...without J.R.R. Tolkein?
My opinion is absolutely not.
It might exist in some fashion, and thus would also exist - in some fashion - the multitude of life stealing things we call MMO's. But would it exist as it does today?
I don't think so.
In fact, I don't think Fantasy, as a sub-genre of fiction, would even exist. Gary Gygax, for example, was inspired by Tolkein (half of the original Chain Mail, basis for all RPG's and thus MMORPG's, was based loosely on Tolken). R.A. Salvator was inspired by Tolkein. Half or more of the Fantasy writers today were, to some degree, inspired by him.
So, in short - without Tolkein, there'd be no fantasy. No MMORPG's. Twice as many people with college degrees and a vastly lowered divorce rate! :D