When the collective population of a video game features enough members to occupy the entirety of New York City, you know the video game is popular. To further emphasize the popularity of the game, you need only contribute the fact that you need a good computer to run the game, a healthy amount of time to truly delve into the immervise world and some money to pay for the game each month you decide to play. The video game becomes larger than life and becomes a phenomenon. That phenomenon is known as World of Warcraft and in the past two and a half years, it has taken the online gaming community by storm. However, what is the allure found in World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs for that matter?
The standard elements of a MMORPG include building levels, defeating dungeons, teaming up with other players, collecting rarer and rarer items, and building more levels. At first glance, a simple MMORPG has all the makings of a dull or lackluster RPG, but the fact that you can do all of these rigors with friends or strangers that will become friends added a new allure to the grind work. Perhaps the biggest part of any MMORPG besides the host of features found in new games is the fact that you’re going to belong to a community. It may also be the reason while so many people have become so obsessed with Blizzard’s World of Warcraft.
Many online games have also tried to emphasize the community aspect of their games by incorporating clans, guilds, groups, sects, and every other version of a particular group of people that can band together and call themselves a unit. The fact that you don’t have to deal with a lifeless group of people who get themselves killed is an alluring offer. Raiding dungeons with your friends and plotting your moves becomes more and more rewarding the stronger you become. As Blizzard expanded World of Warcraft with Burning Crusade, the unrelenting devotion one player and his friends had to build to the new level cap in a single day is a prime example of the teamwork that bolsters the game play.
However, the question remains, is the community the element driving the millions to play World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs for that matter? By comparison, immensely popular games such as Halo, SOCOM, and other games (mostly shooters) can lend vast amounts of their fan base to online play. There’s no question that the future of gaming will be deeply involved in online gaming. The difference between MMORPGs and most shooters is that besides being in the same clan in shooters, MMORPGs bring players closer together. Teamwork isn’t limited to 3-10 minutes rounds, but rather hours of intense game play.
There’s no denying the breadth of teamwork that must be accomplished in order to play a MMORPG successfully. Running around alone won’t merit anything and you won’t be able to enjoy the experience as it was meant to be. Even while the mainstream media makes fun of the players who spend countless hours playing online games, the friendships and other connections made through painstaking and mostly enjoyable hours explain it all.