editorial Soapbox this week, a Massively writer suggested that MMO players have a difficult time agreeing on what constitutes an MMO at least in part because of fundamental confusion over the term "massive." I've always thought the word too relative to be useful; I like the idea of playing alongside thousands of fellow geeks, but very few of the MMOs and MMORPGs I've played since the dawn of the genre ever actually put more than a few dozen people on my screen at a time, and those that tried anyway usually lacked the tech to pull it off without extreme lag. Most MMOs, even single-shard EVE Online, are divided in some way, be it over shards or server boundaries or layered zone instancing or dungeon instances or phasing or even lobbies, and it just doesn't make much difference unless the economy is tanked as a result. A game that isn't massive but feels massive is more an MMO to me than one that's technically massive but plays like a single-player title -- "massive" seems a happy illusion at best and a double-standardish proxy for "old-school" at worst.
But many gamers are convinced they know exactly where the line in the sand must be drawn between the massives and the nots. So today, let's assume you, the readers, get to decide for the genre what "massive" means. How many people does it entail -- and how and where and in what numbers precisely must they interact -- for a game to be "massive" enough to merit the term MMO? And how many old school MMORPGs would fit that definition?
Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!