So much for going back to playing Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games again.
After a couple of weeks of delving back into the MMORPG scene, while taking a break from playing solo tabletop roleplaying games, I realized something rather profound: TTRPGs are just superior to MMORPGs. They simply are.
Now I know, this is probably self-evident, but hear me out here.
I’m not saying that MMORPGs are bad as a general rule, far from it. Both MMORPGs and TTRPGs work well in their own spheres, providing entertaining roleplaying content to their respective players. But… and there is always a “but”, isn’t there?… there is one major difference between these two genres of roleplaying games:
Tabletop Roleplaying Games tend to be, for the most part, actually finished products.
“Oh, but Scormey,” you complain, “haven’t you ever heard about errata for TTRPGs?”
Of course I have. But here’s the big difference between endless patches to fix an MMORPG (or just make it actually playable), and releasing some errata for a TTRPG, is this: Any problem with a TTRPG can be solved without errata, simply with homebrew rules. I can’t just decide my favorite MMORPG is going to work, when the software is fundamentally broken.
“But Scormey,” the Whiners continue, “what about new editions of a given TTRPG? Isn’t that just like an MMORPG getting a major update?”
Let’s look at the various editions of “Dungeons & Dragons”, shall we? Most of you may be way too young to remember this, but when the original edition of D&D was effectively supplanted by “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons”, the two products were similar (obviously), but different enough as to be unique lines. This has been the same with every single edition of D&D: 0e, B/X, AD&D, AD&D 2e, 3e, 3.5 (we’ll address this is a bit), 4e, and 5e. All different enough to be their own, unique lines.
Meanwhile, what you are arguing is that a new edition of D&D is like a major update to “World of Warcraft” or any other MMORPG, which is patently ridiculous! Why? Because where WoW update 9.1 might make some important changes from 9.0 to the game, it is still “World of Warcraft: Shadowlands”.
Okay, let’s instead assume that new editions of a TTRPG are like expansions to an MMORPG, just for the sake of argument. That also doesn’t work, effectively for the same reason, but in a different way.
- Original D&D is a Fantasy TTRPG
- Advanced D&D is the same TTRPG, with significantly different rules
- Basic/Expert D&D is a Fantasy TTRPG with similar, but different rules.
- AD&D 2e is a Fantasy TTRPG with similar, but different rules.
- D&D 3e is a Fantasy TTRPG with similar, but different rules.
- D&D 4e is a Fantasy TTRPG with similar, but different rules.
- D&D 5e is a Fantasy TTRPG with similar, but different rules.
Same game, just different rules. Not the same thing as expansions to an existing MMORPG like WoW.
Now then, let me roll back to one point I said I’d address earlier, being D&D 3.5. For those who want to argue that MMORPG updates are just like new editions to TTRPGs, they love to bring up 3.5e to back up their claims. But here’s the thing: They are still wrong.
When “Wizards of the Coast” bought out TSR, and decided to release their own edition of D&D, they did a decent job… but far from a perfect one. 3e was, frankly, broken as Hell. Playable to be sure, but still broken. Yes, WotC could have just let players create their own homebrew rules to get around those issues, or released errata to fix the problematic rules, but they decided to go with Option #3: Release a half-edition (3.5e), which was partially errata, and a minor evolution of 3e. This not only extended the lifespan of the Third Edition of D&D, it also allowed WotC to sell way more books.
WAY. MORE. BOOKS.
I know, I know… MMORPGs and TTRPGs are totally different products, so we shouldn’t expect them to be comparable at all. This is where the MMORPG defenders tend to go, when they lose the arguments above. So, with that in mind, there is literally no reason to play MMORPGs, when we can play the vastly superior roleplaying products, being TTRPGs.
“Oh, but Scormey”, the whining continues, “not everyone wants to play their Tabletop Roleplaying Games solo like you do! MMORPGs are our only way to play RPGs with friends! We also can’t play TTRPGs whenever we want!”
Wrong on all counts… and please stop whining.
You only want to play TTRPGs with others? Fine, you can do that online. Your friends are only available to play a TTRPG with once or twice a week? Find other groups online. You do know that the Internet is a Thing, right? Seriously, I’m not trying to be harsh about this, but it is true. You can find people to play with at all manner of times, any day of the week, and it isn’t really all that hard. Hell, most TTRPGs have dedicated Discord servers, and on them you can usually find “Looking For Group (LFG)” channels. If you can’t find people to play with, when you want to, frankly that’s on You.
Furthermore, what do you do in an MMORPG, if you don’t have anyone to play with? You play alone, right? So why not do the same thing in a TTRPG? If you can find yourself grinding in The Barrens for hours on end, you should be able to break out the books for your favorite TTRPG, and play that, instead.
So, yeah. I guess my break is over.