The Future of MMO Games in Esports — Expected Forecast

Esports is a type of sports discipline in which competitions and tournaments are held in multiplayer video games. In other words, this is the official name for the discipline for professional gamers. Competitions can be held both between teams and individually. The winner is the one who demonstrates the best skills, reaction, and endurance. Like boxing or soccer, members and teams compete for fame, recognition, and big cash prizes, often reaching several million dollars. But instead of a ring or field, gamers compete in virtual space.

Many would agree that esports is a very promising area, and any multiplayer game developer wants to get there. But there is one genre that at the moment has little to do with esports — we are talking about MMOs. At the same time, there are special platforms for betting on such events to which the site belongs.

MMO and esports: is convergence possible

Massively multiplayer online games, or MMOs, are large-scale worlds in which millions of users can communicate, form clans, fight, or simply explore the game world. The most famous MMO subgenre is MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), which gained prominence in the early 2000s largely through World of Warcraft and RuneScape. Other subgenres include MMORTS (real-time strategy), MMOFPS (first-person shooter), and even social MMO games. Players enjoy spending time in such universes for a variety of reasons:

  • the opportunity to meet new people — often as a result of joint games, a strong friendship appears;
  • team interaction training — these worlds do not obey you if you act alone;
  • the presence of a crafting and trading system — everyone can create an item and sell it (to then buy an item created by another participant);
  • a battle with legendary opponents — this will be the best reward after many hours of character leveling.

It would seem that MMO games are ideal for esports: they have both multiplayer and a competitive element. Why are tournaments on them not held so often? The problem is that today the organizers of eSports events do not organize such competitions very often. However, trends indicate that this will change dramatically soon.

New solutions — new horizons

Can MMO games get into esports without changing their identity? Perhaps they can. The developers of the fantasy MMORPG RuneScape conducted an interesting experiment. They wanted to find a way to keep their MMO game massive and at the same time make it possible for it to participate in eSports tournaments. According to Phil Munsell, head of the studio, the idea behind the experiment is called «fast-forwarding the game». Imagine an MMO tournament that lasts several days. Thousands of participants start playing on the new server from scratch. The pumping speed has been increased significantly, so the character can be developed in a few hours, not days. The goal of such a tournament is obvious — to survive. This is somewhat reminiscent of Last Man Standing, only much grander.

When so many people are playing at the same time, there will be no shortage of interesting events. Just imagine these intrigues, massive battles, and exciting final battles. Of course, the matches will be a little longer than in other disciplines: a few hours every day. However, with so many players, you will definitely not be bored. It will also be more convenient for viewers to follow the progress of their favorite players and characters from the very beginning to the victorious end. Watching such a tournament, watching all the attempts, victories, and failures of MMO players is like watching the career of an athlete or a sports team.

The future of MMOs and esports

MMO games are already a part of esports, even if only a small part. They have potential, and their share may grow in the future. These games don’t need esports to stay on-trend — they are already quite self-sufficient. But with the proliferation of free and shareware monetization models, many developers will begin to view esports as a powerful marketing tool. This policy will help breathe something new into old classics and also get:

  1. The influx of a new audience of players — in the world of gambling many potential participants want to profit from such entertainment.
  2. New genres emerge — adaptation for esports can inspire developers to create new stories.
  3. The presence of an updated system of rewarding players — for example, the trophies received in the previous battle will be able to give some advantage in the next battles.
  4. Regular earnings and cash prizes — professional players will be able to make a successful career in this field.

However, this does not mean that MMOs will begin to change and move away from those features for which they were originally loved. The MMO genre already has a huge audience of fans. Even if the developer decides to focus on competitive gameplay, there are many ways to protect the game from the loss of traditional MMO components. One has only to simplify the combat system a little, expand the possibilities for pumping characters, make the PvP system more widespread — and any MMO game will be able to get into Esports and securely gain a foothold there.