Persistent World

persistent world is a virtual environment that continues to exist even after a user exits the world.  User-made changes to its state are, to some extent, permanent.

The persistence comes from maintaining and developing a single or dynamic instance state of the world in the game around the clock shared and viewed by all players. Quite unlike other types of games, the plot and events in a single permainstance world game continue to develop even while some of the players are not playing their characters. That aspect is similar to the real world where events do occur regardless if they are directly or indirectly related to a person, as they continue to happen while a person is asleep, etc. Conversely, a player’s character can also influence and change a persistent world. The degree to which a character affects a world varies from game to game. Since the game does not pause or create player-accessible back-up files, a character’s actions will have consequences that the player must deal with.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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