What does it really take to make an MMORPG/Where should I go from here?


So this morning I'm taking a shower, when suddenly I have an epiphany! The greatest idea I ever had, and it's about a dynamic 3D persistent-world MMORPG that breaks from the classic MMO in all senses (for business reasons I will not share any details). So I ran out of the shower, grabbed the graph paper in my room, and started jotting everything down.

Then I got stuck on something. I realized I REALLY want to make this happen, but don't know where to start. I'm going to college as a freshman in the fall, and I think that by the time I get out, it will be too late. Someone else will already have done it or be making it (long development process). I thought, do I go to a big game company, take out a big loan, go to California and get workers?

So this brings us back, what does it REALLY take to make a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game? (considering, 3D, dynamic world, servers, sites, marketing, and everything else I'm missing). What's the next step?

Marketing Business Plan

asked May 28 '11 at 03:49
Caleb Jares
116 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

9 Answers


Do you have anything more than an idea?

Do you have a large bank account or the ability to raise large (multi millions) amounts of money on an idea alone? Do you have the ability to code most of this yourself? Do you have an exceptional background in game development, marketing, advertising, ANYTHING related to games?

You need at least one of those to make an MMO.

Unfortunately the entry cost to develop an MMO is very high. Rift cost over $50 million to develop. WoW was estimated to have cost over $60 million (5 or 6 years ago). Unfortunately you probably wont be able to raise $50-75 million as a college freshman with an idea.

Ideas aren't worth much - the ability to execute on them is where the money is. I hate to be a total downer, but I don't see this happening any time soon. Best bet, find a way into game development, work your way up in a company and dust the idea off then. OR go into programming, start off with much smaller titles, use that to fund and raise funds for your MMO.

It's really hard to just jump into something that big. It's almost like saying - I want to start my own professional sports league, I have a great idea for a game that people will love to watch, how do I do it?

answered May 28 '11 at 04:05
Ryan Elkins I Actionable
894 points
  • The best way to start is with a smaller idea! – Richardg 13 years ago
  • I like your analogy at the end, and I agree with you - doing this large-scale is likely impossible. I think my best bet is making it a small community thing - focus more on the small audience - work on it as a hobby over the next few years. It almost feels like a letdown - this could be the next big - giant - thing. – Caleb Jares 13 years ago
  • Don't worry - as you gain experience it gets much easier to come up with "next big things". It's great to create something new at this age but the best idea is one that you can realistically do and get people using/enjoying (if that's your goal). Nothing that you haven't done yet is too small. In university I built a small game in 3 months; I eventually chose to go a different direction but I could have built on that to attract attention and see better ideas. Just look at the most profitable games today - a lot of them are very simple. – Richardg 13 years ago


Get an internship at Electronic Arts or some other company that has a MMO that you like. Tell them you are in love with this space and will work for free. Work in as many departments as you can that work on that MMO.

You really only have one chance/time in your life where it is socially/career-wise acceptable to knock on doors and say I will work for free. That is while you are in college. Or that age. Don't waste this opportunity. There are very few people (even in a big city) that apply for these internships Meet people, learn, educate yourself. And of course if your idea is a home run people at that company will want to leave to work on your thing.

answered May 28 '11 at 13:44
31 points
  • This is a great answer. Thanks for making an account just to reply to it. Also, I'm not sure what you're trying to say in the last sentence. – Caleb Jares 13 years ago


For one there are 2 game engines i would reccomend cryengine and unity. they both will help publish your game get it marketed and have the tools for a one man team to do.But they will take a stake in the profit. although you may want to invest time and money to find someone who can do concept art and get a tablet for drawing. then rig that drawing (character rigging). no one here knows what they are talking about. will it be fast? will it be easy? will it probably fail? most likely yes. But you never know till you try. Get a demo of the game, dont quit your job, make it a hobby. Then if this hobby becomes something, sweet! if not maybe you learned enough to become a designer. my gramaar is shit but I know my stuff.

answered Mar 6 '12 at 08:06
21 points


Improve your idea - you don't need money for that. But don't get out of college yet.

MMO will be there for a long time. Even when you have finished college they will be there. If you just had an idea under the shower, you can be sure it might be interesting, but not finished. There are many questions around it. Not only technical wise, but also concept wise. I would not leave everything behind me when I don't have a cool concept.

My suggestion is: at night, get out your paper and create your game on it. Deal with the problems of content, rules, weapons, how can the game be fair and fun. Ask yourself questions like: why should people prefer my game over WoW? Why does it have a cooler atmosphere then Conan?
If your game is to lame, try to lookup what is cool at the moment. You need to explore and create visions - why not using Kinect or the fitness stuff from the Wii to move your sword in the MMO or let you beast run through the wildernes?

Draw it all on paper. If somebody reads it and says: thats the coolest beast I ever have heard off - then you need to start a prototype/demo. This is just a small beast. It proves you are able to get people on board who rule. Designer, Soundcraftman, Programmer (btw, you'll only get help of serious people if you have a serious game concept). How is the marketing? Can you really get a small prototype running? Can you create a good website on it? Does the prototype make people sweat?
Prototypes btw can be created with existing (open source and free) frameworks for 3D games or even with Game-Kits (scriptable programs which show something in 2D models). Start for exploration.

If the prototype is great and you feel good, come back to here and ask again. :-)

While others tend to say: stop dreaming, I would rather say: work on your dreams. You can never know. Maybe your MMO will never happen, but then you maybe have expert knowledge on for example Kinect. Probably you get a job as game designer, when you can show such a good concept.

Good luck

answered May 31 '11 at 15:50
3,590 points


Where should I go from here?

Home. Dreams are not startups. This is like saying "I want to be a pop star".

MMORPG take MONEY anre are high risk. Money is millions. Tens of millions, or a very small niche where bad graphics is accepted. Many tens of millions. Which noone will give a dude with an idea, which are cheap and around as hundreds.

Basically you ask how to be come the worlst best violin player. Better chance.

The greatest idea I ever had

Reality check: may still be stupid. Just because it is your best idea does not mean it is worth anything. Chances are you are just one of the 99% of the people who just are not smart enough to even realize how stupid their ideas are. No pun intended, just watching one more show where people talk how smart they are at the moment.

It has to be a GOOD idea, and you have to be someone people TRUST with a LOT of money. See the problem?

Go home, find an idea more realistic.

answered May 28 '11 at 04:40
Net Tecture
11 points
  • I agree with most of what you say, until the last statement - which should read: prove it's a good idea before you make the next step. If his idea really is the next big thing, as long as someone bigger is thinking it, then he may be onto something. – Elie 13 years ago


It takes

  1. Millions of dollars in server-farm infrastructure (the first M stands for massive, no?)
  2. Millions of dollars in graphics, art, coding, testing, marketing, sales and support

Once upon a time, when games were little cubes moving on the screen to the sound of "pong" most programmers could write games - today however, games are much like movies. You cannot "produce" a winning game unless you have a "studio" behind you. It's not an absolute, from time to time there's "Angry Birds", but let's not forget the birds are not a massive online game with millions of users.

Think smaller for starters.

answered May 28 '11 at 07:12
Ron M.
4,224 points


Forget about your idea. Got to college. Join a game development group and make small XNA sidescrollers, IOS games etc. Keep them really small, learn how to complete a project and never attempt to do an MMO.

answered May 28 '11 at 17:09
327 points


Money money money. (characters to fill the required minimum)

answered May 28 '11 at 04:08
2,288 points


In this day and age their is no reason why it should cost any 'real' amount of money to get to the beta test stage, marketing shouldn't have to cost anything if done right. Websites/domain names are 10 a penny.

The reason I'm saying this is because as of early this year I have been making my own mmorpg. I will say this though, it's a hell of a lot of hard work. I'm working on the project myself and putting in roughly 16 hours work a day. Also, unless you are adept at C++, Flash, game development software and 3D creation programs like maya or max, the learning curve is HIGH, and often disheartening when you've had to start over a dozen times and essentially waisted a week.

Advice: stick it out if you're serious! Learn C++! Draw everything, and make notes about everything!

answered Feb 10 '12 at 12:35
1 point
  • I love that. How was todays dope? peter, this is the most frustrated statement i read in weeks. Realize that one person can not do it- I know life must suck for you, but no sense to leave your frustration out to people that then may think it is sensible advice and waste their life following a pipe dream. Maybe he should start with "win 100 million in the lottery" as first step, but doing everything youself does NOT work. – Net Tecture 12 years ago

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