Hellgate: London seems to be a pretty typical MMORPG when you look at the game and world. It has all the same elements of an MMORPG like quests, ability to play online, different armor, stats, levels, a number bar for your skills and spells. All very typical of your everyday MMORPG, but does that make Hellgate: London an MMORPG?
As somebody who loves MMORPGs, I tend to travel around the forums a lot. On these forums it gets brought up a lot. Somebody will say something like how they can’t wait for the “new MMORPG Hellgate: London to come out,” and then a forum fight will ensue between the MMORPG purists (people who maintain the strict definition behind the acronym MMORPG) and the others (people who generally just use the acronym to define any online game). It has actually become quite interesting as people struggle between keeping the acronym a strict set of standards to define an MMORPG, and allowing it to become just a word to describe a genre of video games.
So, back to my original question: is Hellgate: London an MMORPG? Well, let’s look at why some would not call it an MMORPG:
- The game is completely zoned. Even the safe zones in the game can only hold 50 or so people.
- There is no persistent world where thousands of people can inhabit the land together.
- There is a single-player component, an MMORPG no-no.
All legitimate reasons as to why it could not, technically, be called an MMORPG. However, in this day an age I’d still say it is, simply because the term is fast becoming an industry genre that is being applied to what can only be called a “baby boom” of MMORPG games. Its too complicated to come up with genres for each and every differing title and the term MMORPG seems to be broad enough to give people a rough idea of what your game will look like and be, which is what a genre is supposed to do anyways. Bottom line, games need genres, and it just so happens the moniker MMORPG has been adapted to define these new not-quite-MMORPG games.