|Developer(s)||Wikimedia Foundation, you|
|Designer(s)||Jimbo Wales, |
|Platform(s)||World Wide Web|
One theory that explains the addictive nature of Wikipedia and its tendency to produce Wikipediholics is that Wikipedia is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). The following article explains how Wikipedia shares many characteristics with MMORPGs.
Wikipedia is a sequel to the game Nupedia, an encyclopedia-themed MMORPG in a hack and slash and "article roaming" style. It was released for the World Wide Web by the Wikimedia Foundation, and was developed by the community.
Wikipedia has an immersive gameworld with over 41.1 million players and over 6.27 million unique locations, including over 93,000 undiscovered secret areas, 33,000 completely explored dungeons, and 5,900 boss levels. Magical items and powers can be found scattered over these locations, whose navigation is aided by maps of the game world. Some of these locations, as well as items and powers, become problematic and unbalance the game world. Players will generally dislike these, and Game Masters respond by removing them or, if they are heretical, by suppressing them.
The in-game universe can take several years to explore completely, with several regions to explore. Dungeons within the game vary greatly in size. Some are so large that they can take hours to explore, whereas some are so small that players can see the entire dungeon at a glance.
Players can accumulate experience points (EXP), allowing them to advance to higher levels. Some players focus too much on increasing EXP and, despite their extremely high levels, they are not valued in the community. A special fairy always tracks EXP. Players develop a unique distribution of statistics, and can choose between a number of classes, such as Gunner, Trickster, Arch Mage, Sorcerer, Archer, and Priest, as well as choosing from one of several races, such as gnomes, ogres and imps. In some cases, a player may choose to play with excessive summons, or play with multiple warriors at the same time. This provides an additional challenge, because they must avoid being caught by Bounty Hunters, who are tasked with rooting them out and destroying them. The in-game currency (WikiMoney) has largely fallen out of use, and most players prefer to accumulate different types of stars and various icons which other players can award them. Players can take on quests, fight boss battles, enter battle arenas, and even take class change trials to become Game Masters. It is possible to stumble upon random encounters and defeat such monsters.
Non-player characters (often abbreviated as "NPCs") can also be found in the game. Wikipedia differs from other MMORPGs in that ordinary players may design their own NPCs, and submit them to be approved for inclusion in the game world. NPCs can be seen throughout the game world, doing tasks such as apprehending criminals, cleaning up taverns, and other helpful tasks.
After taking ten actions in four days, gamers gain additional powers, such as the ability to change the names of caves, bypass weaker magic chains, and import art into the game world. After taking 500 actions in 30 days, gamers unlock the ability to bypass boosted chains and undergo trials to become Game Masters.
Every unique location in the gameworld has a tavern where players have the opportunity to interact with any other player in real time. Players often become friends with other players, and some have even arranged to meet offline. Players may even build their own houses and receive messages from other players. On the darker side, some players become addicted, unable to leave the game, and spend all their waking hours on the site. It is often the most experienced players who end up spending the most amount of time in the gameworld.
People tend to play a given MMORPG for six to eighteen months at a high level of involvement; a similar pattern has been noted in hardcore Wikipedia players.
Trolls are one of the most common enemies in the gameworld, and often turn up in boss fights. Orcs, the natural enemies of the Trolls, who oppose trolls using methods which are equally unethical or destructive (such as baiting) can also be fought.
Weapons such as guns are used normally, but cannons and swords can be used to defeat an undefeatable enemy. Many players also carry a shield to protect themselves. Often, players will monitor dungeons that they are (or have been) involved with special cameras, which are connected to a private area which belongs to that player and that only they can access, and then only when logged in, so that enemies cannot use it to their advantage.
There are also enemies such as WikiPorcupines, which shoot Toxic Spikes from their heads and also gang up in many groups in order to accomplish their goal. There are a similar species called WikiHedgehogs, but are Trolls' pets. They are also very blamey about New players entering their territory.
Players can also attempt to destroy, mangle or disrupt parts of the game world. Player-killing is strongly discouraged, but nevertheless happens. New players are most vulnerable. Game Masters attempt to control this by placing offending players in ice blocks, freeze locks, or bans, but more often than not, criminals end up being brought before the Super Game Masters, who have the final say in dealing with them.
- Cave-in – a powerful spell which causes a dungeon's walls to collapse, making it inaccessible to all but the most experienced adventurers (game masters and bounty hunters).
- Ice Block – encases another player or minion in a block of ice, preventing them from moving for a certain length of time (or forever!). A similar version is the Freeze Lock, which locks gates or entire borders of gates from entry. Whether the frozen player can speak or use hand gestures or not is up to the game master in either case. Any gate next to a player in an ice block automatically freeze locks.
- Magic Chains – seals the entrance to a dungeon with magical chains which can only be bypassed with special items.
- Magic chains can come in many types, as shown here:
- Golden chains can only be bypassed by other Game Masters.
- Red chains are placed on by the game engine itself, and cannot be bypassed by even Game Masters. However, some special items are able to bypass these, though they are far and few.
- Similarly, Black chains are used by only the most important Game Masters, used to block entry to dungeons with highly dangerous traps along with a few other things.
- Turquoise chains are special, very long versions of golden chains that extend to neighboring dungeons.
- Pink chains can only be bypassed by Game Masters or those with the Power Pass item. It is almost exclusively used to prevent upgrading certain powers.
- Silver chains are weak chains meant to block new players from entering difficult dungeons too quickly.
- Sky blue chains are special chains that block bad dungeons from ever being constructed.
- Green chains prevent access to the core of the dungeon.
- Purple chains prevent the upgrading of items.
- White chains are the weakest of the magic chains. New players have to get the approval of more experienced players in order to get into these dungeons.
- Blue chains are upgraded versions of silver chains. They are used for preventing entry to dungeons by players that may be more experienced, but still quite new to the game. It was first used in order to enforce decisions made by the Super Game Masters, and is now used to combat actions performed by deceptive minions summoned by certain players.
- Golden chains can only be bypassed by other Game Masters.
- Skeleton Key – a magical key given to all Game Masters which can remove any magical chains around a dungeon entrance for that player.
- Magic chains can come in many types, as shown here:
- Cloak of Silence – quietens a player's footsteps, enabling them to avoid patrols. A more powerful version of the Boots of Stealth, which can be worn by most players.
- Rapid-Fire – can massively subdue multiple attacks at once. A more powerful version of Single-Fire, which can be used by most players using guns. Rapid-Fire can be used by normal players by becoming Gunners, but only with the permission of Game Masters.
- Teleport – can create an inter-dimensional portal that can summon a large number of dungeons.
- Brick dissolver: Only game masters may use a brick dissolver, which allows bricks in a dungeon wall to be dissolved. A dissolved brick is nothing but a clear space that still supports the bricks above it, and can be only viewed by game masters or miners. Whether the signature or even the name of the player who made the brick gets dissolved or not can be decided by the game master. The solvent is 69M per-unobtanic acid.
- Brick crystallizer: A game master can also choose to re-crystallize a brick that has been dissolved, turning it back into a normally-functional brick.
Wikipedia players can be promoted to Game Master (or demoted!) by even more powerful users known as Overlords, who, in addition to having the power to appoint new Game Masters and Overlords, can summon many powerful minions to aid them in their adventuring.
Gunners are required to be both careful and quick. So they have a series of weapons, to assist them: they can choose from a machine gun, sniper rifle, heavy artillery, or a general multi-purpose hand-gun. Despite all these weapons, some players chose to fight criminals with their fist.
Builders have the ability to turn the smallest dungeons into the most complex ones. Some increase dungeons' size, other increase their complexity, both are vital. After all, what's the point of an oversized dungeon with no mazes?
There exist several classes of users which have even greater powers and spells than already mentioned.
Priests are a special class of Game Masters with the ability to enter dungeons protected by red chains and edit other players' inventories, and even the inventory of the entire game. Only the most trusted Game Masters can become priests; there are only 15 priests, and one of them is a minion summoned by an overlord.
Also known as Arch Mages, the SGMs are a clan of Game Masters with additional powers and spells. They can be asked to battle super-hard bosses that ordinary users may find difficult to defeat, and also deal with misbehaving users. One must be elected to be a Super Game Master, and can only serve for a limited time. Super Game Masters are automatically made bounty hunters, and they approve which other players get to be bounty hunters. The Super Game Masters, if a majority of them agree, can banish a player from the world for either a year or forever, and can remove Game Master status for any misbehaving Game Master.
- Brick vaporizer: Only SGMs and players allowed by SGMs are allowed to carry this. Anyone with it can permanently vaporize a dungeon's bricks. It is used when a player's secret plans and weaknesses are revealed to all the other players. The blueprint for constructing a vaporized brick is kept in a vault visible only to these players. Other players may also acquire brick vaporizer. However, they may only do so with the permission of the Super Game Masters, and are usually also Game Masters.
A clan of Game Masters with even greater powers and abilities than their colleagues. One must be elected by other players to be a Knight, and can only be a Knight for a year before a reelection is required. Knights must be present in all worlds and be at least 18 years old and the age of majority in their area of origination. Knights have the following abilities:
- Place any player in chains of carbide in all worlds they are present in
- Diamond cutter – allows removal of carbide chains from a player.
- Make players bounty hunters (but only with permission and endorsement from SGMs)
- Change any class of any player, including even the Dark Lord.
- Freeze-lock any gate or border of gates in all worlds at once or in a particular world. They have many of the privileges of Game Masters, but in any world.
Knights act as bounty hunters, overlords, game masters, and the like for worlds who have not chosen any of their players to do such tasks.
The master and founder of Wikipedia and its related worlds. He patrols the game world, and in former times he has had complete and total authority, and still is the only one besides the Knights who is allowed to change any user's user classes (including Knights). His power has diminished, as he has become reluctant to use his powers, but he still has methods of overriding the actions of Game Masters, and even Super Game Masters, by more subtle means. If you feel the game has treated you particularly unfairly, you can create free amusement for other players by asking the Dark Lord for assistance.
- Users wishing to declare that they believe Wikipedia is an MMORPG may use User:GKFX/Userboxes/WP-MMO.