Massively Multiplayer Online-Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) are a unique type of video game that allows the players to take on the role of their character and enter a world that is filled with thousands of other players per server. Their character is known as their avatar and represents them in the virtual world.
These games do not have endings but are rather continuous storylines that keep building onto one another in these massive ever changing and evolving worlds. There is no direct pathway that a player should follow in an MMORPG, but instead they can forge their own path to glory.
Whatever road the player decides to take their avatar down upon, they will still need to follow somewhat of a roadmap in a way. Below is the typical process of getting involved with a Mass Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game.
Step 1 in an MMORPG is the process of creating a character. Players are often given the option to choose race, class, gender, appearances, their name, and potentially many other different customizations. The character creation process is important because you usually can’t go back and reverse most of it.
Most often, during the character creation process players can choose from a wide variety of races and classes with different benefits to each. The chosen class will determine the type of role that they play within the game such as a damage dealing warrior or a support healing priest.
Sometimes this step might take a little bit of time because there are a lot of customization options available in MMORPGs and if it’s the first time creating a character, you want to do it right. Once a character is all created, a player is ready to jump into the virtual world and begin their journey.
In most, if not all, MMORPG’s there is a leveling system in place so that a player character can progress in power to take on more difficult challenges. Some games have straightforward leveling systems because the focus is on providing content for max level players.
Other MMORPGs choose the opposite route and make the entire process quite arduous so getting to max level is an astronomical feat itself. Regardless of the process the game has, the goal is primarily to level your character up in some way so that they can become stronger.
Levels aside, players can acquire gear such as armor, weapons, items, and many other things that will enhance the abilities of the player. Gearing up becomes the primary objective for players in MMORPGs because once they reach max level, they will require equipment if they wish to become any stronger.
Gear can come from many different sources such as being purchased from vendors, crafted by players, or looted from monsters that you kill. Whatever way a player opts to get gear is up to them, but one thing is clear, it is an important part of the game.
Gear is basically how the game is scaled so that players must defeat set challenges before they can progress to the next. This is often referred to as a “gear check” when regardless of the player’s skill their characters should not be capable of defeating the content without the proper gear.
This makes it so there is a somewhat storyline or path that players will follow as they make their journey through the game. As a character grows stronger and gets better gear, the challenges that they encounter will increase until they reach the end game.
MMORPGs are mostly known for their extremely detailed endgame content, and many players will attempt to rush through the leveling process, so that they can get to this point. The endgame content is experienced when players reach max level, and they can choose their path.
The end game can consist of multiple different roads. However, most MMORPG titles out there will generally break them into two categories, Player versus Environment (PvE) and Player versus Player (PvP).
Player versus Environment is what most people think of when an MMORPG is mentioned, where multiple players get together to take down a huge foe such as a dragon. Players work together to take down these AI-controlled behemoths to acquire powerful gear.
Once they acquire the gear, they can become more powerful to take on the next big challenge, and this process continues onward. Player versus Player, on the other hand, is different because rather than fighting against an AI controlled opponent; you are fighting other people.
The Player versus Player environments are typically confined to designated areas such as within arenas or battlegrounds. However, if on a PvP server or if the player flags themselves for PvP activity, they can be attacked in the open world or attack others who are flagged.
MMORPGs sell themselves on the fact that the world is ever-changing and evolving so that players do not run out of things to keep them entertained and occupied. Outside of the updates and patches that are introduced to the game to add content, there are larger updates called expansions.
Expansions are more, or less, a new game to be purchased that will add to the already existing MMORPG world. Typically, expansions will have a lot of different features and almost feel like it is a completely new game by sometimes changing things dramatically.
They might introduce a new class, new races, new continents, additional levels, worlds, and so on in an expansion. A lot of the time there are class “fixes” that are done in expansions to attempt to balance the game, and that doesn’t always go as expected.
Expansions can either make or break an MMORPG, and one bad release can ruin the entire brand of the title. They can also potentially bring new audiences into the market because when expansions are released, they typically are surrounded by a lot of hype.
Place in Esports
MMORPG’s have been within the esports realm for quite some time and usually are displayed in the form of Player vs Player style combat, such as in arena type settings. PvP is typically the focus in esports since the other aspects of MMORPG’s are often working together to take down much stronger foes.
Although entertaining, taking down an AI controlled dragon does not necessarily scream competition. Within the esports realm, it is essential that competition can be measured and that there is a clear winner and a loser in the scenario. PvP provides that easily while PvE must tend to get more creative.
Some things that have been done relating to esports and the PvE aspects of MMORPG’s has been to use timed dungeon runs since they are like a race. The winners would be the team that can complete the dungeon with the lowest time.
Popular MMO Terminology
MMORPGs are pretty much filled with their own language, and due to this fact, can sometimes leave new players a bit lost when communicating. Although there are an excessive amount of terms in MMORPGs, many of them are pretty self-explanatory and are just abbreviations of words.
Although many of the terms are geared toward gameplay, there are multiple social terms that occur within MMORPGs that do not happen in other games. We have provided you a list here of some very common MMORPG terms you will more than likely hear:
- PvE – Player versus Environment – Player versus Environment indicates the majority of most MMORPGs and video games for that matter. PvE is where players fight against the computer-controlled AI elements of the game such as fighting bosses.
- PvP – Player versus Player – Player versus Player is a term that refers to players fighting against one another in combat. Often, there are designated areas for different PvP related activities such as Arenas, Battlegrounds, and Open World PvP.
- FFA – Free-For-All – The term FFA usually refers to areas where anyone can attack anyone regardless of their faction. Some MMORPG games have entire servers that are Free-For-All, and it allows for players to get attacked in any designated area that combat is allowed.
- Race – In most MMORPG’s you are given the opportunity to choose the race of your character amongst a variety of different fantasy races, such as elves, humans, orcs, trolls, and so on. Based on the race of the character, they will have different starting abilities and stats, regardless of class.
- Racials – Racials is a term that refers to inherent abilities that are based on the character’s race such as a troll having regeneration or undead not needing to breathe underwater. Some races have much stronger racials then others and therefore choosing the race can be a big deal in an MMORPG.
- Class/Job – The class or job refers to what role a player has in the game and therefore what their characters designated task will be. For example, a rogue class will rely on stealth and dealing damage to their opponents while a priest would focus on healing their teammates.
- Spec – Specialization – The specialization in an MMORPG typically will indicate what the character is particularly talented at. For example, a character could be a warrior, but based on their specialization will determine if they primarily output damage or are defensive.
- Loot – Loot is a term that refers to the items that are dropped from monsters or players that have been defeated. Players get items or gear that drops and either use it themselves or potentially sell it to other players or NPCs. Not all loot is tradable, and there will often be a tag identifying whether it is or not.
- Corpse – The corpse is what is left over after a PC or NPC dies. NPC corpses can often contain loot while player corpses are unable to be looted by other players. Some games have modes where that is different, and you can loot everyone.
- HP – Hit Points – HP or the life points of a character is the fundamental stat that is utilized in pretty much every game there is, and MMORPGs are no different. The key to winning every battle against any opponent is to keep your HP above 0 while taking your enemies below that.
- MP – Mana – MP or Mana Points are the energy resource needed to cast magical spells and abilities in many MMORPGs. Not all character types use mana, but they will have a similar resource pool that they utilize to perform their abilities. When you are out of MP, you cannot use abilities that require it.
- Tank – Tank – This term refers to a character that is designated as a damage taker and typically is outfitted with ways to mitigate that damage. They are the primary thing that stands between big angry monsters and their allies.
- DPS – Damage Per Second – DPS applies to all types of characters because it accounts for how much damage they inflict per second. DPS is sometimes used to track the amount of damage players are doing. Characters that are designed for outputting damage onto targets are known as a DPS role.
- Healer – This term is used to describe a character that primarily heals others and provides a support type of role. They will often have spells and abilities that enhance a character or weaken their opponent temporarily.
- Aggro – Aggravated – This term means you angered your target and it is now coming after you. Typically, the tank character is the one who will want to have aggro while the DPS are supposed to control how much aggro they have.
- Taunt – Taunting means to make a target focus you instead of different characters. This action is usually performed by Tank characters, so they can take damage for the group.
- Party – A group of roughly 2-7 characters, changing from game to game. When players are grouped together, they will often benefit from playing together and get their share of experience, loot, and so on from the enemies they defeat.
- NPC – Non-Player Character – Non-Player Characters are pretty much the main inhabitants of the virtual world. NPC’s are every single being within the virtual environment that are not player-controlled characters.
- PC – Player Character – The exact opposite of an NPC. PCs are the characters that other players control within the virtual worlds. PCs can interact with one another through various chat functions and can also interact with certain NPCs as well.
- Spawn – Spawn is a term that means to come into the world. When an NPC is “born” into the virtual world, they are known to have spawned. Typically, most NPCs have a spawn timer that is set to ensure that when the NPC dies, another will respawn either instantly or within a designated time.
- Elite – Elite is usually used to describe enemies that are much tougher then normal opponents and are typically meant to be dealt with by more than 1 player. These types of creatures are usually in dungeons, raids, and other areas that are considered difficult.
- Rare – Rares are a type of elite that can be found in MMORPGs and often will have some special loot that they drop. When a player is lucky enough to come upon a rare, they may potentially be able to kill it themselves but may require help to take them down.
- Boss – Bosses are found in a variety of places from the open world to the very bottom of a dangerous dungeon. There are typically multiple bosses throughout dungeons until players find themselves at the end of the dungeon with their final adversary. Typically, the end boss drops the best loot.
- Instance – An instance is a specific area or game set up that allows a specific number of players into it and is separate from the open world environment. Instances are usually used as a different server but also provides the players with their own unique version of a place.
- Dungeon – A dungeon is an instanced location that is filled with different types of monsters and bosses with the end goal to defeat the final enemy at the end. Dungeons usually will allow anywhere from 2-7 people into them and will require players to work in a group.
- Raid – Raids are end game content and are basically beefed up dungeons where players will encounter much more difficult foes. Raids are generally where some of the best gear comes from, and they will generally have around 2-100+ people involved. Raids are usually instances, but some are open world.
- Arena – Arenas are Player versus Player instanced environments that typically look much like the gladiatorial arenas within Rome. They allow players to face off against one another either in single combat or team scenarios with the winner being the last one standing.
- Battleground – Battlegrounds are typically instanced PvP environments with set objectives that need to be completed to achieve victory. Typically, there will be two teams competing against one another and the first to complete the objective wins. Example: Capture 3 flags.
- Skirmish – Skirmishes are a term associated with “practice” matches typically in PvP situations such as Arenas or Battlegrounds. Typically, skirmishes are non-rated, and a very menial reward compared to the rated arenas.
- Item level/gear level – Item levels and gear levels have to do with the “average” item level of all the gear that a character has equipped. The item level system is often used in MMORPG’s to ensure that players have the appropriate gear for the content they are attempting to do.
- Spec – Specialization – The term specialization refers to the specific refined path that a character chooses to follow. For example, a warrior is a class, and the player can choose the specialization of Protection, which can deflect damage and has amazing defensive capabilities.
- AFK – Away from Keyboard – AFK is the standard, “I’ll be right back” and is the polite message to type to other players when you will stepping away from your computer. Announcing you’re AFK will hopefully ensure that others do not put you in danger during this away time.