Is Second Life an MMORPG?

by Barbara J. Feldman on January 28, 2008

Many people have heard of Second Life either because they participate in Second life or because they have overheard people talking about Second Life. For those of you who have only heard of Second Life in passing conversations you might be wondering just what Second Life is. Many people tend to think that Second Life is some kind of a computer game, and in a sense it is a computer game, but actually there is a lot more to Second Life than just any old computer game. Second Life is actually a 3D digital world, meaning everything is done on computer screens, which is imagined and created by its Residents.

Many people who have never played Second Life tend to think of Second Life as a massive multiplayer online role playing game or MMORPG, in fact many people who have never heard of Second Life tend to think of this game like they would World of Warcraft. The reason for this is that it is often referred to as a game, even though it does not fit the traditional definition of a game. Many people tend to think that it is a MMORPG because it is something that can only be played online and there are currently a large number of people who are participating in Second Life. So in answer to the question, is Second Life a MMORPG? The answer would have to be yes and no!

The reason that Second Life is similar to MMORPGs is that the interface and display are very similar to all of the other popular massive multiplayer online role playing games. But at the same time there are two major differences that make Second Life unique to other online role playing games. The first difference is creativity. What this means is that Second Life provides its Residents with pretty much unlimited freedom. What this boils down to is that you can do whatever you want whenever you want to during your course of play. You can start a business, play a game, chat with friends, fight dragons, etc.

Basically the world is what you make it and you get what you want out of it. Whereas with other role playing games you have certain objectives that you have to meet throughout the game and you must go on certain quests to find things, etc.

The second thing that makes Second Life different and unique is the ownership issue. Most massively multiplayer online role playing games require you to pay a monthly subscription fee in order to play. But with Second Life you can create a free basic account and if you want to create other basic accounts you can pay a one time flat fee of $9.95. But the only time you are going to need to pay a monthly fee is if you decide to own land, which goes along with your premier accounts, what you pay each month is going to depend on how much land you own. But not only can you own land for a fee in this game but you also own the IP rights to anything that you have created in this virtual world. And owning these rights means you decide if you want to buy, sell or trade your items with other Residents. And if the Residents purchase your items your IP rights are displayed wherever those items are located.

But despite the fact that many people refer to Second Life as a computer game the truth of the matter is that Second Life is not really a game at all. The description of Second Life does not meet the general description of a game. The reason for this is that this “game” does not have any points or scores, nor does it have any winners or losers. You also have no levels that you need to beat in order to get somewhere and there is no strategy that you need to use to beat the game. With this being said the only way you can consider Second Life a game is that it is something that you play for fun.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Is Second Life an MMORPG?." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 28 Jan. 2008. Web. 23 Sep. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1294/is-second-life-an-mmorpg/ >.