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World Applied Programming, Vol (3), Issue (1), January 2013.

ISSN: 2222-2510
2012 WAP journal.

General Trends in Multiplayer Online Games

Masoud Nosrati *

Ronak Karimi

Kermanshah University of
Medical Sciences,
Kermanshah, Iran

Kermanshah University of
Medical Sciences,
Kermanshah, Iran

Abstract: Online games are developed every day-to-day. Producing the games has become one of the most
beneficial jobs for game studios. Different types of games with various aims are produced. But, among all of
them, multiplayer games have a special place. A multiplayer video game is one which more than one person
can play in the same game environment at the same time. In other hands, online games found the popularity
between users. It provided an excellent opportunity for producing multiplayer online games.
This paper will get into the general trends in multiplayer online games. So, the basic notions of gaming are
talked as the first step. Then, Different general genres are introduced. Various types and impressive features
of the genres are investigated in details, too. This paper tries to give a top level view to multiplayer online
games to readers.
Keyword: Online games, Massively multiplayer online game, Multiplayer online role-playing game,
Multiplayer online battle arena


An online game is a video game played over some form of computer network, using a personal computer or video
game console [2].
There are many ways for users to play games online. This includes free games found on the internet, games on mobile
phones and handheld consoles, as well as downloadable and boxed games on PCs and consoles such as the
PlayStation, Nintendo Wii or Xbox. Some of the most common devices on which online games are consoles, PC
games, web games and applications, mobile games, and handheld games [1].
Online gaming is a technology rather than a genre, a mechanism for connecting players together rather than a
particular pattern of game play [3].
Online games are played over computer networks as well as Internet. It has two advantages:

Ability to connect to multiplayer games, although single-player online games are quite common as well
A great percentage of games dont require payment

A multiplayer video game is one which more than one person can play in the same game environment at the same
time. Unlike most other games, computer and video games are often single-player activities that put the player against
preprogrammed challenges and/or AI-controlled opponents, which often lack the flexibility and ingenuity of regular
human thinking.
Multiplayer components allow players to enjoy interaction with other individuals, be it in the form of partnership,
competition or rivalry, and provide them with a form of social communication that is almost always missing in singleplayer oriented games.


Online games have different genres. Video game genres are used to categorize video games based on their gameplay
interaction rather than visual or narrative differences [4]. A video game genre is defined by a set of gameplay
challenges. They are classified independent of their setting or game-world content, unlike other works of fiction such

Masoud Nosrati et al., World Applied Programming, Vol (3), No (1), January 2013.

as films or books. For example, an action game is still an action game, regardless of whether it takes place in a fantasy
world or outer space [5].
There are 3 general genres in online gaming: massively multiplayer online game, massively multiplayer online roleplaying game, and Multiplayer online battle arena. In this section, they will be talked in details.

II.1. Massively multiplayer online game

A massively multiplayer online game (also called MMO and MMOG) is a multiplayer video game which is capable of
supporting hundreds or thousands of players simultaneously. By necessity, they are played on the Internet, and feature
at least one persistent world. They are, however, not necessarily games played on personal computers. Most of the
newer games consoles, including the PSP, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, PS Vita and Wii can access the
Internet and may therefore run MMO games. Additionally, mobile devices and smartphones based on such operating
systems as Android, iOS and Windows Phone are seeing an increase in the number of MMO games available.
There are several types of massively multiplayer online games [6]:

Bulletin board role-playing games
First-person shooter
Real-time strategy
Real-time strategy

II.2. Massively multiplayer online role-playing game

Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is a genre of role-playing video games in which a very
large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world.
The term MMORPG was coined by Richard Garriott, the creator of Ultima Online, in 1997 [7]. Previous to this and
related coinages, these games were generally called graphical MUDs; the history of MMORPGs traces back directly
through the MUD genre [8][9]. Through this connection, MMORPGs can be seen to have roots in the earliest multiuser games such as Mazewar (1974) and MUD1 (1978). 1985 saw the release of a roguelike (pseudo-graphical) MUD
called Island of Kesmai on CompuServe [9] and Lucasfilm's graphical MUD Habitat. The first fully graphical multiuser RPG was Neverwinter Nights, which was delivered through America Online in 1991 and was personally
championed by AOL President Steve Case [10]. Other early proprietary graphical online RPGs include three on The
Sierra Network: The Shadow of Yserbius in 1992, The Fates of Twinion in 1993, and The Ruins of Cawdor in 1995.
Another milestone came in 1995 as NSFNET restrictions were lifted, opening the Internet up for game developers,
which allowed for the first truly "massively"-scoped titles. Finally, MMORPGs as defined today began with Meridian
59 in 1996, innovative both in its scope and in offering first-person 3D graphics, with The Realm Online appearing
nearly simultaneously. Ultima Online, released in 1997, is often credited with first popularizing the genre though more
mainstream attention was garnered by 1999's EverQuest in the West and 1996's Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds in
Asia [10].
These early titles' financial success has ensured competition in the genre since that time. MMORPG titles now exist on
consoles and in new settings, and their players enjoy higher-quality gameplay. The current market for MMORPGs has
Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft dominating as the largest pay-to-play MMORPG [11], alongside earlier
such titles like Final Fantasy XI and Phantasy Star Online, though an additional market exists for free-to-play
MMORPGs, which are supported by advertising and purchases of in-game items. This free-to-play model is

Masoud Nosrati et al., World Applied Programming, Vol (3), No (1), January 2013.

particularly common in Korean MMORPGs such as MapleStory, Rohan: Blood Feud, and Atlantica Online. Also,
there are some free-to-play games, such as RuneScape & Tibia, where the game is free, but one would have to pay
monthly to play the game with more features. Guild Wars is an exception. It avoids some degree of competition with
other MMORPGs by only requiring the initial purchase of the game to play [12].
As in all RPGs, players assume the role of a character (often in a fantasy world) and take control over many of that
character's actions. MMORPGs are distinguished from single-player or small multi-player RPGs by the number of
players, and by the game's persistent world (usually hosted by the game's publisher), which continues to exist and
evolve while the player is offline and away from the game.
MMORPGs are played throughout the world. Worldwide revenues for MMORPGs exceeded half a billion dollars in
2005 and Western revenues exceeded US$1 billion in 2006. In 2008, Western consumer spending on subscription
MMOGs grew to $1.4 billion. World of Warcraft, a popular MMORPG, has more than 10 million subscribers as of
February 2012. Star Wars: The Old Republic, released in 2011, became the world's 'Fastest-Growing MMO Ever' after
gaining 1 million subscribers within the first three days of its launch.
Although modern MMORPGs sometimes differ dramatically from their antecedents, many of them share some basic
characteristics. These include several common features: persistent game environment, some form of progression,
social interaction within the game, in-game culture, system architecture, membership in a group, and character
Most impressive features of MMORPG are:
Social Interaction
System architecture

II.3. Multiplayer online battle arena

Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), more commonly known as action real-time strategy (action RTS or ARTS),
is a sub-genre of the real-time strategy (RTS) genre, in which usually two teams of players compete with each other in
discrete games, with each player controlling a single character through an RTS-style interface. It differs from
traditional RTS games in that there is no unit construction and players control just one character. In this sense, it is a
fusion of action games and real-time strategy games. The genre emphasizes cooperative team-play; players select and
control one "hero", a powerful unit with various abilities and advantages to form a team's overall strategy. The
objective is to destroy the opponents' main structure with the assistance of periodically spawned computer-controlled
units that march towards the enemy's main structure via paths referred to as "lanes".
There are two opposing teams whose goal collectively as a team is to destroy their enemy's base to win. Typically,
there is one main structure which must be destroyed to win, though destroying other structures within the opposing
team's base can confer other benefits. Defensive towers are in place to prevent this, as well as weak computercontrolled units which are periodically spawned at each base and which travel down pre-programmed paths toward the
opposing base [12].
A player controls a single powerful in-game unit generally called a hero. When a hero kills an enemy unit, it gains
experience points which allow the hero to level up. When the heroes level up, they have the ability to learn more
powerful skills and abilities. When heroes die, they have to wait a designated time, which increases as they level up,
until they revive at their base [10].
Each player constantly receives a small amount of gold per second from their base. Moderate amounts of gold are
rewarded for killing hostile computer-controlled units and large amounts are rewarded for killing enemy heroes.
Heroes use the gold they gain to buy a variety of different items that range in price and impact [11].

Masoud Nosrati et al., World Applied Programming, Vol (3), No (1), January 2013.

Members of the genre do not feature several other elements traditionally found in real-time strategy games, notably
base management, resource collection, and army building. The RPG genre has a much closer resemblance to the
gameplay, only limited to an arena.


This paper had a survey on multiplayer online games. Due to this, basic notions of gaming were talked. Then, different
general genres were introduced. They were: Massively multiplayer online game, massively multiplayer online roleplaying game, and multiplayer online battle arena. Also, various types and features of them were investigated
separately in details.


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