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A massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is a video game that takes place in a persistent state world (PSW) with thousands, or even millions, of players developing their characters in a role-playing environment. The virtual world in which the game takes place is never static. Even when a player is logged off, events are occurring across the world that may impact the player when he or she logs in again.
Unlike traditional console-based role-playing games where the overarching goal is to complete the game, MMORPGs depend on emergent game play based on the interactions of players and groups of players. Most MMORPGs still provide tasks and battles that get progressively harder, but the primary purpose of these is to help gamers build up their characters in terms of experience, abilities and wealth.
To keep the gaming experience evolving, MMORPGs allow players to form alliances, interact within the game, customize their avatars and even create some of the game content. Moreover, players who are not interested in entering dungeons and battles to build up their characters can still participate in the game by setting up shops in villages and cities to contribute to the authenticity of the game's world.
MMORPGs also have their own economies, where players can use the virtual currency they've earned in battles to buy items. This virtual economy has crossed over into the real world in some areas. For example, MMORPG players have exchanged real currency for items and virtual currency. In some instances, players seeking to level-up their characters more quickly have employed farmers - gamers who play as another person's character - who work to earn experience points for their employers while they are logged off.