I guess I can finish up this week's WRUP first, though. That's just the Massively staff explaining what we'll be up to over the weekend as well as discussing whether or not we feel that the term "MMO" is being diluted in such a way as to harm the genre. Jump on past the break to see what we'll be up to, and let us know your plans in the comments!
@Beau_Hindman: I'll be looking at Family Guy Online for Rise and Shiny next week. From what I have seen, it looks like a real MMO, but we'll find out. I'll also be working through more Silan missions in Ryzom and playing around with the combat beta in RuneScape.
As much as I love exploring all games and especially multiplayer games, I would not like to see "MMORPG" mean anything else but one persistent world with hundreds or thousands of unique players. Of course, that world and those players can be represented in a thousand different ways (look at MMORTS games or MUDs for examples), but we still need the persistence. However, in 10 years, I believe MMOs will be a thing of the past thanks to multiplayer being a part of every game.
@nbrianna: I'll be in the Guild Wars 2 beta this weekend, of course, and I'm also rolling around in Skyrim and maybe a Steam sale game or two. Just picked up Krater; heard it's awesome.
It doesn't bug me much that "MMO" now encompasses a lot of games that are more about being online than about being massive. It's not like all MMORPGs are actually RPGs, after all. The label doesn't change what's being made, only how what's being made is being marketed.
@Eliot_Lefebvre: Have to admit that I feel a bit out of the loop with the whole Guild Wars 2 thing. Some RIFT, some Final Fantasy XIV, and some Star Wars: The Old Republic should assuage that feeling. And maybe I'll go see a movie about a man dressing up like a bat.
The term "MMO" means the same thing it always did -- a game that is always online with a large number of simultaneous players. The fact that said term no longer refers exclusively to a narrow subset of games is really irrelevant. There are always going to be debates about exactly what qualifies as an MMO over just a game with a lot of online components, but that's no different than arguing over the precise genre of a piece of music.
@elixabethclaire: I actually had to consider this question carefully because in a moment of total mental absence I forgot there was a Guild Wars 2 beta this weekend. So I'll be doing that. A lot of that, I hope. I'll also spend some time in The Secret World and maybe sneak in some Cards Against Humanity if I'm superbly lucky. Meh.
@Jeremy_Stratton: And I was doing so well. Steam will be the undoer of worlds with its sales. I caved and bought Shogun 2, which I plan to play a little of with a friend. I'll try popping into the Guild Wars 2 beta, but I also have some real-life stuff I want to do.
I remember when record stores made a big deal out of splitting music genres into more categories. Of course, now we have tons of genres, and I think for the better. If you think about it, MMORPGs have finally stopped faking it. They've changed so much when for the longest time they kept holding on to that tenuous thread that tried to connect them to an old definition. I'd love to see RPGs come back, but let's call a duck a duck. Today's online games are finally to a point that they're not afraid to be their own thing, and I think new terms would be beneficial.
@JayeRnH: Along with my usual favorites, RIFT and EverQuest II, I think I'll check out Vindictus this weekend. I'm really excited about the new Mercenary, Kai, because I'm a ranger at heart (although I have to hear my kids lecture me about how the "real" Kai is a LEGO Ninja).
I do think that MMORPG is a term that's slowly fading away, partially because games are changing and partially because the genre is represented lately by a line graph that starts at a certain height and then descends at an alarming rate over a three- to six-month period. I think we're in a transition period right now, but I still hold out hope for a renaissance at some point, a return to the roots of what made early MMORPGs so loved.
Thanks to the awesomeness that is being with my family (and I say that without a hint of sarcasm!), I won't have as much gaming time this weekend. What time I do have will be spent checking out the new 3.1 changes in Aion and immersing myself in more of The Secret World. Aion has some interesting things in this update, and I want to experience them for myself. Also, I am doubly enjoying my time in TSW as I duo the storylines and get to RP as we tackle things. It has made the world come even more alive to share it!
I'm in agreement with the thought that MMO should be the general term, but leave MMORPG for the actual games that truly foster roleplaying!
@mackeypb: I'm going to be playing... League of Legends, I hope. My awful internet still isn't fixed because I have come to find that it's a billing problem and my roommates "accidentally" downgraded our service. My girlfriend has been getting me a lot of stuff on Steam thanks to the Summer Sale, so I have a lot of new games to play as well. Still, I haven't been able to reliably play LoL in over a week, and I'm really craving it.
I don't think that the term MMO means anything anymore. It's just a buzzword, and while I have a pretty hard, unchanging definition of what MMO means, people -- particularly game developers -- have distorted the term so much that MMO can mean anything from a persistent, open-world sandbox like EVE Online (more a virtual world than an MMO) and an online lobby shooter with no game world. I wonder whether adding "MMO" to the description of your game is a way to cash out on a lucrative niche right now.
@terilynns: While I hope to get some Star Trek Online in this weekend, I think it's going to get a bit tough for me as I will be preparing for the awesome Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas in August. While I will be there on Massively's behalf for the Discussion with the Devs panel, I will also be at a vendor's booth for my podcast. I have so much to do!
As for the definition of the term MMORPG, once again I think I'm the odd woman out. The term is simple to me: It means it's a video game that lots of people play at once. Since the term "roleplaying" means so many things to so many people, it's difficult to say what isn't an MMORPG.
At the start of every weekend, we catch up with the Massively staff members and ask them, "What are you playing this week?" (Otherwise known as: WRUP!) Join us to see what we're up to in and out of game -- and catch us in the comments to let us know what you're playing, too!