Paste Magazine's Games section is home to some of the absolute best gaming-related content and criticism on the internet, making it one of the go-to sources for the gamer who doesn't mind turning the gears in their head for more than just a particularly tricky Picross level. This week, Ian Williams posted a piece there about the current state of the MMO. While many think that MMOs are a thriving genre just being held back by their pursuit of World of Warcraft's holy grail, Williams posits that the genre as it stands is a relic of a time and a set of needs we've moved past. As Williams himself says, "It wasn’t the game, it was the moment; not what MMOs were but when. "
World of Warcraft introduced me to a level of internet socialization I hadn’t experienced before. Moreover, I couldn’t get it anywhere else in 2004. There was no Twitter or Facebook, and certainly no hordes of people using that social media which was available. Free video chat with any sort of efficiency wasn’t feasible. It was, in terms of social interactions, a completely different world. [...] We’re older now. We have kids and mortgages and serious jobs. In the time it takes to log in and get something set up with MMO friends, you can swipe your fingers a few times and be both engaging thousands on Twitter while videochatting with your friends at the same time. And if you really got into MMOs for the “ding, grats” style gameplay, it’s worked its way into games of every style and genre, with hundreds of mobile games offering a distilled version of it directly to your cerebral cortex.
Be sure to read the full article on Paste, which explains how some more recent MMOs and notable exceptions fit in to the picture.