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Post-apocalyptic Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games are typically designed to give a player the experience of navigating through an environment ravaged by a massive war or other devastation. Many of these games are designed as fully realized landscapes rendered in three-dimensional (3D) graphics which a player explores through the eyes of a virtual character. Such games are often designed with a focus on some element of gameplay, such as exploration, or Player vs. Player (PvP) interactions and combat. Post-apocalyptic MMOs can also be designed as games that run in a web browser, which requires fewer resources from a user to play and experience them.
Much like other types of massive online games, post-apocalyptic MMOs typically allow for numerous people to play together within a shared game space. This world is persistent and remains for players to join in at any time of day, providing them with an environment in which to pursue their interests. Post-apocalyptic MMOs typically run as standalone programs, called game clients, which allow players to connect to servers that host the game. Players create digital characters that act as their avatars within the game world; through them, they are free to explore and experience the digital landscape.
Although many of these games include multiple elements, it is fairly common for post-apocalyptic MMOs to focus on a certain aspect of gameplay. One game can be created with a spotlight on exploration and survival, allowing the player to work and thrive amid a ruined and desolate landscape. Another one, however, might focus more on the combative nature of survival and establish limited resources that are shared by all the characters. This creates a context for Player vs. Player or PvP interactions in which people playing the game are able to battle each other for control of resources and to take command of different areas.
Post-apocalyptic MMOs can also be designed as web browser games that run within a program used to navigate different websites. This type of application is typically quite a bit simpler than fully realized individual clients and allow for a different gameplay experience. Players of these post-apocalyptic MMOs often focus more on the social aspects of survival in a wasteland, combining resources with other players and expanding for dominance within a game world. Cooperation and working together against other players can be an important element of these games. They may be designed to function with a social networking site or application, to better facilitate this type of gaming.