yeah this is about how a 6 letter acronym killed a tla (three letter acronym), and it’s not because the acronym is longer.

mmorpgs are the new version of what the gaming experience is, it is warcraft and playing a game on a wii console where the entire world is also there online, interactive and everything.

rpgs are good old fashioned role playing games, the first ones you can trace back to guys rolling some dice together with a dog-eared D&D manual, or maybe those forgotten realms ready made dungeons, then it became Ultima, and then Legend of Zelda, each game with ever increasing complexity, but still with the basic idea of wandering around in a dungeon killing things for experience, and then came the golden age with the Final Fantasy Series.

And then mmorpgs came on the scene. And gradually like ripples in a pond, the rpgs have been vanishing. Now everything is full of action, action action, first person shooters, or action-adventure games where you have to mash buttons in a rapid and complex mess in order to win the game.

Make no mistake about it, mmorpgs did kill the rpgs, it is not a coincidence that it happened, but it is not because of all of the action it is despite it.   First of all, lets examine just what it was that drew people to the rpg.

An ideal game like a computerized role playing game gives the customer a feeling of being in a life that is not too unlike real life except he or she might have super powers and have fantastic adventures.  He or she can play this game almost like a real life person in the game, making choices, gaining loot, but most of all interacting with this computerized world. That is what it is to live, to experience. And in a rpg, people want the same things they want in real life, they want to feel connected,  to live out their fantasies in a game. When you interact with the non player characters in a game, you are supposed to feel some affection (or hate) for them, it’s not supposed to be a hollow empty thing, you are supposed to feel for the characters, and to have feelings for your loot in the game the same way you might have feelings for your in real life possessions.

If there is an essential striving that we humans have it is the need for social interaction. When mmorpgs came along suddenly there was a choice between interacting with real live people in this fantasy realm or some sort crude multiple choice non-player character. And the contrast is too much, people choose the more social game.

But there is also a critical difference between the rpg and the mmorpgs. And that is one of pace. One of the nicest things about the rpg is how relaxed it is. You start the game, you are in a battle, and maybe you hit pause or maybe you decide to take 3 minutes to decide which button to push, it’s relaxing, sedate, calm. Sure you might be battling dragons that want to eat you and your family up, but they do it at a tempo of your own choosing.

That is part of the essential charm of the classic rpg, the slow pace gives you a feeling of harmony, and makes for an excellent game.

But the world of mmorpgs is different. You can’t tell a real life person to pause for 3 minutes while you fix a cup of tea. So everything had to change. There was no longer the ability to fight battles in a turn based way. If you are in a party with a bunch of people online, you can’t have one person leave at a critical moment, go all afk, everyone has to be ready now always.

Everything has gone uptempo, there’s no more senes of calm that you get with the classic rpg. And it is gone forever. It makes no sense to blame the game designers, our innate need for social interaction has driven them to make all games online and interactive.

This is why every game now is forever blasting zapping, and button mashing.  Today’s version of the video role playing world is just like South Park’s Cartman who can’t spend even a second away from the console, having his mom both feed and take care of elimination needs.

I know there is Baldur’s Gate and the rest of the bioware line which continues to this day but the market is just not there for turn-based games, even classic turned based games have turned into action games.

Perhaps the best computer game ever created X-COM: UFO Defense (the first one, the 2nd and 3rd are just quick knock-offs) has also succumbed to this need to mmorpg and become action based.

The newest version of x-com 2011 is now . . . a first person shooter. Because how can you have a massively multiplayer experience where one of the people is out there making a cup of tea, and causing everyone to wait.  No longer is there the tactical battle of you versus the alien invaders, now it’s just boom headshot.

It’s pretty awful, I know. I have no patience for button mashing, action-adventure, I want the calmness of the old-style RPG’s, where the game waits for you.

Which means there is only one choice left for the classic gamer. It is time to break out the 20-siders and go back to D&D, where you can tell your friends, hold on for a bit, I’m going to make a cup of tea.  To relax and game without the stress of button mashing.  It is true, that the era of the rpg’s is gone forever, but Dungeons and Dragons remains, and you can still buy edition 3.5 4th edition is of course, an abomination, redesigned completely in order to be more like an mmorpg where you sit around mashing buttons only instead of button mashing you roll dice over and over.

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