TF2: MMORPG without the hassles?

So, in a recent post, someone was looking for a MMORPG that didn’t have the leveling grind and the obsession with new equipment. After some thought, I responded that my current gaming fixation, Team Fortress 2, might be exactly what he’s looking for. How is a first-person shooter a good substitute for a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game? Read on to find out.

If you take away leveling (experience gain) and the constant need for better gear (varying equipment), what’s left in an MMORPG experience? You’re left with a game:

  • that is multiplayer, with thousands of players
  • but divides those players into instanced maps
  • interesting scenery and fluff
  • Clans and organized player group, both casual and hardcore
  • and lots of chatting

Well…. that sounds a lot like Team Fortress 2 (or other online, team-based multiplayer FPS games).

Additionally, a common complaint about MMORPGs is that time played is the major controller of success, with player skill being only a small fraction of success. In TF2, most success is skill-based: not only aiming and dodging (much more satisfying than the “click and go get a snack” combat found in most MMORPGs), but knowledge of maps, teamwork, knowing when to switch classes to balance your team, and reacting to changing circumstances.

The only things it lacks are the ability to customize your character and the ability to explore. With the plethora of custom maps available, the exploration concern might be partly alleviated. And with the upcoming unlockables and achievements, the ability to differentiate your character will become even more feasible. Plus, in a skill-based setting, your differentiation is primarily reflected in your skill and your personality on voice chat. Maybe they could release custom faces for TF2, which confer no advantage?

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