One comment some 4E haters say is that it plays like WoW. That the idea of having abilities based on a unit of time independent of the game day and more on a single fight is a lot like an MMO, with powers and cool downs. The concept of character roles, and the tactical feel of combat is closer to a video game, rather than the AD&D of old. I’m not going to fan up flames of an edition war, but I think folks need to look over that MMO impression of 4E a bit.
Seems a lot of folks will cry that World of Warcraft is the end all, be all of MMOs. Yeah, there was Ultima Online, and text-based MUDs beforehand, but let’s not completely forget about Everquest. Everquest pretty much ruled the fantasy MMOs being the first ‘3D’ world and was a huge success.
So I wouldn’t say that WoW was the most innovative MMO ever. It took a lot of game play ideas from it’s competitor at the time, Everquest, and pretty much improved on it 10-fold (not to mention the significant graphic boost WoW provided). All ready you had a group of people griding away in Everquest. Once WoW hit, folks took the jump and never looked back, with WoW being the fantasy MMO that has become the industry juggernaut it is today.
Looking at WoW and other MMOs out there, clearly they’ve tapped the pulse of a lot of people that like to play games. But is the game play that innovative? Were these video games a culmination of such unique ideas they were never used before? Of course not, and I’d push that many game design qualities of MMOs today are taken right from Dungeons and Dragons.
I think there are four common characteristics of most MMOs. These game design ideas are straight out of what made D&D unique as a role playing game. So over the next week or so, I’d like to talk about some key features of MMOs, and what they’ve taken from D&D. In the end I think we tend to forget the impact D&D had on the video gaming scene, and if anything, most MMOs are pale mimics of RPGs, not the other way around.