I just came accross this 'Why you should not do an MMORPG' page: http://sol.gfxile.net/mmorpg.html. I think it is really worth a read for anybody planning on doing something like a massive online game.
The main reason is that I strongly agree with the bottom line: It is a lot more fun to actually engage in smaller projects that you can hope to finish. My very first game project was very ambitious - of course I did not realize that at the time. Even now I just could not do it unless I stop doing anything else for 4 years :-) (and find some good artists to help! ;-) ). Now, note that I learned *a lot* from it, so I do not regret a single second the time I spent on it. But it would have been even more fun to have a game in the end. I am definitely not saying hobbyists should not engage in crazy projects - it is amazing what someone determined can achieve with a lot of work. So if you feel this is what you should be doing, just do it.
However, if you are beginning in game programming you should definitely start with a first small project. Just to experience how great it feels when your game is finished, when you prepare this final zip that will be available for download on your web site, when you receive first comments from players (typically bug reports ;-) ). Sure, plenty of people will tell you 'your game looks ugly', 'it's been done before', etc ... But it will be your game, your creation, your contribution to the ocean of 'fun time wasters'.
I recall when I did my first game. It was a Breakout game. I worked very hard. I was very proud. Nobody was impressed. The number of time I heard 'Why are you doing that? It's been done before!'. Hell ... not by me! But then, as you make more projects, as you gain experience with your game development skills, you'll start to make more impressive stuff. And then you'll realize it's not about being impressive. It's about making something fun. And this is where it starts to be both easier and more interesting :-)
Anyway, I agree with this web page. I know its right. I know I shouldn't. I am still working on this MMO game project ;-)
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