Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is a computer role-playing game where a large number of players meet and play with each other in a virtual world. Richard Garriott coined the term MMORPG. He is the creator of Ultima Online, the game which popularized MMORPG.
As in most role-playing games, players take roles in a fictional fantasy world. In the virtual world, the player takes control of the character and his abilities. In every game there are different characters with different traits and abilities. Most MMORPG characters are categorized into melee, ranged, and magic users. Players have the option to choose from these variety characters to match their personality with the avatar. MMORPG's Difference From The Average Computer Role Playing game
MMORPG can be distinguished from normal computer role-playing games by the number of players and the virtual world where the game is situated. While single-player computer role playing games is limited to one player, MMORPG can host thousands of players at a time.
Another difference between the two is the world that surrounds the game. Computer role-playing games are situated in a setting which is repetitive and constant. Each time the player plays the game, the same event is repeated since the game was programmed that way. On the other hand, the MMORPG's environment continues to evolve whether the player is online or away from the game.
Cost of Online Role-Playing Games
Since MMORPG has become very popular over the world, revenues have risen dramatically over the years to keep up with the demand of online gamers world wide. As of 2005, about half a billion US dollars have been allotted to MMORPG and about one billion dollars have been allotted to the western revenues alone.
Economics on MMORPG
Most online role-playing games feature living economies. Virtual items and currency have to be gained while playing the game and have definite value for the players. Such a virtual economy can be analyzed and has value in economic research and can even have a dramatic impact on the economies of the real world.
Edward Castronova, one of the early researchers of MMORPGs, demonstrated that there is an existing supply-and-demand market for virtual items, even crossing over with the real world. Some of the crossover requirements are the following: The player's ability to sell in-game items for virtual currency, trading of items which have the similar value, the purchase of game items with real money, and the exchange of real money with in-game money.
The idea of exchanging real currency virtual currency or in-game items has had a significant effect on both the players and game industries. Some people even make a living out of the virtual economies. These people are termed as "gold farmers" and can be employed through the game shops or private forums. Game publishers usually prohibit the exchange of real currencies with in-game items or virtual money however, these exchanges are hard to control and due to the necessity of an item or virtual money, many of the players offer real money exchange. There are some online games which offer a direct link between virtual economy and real-world economy. A perfect example is the game "Entropia Universe". In this online game, real money can be deposited for game money and vice versa.