What is an MMORPG?

A Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game (MMORPG) allows large numbers of players to participate in virtual role-playing games. A player can access the virtual world through a server often known as a realm. Most MMORPGs feature social interaction, culture, economics and a character progression system within the fantasy setting.

With thousands of computer games on the market, why are MMORPGs attracting so much attention?

World of Warcraft Worgen
World of Warcraft Worgen

When you create an avatar, you are creating a virtual version of yourself. It is the ultimate experience for lovers of fantasy and science-fiction. You can immerse yourself in the virtual world with the pleasure of knowing you are not alone, you are sharing your virtual space with other gamers across the globe. In short, what makes the game-play unique is the community shaped through social interaction, add to this, the heightened pace of competition and the good-versus-evil element of the game, MMORPGs are nothing short of a phenomenon.

MMORPGs offer the ultimate escapism. In a virtual world, an individual has a chance to attain achievements that may be harder to obtain, if not impossible to attain, in the real world. The graphics in most MMORPGs are amazing and  the quests endless.

As you embark on a voyage of discovery, uncovering new lands and higher planes, you become a hero and receive all the trappings of success. You will be spurred on by the thought of gaining more skills as you conquer one level after another. You can acquire special abilities/powers such as flying and spell-casting. You have the capability to acquire extraordinary wealth in the form of virtual currency. You can also acquire virtual items, points and bonuses to assist with game-play progression. You can own and control virtual pets, learn new crafts and join in virtual festivities.

Other common features of MMORPGs include: auction houses, where you can buy and sell items, armouries, chat logs, dungeons and quest maps.

Players are given the opportunity to form Guilds. Guilds offer substantial benefits such as the opportunity to trade items and knowledge, and to group together to complete quests.

In MMORPGs, the fantasy/science-fiction world has been written. Its culture, economics, geographical make-up, history, religion, etc. have been put in place. All you have to do is sign up and join in.

You don’t have to be an experienced gamer to enjoy the MMORPG experience. Most MMORPGs provide tutorials or training/practice sessions to get you familiar with the game.

Your game play begins when you go into the official website of your chosen MMORPG. Most offer a free 10 day or two week trial. You will need to download and install the game. In order for your chosen game to fully operate on your PC, you will need to check that you have at least the minimum system requirements, as they vary from game to game.

You will need to set up an account. You will then need to select a realm, otherwise known as a server on which to play your game. Choose the correct server for the country in which you reside and select a realm type. PvE (Player versus Environment) is the most common type. You are not playing against other avatars in PvE. Use this type if you want to play solo.

Another option is PvP (Player versus Player), or player-on-player combat. This is where you play with other live participants in the virtual world. You can also play, RP (Role Play), which is a  role play variant of PvE realm, and finally, RP – PvP (Role Play- Player versus Player), a  role play variant of a PvP realm.

You will then go on to create your avatar. You choose your character’s race. You can select your character’s physical attributes, hair, clothing, colour etc. You will also need to choose a name for your character. You may be able to choose a class for your character, and a profession/career, which is a specialised occupation for your player character. Some MMORPGs also offer a Primary and Secondary professions from which you can choose.

Some MMORPGs have a free-to-play option and a subscription fee option. You will not get all the benefits of the game if you select a free-to-play option, but it does not mean you will be left short. There are enough features on most MMORPGs to keep gamers satisfied.

The biggest MMORPG is World of Warcraft. However, if you don’t want to play World of Warcraft, there are many other MMORPGs available for individuals who want to participate in this unique gaming experience.

Lord of the Rings Online is becoming increasingly popular since it has gone free to play. Other fantasy Online favourites include: Runescape, Aion, Dungeons and Dragons, EverQuest, Guild Wars, and Lineage.

Science Fiction fans may want to try StarCraft II, Warhammer 40,000, Star Wars Galaxies, or Eve Online. Superhero lovers may want to check out Champions Online, City of Heroes, and DC Universe Online.

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