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Is Diablo 3 an MMORPG, or just a RPG?

May 14th, 2012 by


A topic of hot debate recently on the official diablo3.com forums is whether Diablo 3 is considered an MMO, or if it remains as just an RPG with the option to play co-op with a few of your buddies. There really isn’t a simple answer that is the correct answer without really understanding the distinction between what is considered a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing game, and what is considered just a Role Playing Game. There are some games that very obviously define one of the categories, such as Diablo 1 being a Role Playing Game, and World of Warcraft being an MMO. The reason these are so obvious in their respective genres is due to the scope of multiplayer; sure they both allow for an online version of the game, but the scope of how many people you will encounter online really defines the game and it’s genre.

 The Hybrid

Take for example the way Diablo 2 played on Battle.net which is the infamous way to play the entire game online with random people in the servers. There are times that you can encounter many different people around you, form a friends list, and socialize with people you have met online in the servers. This makes the game more of an MMO, with the offering of many different people online that you encounter. If you look at a game like Guild Wars, where the game is advertised as an MMO, the actual adventuring out of the large cities is all in a personal instance, where you do not see others than who are out of your group. Despite this fact, Guild Wars is largely considered an MMO, and remains as one of the true hybrids between single and multiplayer.



Diablo 3 is offering a very similar approach in regards to the way the game is structured like a hybrid. The auction house, a place where the entire server of people can list items ties all of the individual instances together, much like the way Guild Wars has a global economy through the major cities and towns. The auction house is meant to bring a much larger feeling to the otherwise very private experience that Diablo 3 will bring to most of the gamers who play the game in single player, and in a lesser way if they play co-op, which offers the chance of playing with up to 3 other people. The fact that Diablo 3 offers co-0p with only 4 total people is very shocking, as in the previous games, co-op supported up to 8 people in the party, and there is a sense that Blizzard is trying to constrain Diablo 3 to remain as single player focused as possible.

The pure MMO

A pure MMO game is something that is focused entirely on creating a Massive experience, in the sense that everything is about large groups, social gaming, and experience of seeing everything with a lot of people around you. The people who love MMO’s are happy to see thousands of people playing the same game as them and see an active community and even world blossoming around them. This phenomenon creates the sense that something very big is going on at all times, and gives the players a chance to conceive real accomplishments, as there are many people who can witness what you have accomplished in real time, giving you a much more rewarding experience.



A pure MMO is generally a game with thousands of people on each server, a booming social space, economy, huge competition, and massive awards that are achievable only through a lot of players teaming up together to accomplish a single and glorified goal. In Diablo 3 conversely, any of the monumental achievements that the game offers can only be shared with those who you are able to play co-op with, and therefore the game cannot be classified as a true MMO; there simply are not enough people online at the same time on the same server to constitute being labeled a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG.

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  1. Damian

    September 5, 2012


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