It might surprise some of our younger readers to learn this, but Warcraft didn’t start out as an MMO. The very first game in the series, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, released back in 1994, was an early RTS game. Naturally clunky by today’s standards, it was nevertheless a very different experience compared to what the series would become.
As we approach the new consoles we have to wonder, which other games could benefit from entry into the world of MMOs?
“WORLD OF WARCRAFTS & DIABLO III ARTS” (CC BY 2.0) by foeock
This is an interesting question, not just based on how ubiquitous reboots and sequels in gaming have become, but also because of the evolving infrastructure of the internet. Gamification, for example, has become enormous for many websites.
Currently, some of the biggest proponents of these systems are online flash game operators, such as the casinos listed at Feedback.casino, for example. These commonly use gamification to tie together their systems of different games, as they utilize it to extend existing bonuses like free spins and deposit matches.
This progress is mirrored by advancements in cross-platform gaming and cross-gaming experiences. Finally, we have entered an age where players across all consoles and PC can game together, and this is aided by many games offering their characters for use in other company’s properties. Final Fantasy 14 recently accomplished this with the Nier raid as per their release at finalfantasyxiv.com, and this level of sharing is only growing more popular.
So where is the natural endpoint of this evolution, and what games are best suited to follow it next?
The properties that push most fans towards some sort of MMO adoption are those which already focus on expansive worlds. This was the thinking for WoW which, as blizzardwatch.com explains, is passing its 15th anniversary, and it could be the case for many more.
MMOs would allow us to get more deeply involved in these worlds, but this might be a case where the dream is better than reality.
One of the reasons WoW succeeded so well was because we never really relied on a single dedicated player-character before. While Warcraft 3 did have a minor focus on single characters in the form of heroes, these controlled simply and effectively played like almost any other unit. This made the transformation into a new genre all the easier to swallow. People weren’t massively attached to this form of gameplay, so changing it wasn’t so much of an issue.
“Yhorm // Dark Souls 3” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Skall_Edit
What about a series like Dark Souls, though? These are games based on an immensely guided experience, with emphasis placed on crafting a path that takes into account a very deliberate control scheme.
Porting games like this to an MMO format is not always possible, because of the nature of latency, as bandwidthplace.com explains. In these cases, modifications, to make a game playable via the internet, could harm the overall experience. Thereby these changes could end up undercutting an aspect of what made the game popular in the first place.
Genre-chasing isn’t new of course, and it’s not inherently good or bad. For every Final Fantasy All the Bravest, there is a Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, and for every Dungeon Keeper mobile, there is an Elder Scrolls Online.
As we inevitably see more series get the World of Warcraft treatment, though, we have to wonder; how often is this shift worth it, when and where is it appropriate, and what does in mean for future entries into a franchise?