and PUBG are taking over the scene. Both MOBA and battle royale games offer a quick playable match as compared to MMOs that take up cumulative work before payoff. These games also have their own esports scenes, a motivation for players to keep on playing despite the repetitiveness. The support given to other genres are much better compared to the ones MMOs receive.
Are MMOs dead?
The decline is undeniable but the genre will live. There are people who tend to create their own servers or even versions of their favored massively multiplayer games. As long as a game has a fan base and a community, no matter how small it is, there will be more to hear from it in the years to come. An MMO will continue to be a thing as it manifests in other games too.