MMORPG Gaming: The Ultimate Nerd Expression?
I am a nerd. More specifically, I'm an RPG nerd. For the past 20 years I have been enthralled by the RPG genre as it has captivated my spirit and imagination. I'm sure I'm not alone here. For some reason, I've just been drawn to these types of games throughout my life. Maybe it was because I always liked to pretend I was on some grand adventure, or finding some long lost treasure. Whatever it was, I've been hooked for a long time, and it seems that the only games I play anymore fall into the RPG genre.
So how does a veteran RPG nerd spend his times these days? In modern gaming, there are many choices of RPGs. There's console RPGs, PC RPGs. You can even play RPGs on your phone or tablet. After spending most of my life as a console gamer, I've made the jump to PC, and I'm currently playing MMORPGs. Why MMORPGs? We're going to discuss why right now.
There are a few reasons why I think MMORPG gaming may be some of the best gaming options around. I'm going to talk about a few of those things and we'll see where this discussion goes. Keep in mind - these thoughts are coming from someone who, for the better part of their entire life, was a die-hard, single-player RPG gamer.
First, let's talk about the amount of content that an MMORPG has. MMORPGs in general have a ton of content. Quest content, things to do, places to see. Let's look at one MMORPG that I'm playing right now, Lord of the Rings Online. This game has a grand total of 21 huge zones which you can explore, with well over 2000 (!) quests to be found in these zones. Not only is that a ridiculous amount of content, more content is added all the time through expansions (of which there are 4 of at the moment) and updates. That's enough content to keep any RPG fan busy for a long time.
Exposition of lore. One thing I find great about RPGs is how they build a coherent game world using fantasy lore. In a game like Lord of the Rings Online, the lore is expounded upon to a very high degree. Every quest you find is weaving some small story in the world of Middle Earth, and you are learning more and more about the world you're in with every task that you complete. This also goes hand in hand with the amount of content. Since there are more quests around, there is more chance to expand upon the lore in every situation. Being a lore junkie myself, this aspect of MMORPGs is most satisfying. Single-player games have this as well, but usually the worlds are not quite as filled out as the MMORPG counterparts, mainly due to the sheer scope and size of an MMORPG being greater than that of a single-player RPG.
The next thing that MMORPGs have going for them is the most obvious one - the social aspect. As I said before, I'm more of a lone wolf, single-player RPG kind of guy, but even in my childhood when I would play with my friends, we always went on grand adventures and fed off each other's energy when we would role-play. The same can be said about MMORPGs. Teaming up with others is often fun and rewarding. The joy of completing some daunting task with a group of like-minded adventurers is something that you just can't find in a single-player game. The joys and the sorrows, the moments of triumph and the moments of defeat, can all be shared in real time with other real players who understand what happened because they are occupying the same game space as you are. Cooperation can lead to some great feelings as you adventure throughout your MMORPG of choice.
Finally, it seems to me, albeit in my limited experience, that MMORPGs do a great job of providing one of the stone pillars in RPG gaming - character customization. This is where the creative expression of the players is on full display. The games usually have many options to customize the physical appearance of your character, as well as detailed ways to customize the stats of your character, with many different buffs and boosts and so forth. This is another area that seems unmatched by single-player games. Again, while single-player games have this feature, the amount that they implement this feature is usually dwarfed by a huge MMORPG.
So in conclusion, these are just a few reasons why I believe MMORPGs could be the "ultimate nerd expression". I'm not saying single-player games are bad, I'm just saying MMORPGs may be even better due to these things I talked about. In the end, it comes down to one's personal preference which sub-genre of RPG appeals to them the most. I will always love single-player games and play them when they come out, but a good MMORPG could have me hooked for a long time. And as an RPG nerd, that's a great feeling.