Friday

From Ultima to WoW: A Short History of MMO




The first video game ever invented was Tennis for Two, a game designed for two players, back in the late 1950s. Later, the first commercially successful video game turned out to be another multiplayer title, Pong, which could be played against a computer-controlled player, but was far more fun to play against a human opponent. The desire to play with others has been a constant in the world of video games, which led to local multiplayer first, LAN play and internet multiplayer next, and the release of the first massively multiplayer online worlds. At the same time, single-player games have remained widespread, ranging from casual titles like All Slots real money online casino games and their likes, to social games, story-driven titles, and many others. Still, MMO has shown perhaps the fastest growth over the years. Now, let's take a look at the history of these amazing adventures - in short.

Precursors and ancestors

Tabletop role-playing games were clearly the ancestors of massively multiplayer online games. One of the earliest examples of multiplayer adventure games called simply "Adventure", has borrowed quite a few elements from D&D, and later MUDs also had fantasy elements well-known for role-playing gamers. Then CompuServe, America Online, and the proliferation of personal computers gave birth to games that were "massive" by the times' standards - games like Island of Kesmai, Lucasfilm's Habitat, Neverwinter Nights by designer Don Daglow and programmer Cathryn Mataga paved the way for the emergence of the first truly massive multiplayer games, even by today's standards.

The first MMORPG

Richard Garriott, the creator of the legendary Ultima series, was the first to use the term " massively multiplayer online role-playing game", or MMORPG. In the coming years, quite a few massively multiplayer games found success - titles like Ultima Online, The Realm Online, Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds, Meridian 59, and several others. These are part of the first generation of MMORPG games, culminating in the release of Asheron's Call. Ultima Online, EverQuest, and Asheron's Call are considered the "big three" of the first wave of MMO games.

The second wave

At the turn of the century, "massively multiplayer" moved beyond role-playing games, into many other genres. In the early 2000s, many famous game franchises emerged, some of them active even today - think Final Fantasy X, EVE Online, Lineage II, City of Heroes, along with Second Life, a massively "multiplayer" virtual world. And all this led to an even newer generation of massively multiplayer games.

A new definition of "massive"

EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, and World of Warcraft are just a few examples of the MMOs' current generation. With them, a series of free to play MMORPGs also saw the light of day - think titles like Silkroad Online, MapleStory, Shadowbane, and many others, with millions of players roaming seemingly endless worlds from all corners of the globe.
 

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