7 Things That Make a Great MMORPG

MMORPGs are one of the longest-standing genres in the video game world. They are loved by many as even today, some of the largest MMORPGs still have a strong player base.

Question is, what is it that makes MMORPGs so alluring? Well, this article will help us answer that question because we will be dissecting 7 factors that ultimately form a brilliant MMORPG.

Let’s begin.

1. A Good Story

A Good Story
Photo Credits: Nexon

Many would think that MMORPGs are all about numbers like how high are your levels and how high your damage is. Yes, those are relevant factors but it’s not just those. An intriguing and immersive story is a good hook for players to keep wanting to play more in an MMORPG.

Directly relating to this is the character and world-building of the game. When it comes to creating a fictional world, MapleStory does this really well. Its universe has its own culture and community—both of which make the game feel alive. In terms of characters, World of Warcraft takes the cake for us. They are complex in their own way and the lore behind them is carefully researched and thought of.

So, at the end of the day, a great MMORPG tells an awesome story. With a good story, it can transport its player into a different world and make them feel like they are part of the game.

2. A Variety of Classes

A Variety of Classes
Photo Credits: Blizzard Entertainment

Choosing a class is always one of the hardest things to do in an MMORPG. Having a rich choice of class selection not only gives the game more content but also encourages different playstyles.

In other words, with different classes, there will be different compositions for a team. Again, World of Warcraft nailed this down pretty well. Whenever you attempt a raid, you will need to organise a squad and class composition is highly important. This gives the game more depth and rewards players who take the time to explore the game at a deeper level.

Do note that while we do enjoy a good number of class choices, flooding the game with repetitive and redundant classes could be a bad thing. It is important each class has its own uniqueness and quirk, only then there would be an incentive for players to try out different classes.

3. Fewer Pay-to-Win Mechanics

Pay to Win
Photo Credits: Nexon

We understand that pay-to-win elements exist to support developers/publishers that make their games free-to-play. Even so, if we let pay-to-win get to the top of the game, there will be trouble. Making a game pay-to-win centric will give spenders an insane advantage over non-spenders and with it comes an unhealthy balance within the game’s ecosystem.

A nice way to go about this is like DOTA 2, despite it not being an MMORPG. The game’s microtransactions are mainly for cosmetics only and do not affect the in-game gameplay at all. So, if MMORPGs can adopt this method, we are pretty confident that their player base will skyrocket, attracting both spenders and non-spenders.

4. Good Level Progression System

Good Levelling System
Photo Credits: Pearl Abyss

Farming and levelling up are the bread and butter of MMORPGs. However, doing this excessively can cause a huge burnout and make players bounce off a game easily.

Honestly, we all do not want to be farming in one area for the whole day just to get a measly two to three level-ups. It’s repetitive gameplay and even if it does rack up hours of playtime, there is just no variety to it.

So, how do we make a level progression good? Quests and objectives are all good incentives for experience points for levelling. Instead of just defeating the same enemy again and again, doing something interactive makes the game more interesting and compelling.

5. Good Character Customisation

Character Customisation
Photo Credits: Bethesda Softworks

Even if you are being transported into a different world, you would still want to retain a piece of yourself inside your fictional character. Helping you do that is the character customisation of the game.

All great MMORPGs have this. This is because having good character customisation makes the game feel personal to its players. It is a character that you will be spending hours and hours on, so if it is not you, you’ll get bored easily.

Games like The Elder Scrolls and Black Desert Online have this checkbox checked. If you enter their respective worlds, you’ll notice the online players you meet are all vastly different. This is an amazing thing that very few MMORPGs get right.

6. User-Friendly UI

Clean UI
Photo Credits: Pearl Abyss

If you’ve played MMORPGs long enough, you’ll know that skills, abilities and information come in huge amounts. It’s like its own study itself and without a proper interface, any player will be drowned with information.

This is why, having an accessible UI that is good to read and navigate is essential. Nowadays, more and more developers are opting for a more minimalistic approach to their UI design. This way, a lightweight UI can help deliver the message more comfortably and players will have a better time reading the information about the mechanics of the game.

7. Great Multiplayer Features

Multiplayer Features
Photo Credits: Blizzard Entertainment

A strong community is always sought after luxury among MMORPGs. That said, while building a community is part of the players’ job, having great multiplayer features from the game developers creates a platform for them to build a strong one.

World of Warcraft has always impressed us in this regard. Their raids and guild system are all things that other MMORPGs can take a page from. As such, we can see why World of Warcraft is still being massively played today and their community is just as strong as before.

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Final Thoughts

Hey! We’ve made it to the end! Of course, there are many more things that define a great MMORPG but these are 7 elements that have to be there. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more and more amazing MMORPGs being created in the near future. Until then, let us just enjoy what we have now!