MMORPGs represent the excesses of modern gaming: People spending entire days staring at a computer screen, completely immersed in a fantasy world. Makes you feel nostalgic for the simple days of Donkey Kong and Pac-Man, when this sort of thing never happened ...
Actually Been Around Since: Island of Kesmai (1985)
This is ground zero for the modern world's greatest plague.
The first commercially released MMORPG actually came out in the mid-80s. Back then, though, it was known as a MUD which stood for Multi-User Dungeon, once again proving that inventing is half inspiration and half not naming it something so terrible everyone ignores you. Island of Kesmai could connect up to 100 players at the same time through the online service provider CompuServe. One hundred players may not seem like such a "massive" figure now, but in the 80s it was 98 more than our minds could handle.
Turns out MUD games go back all the way to the 70s and were actually quite popular on some particularly nerdy college campuses. Some jokesters even referred to them as "Multi Undergraduate Destroyers" due to their addictive nature. To put things in perspective, this was a period in time when the average household had three channels on their television, and may have had to wiggle an antenna to make them visible through the static. And these guys were already suffering from WoW syndrome.