I've been arguing that since the mixing of F2p browser credit card games with actual MMORPGs under the same moniker, the real sandboxes are getting lost in the white noise.
Either we need to kick this crap over to its own moniker or get another catchy abbreviation for ourselves. Right now devs don't see us as our own market, just a small niche of a giant market where people are willing to pay real money for icons. We need separation from that. We need our own name and own sites again. It's the only way we'll get funded.
The sandboxes are waaay outnumbered by these cheesy money grabs calling themselves MMOs. To the devs it appears as if there isn't a market for real virtual worlds. In reality our genera and the moniker MMORPG has just been watered down by companies making a cheap money grab at what was a burgeoning industry ripe with innovation by just stealing the name.
From the 'dinosaur' perspective, in the real world it's like going out for a nice double shot of Tullamore Dew and finding out they now only sell pint glasses of single shot bar rail whiskey and water but advertise it as a double of Tullamore Dew. Eventually the bar is filled with watered down whiskey fans who think their favorite drink is Tullamore Dew. Capiche?
If you write about Farmville as a MMO you're going to attract a ton of Farmville fans who think their favorite casual game is a MMO just because they searched Farmville on google and your article popped up.
The MMO sites aren't helping things. I don't know if there's still a columnist at any of them that would staunchly defend the real concept of MMORPG or tear into FTP item shops and analyze why so many companies are racing towards them.
Here's a clue: You purchase potions and buffs from the people who control the difficulty of the game. I think it's ridiculous to think they don't engage in world tweaking to make more profit.
If there is a MMO Journalist anywhere that can see what F2P is really all about and has the cojones to just ask permission to do an Investigative piece you'd be helping recover the genera. We need help. Please.
I don't blame the columnists at these sites for helping to water everything down. One example of the pressure to add water was when Massively was brought from a niche forum into the fold at AOL when this F2P junk really started taking off. It's the nature of the beast - if they stretch the definition of MMO then they get a larger audience. If you post a job for a columnist to report on Facebook MMOs then guess what? You only get applicants that enjoy facebook games and think they're MMOs.
Global Agenda tried to pass its lobby+ graphics off as an MMO and MMO sites supported them in it. They asked for a monthly fee to participate in persistent conquest play - it was a freaking hex map. I don't know who the heck OK's encouraging gamers - a lot of them young teens and 'tweens' - to pay $15/month for a lobby and a hex map. The sites even got these people all fired up defending the game as an MMO until HiRez realized their marketing failed and went on to create their own 'MOBA' moniker. They're pushing to get into professional competition gaming now. Good for them - they finally realized they were Counterstrike.
I think it's pretty much proof positive that the MMORPG genera is being watered down with the complete support of these MMO sites when a site called 'Massively' runs a column called 'Not so Massively.' Are you serious? You guys aren't having fun chipping away at our niche are you?
Here's Massively's first issue:
All of the games, even the F2P ones, were actual Virtual worlds. It took them four years to go from MMORPGs being Virtual Worlds to calling 2d clickers with chat on an iPhone MMORPGs
You can write about whatever you want, call it a MMORPG and people who enjoy that game will show up. This does not mean the game is an MMO.