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The focus of this category is on multiplayer online roleplaying games (MORPGs) and massively multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPGs).

Let's define the terms.

A roleplaying game (RPG) is one in which the player assumes the role of a fictional character. Players in an RPG game act out these roles within the narrative and setting of the game, which is generally a fantasy world or one that is set in a distant time, either in the past or in the future. Within a roleplaying game, the player's actions either succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines, in which players are familiarized.

RPGs began in tabletop games, like Dungeons and Dragons, and can also be found in Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs), which are listed in an parallel category.

MORPGs are the graphic successors to MUDs, although many MUDs are still in development, and are hugely successful.

Most modern RPGs will allow the player to not only have control over their character, but over the virtual world they inhabit, as well. The player's actions have a direct affect on how the story progresses, and how the world around them changes.

The better RPGs will allow players to handle problems in a number of ways, respecting various styles of play. For example, a player who needs to get past a guard at a door might try to distrac the guard using magic, lie to the guard, or draw a sword and attack. Afterward, there should be consequences to whichever choices were made. Perhaps the player will meet the guard in the game again, and he can no longer be so easily deceived, or maybe the guard will be presented as now out of work and begging on the street.

Although it's not a differentiating point, most RPGs include magic or medieval armaments rather than modern or futuristic weapons. This has carried over from the D&D theme.

Until recent years, computer RPGs involved a single player in a fictional reality, essentially playing against the computer. While these games still exist, multiplayer games have become far more popular among RPG enthusiasts.

Besides interactions involving player versus player combat in the game, there is also a social aspect to multiplayer RPG games. Players are able to chat during the course of the game, often in character, and to form or enter into alliances, often known as clans, who often communicate with one another outside of the game, generally in online forums that have been set up for that purpose.

Online roleplaying games in which multiple players can interact with one another in a virtual world are known as MORPGs. Those in which thousands or millions of players can interact simultaneously are MMORPGs.

The MMORPG is a subgenre of the massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, the key differentiation being their use of roleplaying elements. In other words, an MMORPG is an MMO, but an MMO is not necessarily an MMORPG.

At this point, MMOs that are not RPG are being listed in the parent Multiplayer Games category. This category is reserved for multiplayer roleplaying games.



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