MMORPG: The new trend in computer gaming

Mantees de Tara

From the firsts bar gaming machines like pacman or pong to the current computers or console games like The Sims 2 or Halo enormous steps forward have been made, up to the point that it is difficult to consider the latters just as a natural evolution of the firsts. But that is the real truth, the wonderful masterpieces the videogames industry is able to produce nowadays are nothing more than the results of a slow work made of tiny improvements that in the years brought up to those results.

If we check the differences between today's and ten years ago videogames, the most obvious ones are in the graphics. Graphic cards with always more powerful GPUs (Graphical Processing Unit) and more memory have made possible the modeling of three dimensional fantastic alive worlds.

But graphics are not certainly everything. Also the whole concepts and actions that constitute the game itself, the gameplay, have been notably deepened and improved. And so the two white bars at the edges of the screen hitting the ball as fast and diagonally as possible disappears, while adventures with deep plots, arcades in which being able to coordinate movements and hiding at the right moment is as important as firing with an excellent aim, together with games where more than one players fight or cooperate for a common objective are born.

Oh yes, multiplayer games. Since 1999, year of release of a cult in the multiplayer genre like Unreal Tournament, the phenomena became a mass one, so that it gave life to a new word, netgamer.

And obviously the videogame industry hasn't ignored the phenomena and started to work.

But already two years before Unreal Tournament, the US based corporation "Origin" released what at the moment was the diamond edge in the multiplayer field, Ultima Online.

Set in an ancient Britannia, lands of dragons, wizards and knights, the Ultima Online servers were (and still are) capable of hosting in the same world more that one thousand players. And here is how the multiplayer gaming genre goes from a last hit battle between two six-people teams to much more, a "real breathing virtual world" with its society, its ecosystem, its economy, and all of this on its player's hands.

Thousands of players creating guild and alliances or declaring war each other for resources control or simply to defend their own or plunder others richness was something absolutely new. And fun.

To define the new game genre that Ultima Online made famous, the MMORPG term was created, acronym of Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, where massive refers to the amount of players concurrently playing together.

Ultima Online was followed by many more games of success, like EVE Online, World of Warcraft, Dark Age of Camelot, City of Heroes, Star Wars Galaxies, Guild Wars, Planetside and so on. Eve Online is even capable of servicing on its server about 30.000 players at the same time, while World of Warcraft distributed between a few hundred servers more than 7 millions players all around the world.

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