Why are MMORPGs not included in eSports?
The eSports are the official circuit of tournaments and organized competitions that take place in some multiplayer videogame and where only professionals can participate. In these competitions professional players (called “Pro Gamers”) compete with each other in order to demonstrate that their skills, reflexes and stamina are superior to that of their competitors, this is also accompanied by the desire to win prestige and great monetary rewards.
As in conventional sports, eSports involve highly trained players or teams, with the main difference that they compete through a videogame. Normally in the eSports are present online multiplayer games that have high popularity and great competitive aspects, these videogames usually have a gameplay where the teams of players fight against each other online in closed arenas.
The eSports started in an authentic way in the beginning of the year 2000 with the Starcaft videogame, and since then, the strategy games in real time were the most common in the eSports, but since the year 2010 the videogames of the genre MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), and the first person shooting games (FPS) are the most outstanding and played of the eSports nowadays. Despite this, in almost all videogames that have great competitive skills you can find spectators and a professional environment dedicated to these games. So nowadays any competitive videogame genre can be suitable for eSports, the important thing is that their games are entertaining and exciting for the viewer.
The eSports have managed to revolutionize the videogame industry and have managed to be one of the major trends in the current Gaming topic, and according to various studies, the eSports have approximately 400 million viewers per year, and also manage to generate more than 500 million dollars annually through media rights, tickets, advertising and sponsorships.
With all this clear, it is quite obvious that eSports are very important in the economic development of videogames, but there is an important genre that eSports have tried to avoid almost completely, these are the MMORPG games. The games of this genre are multiplayer and competitive, so in theory, MMORPG seems to fit perfectly with eSports. So why aren’t these MMORPGs accepted in eSports? The reason for this is quite logical and has a good explanation.
The limitations of MMORPG with viewers
For context, World of Warcraft, the world’s most popular MMORPG, should be mentioned. In 2007 WoW got a Player vs. Player mode because Blizzard realized the potential of tournaments to attract new crowds. For a while WoW was one of the games present in eSports and became very popular among spectators and competitors, but this didn’t last long. In 2010, Major League Gaming, the highest authority in eSports tournaments, removed World of Warcraft from its list of games; this was due to the problematic system that this game had to watch the games as a spectator.
Although WoW is the most popular MMORPG of all, it can be seen on platforms like Twitch that the number of spectators that can reach the WoW games, can’t compare to the millions of viewers of MOBA videogames (such as League of Legends), and Battle Royale (such as Fortnite). It should be noted that WoW has never managed to be in the Top 10 of the most viewed games of Twitch, nor any other MMORPG. WoW’s most popular Streamers claim that the main reason for this is that people don’t watch World of Warcraft because they’re interested in games, what they really want is to see how high level players play, so they can improve their own game.
The element Player vs. Player
It’s important to keep in mind that MMORPG are videogames whose gameplay is usually slow and its basic premise is not something very exciting for spectators, and eSports are based on games that spectators enjoy watching, if that’s not achieved, then the game is not compatible.
The games based on a battle Player vs. Player are the most attractive for the spectators. But MMORPGs aren’t normally developed with the competitive mode in mind and focus more on exploration, missions and other more cooperative activities. The real essence of MMORPGs is player battles against computer-controlled enemies, or against the game itself. This aspect represents a problem for MMORPGs wishing to position themselves in the world of eSports.
For MMORPG developer companies know that this genre depends a lot on its content and incorporating new things for players to explore is important to keep their community happy and lively, because of this, developers avoid focusing on other elements such as the Player vs. Player.
Character development in MMORPGs
Another important disadvantage that avoids the appearance of MMORPG games in the eSports is everything related to the items, the equipment and the progression of the characters in this type of games. Gathering items and experience to improve the skills and attributes of a character is the basic element of all RPG, but being superior to other players just for having a certain item does not work in sports. The eSports are based more on defeating opponents through good strategies, reflexes and skills, not by possessing a better weapon. To all this must be added that the level of the characters gives much advantage to the players, because the more you have, the more skills are acquired.
Thanks to this aspect, veteran players have an immense advantage over any newcomer, and as a result, prevent the game from getting any competitive community that is growing. Many MMORPG players also buy the currencies of these games through real money, for example: There are a lot of websites where players can buy World of Warcraft Gold, and every player of this game knows the great importance of having large amounts of WoW Gold in the coexistence of this game.
On the other hand, it is also not possible to limit the players with the option to choose a character in which they have invested time and even money, and then restore their characteristics every time they play a game Player vs. Player. This works in MOBA, where each character has predetermined capabilities, but not in an MMORPG where players create their own custom characters from scratch.
In short, eSports have completely revolutionized videogame competitions, and the MMORPG genre has managed to transcend as one of the most emblematic in the history of videogames, but thanks to the totally distant characteristics that each has, compatibility between them is extremely difficult to achieve.