The future of MMOs in esports is still uncertain according to observers

Guest article

Esports is taking the world by storm right now and are fast gaining in popularity. Professional gamers compete against each other just like any other sport, and gaming teams around the world fight for prestige and recognition in addition to hefty prizes.
Teams like Optic Gaming, EvilGeniuses, Cloud9 and many others have been elevated to the status of rock stars in gaming circles, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. Huge companies are currently investing massively into esports which is becoming increasingly accepted into the mainstream.
However, strangely, MMOs have been all but absent from esports, which not only hurts the scene, but might spell doom for many smaller MMO developers. According to recent reports, MMOs have many barriers that limit them from entering the esports arena.
 

Challenges to the future of MMOs in esports

MMOs provide both multiplayer and competitive gaming action. In theory, MMOs sound perfect for esports, right? However, most MMOs are currently struggling to enter into the esports world.
MMOs are often built with a focus on exploration and quests majorly focus on building, thinking, and collecting resources. Since collecting resources in MMOs is usually very time consuming and boring to watch, the genre is of course not as suited for live competition.
MMORPGs are usually rather slow, and their core experience doesn’t make for a thrilling player’s experience, unless you’re very familiar with the game to begin with. Beside lack of intense gaming action, MMOs, especially MMORPGs, focus heavily on finding loot, gear and working on character progression to gain more skills.
In the game, the player can instantly improve character’s ability by gathering loot and experience which in many ways clashes with esports. In most esports games, competition is based on having better strategy, reflexes and skills. While there is usually lots of focus on strategy in MMOs, they often lack the fast-paced or enthralling action that make esports so exciting.
 

The survival of MMOs in esports world

In esports, the audience is king. If the viewers do not enjoy watching the game, then it won’t work as an esport, simple as that. MMOs need to solve their various shortcomings to gain esports fans’ attention.
In order for a genre to gain the attention of esports aficionados,  it is important to pay attention to what fans wants. One of the best ways is focusing more on player-versus-player (PvP) matches and make sure that MMOs have a least a battle mode. That would not only take advantage of the strategic nature of MMOs, but be fun to watch as well.  However, just focusing on PvP matches would risk alienating MMOs’ core player base.
Balancing between PvP and PvE (player vs environment) might prove to be difficult for many developers. Many developers prefer to focus on one of these aspects only. However, the possibilities could be endless if more developers stepped outside of the box.
 

Conclusion

There are still many fans of MMOs and MMORPGs in the world and this popularity would help propel MMOs as a legitimate esports category if more developers would focus on the competitive aspect of the game and provide at least a battle mode people could play competitively.
However, they shouldn’t alienate their core fanbase by neglecting the player vs environment aspect. Developers need to strike the delicate balance between exploration, character development, resource planning and one on one battle if they want to be successful in the future and gain a whole new set of fans in the esports world.

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