For the past week, I’ve been playing World of Tanks in my efforts to grind up for the Patton within the American tree. As always, I have found World of Tanks to be a fantastic game that’s both challenging and rewarding for the PvP junkies like myself. However, something has always bothered me about the game in terms of their marketing or what others consider this great game of tanks. That’s the pitch where someone proclaims this game is a Massively Multi-player Online Role-playing Game (MMORPG).
Now for the record, I love this game. I’m not trying to smash the game or it’s developers. As above, I find the game very addicting and fun in short bursts with every match that I’m able to blow people up. But, there is this nagging reminder in the back of my head to write something about the so called marketing messaging surrounding this game as something it’s not.
To me, World of Tanks is NOT a MMORPG. Why? Because I’m one of those logical thinking guys who believe a MMORPG can only be a game where MASSIVE amounts of players can play simultaneously on one server, instance and ETC together in a ROLE-PLAYING GAME that’s also a PERSISTENT WORLD.
[pullquote3 quotes=”true” align=”center” variation=”pearl” textColor=”#b5b5b5″ cite=”Wikipedia “]A persistent world (PW) is a virtual world that continues to exist even after a user exits it, and to whose state user-made changes are to some extent permanent. The term is frequently used in the definition of massively multiplayer online video games and can be considered synonymous with that class of game, including other narrative forms of a media franchise.[/pullquote3]
World of Tanks, as well many others, have no more than 30 players (give or take) per server (or match) in a non-persistent world. You know, the total opposite of what defines a MMORPG at the core. Therefore, just on the ability to host more players in a persistent world is enough to define the game as not a MMORPG.
With that said, if you consider World of Tanks—a fantastic game—as a MMORPG, then you might as well throw other well established games with multi-player components into the mix too. You know, games like Halo, Diablo, Street Fighter or whatever because they also have massive amounts of players playing multi-player matches together in a non-persistent world too.
World of Tanks is by far a lot closer to the RTS sub-genre that’s making a huge impression in the gaming market known as the Multi-player Online Battle Arena (MOBA). Now before I get punched in the face, hear me out. MOBA’s are basically defined into the ever popular DotA that was developed upon the RTS genre. Unfortunately, it’s less like a traditional RTS and more of a new hybrid that includes more of a battle arena style mixed with RPG and competitive player-versus-player elements on top of the traditional base destruction game mode.
[pullquote3 quotes=”true” align=”center” variation=”pearl” textColor=”#b5b5b5″ cite=”Wikipedia “]Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), also known as action real-time strategy (ARTS), is a sub-genre of the real-time strategy (RTS) genre, in which often 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. [/pullquote3]
To me, MOBA’s are becoming so big and separated from their RTS root component that they are able to detach themselves off the tree and form their own branches. As apart of those branches—or sub-genres—World of Tanks would be great placement among similar games that have similar battle arena concepts.
Why? World of Tanks is a multi-player online battle arena with tanks. It may not have all the same elements of progressing your hero per match with items to help you along the way, but it does have a striking similarity in game play when it comes to the battle arena elements. Enough for me that I feel World of Tanks as well games like Bloodline Champions or even Forge could have a more suitable placement among other battle arena type games that built their business models off similar MMORPG concepts like the F2P business model.
But wait, wouldn’t that also mean Diablo, StarCraft and even Street Fighter are also MOBA’s too? Well, no. I think a clear separation from MOBA’s and those games is the fact they were ideally not just built for massive online gameplay as say, League of Legends was built originally. In short, games like Diablo were originally developed with single player in mind with multi-player extensions to spice things up. Although that extension may be widely popular, there is still that single player component that roots Diablo as the action-adventure role-playing game—regardless if that single player mode is online or offline. League of Legends (LoL) and similar games were made from the start with multi-player concepts in mind and disregarded any intentions to develop a single player component unless it was for training.
So, World of Tanks is a MOBA to me. No, I’m not trying to say they are exactly like DotA or trying to be like DotA. I just think World of Tanks fits more inline in that genre now that said genre is becoming more established. If you want, you can say World of Tanks is a sub-genre of the root genre for it’s slight differences in comparison to DotA. But, at the end of the day, it’s still a online battle arena with multi-player elements rather than anything else in my humble opinion.
With the downward spiral of MMORPG’s and the booming success of MOBA’s, I would assume that would be okies with the marketing guys? But, I guess the players would really flip out on that one because in their minds, MOBA is only DotA and clones of DotA. World of Tanks can never be a DotA right? Back to square one… 😀