The MMO community is starting to fracture and tear it’s self apart. The problem is that historically the MMO game model has been solely used in coalition with RPG style games. More to the point the original term was MMORPG and the RPG was dropped simply to shorten the term, not as a sign of where the games were going to go. That isn’t the case anymore.
MMOs in their selves have become a type of game play execution rather than a genre anymore. For example many first person shooter games have employed RPG character building elements. It’s safe to assume when you pick up any FPS game that you know how you are going to view the game, but the actual game could be vastly different depending on if you picked up Halo or Oblivion.
MMOs have become a style of presenting a game more so than a game in its self. We can see this very clearly with the game Second Life, I’m not sure we should even call it a game. Second Life is an online constant world that thousands of people can enter and converse in. It offers no main game play but some customers have developed user made content with in it that could be described as games.
RPGs are heading towards a sub group of MMOs. I’ve heard rumors of a Modern Warfare MMO and with the moderate success of Second Life it’s only a matter of time before another persistent world is created for online socializing, imagine if Facebook had a graphical interactive feature where you could walk to other people’s houses or pages. This would be a MMO, but share no core gaming features.
It’s going to be a hard hurdle for the old school MMORPG gamers to adjust to. We were there at the birth of this technology and now it’s being morphed into other media forms that are seeing how successful it can be.
Just because something is a MMO anymore doesn’t mean it is also a RPG. The sooner the gaming and blogging community comes to terms with that the fewer arguments we are going to have.
PS I get total dibs and credit for thinking of a MMO Facebook.