The pioneer- Everquest | 1999 | PC
The major drawback of RPGs is that in a world populated by millions, you are the only real person. Sure you can "talk" to NPCs, but there was no real interaction in the one genre that wouldbenefit from it most. So the advent of MMORPGs was the natural step to bring gamers together, While some fondly remember Ultima Online,Everquest was the breakthrough that managed to unite gamers in droves and usher the modern MMORPG into the mainstream. By including nasties that simply couldn’t be bested by lone adventurers, player guilds and the concept of group raids were born, and have remained a key feature of the genre ever since. Suddenly it wasn’t about getting to level 99- roles mattered, and the tree wielding troll is only worth his moss if he has a friend acting the white mage behind him. And for the first time, all this without any ongoing technical issues.
Raising the bar- World of Warcraft | 2004 | PC
With 40 race and class combinations and an in-game population of eight million, WoW remains unrivaled in terms of scale. It’s not simply its size that made it brilliant- it’s the sensibility with which it was implemented. Of the 1000+ quests, only the ones you were strong enough to complete were revealed. It completely did away with penalties after player death, and added bonuses for returning casual players, making it openly accessible to whether you wanted to play an hour a week or ten a day. Or look at it like this: at the official PS3 launch on Oxford Street, 125 people showed up. When the WoW Burning Crusade official launch event kicked off on Oxford Street just two months earlier, some 3,000 were clamoring to get at it.