Online RPG more than just video games

Anybody who considers themselves a ‘hardcore gamer’ has likely come across a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG or MMO for short) in their time.

Whether you love or hate MMOs, a common misconception exists that they are simply addicting.

Too many people give MMOs this label without fully understanding the fundamental motivations behind playing such video games.

MMOs are a unique game genre, one that provides an experience like no other. But what exactly is it about these games that attracts so many gamers, including myself?

To find out, I take you back to the beginning of a new game just after it has been installed.

Before a player even begins, they are given the task of character creation. During this initial phase, you begin to develop a feeling of uniqueness as you change your character’s gender, appearance, characteristics and name.

This process is essential to MMOs because it puts the player in the game almost physically.

In addition to character creation, the role your character plays adds to your sense of individuality.

Whether you have chosen to become a wizard, ranger, healer or warrior, your contribution is integral to the success of your team.

By having these classes, the game grants a sense of self importance; since your team needs you to continue effectively.

Another fundamental component of MMOs is their ability to immerse the player in a virtual world. The maps found on games like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2 are so extravagant that there is always somewhere new to explore.

When a player experiences such intense immersion into a virtual world, their stress diminishes as they forget about any worries they had in the real world.

Although MMOs provide great stress relief, all gamers must understand they should not use this entertainment to procrastinate from addressing problems.

As human beings we strive on social relationships. It is for this reason that game developers always include social components within MMOs.

Within such games, players are able to interact with each other through chat and cooperation.

Most MMOs include a party system that allows you to create or join a group of individuals who are working towards the same goals as yourself.

In addition to parties, a larger organizational group within the game can be created, resulting in clans or guilds. These factions can consist of a few players or up to hundreds in some games.

Guilds provide gamers with a larger sense of community and require some form of leadership to keep their team motivated.

The most common relationship that is developed between players is a supportive friendship. By adding a gamer to your friends list you are able to keep in touch and get to know one another.

In some cases, players become friends in real life and maintain contact outside the virtual world.

Some of the most ‘hardcore’ gamers you may come across strive for personal achievement. Their desire to play MMOs comes from the need to become more powerful within the game.

There is rarely a formal end to a MMO game, which is attractive to many gamers.

Even though you may reach maximum level or finish every quest, there is always something else you can do to make yourself more powerful.

In addition, veteran players sometimes take up leadership roles within guilds and help newer players.

Clearly MMOs have a lot to offer the gamer community. But why has this genre adopted the label of being addicting?

This misconception comes from the amount of time people commit to these games. But to assume MMOs are an addiction based solely on the amount of time spent playing is an inaccurate and ignorant judgment.

We do not play MMOs because we are addicted. We play because the personal sense of accomplishment and achievement, along with the social interactions and immersion make the experience more rewarding than most other video game genres.

Clearly, there is much more to MMOs than playing a simple video game.

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