Is Diablo 3 A MMORPG?

After yesterdays post about the Diablo 3 announcement, I found that I was getting a fair bit of Google traffic from people asking if Diabl0 3 is a MMO.

The simple answer to this question is, no. Diablo 3 is not a MMORPG.

The slightly more complex answer is that the lines between MMORPG and simple multiplayer games are blurring, and have been for quite some time.

Games like Guild Wars allow large numbers of players to gather in various areas, and then group up and head into instanced zones for the actual gameplay. The areas where players gather are much like the lobbies that services like Battlenet provide. Places where players can find others to group with and play the game areas. The only real differences are that the gathering areas are graphical zones and that they often provide NPC services like quests and shops.

If we use features like big open zones where players encounter each other randomly as they play to define if a game is a MMORPG or not, then no, Diablo 3 is not a MMO. But then neither is Guild Wars, even though most consider it to be one.



  1. Victor Stillwater

    Didn’t the now defunct Dungeon Runners count as an MMO? Also, Mythos?

    Anyway, it’s marketed as one thing, but it, to me, feels distinctly like some kind of alien hybrid.

  2. Stropp (Post author)

    That’s right. Mythos was much the same as Guild Wars in that players congregated in the lobby areas, and played in instanced zones. I’m not sure about DR, I played it once but don’t remember much about it.

  3. BootyHunter17

    I saw a clip about grouping up in Diablo 3, and the PvP is definetely something you see more often in MMO’s, but I’ve seen a lot of footage where it’s just about grinding for yourself (grinding alone is sad), also most of the footage I’ve seen is just killing monsters, is this game a singleplayer hack and slash? how lame is that /:

  4. Stropp (Post author)

    @BootyHunter17 — Not lame at all. The Diablo series owes some of its heritage from a category of games called Rogue-Likes (and NetHack in particular.) These games are almost entirely single player.

    In fact all the Diablos are single player hack and slash, with some multiplayer in Diablo 2. Diablo 3 it appears will have more of a focus on multiplayer, but it is still a single player game, or at least it had better be.

    And, is single player gaming lame? Not as far as I am concerned.

  5. atticus

    @Stropp – very will said…. 🙂 **And, is single player gaming lame? Not as far as I am concerned

  6. BlackCipher

    Diablo has always had support. From the original. I remember playing for hours online with friends just running through the dungeon trying to collect the best gear.

    As for what diablo is labeled as Its Singleplayer/Multiplayable Dungeon Crawler/Hack and Slash. Was my first PC game and My first PS1 game. Loving thats its finally time for the third installation.

  7. Raptorak

    Sadly, the term “MMO” now just means that many people are on a “server” somewhere together. It’s almost to the point where a game like Counter-Strike would be a “MMO” just because there’s a lot of servers inter-connected. In a sense, that’s what a lot of games have become (the CS servers would be “instances” in today’s games).

    I miss the days of games like Lineage II where you’d see thousands of players in the open. No instances at all were in that game so if someone was online, they were visible to others.

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