The MMORPG subgenre, while still somewhat specialized, has proven to be enduring in the modern gaming scene. titans love World of Warcraft built their reputation and the general gameplay conventions of the genre very early on PC, but the likes of Final Fantasy XIV have held the torch to be the current MMORPG juggernaut.
These conventions established in the early 2000s have carried over to modern games, even to the point of being at least partially cliché. Adapting to 2022 and beyond has streamlined some of these features, but they’re still recognizable to genre veterans to some extent.
Kill and Seek Quests
These games often contain this gambling trope, including some large MMORPG-like single-player games that have the typical kill and “fetch” quests. World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIVand even Star Wars: The Old Republic all have this to some degree.
Generic kill and scavenge quests are particularly prevalent in the early game grind of an MMORPG, with players basically left to what the terms entail. Occasionally, they will be asked to go to a general location and kill X amount of creatures and/or gather X amount of resources to bring back to the quest giver.
The end game
Part of the larger RPG genre, this variant is designed to keep players engaged for potentially hundreds of hours over several years at a time. Main quests alone are usually very time consuming as they are, especially when you count the hours players will naturally spend thinking outside the box to prepare for both this one and the endgame.
The notorious endgame grind may be understandably appealing to die-hard MMORPG fans, though its emphasis in so many games has made it a trope. Level and gear grinding is a sensible mechanic to implement in games, as they can easily go from an engaging gameplay loop – like in non-MMOs, including Rise of the Monster Hunterdifficult quests – to a tedious chore.
Pay-To-Win and Lootbox Microtransactions
Microtransactions in games have been one of the most controversial mechanics to be forced into games, but this subgenre has had them in one form or another since the early 2000s. harmless when they’re just cosmetics, but some can start to bleed paying for things that would make the game unplayable without them.
Unsurprisingly, these appear the most in “free-to-play” MMOs like crevasse and perfect world. The latter’s built-in features are prime examples of what led the community to coin the term “pay-to-win,” and these games naturally also have cosmetic microtransactions.
Given the nature of what makes RPGs in general so popular, it makes sense that fantasy settings would be the most commonly used. And since MMORPGs are meant to have a much wider scope to justify their subscription-based models, high-fantasy worlds feel even more natural.
Fantasy itself has become an infinitely captivating genre in itself, and Final Fantasy XIV has made itself one of the best modern fantasy RPGs, regardless of subgenre. Star Wars: The Old Republic technically shakes up that formula somewhat due to the franchise’s inherent blend of sci-fi and fantasy, but it would be nice to get more high-end MMORPGs that venture completely outside of that framework.
Some of what is preserved FFXIV so engaging to millions since the game’s miraculous redemption had a more compelling and nuanced storytelling than just rival factions like Horde vs. Alliance or Republic vs. Sith. Part of that goes with the nature of RPGs and fantasy genres and the application of those things and more in an MMO setting, but a lot of those games operate under the guise of having two or more warring factions leading the way. plot.
On paper, it also makes sense why this is often used. Having warring factions injects a degree of political intrigue and gives players a reason to align themselves on one side or the other, as well as play in player versus player mode.
Weak Beginner Monsters
While after dozens of hours of gameplay players will face some of the genre’s toughest bosses in raids and dungeons, the monsters from the early hours of most MMORPGs are the same. Alongside the aforementioned kill and fetch quest tropes, players will frequently be asked to take down legions of rats, slimes, goblins, and more.
It’s a cliché that also permeates the entire RPG genre, and one that can quickly become frustrating and monotonous. While everyone has to start somewhere, the “glorified exterminator” portion of an MMO’s early game should move at a brisk pace to keep players interested.
Luckily, players can mostly avoid trolls on their MMORPG journeys by staying as close to PVE (player versus environment) servers as possible. It can certainly be fun from an outside perspective, but a hostile player from an opposing faction – and at a much higher level – can easily ruin a newcomer’s day on a PVP server.
As in World of Warcraft however, players can play on a PVE server and choose to participate in PVP Battlegrounds whenever they choose. When it comes to multiplayer games, there will always be a way for people to use loopholes in the mechanics to be able to troll unsuspecting players.
Dungeon and Raid Group Roles
It is reasonable for a massive online game played by millions of people at once to implement features that force some sort of structure into various gameplay elements. One of the most common roles that players should expect is the classic role that players have to fill when going through dungeons or raiding as a group.
There’s the tank to keep the attention of those high-level monsters, the DPS (damage per second) dealers to collectively take out enemies, and the healer to make sure everyone stays alive. Having structure is important, but it’s definitely one of the most predictable elements in most MMORPGs.
Similar to dungeon and raid roles – as well as general fantasy genre tropes – many MMORPGs require the player to create their character with a typical class. This is another defensible standard for most in a subgenre like this, but in several cases players find that many of these classes are essentially the same as in other games.
From Guild Wars 2 at World of Warcraft, the classes offered can often boil down to the traditional warrior, mage, paladin, priest, etc. As expansions for these games are released, occasional classes and specializations are introduced that offer just enough variation to the formula.
The special hero in a sea of millions
People who play MMORPGs usually do so, in part, to be immersed in a rich fantasy world. However, a common narrative trope in this subgenre can throw players off the story somewhat. To some degree, many MMORPGs place the player in the role of a special hero, champion, or prophesied “chosen one.” The Elder Scrolls Online may fall into this category.
Besides being a general fantasy cliche, this plot device is hard to take seriously when the game is designed to be played by millions at once. While there aren’t many on screen, it’s a bit immersive when a cutscene involves an NPC telling the player character how important they are to the quest, only to see a player at side of you going through the same dialogue.
NEXT: 10 Best Modern CRPGs, According To Metacritic
Yu Gi Oh! Master Duel: Which cards to craft first
About the Author