Howdy player! We're about to take you on an adrenaline-loaded ride into the fascinating history of massively multiplayer online games. That’s MMO for short. Believe it or not, these interactive games have their origins in the 1970s, or as tech-savvy folks say during the age of the dinosaurs. Of course, the games they had back then were simplistic beyond compare… but that's how it always begins. Players would be seated at their own computer terminals and interact with one another in a virtual area, using serial cables. The next advancement was ARPAnet – almost like quantum physics at the time – and the forebear of what we know today as the Internet.
These games began to be commercialised in the 1980s, and by the beginning of 1990 players were being charged approximately $6 per hour to enjoy these games online. As the cost of Internet technology decreased, the hourly play rate would drop from as much as $12 per hour down to $1.95. CompuServe claims to have had 3 million Internet subscribers by 1995, and many of them were playing online games.
By the 1990s, it was costing as much as $10 million to design, develop and launch an MMORPG game. To keep costs down, gaming developers were charging customers upwards of $10 per month in subscriptions. One of the ways to keep games as exciting, up-to-date and feature rich as possible is the subscription model. There are scores of examples of these types of games out there. However not all players like to pay subscriptions, and that is why free MMO games are now readily available.
The advancements in computer gaming technology continued throughout the 1970s, but it wasn't until computers became popularised as household items in the 1980s that things really began to change. MUD games dominated the scene, and by 1989 tremendous successes were being had in multiplayer gaming. Oh yeah: in case you were wondering – MUD stands for Multi-User Dungeons.
It was around this time that battalions, minefields, player abilities and unique skill sets were being developed in a player versus player system. Instead of simply advancing by levels, it was the skill element that began to take root. The immersive component of interactive, multiplayer games really took off.
Graphical MMORPG games first appeared in 1991, when PC owners on America Online (AOL) got a taste of the action. But it truly wasn't until 1997 that the actual term became widely used.
Commercial Internet usage was very limited in the 1990s, and this meant that AOL, CompuServe and GEnie were used to showcase these multiplayer online games. As soon as NSFNET limitations eased up, online games on the Internet were deployed en masse. Scores of titles were available for play, and their popularity skyrocketed. MMO games got off to an incredible start in South Korea. Massively multiplayer online games were able to reel players in like never before. The dawning of a new age had come, and there was nothing in this world or in cyberspace capable of holding back a tidal wave of MMO gaming madness.
Nowadays, MMORPGS are fascinating spectacles. The levels of audio-visual realism, strategic gameplay and combat sequences are unparalleled. Several major companies have cemented their places as front-runners in the industry, including Plarium, Sony, ArenaNet and others.
You have things like PVE and PVP to contend with, raids, clans, socializing and even marriage proposals: quite a bit of progress from the early days in the 1970s.
MMORPGs are continually evolving, almost like a life force unto themselves. You can rest assured that as long as there are developers and players interacting with one another, the enhancements in the games always provide you with many new quests and adventures, and new player zones for you to enjoy.
These games may have had their origins at the same time that Rocky and Rambo became popularised, but they are so much more advanced now than anyone ever imagined they would be!
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