Is Wikipedia an MMORPG? Hear us out before you answer.
Wikipedia: The Secret MMORPG Hidden in Plain Site
Is Wikipedia an MMORPG? If this is the first time you've seen this bizarre question posed, then you're probably thinking "What on earth are you talking about? MMO Games is really scraping the barrel now." And yet the argument, first published in incredible detail on Wikipedia itself, is all rather convincing.
Why is it so easy to fall into a Wikipedia hole? We've all been there: You start researching the health benefits of guava and end up reading the entire history and lore of the Power Rangers from 1993 to present.
According to one theory, the answer to the question of Wikipedia's addictiveness is because Wikipedia is an MMORPG that's been hiding in our midst for decades. The theory claims that the similarities between Wikipedia and MMORPGs are just too widespread to be coincidental and too great to ignore.
That's not to mention the archers, trolls, imps, priests, and the dreaded dark lord
What sort of MMORPG is Wikipedia?
By studying Wikipedia's game world, we can see that at last count it had an impressive 44,124,047 "players". These players are known as "Wikipedians" -- Wikipedia's volunteer contributors. From that, we know that it's a highly populated and F2P MMO.
And it's expansive too, with 6,548,393 "unique locations" (articles) including 81,449 undiscovered secret areas (orphaned articles) and 37,012 "fully excavated dungeons" (editorially verified articles). Some of these dungeons are brief whereas some take hours to complete. And for those who love endgame content, there's the 6,132 "legendary dungeons" (featured articles) too.
And what genre is it? One might assume a sci-fi MMO like Dual Universe or EVE Online, but no. Wikipedia a classic fantasy MMORPG filled with magical items (images) and powers (templates) scattered amidst its explorable dungeons. Dungeons, it could be argued, which require maps (categorization) to navigate.
And that's not to mention the archers, trolls, imps, priests, and the dreaded dark lord... but more on them shortly.
The MMORPG Wikipedia's PvP
Every good MMO (excluding some peaceful indie MMORPGs like Palia) needs an overarching war. Never mind the Alliance and the Horde, Wikipedia's great battle of good vs evil is the eternal showdown between troublesome trolls and their natural enemies, the Orcs. Though there are plenty of other enemy types, from barbarian skirmishes to PvP battle-arenas.
Wikipedia's Player-Driven World
While of course there are plenty of NPCs in Wikipedia, it's a game ahead of its time in the power it gives to players to determine the course of the game world. Wikipedia achieves what New World, Fractured Online, and Ashes of Creation all strive for -- a malleable living world shaped by the actions of players.
As in most MMOs, it is the new players that are most susceptible to the actions of malicious players and bots. Sometimes admins and game masters have to intervene by casting freeze-blocks upon unruly players. And sometimes game masters must resort to the legendary banhammer.
Sadly, the in-game currency known as Wikimoney inflated to unfathomable levels and is now as good as defunct. Instead, players now concentrate on the collection of achievement badges to distinguish their skill and highlight their prowess.
Wikipedia's Social Game Elements
Each of the dungeons and unique locations has a nearby tavern where players can group, discuss strategy, and make friends. Players can create their own in-game homes and invite other players to visit them. Players then form guilds and embark on raids together -- especially for the most challenging and important quests.
Of course, video game addiction is a real issue. And it affects Wikipedia players as much as anyone. Thankfully, most people are able to escape the cycle before it becomes overly problematic: "People tend to play a given MMORPG for six to eighteen months at a high level of involvement; a similar pattern has been noted in hardcore Wikipedia players."
What Classes and Races Can You Play in Wikipedia?
Archers are a great class for the early game -- they thrive in newly created dungeons wherein they can handle venomous snakes and toxic slime. Though should they come across too great a dungeon, they'll need to tag the area for a cave-in for classes with heavier firepower.
Levelling Up and Gaining EXP
The more dungeons players progress through, the more EXP they gain. This can lead to level-ups as well as progression through the leader boards and ranking systems. By successfully completing login rewards and challenges, such as gaining 10 EXP in four days, player characters gain access to a broader array of powers. Should they complete pro-level challenges in the endgame content (500EXP in 30 days) then they stand a chance of undergoing trials which could promote them to the premium classes.
The Premium Classes
Fortunately, Wikipedia is not P2W and is one of few successful cases of a crowdfunded MMORPG. Unlocking the premium classes is instead a matter of perseverance and skill. There are several on offer:
The priest is a special class of Game Master with the ability to affect the inventories of other players.
The Dark Lord is a one-of-a-kind legendary class, we think it's best to let the game define this one for itself:
"The master and founder of Wikipedia and its related worlds. He patrols the game world, and in former times he has had complete and total authority, and still is the only one besides the Knights who is allowed to change any user's user classes (including Knights). His power has diminished, as he has become reluctant to use his powers, but he still has methods of overriding the actions of Game Masters, and even Super Game Masters, by more subtle means. If you feel the game has treated you particularly unfairly, you can create free amusement for other players by asking the Dark Lord for assistance."
So, is Wikipedia an MMORPG?
Nah, probably not. We were only attempting to find out the health benefits of pomegranate and now look where we are...stuck real deep in a Wiki-dungeon.
Alex Sinclair-Lack is MMOGames' Head of Content. He recently had to delete his Twitter and now has an embarrassingly follower count. Reward him for all of those hyperlinks by following his new Twitter.