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Down with the goblins - Or how to make MMOs fun again

What are the hallmarks of the MMO? What are the things that it sells itself on and does better than any other style of game?

If you ask hardcore fans, they’ll tell you that it’s the genre that allows you to be anyone, absolutely anywhere, and do anything. That it’s the one that most truly lets you inhabit and live the life of another person in another place and time. That more than any other, it brings people together in the social aspect of gaming and lets them share and shape their collective experiences as a group.

Except that it isn’t and it doesn’t. These are all myths of the modern MMO, and the reasons behind them are long-standing and deep-rooted in an anachronistic design philosophy which has stubbornly refused to evolve along with the rest of gaming. The more it claims to do these things, the more its methods show up how badly it fails. A genre that’s missed the point of what it’s supposed to do. That’s the hallmark of the MMO.

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.