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The Random Gamer: Why Not RPGs on MMORPG.com?

Column By Suzie Ford on September 24, 2011

I don’t get it. As the Associate Editor, my primary responsibility is to post news of interest to our players. I do, for the record, understand that the site is called MMORPG.com and by the nature of the URL, that’s what people should expect to find here. By and large, that’s pretty much all we cover. But occasionally, we post things about single-player RPGs which many people seem to really enjoy but others, often the vocal others, throw hissy fits about why content like that is featured here. So let’s take a look at why.

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RPGs were some of the original games developed when the Age of Computers took off and they were very popular. I would venture to say that they helped grow what later became the Gamer Generation. Single player RPGs were being cranked out at a terrific pace and some of the best computer games ever created came straight out of the genre. Think about it: The Elder Scrolls series, Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, the Ultima series, Icewind Dale 1 and 2, Planescape: Torment, Fallout, the Final Fantasy series on consoles. The list could go on and go further back in time. The bottom line is that RPGs were terrifically popular.

Then the birth of MMORPGs happened and there came a space in time when the single player RPG was deemed to be ‘dead’ by most. Indeed, it seemed as if there weren’t any RPGs being made with the notable exceptions of the Dragon Age and Mass Effect games. We went from “too many to play” to just about zero. Developers suddenly wanted to cash in on the fledgling MMO industry and started throwing their time and effort into the monthly revenue model that MMOs employed rather than in the one-time box purchase single player RPG. Seemingly overnight, the Age of RPGs ended and the Age of MMORPGs began.

Many of us simply moved on to MMOs because of a yearning for quality roleplaying experiences. We missed the days of feeling heroic in a world torn by strife. MMOs provided us a haven, virtual comfort food in a manner of speaking. Anyone who had ever played a single player RPG was instantly at home in any MMO. While it was good, we generally never totally lost our affection for the RPG.

But as with all things, the pendulum swings and suddenly single player RPGs are on the rise again after a decade of too few too far between. In the next several months alone we have huge blockbuster titles coming with Skyrim, Kingdoms of Amalur, Diablo III, Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age 3. Suddenly the RPG is back with a vengeance. And lo, it was good.

So here’s where we run into our conundrum: MMORPG.com will always primarily focus on MMOs. After all, more of those are developed in any given year than are single player RPGs. But many, if not most, of our readers also have an affinity for the good old RPG. Just take a look at our forums if you don’t believe that statement. But there are always those who say that RPGs have no place at MMORPG.com. They point out that the MMO part is missing and that consequently, those sorts of games have no place on the site. But our recent Diablo III poll seems to indicate otherwise. When we asked if it should be included in our Games List, the numbers definitely indicated that it should. It leads us to believe that our readership is broad-minded enough to see the connection between MMORPG and RPG and that somehow the two belong together.

So why not cover RPGs? We aren't going to start adding every game to the List, we aren't going to start covering every little detail, but news and previews of the biggest games in the RPG realm are fitting for fans of MMORPGs right? They often influence each other, and Amalur is directly influencing Copernicus from 38 Studios as well, for example. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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