East vs. West: MMORPG Edition

There has always been a lot of competition between the eastern world and western world ever since the great Opium Wars in the 1800s. It takes place in our culture, technology, and, now, our MMORPGs. It has always stricken me as odd that our world has been divided into this us vs. them mentality and even now as we play our World of Warcrafts and Lineages we can’t help but get sucked into the eternal debate all over again. So which side is right?

If you were to take a look at our current MMORPG gaming scheme right now you’d notice there are already a vast amount of differences in not only how eastern and western MMORPGs play, but also how they are managed. Eastern MMOs tend to be more focused on a leveling scheme that makes you hunt monsters for extended periods of time, where as western MMOs tend to be more quest oriented where, instead of “grinding”, you complete this quest and that quest for the bulk of your experience. In addition to these play-styles, you will also find a good majority of eastern MMOs to be free and contain an “item shop” where players can pay to give their avatars some extra pizzazz, although a notable exclusion to this rule would be the Lineage series of games which charges $14.99 per month to play. Western MMOs tend to be completely pay2play. In fact the only western MMOs I can think of that differ from this rule are, arguably, not real MMORPGs, such as, Hellgate: London and Guild Wars. These are stark contrasts that usually carry over into forum debates about which is better, but really, why all the hassle? Here are some prime examples of eastern and western MMORPGs:


  1. Lineage 2
  2. Sword of the New World: Grenado Espada
  3. Mu Online
  4. RF Online
  5. Archlord


  1. World of Warcraft
  2. Dark Age of Camelot
  3. Tabula Rasa
  4. Lord of the Rings Online
  5. Everquest 2

MMORPGs are, for better or worse, yet another battleground for the east vs. west debate, and it will continue to be until the whole world finally gets over itself and just learns to stop caring about it. Amongst cars, policies, art, films, animations, and consumer electronics there now sits MMORPGs, the latest victim in a long drawn out battle.