MMOG: Massively Multiplayer Online Games

"This mode recreates the network gaming virtual worlds where millions of people gather each day to lead an alternative lifestyle"

If your child spends hours in front of the computer, is very quiet and focused on the food and keeps strange phone conversations, one of two: either in love or playing an online multiplayer game. In English are called Massively Multiplayer Online Games, which are usually summarized in MMOG. In China the symptoms of this phenomenon is more serious, lifelong friendships ended tragically for a "take away beyond the potion of eternal life" (an action game) and the divorced litigate to see who gets the character of Lineage , online video game playing to whole families, from the nephew to his grandmother, from the lawyer to the florist.

How they differ from traditional video games

•    They play on the internet. 's no use to install the game on your computer if you do not have access to the Internet, because the relevant information is stored on servers in the company producing the game.

•    Work by subscription. In addition to buying the game to install on your computer, you must pay a monthly fee to stay in the game. It's like a tax of citizenship.

•    Are multiplayer. You can not play against the computer or determine who plays every game with the user. The player is not the center of the story, not even actors. As in the real world, the popularity or importance of a player depends on its ability to make a name in the gaming community. Everyone starts from scratch.

•    Are massive. They are designed to accommodate thousands of people at one time in a virtual world, so that all the characters coexist and interact in real time.

•    They are persistent. The worldin which the game develops is independent of the player, has its own history and not disappear or stop when the user disconnects. For this reason they have a comparatively much longer life than traditional video games that typically last less than a year, although commercial success. In fact, never end, the producer's end when the number of subscribers does not justify the expense of maintaining the servers.

•    The goal is not to win but to exist and improve. Throughout the game you earn experience levels allow the user to enter new territories, carrying new weapons or hobnob with higher level players. The areas are filled MMPOG VIPS (reserved for relevant persons.) To get them you have to work hard and have good contacts.

The origin of the MMOG

The MMOG are direct descendants of the classic RPGs pencil and paper Dungeons and Dragons in particular. The first computerized versions arrived in the late 70's under the name Multi-User Dungeon (or MUD Multi User Dungeon). "The community was there," recalls Jessica Mulligan, executive producer of Entertainment Software Urbino and pioneer in the MMOG. "We just had to give them a place to meet."

While blooming MUD, Mulligan found a detail that would define forever MMOG design: "In a good game, you tend to grow fond of her character and the virtual world." That player-character relationship is the cornerstone of a multibillion dollar industry that generated in its day, hundreds of books, conferences and projects in order to race. And until college majors. Between the late eighties and mid nineties the first game became small text adventure games. In the mid-nineties started the Internet revolution, which would be decisive in the MMOG.

The success of the flat rate: Ultima Online

Although experts still argue over which was the first MMO in history, all agree in pointing Ultima Online as the title that put the MMOG on the map in 1997. The designer, Richard Garriott, and had become rich in the first four installments of the series and wanted to give a new dimension.

The prototype of Ultima Online was built on the previous engine Ultima IV and was a battle between the Orcs (character in the mythology created by Tolkien for Lord of the Rings ) and humans. With a novelty: instead of paying for connection time the game offers a flat rate much more attractive and affordable. This decision, which cost their makers sweat, was one of the keys to its success. When they reached the 200,000 subscribers, the producers were convinced they had found a vein. A year later, Koreans still MCsoft launched is the most popular MMO of all time: Lineage .

Lineage: Korean alternative  

You could say that the success of Lineage has 'trick'. Until 1998, Korea maintained a law inherited from the Second World War which prohibited the importation of material from Japan. In 1997 , Nintendo consoles, Sega and Sony were all the rage in the world were illegal in Korea and MCsoft had already planted the seeds of the Asian MMOG Kingdom of the Winds . Korea has the highest penetration of bandwidth in the world and a high rate of overcrowding, was the starting point of an epidemic that spread across Asia, with over four million users. Meanwhile, in the U.S., came EverQuest .

EverQuest, as rich as Russia 

In 1999 there were some games around for Internet games like The Wheel of Fortune , though the king was still Ultima Online . EverQuest was less ambitious in terms of social structure but it was two years younger, something that the gaming world means better graphics, more action and more entertainment. EverQuest was more violent, more territorial and had more character development elements. Although not reached half a million people, EverQuest extruded enclosure MMOG game to take a step further: to Time magazine and online auction houses. Verant, the company he founded Everquest was quickly acquired by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE).

The resources of EverQuest (lives, potions, elixirs ...) were bought and sold on eBay as if they were a commercial and players paying large sums to be done with them and play with greater advantage. Edward Castronova, an economics professor at the University of California, estimated in 2001 that EverQuest was comparable to the 77 th largest economy in the world (between Bulgaria and Russia) based on per capita income of its inhabitants and the gross domestic product (GDP) it generated. The data for her thesis them out of eBay, the Internet auction site.

Virtual goods, real money

Everquest economy invented the massive online gaming. Players auctioned resources did not exist in real life, buying property in land and even imaginary characters (complete user accounts) sometimes by numbers exceeding three zeros. Some players began to speculate in land and property, a few months ago a player bought a virtual island for $ 26,500 in Project Entropia . That caught the attention of economists, sociologists and philosophers of the world, who embraced the new "synthetic economies" as a perfect tool for analyzing real.

But there were problems. Some hackers managed to double virtual money and put other players in exchange for U.S. dollars, going on to win $ 70,000. Programmers spent a month getting all the money circulating false that fraudsters had left behind. Lineage much as Sony will disable hundreds of thousands of user accounts from fraudulent activities and embezzlement. Although there was also a fundraising campaign for tsunami victims in Asia selling virtual gold.

From Everquest, MMOG titles began to multiply. New forms of gambling that the market improved gradually, including the historic World War II Online , the classic Final Fantasy XI , Gothic Dark Age of Camelot or Anarchy Online , a beautiful fantasy cyberpunk, and the first massively multiplayer really futuristic. Then came the great successes of the cinema: The Star Wars , Matrix Online , The Lord of the Rings Online ... So up to today. The stars of the moment are mostly sequels (Ultima Online II, Lineage II) and The World of Warcraft (WOW). There are four million people playing WOW.


The MMOG work with a system of servers and clients. The client is the user's computer where you installed the game, the server is the computer containing the database of all players, all changes and locations of each character and the universe in which they move. They work seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. To play you must have a computer, an ADSL connection, subscribe to the game and have a good chair and plenty of free time.

The main thing is to install the game and pay the membership fee, which can be monthly, quarterly or annually. The rates of the most popular games rotate between ten and twenty dollars a month, although there are also free and even free, like Linux. You may have to install some extensions or updating owned, but it is unusual: the installation CD should do the work for the player. Once the game starts, the computer calls the server and gives the user name and password. Each time the player connects the server will refresh the information second to second to play in real time and compete with other players who are active at that time. In the most popular MMOG each continent has its own servers to ensure fast, reliable connection.

The character and avatar

Each player is represented by a character, his alter ego in the game universe, and an avatar, which is a graphical representation of it. Each character is a combination of several characteristics, gender, race, profession, etc. World of Warcraft , for example, has eight races, nine classes and twelve different professions. It is worth spending some time studying the characteristics of each one because the selection will determine what skills can be developed in the future and what not. The user will spend much time working on that character and you better sit well.

If you have friends who subscribe to the same game and wants to play with them is to accept that it chooses the same world we are them and they belong to the same side. Can only interact with people of the world itself not trying to kill the player behind a bush. Be wary of anyone. In MMOG, a niece of twelve can be a bloodthirsty vampire.

Objective: The Experience

Typically, the newcomers spend a couple of days wandering through the game without really knowing what to do or where to go. The MMOG worlds are impressive and fun to chat with other characters that come our way but ultimately, it is monotonous. A good way to start playing is done with a mission to make us move in a particular direction and gain experience points. Mission can be changed as often as you want or work on several at a time, but the important thing is to gain experience until you're sure what you want to do. The characters experience points without having a very limited range of places to go, and they miss the game.

Another way to achieve freedom is to join a group already embarked on a mission. Many of the adventures found on the road require teamwork. There he joins other players to cross a forest full of coyotes and then followed only by repeating the process every time you need help. Others form a group and organize to always connect at the same time.

Whether alone or in groups as important in a MMOG is to enrich the character with experience, skills, magic items and money. Money is very important because it allows you to buy other things. There are also pets who accompany, assist and protect the player, although you have to train them thoroughly. There are help screens, Bibles, manuals, cheat pages maintained by other players and a guru (Game Master) to be consulted in times of intractable questions. Furthermore, in the worst case (when the player is eliminated by her niece vampire twelve) the game allows you to resurrect a bit traumatic way or another and resume the action is not far from where it left off.

Addicts or fans

To be a while hitting shots to friends or kill bugs intergalactic there are games like Quake or Unreal Tournament . If you want to star in a pirate adventure or stroll through a three dimensional world casting spells, to install Zelda or Final Fantasy enough. However, if one wants to spend the next six years in a fantasy world with complicated political scene, unique communities, infidelity, mafia practices, speed and magic, you can begin to think of a MMOG. But beware: there are games to be half an hour. Or have at least ten hours a week to play or not worth it. If you do not have and started playing, it is likely to put ourselves in a pickle.

According to Nicholas Yee, author of Ariadne: Understanding MMORPG Addiction , 50% of MMOG players symptoms of addiction. "The game exploits the technique of the donkey and the carrot," said Yee. "You think, 'Look what I got that! What do I have to do to get it? The answer is always to spend more time connected to the game, achieve a new level to have the desired object that, in turn, makes you want more things "he concludes.

Community games too
According to experts, the main virtue of the MMOG is also its greatest flaw: they are gaming community too, too social. Users end up spending more time than they thought at the computer because they have commitments to meet other players that team up, make friends with other characters, is obsessed with a mission or fall in love with a witch. There are people who neglect their work to keep playing, marriages that go wrong because one of its members has fallen into the clutches of addiction to a MMOG. Some people leave out, sleeping and even eating levels continue to rise. Some players of Everquest, half joking and half serious, have called it "EverCrack" for its devastating effects.

As they say, the problem is one of degree and not very different from what happens to food or sports. There is nothing wrong in investing two hours per day in an interactive game in which there is fun, human contact and adventures, just as nobody is surprised to spend a Sunday watching television. The problem manifests itself when the game difficult to concentrate, study, work, relationship or social life. As Scott says MacDaniel, president of Sony Online Entertainment, "consumers, whatever it is what you consume, they must be responsible and have a little common sense."

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