Games are rather viral in the way that their ideas spread around. You start off with perfectly self-contained genres, perhaps, but before long your characters are leveling up in a sports game and going through jumping puzzles in an action game (or a first-person shooter if you're unlucky). Next thing you know, you're shooting hoops before racing a car and shooting people and then solving a riddle... you get the idea. MMOs seem like they'd be largely immune to this -- after all, many of their conventions not ported from elsewhere, such as persistent online play, are fairly unique to them. However, Spinks has a fascinating essay regarding the way that, for better or for worse, MMOs are becoming closely entwined with other games.

In short, while she notes that the mechanics haven't always made the jump from, for instance, World of Warcraft to Dragon Age, the design of the game's structure and the tactics available have. She notes the increasing prevalence of the "holy trinity" in non-MMO games (Final Fantasy XII being another excellent example), the ways in which our ideas about discussing both the game itself and the tactics it requires have expanded, and the ways that our attitudes toward our characters in a game have changed as MMOs have diversified, expanded, and improved. Insightful and astute, fans of gaming should find more than a little food for thought within the full article.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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