Wednesday, May 18, 2011

MMOs for Dummies: Part one

What is an MMORPG? MMORPG stands for massively multiplayer online role playing game, a type of MMO (massively multiplayer online game). As the name implies MMOS have a massive amount of players on one “world” or server at a time. Some games handle 1500 simultaneous connections, while others such as Eve Online recently set a record of over 64,000 players online on the same persistent world.

A persistent world is just that, a world that is always there. A player can log off and go to sleep but the interactions on the world continue.

Genres, Intellectual Property, and Licensing
MMO genres come in many flavours, the most common being Fantasy (World of WarCraft) and Sci-Fi (Eve Online). They all require Intellectual Property, or IP, as the background. There are strong and weak IPs. Strong simply means that they are more widely known and less of a niche fan base (as in the case of a weak IP).
Strong IPs include Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek,
Weak IPs include WarHammer, DC Comics, Champions, Conan

Billing models
Subscription The player must pay per month, usually about $15. In the western markets there is no limit on time a player can spend online. The Asian markets have “fatigue laws” that only allow a player to spend a certain amount of time online during a given day.
Multiple month subscriptions are often offered with a small discount.

Micro Transaction (MTX). Most often found in the Asian markets, but are gaining ground in the west. Players can play for free, but would need to pay small fees for additional content. This can be access to new races, items, vehicles, or other customizations. Western games are adopting a mixed model Subscription with MTX, with mostly cosmetic options offered through MTX.

Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) introduced the Station Pass in 200x. With this model the subscriber paid a monthly fee of approximately 1.8 times the cost of one game sub ($27). However this pass gave the subscriber access to all of SOEs titles.

Endless Trial. The first tier of levels (usually about 25-30% of the level cap) are free to play indefinitely, but if you want to play the upper tiers, you will need to pay for a full monthly subscription.