Given the current state of the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) subgenre that pioneered MMO (massively multiplayer online) games, who on its side pioneered the commercial industry in gaming, it’s interesting to see how companies prepare to launch new MMO titles. One example is Amazon Games, which is laying the groundwork for the MMO game The Lord of the Rings, a project that has been canceled several times so far.
It’s hard to imagine that any new MMORPG could achieve greater global success, especially when even crowd-funded and community-supported titles struggle to sustain public interest. Below we present some of the reasons why we think that MMORPGs, which means MMOs globally, are becoming more and more difficult to achieve success and fewer and fewer players are supporting them and choosing to invest time in them.
A Brief History of MMORPGs
MMORPGs have grown to be a big component of the video game sector because of their increasing popularity. In addition, they’ve attracted a sizable fan base that plays their games for longer than players of other genres.
MMORPGs are played by a large international player base from all over the world. This indicates that the gaming industry is highly competitive. When playing online, you compete not only with players nearby but also with players all over the world. MMORPGs are meant to be played by a wide number of players at once. MMORPGs like EverQuest, Guild Wars, Lineage, Final Fantasy, and World of Warcraft are the most played. The last-mentioned title still keeps up with the competition of other genres. One of the reasons for this could be the fact it’s also a popular eSports featuring high-demanding tournaments such as World of Warcraft’s Mythic Dungeon International, sought-after by online bookies specializing in eSports betting, among which are South Sudan betting sites, listed on the Bookmaker Expert website for 2023. In massively multiplayer online role-playing games, hundreds or even thousands of players can be online at once.
The original MMO games were text-based adventure games combined with chat rooms. Of course, graphical standards are the norm these days. However, the shift from text to graphics was an error rather than a logical development.
The advent of graphical MMPRPGs in the late 1990s initiated a current trend. Every game that’s released has more features and is always greater in complexity than the previous games. For the benefit of the game companies, this complexity enables them to impose higher monthly fees. Additionally, since it gives players who already enjoy MMORPGs more to do, it’s appropriate for them. For those who don’t currently play games on the Internet but might if we could figure out a way to make them simpler, the complexity is bad news.
How did we end up in this situation? Why did we keep adding fancy features until our games were intricate machinery designed only to scare away new players? because, rather than optimizing globally, we had been concentrating on doing so locally. By providing features for any particular player—one who was already playing—we were improving their situation. However, we were making matters worse for the game since those elements made it more difficult for rookies to join in.
This stuff led to the three main factors contributing to the MMORPGs dying out…
A Fulfilling MMORPG Experience Requires a Significant Investment of Time
Unlike many other game genres, MMORPG games require players to invest a lot of time in order to make any significant progress. That in itself isn’t bad. Moreover, it’s part of the charm of MMORPGs and, in many cases, the basis of many titles within that same genre.
Time spent in an MMORPG is usually reflected in a character’s unique equipment, abilities, transportation vehicles, achievements, and cosmetic enhancements. All this represents the player’s dedication to the game and is a kind of status symbol that other players quickly recognize. This is often seen as impressive and therefore forms a large part of the motivation behind the game’s content.
However, not everyone can devote several hours a day to a video game. In order to experience a good MMORPG, you have to invest a solid amount of time and come to the so-called “end-game” to see the best of the game. Even if the game itself is free, and it often isn’t, players won’t even start playing it. Someone who has an hour a day or say 10 hours a week to play video games is not going to go play a massive MMORPG. They will rather devote their time to some single-player games or say MOBAs that they’ll play when they have time.
Excessive Monetization Ruins the MMORPG Experience
There’s an argument that excessive monetization spoils any gaming experience. However, few genres have been as negatively affected as MMORPGs. This is because dedication, progress, and in-game reputation are strongly tied to cosmetic items, achievements, and items like transportation vehicles. Microtransactions are just a “button” that allows certain players to earn in-game items without the necessary investment of time or effort. This creates a pay-to-win game and removes the motivation to play.
Microtransactions aren’t as influential in other genres, given that in-game items and cosmetics aren’t a big part of why people play a particular title. Titles like Halo Infinite, Fortnite, and Minecraft are focused more on gameplay rather than obtaining certain items or cosmetics.
On the other hand, games like World of Warcraft, New World, and Lost Ark are mostly focused entirely on progression, collecting certain items and cosmetics. Basically, putting a price on items and cosmetics destroys the prestige and value that players have gained simply by playing the game.
MMORPGs Force Players to Make Certain Concessions
Aside from the social interactions, one of the most beautiful aspects of the MMORPG experience is its mystery, along with the trial-and-error process of the gameplay. It’s one of the few genres where the journey is almost more important than the destination. The ultimate goal isn’t always the purpose of an MMORPG, although it can be an important goal.
Ideally, each character a person creates has their own journey, meeting people who also play the game in question, forming groups to overcome challenges, and learning to use certain abilities and skills to gain an advantage in the game itself. However, metagaming has completely destroyed the experience of the player learning independently through the game. Many are forced to follow guides for what is considered the best build for the character at any given time. Since information like leveling guides and best item lists are available online and regularly updated, anyone who avoids such content is at a disadvantage.
Sacrificing a good MMORPG experience to maximize your character’s power is encouraged. If you refuse to do this, you’ll have a hard time finding groups for certain bosses, events, or challenges.
Examining MMORPGs’ Potential Futures
The human need for entertainment is driving the evolution of MMORPGs, just as it has fueled the evolution of all other forms of entertainment. People are constantly trying to uncover more than they currently know, and entertainment is a type of learning.
Furthermore, they prefer to learn new and unexpected information that surprises them. This is evident in the way that people discuss their favorite novels or films, characterizing the best moments as “unanticipated”. Delightful surprises are thrilling because you are unable to foresee them. They wouldn’t qualify as a surprise if you could. Therefore, the only way to make someone laugh is to try a lot of different things and hope that some of them will surprise them.
Randomness is the obvious way to accomplish this in a game, but it gets boring fast because it doesn’t impart any knowledge. An outcome must have a certain level of certainty in order to be truly surprising; if not all excites would be similarly surprising and none would ultimately be shocking at all. We seek a specific kind of regulated luck from randomness: a shock that, once realized, seems inevitable.
Will MMORPGs Continue to Die Out?
It’s clear that the number of MMORPG players is declining from 2015 onwards, as well as the number of games being published in the genre. The three main reasons behind the genre’s demise are described above.
Although a large number of players are still involved in MMORPG games, a combination of these reasons, and some others, make it difficult to motivate people to try them out for themselves.