О насVOSTOK Magazine - это первое независимое медиа об обществе, культуре, истории и политике стран Ближнего и Дальнего Востока. Мы пишем обо всем, что кажется нам важным и интересным.
Why WoW is more popular than Lineage, how Starcraft got into the sky, where do professional gamers come from and why would anyone make online games equal to drugs.
Active development of game industry began in the 1970s with the creation of a game called Pong by Atari. It took several decades for this field to gain giant success. There are more than 100000 items in the list of every game created. There are lots of different genres, so every gamer of every age and taste can choose something suitable. Some of the gamers lead the armies and rule the countries, using strategy and tactics to destroy their enemies and achieve absolute power. Some put on the armor, get shields and swords, complete hundreds of quests and get experience, become more powerful and dispense justice or chaos. Some become soldiers who go and defend their Motherland on the call of duty. Some love speed, cars and racing. Some fight fiercely on the virtual ring, caring about their HP but not about their gamepads.
But in the last 10 years the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) has become the most popular genre. The essence is the same as in the RPG (leveling up of character, completing of quests, linear plot), but unlike in the RPG all the action happens online with the help of the real players, not the artificial intellect. Thousands, even millions of gamers unite into guilds, improve their characters, fight the opponents. On the brink of the XX century, at the dawn of this genre, the pioneers were Lineage and its sequel Lineage 2 made by a South Korean company NCsoft.
Lineage rapidly earned a lot of followers all over the world, and thus apart from the Korean, Japanese and Chinese servers, Russian and American were opened. Players could choose the race, gender, class and profession of their hero, team up into clans, take part in castle sieges and do tons of other stuff. There were dozens of game updates that made the experience really easy. We must note that Lineage was not the first MMORPG. There were 6 games of the genre at the time, but Lineage amazed players with the unforgettable graphics. Later the genre was developing further, the rivalry rose, and then the world saw the legendary World of Warcraft by American studio Blizzard. Lineage 2's influence dropped, and there were 2 main reasons for that. Firstly, WoW was created after Warcraft universe which was familiar to gamers from all over the world. Secondly, Koreans are a really hard-working nation, this quality helped them throughout their history, but it didn't help them with the MMORPG. The thing is, the main point of such games is to reach the maximum level of a character and there are two ways to achieve it: completing the quests or fighting the monsters, and the former one is more fun, simple and diverse. But Korean company included a very small amount of quests in the game, so that the player would fight more. Also, according to players, quests were long and dull. So there was a large outflow of players from the Lineage servers to the WoW ones.
Korean game-developers didn't seem to despair and soon found a solution of this problem. They started a massive production of MMORPGs. They took advantage of such player preferences as the variety of gaming worlds or battles with other players without leveling-up. A lot of gaming "giants" were released, such as Guild Wars in which players were mainly battling each other,
RF-online, a more developed world than the one in the famous Lineage with a great level of fantasy.
Soon Requiem Online appeared – the first "bloody" MMORPG taking place in a postapocalyptic steampunk world,
after that the world saw Aion online that was not only an attempt to add the variety of worlds, but also to make up for the lost, to make the game more convenient. This attempt was not successful, the game was so simple that the players became bored very soon.
Not long time ago another Korean creation was released, ArcheAge, and it is getting more and more popular in Russia. This can be partly explained by the large advertising by Russian company mail.ru. This is the most "vivid" Korean MMORPG with a wide variety of possibilities.
Despite the large number of games released not one of them was bound to become as popular as Lineage due to the enormous rivalry in this field. We may just note that the total number of Korean MMORPG's servers' visitors is equal to the WoW's one.
Koreans are not only wonderful developers of games, but also great professional players. The average APM (Actions per Minute) of a Korean is 400, while the average one in the world is 50. South Koreans achieved their greatest success in the legendary strategy game, Starcraft, released by the already mentioned Blizzard (oh, the irony). Due to Starcraft's popularity the profession called "progamer" (professional gamer) appeared. Progamers earn their living with their gaming skills, and the Republic of Korea has become the cybersports center of the world.
Large sums of money are invested into the development of cybersports in Korea. According to a Korean agency, Creative Contents, as of today the gaming export amounts to 60% of cultural export of South Korea. Hundreds of Starcraft player teams are created, dozens of which regularly become the victors of world cybersports competitions. There are living legends among the players, such as Lim Yo-hwan, the most titled progamer in the history. He won prestigious cups and titles several times, participated in thousands of cyber-battles and published several books describing his success.
The passion of Koreans for Starcraft has produced lots of Internet memes.
After the release of Starcraft II the game's logo appeared on several planes of Korean Air company.
Koreans also try such modern games as Dota 2 or League of Legends. They didn't achieve much success in the former one, but they are considered to be rather experienced players in the latter. The fourth LoL World Championship took place in Seoul in August 2014.
Every second citizen of South Korea is more or less connected to computer gaming and cybersports which bothers the government. There are several laws adopted in the country that forbid teenagers up to 16 play from midnight till 6 a.m. Some political parties even suggest making games equal to alcohol and drugs with the corresponding restrictions. Will it happen and will it influence the lives of players and the country's economy? We'll see.