The humble beginnings of Massively Multiplayer Games started with a game called Zork. Zork did not have a multiplayer option or even any combat. In fact, Zork was text based. A single computer running a computer program that different people could access at different times, was as far as multiplayer games went. It was called the Multi User Dungeon. Users accessed the computer using Telnet and enjoyed their gaming experience. The game had no images or video whatsoever. Users read a bunch of text and type in their response to play the game.
There is a bit of controversy on the origins of MMORPG. While some claim that the beginnings were from the offshoot of Telnet players who began introducing graphics, others claim the first true virtual world of Habitat was the true source. However, popular belief is that both the genres of games were responsible for the birth of today’s games.
The Legends of Future Past
For several reasons, the Legends of Future Past is the game that changed it all. The intelligent crafting system and the introduction of administrators is the prime reason, this game started a new era in the gaming world. The way a player gains skills and experience were studied and dissected to understand, what keeps the player in the game. The findings from these studies showed, that the players continued to play a game if, they were able to unearth something that was not easy to obtain. This could be in the form of skill or even objects.
The Legends of Future Past used all these tactics, to keep the player in the game. Their use of game masters took the gaming world to the next dimension. The game masters or administrators were the first paid staff in the gaming world. The masters were able to give the players new quests and unlock new levels for the players, which made it even more interesting for the players to come back for more. The cost of playing the game was also substantially reduced, because of the ability to play over the internet.
The Entry of The Big Game Players
By the year 1996, the world of MMORPGs started changing as the big companies started investing. Sony Entertainment, Origin Systems and Turbine Entertainment began investing heavily into multiplayer games, with their high marketing budgets that was able to capture a larger audience. The popularity of these games began to rise and soon there were companies all around the world that were launching MMORPGs. The games were addictive and soon, the news media industry had its eye on the pie. This only led to increasing the visibility and subscription of these games, by bringing in new players who had never heard of gaming before.
Over the years, there have been many games that have been introduced and a huge maturity in the script and graphic levels. The expectations of what is possible in a MMORPG is now only set to go forward, with the introduction of virtual reality. What the future has in store for multiplayer games cannot be quantified. It is perhaps something left to the player’s imagination and in the hands of the game creator.