What is MMO? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]

MMO usually correlates with the more well known MMORPG label, and is recognized among many fans of the genre. MMO stands for Massive Multiplayer Online, a type of genre that focuses on creating an open world environment that allows a multitude of players to interact and play with each other across various servers. Due to the large number of people playing, most companies spend a lot of time creating different servers for different regions, all with a maximum cap to avoid overcrowding and other risks that may occur.

These types of games are quite similar to that of sandbox games much like Skyrim or No Man’s Sky, but they focus primarily on providing an “always on” online service that gives players a chance to experience various parts of the massive world at their own pace. One console game that takes on this MMO type format also is EA’s latest hit Battlefield 1, where up to 64 players can duke it out in a World War 1 environment and must work together to bring down the opposing side. Now that you’ve got an idea of what an MMO means, let’s look at some more examples and go into more detail as to why this genre is so popular.

Massive Online World

MMOs consist of various worlds which have been split up into different servers to accommodate the influx of users, and allow for seamless gameplay as if you were playing offline but with hundreds of friends next to you. There are a plethora of options to choose from, such as following the main story or you can simply do a mixture of both main plot and sub missions to level up your character to overcome the next challenge. These worlds are so spacious and full of life, with every direction you turn always introducing something new to explore and discover. Whether it’s interacting with the NPC to gather intel about your upcoming objective, or teaming up with a guild in order to raid dungeons for rare items, MMOs have just about everything covered pertaining to your online adventure. One fantastic example of this is Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft series, or better known as WoW. This game incorporates a cornucopia of options for the player to dive into, from simple rookie quests all the way up to crazy boss battles that require a team to defeat.

World of Warcraft Legion

  • System/Platform: Windows
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Release Date: August 30, 2016

To say that World of Warcraft is addicting is perhaps an understatement, because the minute you sign up and subscribe to the monthly service your life has been signed over to Guldan for all eternity. The reason why World of Warcraft is such an incredibly popular MMO is because there’s just so much diversity within the game pertaining to character classes, jobs, weapons, guilds and more. You can’t wrap your head around everything all at once, and even at small doses the game can be a bit overwhelming at times. Be that as it may, the adventure and exploration behind it all is what makes WoW such a remarkable game to spend time with because, one minute you’re just hacking away at NPC to gather materials, then ten minutes later your guild calls you up because a raid is about to ensue. This back and forth between single play and multi play is the beauty of WoW and it’s what keeps people coming back for more.

The social environment within the game is simply remarkable as well, because it encourages players to really interact with everyone in order to develop team chemistry, and often times you build real life friendships with these very same people. Blizzard always makes a conscious effort to always keep the game updated with new patches and expansions, along with fresh classes to not only entice new players but retain their hardcore audience as well. While some may complain about the pricing structure behind WoW, the fact remains clear and it’s that this game isn’t dying anytime soon, and with over 20 million people playing the game it’s only going to continue to rise above the rest as the quintessential MMO experience.

World of Warcraft: Legion Cinematic Trailer

Always Online

The great perk about MMOs is that it’s always online and always accessible even when you’re not at home. In Asian markets like South Korea and Japan, there are internet cafes that are open 24/7 and usually come with MMO games already downloaded onto the PCs within the booths. These cafes have exploded in popularity over the last couple decades, and have now expanded to other parts of the world including North America and Europe. MMOs provide that always online experience which is wonderful because the game always stays updated, and whenever you log back in there’s always something new waiting for you.

Daily bonuses keep you coming back for more, while hopping onto different servers to play with friends couldn’t be more satisfying. One of the trailblazers in the MMO market was none other than Sega, who came up with the idea of allowing players to login online whenever they wanted, and join up with other players around the world for a unique experience. This idea took off on the Dreamcast with Phantasy Star Online, which became not only a massive global success, but also it created the standard to how MMOs should be developed and played. We can only thank Sega for their innovative thinking and constant strive for setting trends. Let us take a look at Phantasy Star Online 2, Sega’s latest installment in the popular MMORPG genre.

Phantasy Star Online 2

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Sega
  • Developer: Sega
  • Release Date: July 4, 2012

Phantasy Star Online totally transcended what we once knew as gaming, and took it beyond the ordinary to create extraordinary. For years, the gaming world had always been an industry that placed a lot of attention on making sure the end product could somehow gather a number of people in one room in a LAN type scenario. That certainly worked in a variety of ways, especially in the early days of LAN tournaments for Quake and Counterstrike. Then Sega comes in and blows everyone’s mind by introducing a new structure that would change the world of gaming forever. Phantasy Star Online was the first title of its kind to utilize the broadband internet connection on a console, which too had been introduced by Sega.

Not only did this allow players to login and wander the vast universe, but it made this Earth we live on feel much closer and gave you a thrill unlike any other. You could be sitting in your living room in Tokyo and be able to connect with someone that’s across the sea and battle against fierce monsters and tough bosses, all while sitting in the comfort of your own environment. Phantasy Star Online 2 took everything that made the first so spectacular and added in more functionality to make gameplay more rewarding, such as added classes, jobs, a ton of new quests and more. Sadly, despite its popularity Sega has only made PSO2 available in both Asia and Southeast Asia, but die hard fans can do their own research to find ways around the IP locking. Whether you’re racing around trying to find friends to team up with to finish a quest, or just relaxing in the lobby watching others scurry to their next objective, PSO2 offers up a plethora of activities that is almost endless and that’s all thanks to Sega.

PS02 4th Opening Movie

PvP Experience

Speaking of scurrying around in search for people to play with, one of the finer aspects about MMOs are that they not only allow you to play with NPCs, but you can also duke it out against other players in a PvP format. PvP stands for player versus player, a format where anyone can attack or assist you at anytime regardless of where you are. PvP usually has separate areas for the player, mostly the town in which they spawned in, but the enemy can invade at any moment and surprise attack you just for fun. While PvP isn’t for everyone, it certainly encourages you to step up your game and make sure that you’re at the recommended level in order to take part in battle. Once you’ve hit that max level cap you can mount up on your creature, find someone to pick on and then pray that you can win so you can take their precious items. There are a ton of fantastic examples of this such as Guild Wars 2 and Blade and Soul along with many others, but we thought it would be nice to show some love to the Star Wars franchise with the very popular Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

  • System/Platform: Windows
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Developer: Bioware
  • Release Date: December 20, 2011

Star Wars has amassed an incredibly large following and it’s been that way for well over four decades. The reasons for its popularity form largely around its impactful story, along with characters who you can bond with. The action is non stop and the special effects are electrifying, while the actors who play each role do so impeccably. Take all of what you love from the movies and throw that into an MMO and you have yourself one of the best MMORPGs of all time. The Old Republic features eight classes with each class having a three act storyline that progresses as you level up your characters. You have the choice of joining either the Republic or Sith, with each class having their own distinctive way of playing and levels of customization.

Once you’re in all of the action there’s an assortment of things you can do to maintain a high level of replayability, such as taking part in the main quest or hopping in your own starship and traveling around for fun. However, the PvP aspect about The Old Republic is where all the chaos ensues and it all feels like you’re in a movie because of how much quality was placed upon cinematics, controlled combat movements, along with dangerous encounters that could make or break your entire journey. Everything comes racing at you at high speeds and often times you’ll be so caught off guard by everyone just coming at you, but that’s the true beauty behind PvP is that it’s unrelenting, unpredictable and often times very adrenaline pumping.

Star Wars: The Old Republic - “Hope” Cinematic Trailer

Final Thoughts

The MMO landscape has certainly evolved ever since the Dreamcast days, but we’re delighted to see just how far we’ve come with regards to advancements in technology. We certainly don’t know what direction gaming will take us, but if the Nintendo Switch and Sony’s VR are any examples of what’s to come, then we’re definitely going to be experiencing a lot of breathtaking moments. Which MMO titles do you love investing your time in? Which ones do you dislike right now, and what games would you like to see take on the MMO style? Let us know how you feel in the comments below, and be sure to follow us on social media to share our articles with the world and keep our community strong!

As always for all things sweet, with all the buzzing news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

World-of-Warcraft-Legion-game-Wallpaper-700x394 What is MMO? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]


Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!

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