A Brief History of Early MMORPGs

MMOHut is offering up a quick history of the earliest MMORPGs to ever grace the Internet, and such an article obviously wouldn't be complete without mentioning early MUDs and Stormfront Studios' AOL-powered Neverwinter Nights.
Neverwinter Nights, like Island of Kesmai, was an expensive game to play. Since the internet was still in its early form, Neverwinter Nights as well as all MMORPGs during the time, had to be distributed through proprietary networks like AOL and Compuserve. Neverwinter Nights was distributed through AOL and cost gamers a cool $6.00 per hour to play (That's nearly $10 an hour adjusted for inflation)! Neverwinter Nights was a very successful MMORPG during its run. The game ran from 1991 to 1997 and boasted 115,000 players towards the end of its life cycle. The actually shut down due to disagreements between AOL and one of the game's original developers TSR over future rights to the title. It's worth mentioning though in its last year of service, the game became '˜free to play' as bandwidth costs came down significantly since its original release.
I remember spending a handful of hours on NWN, but unfortunately it was an addiction I really couldn't afford at the time. On top of the hourly fee, the only AOL number available in my area was long distance.