Although online games have been hugely successful in recent years, few people realize how long the genre had been around before this explosion in popularity. Often referred to as MMORPGs, or “Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games,” these online worlds have been around for almost as long as the Internet itself. The purpose of this article is to explore the fascinating evolution of online games, from the dawn of their invention to the massive 3D landscapes of modern times.
The roots of online gaming can be traced back to BBS, or “bulletin board system.” These early versions of our modern forums were used to host all kinds of discussions or, in the case of this article, to provide a central ยูฟ่าเบท location for a group of online role-players. Games hosted on BBS often required players to adopt the appearance of a character they had created. Over the course of various posts on the board, the characters would interact back and forth, gradually developing the otherwise indefinite story. BBS games endure to the present, although the new generation of online gamers tend to find them too slow for their tastes.
Online games took a big step forward in terms of interactivity with the advent of MUD, or Multi-User Dungeon or Domain or Dimension (the last word in the acronym varies by opinion). MUDs retained the text-based look of BBS games, but added a level of automation that had not been previously known. Players can develop characters with stats similar to Dungeons & Dragons and team up to explore and kill monsters. More importantly, the MUDs also allowed players to interact with each other in real time. Gone are the BBS post delays as players would only have encounters while online at the same time.
MUDs reigned supreme in online games for years, until the first incarnations of graphical MMORPGs appeared. These new games had primitive graphics that still looked attractive as something that had not been possible before. A good example of a game produced during this era would be Legends of Kesmai, a now-defunct graphic game in which players ventured together into a world set across a vast tile-based map. Real-time interaction was now the norm, rather than the ultimate, and community sensations and faster gratification helped these games slowly surpass the popularity of their text-based predecessors.
The modern popularity of online games was initially sparked by EverQuest, the first commercial MMORPG to be set in a fully 3D rendered environment. EverQuest’s jaw-dropping scope and classic fantasy theme launched its ratings beyond Ultima Online, an already popular online game based on the single-player Ultima titles. EverQuest dominated the online gaming market for years, with monthly subscription fees and numerous expansion packs generating unprecedented profits for the gaming’s parent company, Sony Online Entertainment. EverQuest continues to thrive to this day, although it has lagged somewhat behind its competitors in recent years.
EverQuest’s base model can be seen in most of today’s online games. Although different art styles are employed, most games use the same system of taking players through months (or often years) of work, and their characters gradually increase in power and prestige as a result of their continuous efforts in the online world. The first modern MMORPG to deviate from this demanding path is said to be World of Warcraft. Set in the Warcraft gaming universe, WoW (as its players call it) is marketed to casual gamers by offering faster advancement for less time required. World of Warcraft has quickly become the most popular MMORPG on the market and the first game to dethrone EverQuest from its place at the top of the market.