Virtual worlds - Arabic style

Massive Multiplayer Online Gaming (MMO) has become incredibly popular the world over. It has made millions of dollars for those who make the games, and for some who play the games. Now that MMO gaming is being adapted for the Middle East, will it be as popular as it is in the rest of the world? Gareth van Zyl takes a closer look.

Tags: GamesMMOUnited Arab Emirates
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Virtual worlds - Arabic style Runes of Magic which has been adapted for the Middle East.
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By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  December 14, 2009

Virtual worlds

One only needs to utter the words "World of Warcraft" to grab the attention of many avid gamers. This classic game is a primary example of how Massive Multiplayer Online Gaming has taken the world by storm, especially when one considers that it has 11 to 12 million subscribers. Other kinds of MMO games out there, apart from WoW, include the likes of Everquest II, Runescape, Star Wars Galaxies, Lord of the Rings Online and many more.

The very nature of MMOs are such that they are capable of supporting hundreds of thousands of players playing simultaneously on the internet in what is a persistent virtual world. These games typically feature character avatars, online chat, a level editor and network play. There is often character progression, whereby players first need to go through a character creation process choosing the race, profession, appearance and specific skills that are of interest.

Many MMO titles place great emphasis on teamwork as well, where the player often will need help in finishing missions. This is where the popular concept of guilds and clans (associations of characters in-game) come into play. Part of the thrill, of course, is then engaging with others whilst playing.

MMO emergence in Middle East

Game Power 7, a Dubai company, has localised the free-to-play MMO Rappelz for the Middle East/North African (MENA) market. Also, Abu Dhabi Media Company along with Gazillion Entertainment will create a Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG) studio in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. The emergence of MMO gaming in the Middle East appears to be quite strong as it is not only Tahadi (mentioned below) that has got involved with MMO development.

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