Achtung! This article is from Years 2003 but since google still indexed the one I put it here as an entry. I also wrote a current article about the MMORPG Anarchy Online.

The increasing speed with which broadband online access is becoming available is increasing the awareness of online games. Thus are not primarily free games such as Counterstrike [Half-Life-Mod] but so called Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games.

Role games on the Internet

MMORPG are computer games in which you slip into the role of a self-generated character and dive into a virtual world with him together with 10,000 other players around the world who in turn embody other characters in this world. The result is a mini-cosmos on the Internet which is shaped and shaped by the people who populate it. What sounds like a science fiction novel has been reality for 5 years now. But never before has artificial reality been as real as it is today, because the games are their origin, the free “multi-user dungeons”, masses of multiplayer text-based online RPGs running in Uni’s on Unix computers and only something for freaks had long outgrown.

Role games with 3D graphics

But 5 years after Ultima Online, a lot has happened in this still quite young genre of computer games. We remember the first pictures of Ultima Online from Anno at that time. Although one was no longer dependent on pure text but it still did not look really great  As you can see it looks similar (boring) to Diablo 1 + 2: Iso-perspective, bitmap-characters and the overview goes down the drain. Although an Add-On has been released which at least lets the characters appear in a real Polygon-3D-Look, the graphical revolution didn’t happen.

Who could you say now: “But a game is not only good or bad because of its graphics” but an action role-playing game where you slip into the skin of the protagonist for a certain time already. If you played Diablo 2 and then the graphically brilliant 3D adventure Ultima 9 – Ascension ( the games came out at about the same time ), you know what I mean. Usually it is not the personal taste but rather the power of the system that is the limiting power when deciding which game to play.

The Third Generation Online RPGs

However, all this was topical 5 years ago. What does the Internet look like today? Everquest, Asheron’s Call, Dark Age of Camelot, Neocron, Shadowbane and of course Anarchy Online are the 2nd and 3rd generation of the new genre which has remained hidden for many gamers in Germany so far. For comparison a screenshot from Anarchy Online, which is by far the best MMORPG at the moment. Even the very good Dark Age of Camelot doesn’t get there.

As you can see, the whole scene looks much more real than the one in Ultima Online 5 years ago. If you own the current game “Gothic 2” from JoWood you can imagine what to expect. As you can see from the Anarchy Online screenshots, AO plays in the distant future in contrast to Ultima Online and almost all other MMORPGs. This may be due to the fact that companies rely on the fact that people who also play role-plays with friends in real life by candlelight in the dark basement are more likely to dive into the world of orcs and dragons than into the world of flying cars and nano implants. If you like the medieval world more, have a look at this in-game screenshot from Shadowbane by Ubi-Soft.

What do MMORPGs cost?

It is up to you to decide which world you want to immerse yourself in. But this decision should be well considered, since the MMORPG’s are not exactly cheap: Min. 12 € per month in addition to the normal online fees on the table. In addition, the possession of a credit card is usually necessary to ensure the smooth payment flow. I personally stand more on worlds that are not in the past or in the fantasy realm because I think it is sucked out. In addition, the coolness factor of a science fiction world cannot be topped in my eyes in contrast to the Middle Ages.

Another aspect is certainly the time, because actually these games are only for students, pupils or people who simply have too much time, because no other kind of entertainment devours as much time as this one. Because even though these games have a progressive story, this story never ends. And since the developers usually deliver various things in patches, this world changes every day.

Building in the virtual world

For most games of this kind it is also possible to build houses or create something of this kind and something immortal in the world. Also many ways to communicate are given what goes beyond the normal text chat. The figures at Anarchy Online for example can communicate through gestures, which are controlled by a small script language.

So it is possible to wave to people, show them the bare ass or similar things. Also the choice of the clothes which each of the enormously detailed figures wears should be well considered. In the world of AO several clothing designers compete with each other so that you can also go shopping in the cities. Also accessories like sunglasses, underwear (!) etc. are represented in the virtual world. You can quickly form groups to find your way around the virtual world faster. Generally an important aspect of the OnlineRPG’s is the togetherness!

MMORPGs mean freedom

In contrast to the CounterStrike mentioned at the beginning, it is not about killing each other, but rather about hunting in a group, trading or just talking about everyday things in a nice circle. So who wants to play games like Gothic 1+2, Ultima 9 Ascension, Zelda – Ocarina of Time, Final Fantasy 1 – 10 (the 11 part is an online game) or maybe even DeusEx (Game of the Year 2000) very much played, he will adore this here! The absolute freedom to do what you want you should have experienced because a MMORPG can not replace offline RPG no matter how well it is done. Because this time you’ll write the story yourself. There’s one catch, of course: you get addicted. I myself have spent 3 months of my life in the world of Anarchy Online.

Now I can add something to my “You play too much AO if…” list. And that’s it: “you write an article like this.” And if you thought MMORPG’s only existed on the PC, you’re wrong. Here a Trailer of the Dreamcast version of Phantasy Star Online from the year 2000.

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