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Not So MMO: The Truth is MMOs are Evolving

Columns By Beau Hindman on February 26, 2015

The Truth is MMOs are Evolving

Thanks for checking back in with Not So MMO, a bi-weekly column that covers, well, anything but “real” MMOs.  MOBAs, psuedo-MMOs… you know, those games that are currently making millions and millions of dollars while MMOs slowly fade into the shadowy past…

I am kidding. Of course, you would think that the state of things is as dramatic as the above sentences indicate, but the truth is that MMOs are simply evolving. (We had a great discussion about this very topic on the latest Game On podcast!)


I think a change in acronyms is due to match the change. MMORPG has always been a mouthful and sort of sucked all of the immersive qualities out of the genre. MMORPG sounds like a scientific categorization. And, as this column hopefully shows, the semi- or pseudo-MMO market is alive and well within the blurry lines in between genres, so we need some new terms.

I thought about what makes an MMO an MMO. To me, above all, it is persistence. Not even numbers, really, but persistence. That means that it doesn’t matter as much if 10,000 people are playing a game if they do not affect the game in a persistent way. That means by building houses, (Second Life) changing the landscape, (WURM Online) building a massive city, (an MMORTS) taking out huge mobs, (TERA) trading those mob guts on a marketplace with orders that remain after the player logs off (so many MMOs)  …there are a lot of things that can qualify a game as persistent.

I’m going to make a bet: most of you reading this do not play with the 10,000 other people on your favorite server. Most of you play with, maybe, 10 on a regular basis (your guild.) The key ingredients to the persistent world is the potential for meeting other people, and the persistence that comes from in-game systems and player interaction (not only real-time, one-to-one interaction, though.)

Multiplayer games, like lobby-based, squad-based shooters or MOBAs, are multiplayer games. The “online” part is obvious and can be left off, by the way. While there are games that can be played over LAN or through wifi (especially on mobile) the word “online” is now a given.

So, we have PRPG (Persistent Role-Playing Game, persistent indicating multiplayer and online) and MPG (Multi-Player Game; obviously meaning more than a few and online.)

Everything else is a single-player game. You can’t be more specific than that.

Anyway, let me know your favorite acronyms for MMORPG in the comments.

Now here’s some news from the last week of coverage!

So, Star Citizen raised $75 million dollars. What now? Without quite going into such specific details, Chris Roberts released a Letter from the Chariman that promises development is entering its biggest schedule for public release yet. Roberts also spends some time discussing the recent community drama concerning rental equipment. For more information on that, check out’s Christine Gonzzlez’s thoughts on the matter.

While I am as eager as anyone to get my hands on this title, I will save my hype, money and opinion until I literally get my hands on it. Sure, it looks great and sounds great, but so did many games before it. Is Roberts’ announcement really anything more to be excited about, compared to the last several announcements? Who knows, but the game still looks great.

The developer has also posted a new series of videos that concentrates on player and fan creations. The series will be hosted by Jared “Disco Lando” Huckaby and will highlight vids, podcasts and more!

Developer Haemimonet recently announced that their action-RPG Victor Vran officially made its way to Steam early access. You can plop down some money – between $14.99 and (later) $19.99 – and will get an exclusive costume and early access for your effort. Oh, and you’ll get to play the game as well!

The developer says it is eager to work with early access players to help create the best game they can; so they have provided bug-reporting tools and an eager ear to listen. So far, the game offers just two zones or roughly six hours of game time. A good deal? That’s up to you to decide, but early access games can be a fun way to support a developer in a meaningful way.

World of Warplanes recently updated the game to v1.7 to include new German aircraft. This new round of updates includes ground attack planes, mid-range planes with larger guns and, at the highest tier, faster aircraft. This patch also loads in a pair of new locations for players to fight in.

That’s right, if you ever wanted to fly and gun your way through parts of Italy, Province and The Observatory might be for you. You’ll find bridges, canyons, villages and plateaus and, possibly, an endless string of bullets flying at your vehicle (in case the lovely scenery was not enough for you.)

And, in case that wasn’t enough old-school military action, Wargaming has announced that its tank-based multiplayer battle game World of Tanks will be coming to Xbox One later this year. That will mean that players from the even more old-school Xbox 360 crowd will have more players to play with and hunt against, as both consoles will be connected by the same server. Both versions will also receive identical content updates, so don’t worry about being left behind if you have not yet stepped up to the X-bone!

If that wasn’t enough war for you, War Thunder recently announced an update that includes the B29 Superfortress and the Maus super heavy tank. Called “Big Guns” (rightly so!) the update also includes tweaks to graphics, map improvements and lots of updates to drivers, aircraft realism and more. For more specific information, check out the Big Guns update notes on the War Thunder site.

Square Enix announced a new mobile RPG called Heavenstrike Rivals. Although it has already been making waves around the world, it is just now making its way through North America and Europe. You can find it in beta form on the App Store and in Google Play.

In the game, players take the role of the war-battered denizens of the aerial kingdom of Lunnain. Against them will be the Fallen, deadly nightmare monsters who want nothing more than to destroy everything in their path – including the player.  If turn-based combat with over 200 different collectible characters sounds cool to you, check it out now!

You can also visit the game’s official Facebook page for more information.

Alright, I am off for another week or so of gaming. Wish me luck, and I’ll see you next time!

Beau Hindman / Beau is a writer, artist, PR/CM, game designer and pro moderator, and he's been blogging since 2002. He lives it up in Austin, Texas with his community manager wife. He's also the author of Anna the Powerful, a sci-fi book about the world's only superhero. Buy it here: