Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are emerging in the computer game industry as a very popular genre. These games have existed since the late 1990s, but in the last few years the market has become increasingly strong. This relatively new genre is attracting a widespread audience, bringing together those who previously enjoyed both pen and paper and computer role-playing games, as well as those who enjoy socializing with other players in a virtual environment. Game developers see MMORPGs as a potentially profitable business due to its widespread appeal, but the reality is that only a small percentage of MMORPGs that are released become a success [Kosak 2006].
This article attempts to determine the many aspects that make a successful MMORPG; it also attempts to ascertain what new and innovative features are expected by the users from the next generation of MMORPGs. This is achieved by looking at and discussing past literature and surveying the MMORPG community's perception of previous and current MMORPGs, as well as their expectations of the next generation.
An online survey attracted 122 participants to provide their perceptions of current and past MMORPGs. This article determines and outlines the respondents' preferences in the MMORPG genre, discussing what implications these could have on its future. The survey also gave insight into the respondents' expectations of the future of MMORPGs. We conclude this article with a discussion of aspects of current MMORPGs that the participants would like improved, as well as new features they would like incorporated into the next generation of games.