So you want to know what playing a MMORPG is actually like before you delve? The best example is NWN. If you have played this game in multiplayer mode (especially in a consistent world module) then you'll have a good idea of what gameplay is like. Let me try and break up the different kind of styles present in most of the game today (the ones I have tried anyway). A consistent world When you log into a consistent world, everything around you will still be there when you log out (generally speaking). IF you are standing next to a dungeon entrance when you log out, the next time you log back in, that's where you will appear. Not at the same time though as the game world has an entire day/night life cycle which will continue even when you are not in the game. Literally, if you had the time, you could play a MMORPG 24 hours a day, everyday. Your Character This is probably one of the most important factors in a MMORPG. Your character development plays an important factor in how 'fun' a game will be. By way of example, if we compare Dungeon Siege with NWN. With NWN you have a wide range of options for your character. Along with different classes, which you pick yourself, you have feats/skills which you also pick when you increase in level. In DS, the only thing you actually do is to pick if your character is male or female. The concept is 'skills by use'. i.e. if you want to be good at melee fighting then use melee weapons. If you want to be a mage, then use spells. With each use of such items you skill level in these vocations will increase. You do not have any interaction with you character as all skill levels are set by the game. The is much more regarding your character and I'll talk about them more in another post. Quests Quests are basically set tasks that your character can do in the game. They can range from a simple 'retrieve this item', 'kill this monster' to a series of complex tasks spanning many different areas. If you do not feel like questing, then you are always open to simple monster hunting. Most games also include small quests associated with monster hunts, such as collecting bounties for trophies found off monster corpses. Everquest is very big on quests (as the title suggests) and one quest concept is the 'Epic Quest'. This is usually class specific and can span many character levels, usually ending once you are high level. Game Geography Engine By this I mean how the game looks and plays. So far I have seen two types. The 'continues' world and the 'zoned' world (or a combination of both). The continuous world is where there are no loading screens for different locations of the world. You can literally run from one end of the game world to the other without even having to wait for a load screen. The zone world is made up of different areas which much be loaded in separately each time you enter them. EQ, Anarchy Online and NWN are examples of 'zone' worlds. Asheron's Call (1 and 2) and Dungeon Siege are examples of continuous worlds.