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Default WoW - Why are MMOs having a population crisis? @ The Guardian

May 31st, 2008, 11:26
Alexander Gambotto-Burke talks MMOs with the likes of Flying Lab Software chief executive Russell Williams and Raph Koster.
Some of this can be attributed to WoW's success. The game's critical esteem and massive subscriber-base promise a very consistent and well-maintained MMO experience, so it's little surprise that when a smaller MMO's subscriber-base declines, WoW's inflates. "We see a lot of MMOs like that, where they get two-to-three months of a good reaction, and then their player-base disappears," says Flying Lab Software chief executive Russell Williams. "Where? Well … they go back to WoW!"
For the majority of MMOs released after WoW, this rings true. After being released in 2006, Turbine's hyped and well-reviewed Dungeons & Dragons Online declined from 90,000 subscribers to 50,000 within a few months. A year later, SOE's Vanguard: Saga of Heroes lost 80,000 subscribers after its 120,000 peak in a similar amount of time. Other big-budget MMOs - 2006's Auto Assault, notably - can't even garner enough users to keep running for more than a year.
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May 31st, 2008, 11:26
For the majority of MMOs released after WoW, this rings true. After being released in 2006, Turbine's hyped and well-reviewed Dungeons & Dragons Online declined from 90,000 subscribers to 50,000 within a few months. A year later, SOE's Vanguard: Saga of Heroes lost 80,000 subscribers after its 120,000 peak in a similar amount of time.
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May 31st, 2008, 13:39
Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
Hello AoC - and welcome to the club.
I do not agree. Age of Conan will in my opinion be able to attract new customers but also old customers back to the game.
It all depends on the speed of the patches and updates to the game.

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May 31st, 2008, 13:53
I think AoC will naturally have a few more subscribers thann the games mentioned in the article since it will be released for consoles and these guys don't exactely have much choice, but I really think that's it. The game doesn't exactely appeal to a mass market, the system requirements alone make that impossible. They started out well, but so did Anarchy Online… it simply doesn't mean anything today. We'll see, I guess…

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May 31st, 2008, 17:48
Originally Posted by Asbjoern View Post
I do not agree. Age of Conan will in my opinion be able to attract new customers but also old customers back to the game.
It all depends on the speed of the patches and updates to the game.
That is exactly right. You simply have to keep people interested. Any MMO is only as good as its last update/new contence. Once those will stop coming fast enough the game is doomed!
Guild Wars was a running success until ArenaNet stopped releasing new contence. Now even popular outposts (Lions Arch, Kamadan) which used to have up to 10 districts are down to 5 and in places like Aspenwood you might have to wait for 30 minutes and more for opposition to show up.
"No new contence" would have been an understandable policy if GWII was just around the corner but, as thing stand, GW seems to be loosing players at very high rate and I wonder just how may of those will come back once GWII will be released.
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June 1st, 2008, 04:04
WoW is so big it is a sun. WoW looms so large over the MMO landscape that it's no longer possible to tell if WoW does so many things right (and lord knows, WoW has done a lot right) or whether the way WoW does things just becomes the right way to do it because WoW shapes people's expectations. The point here is that it may be that other MMOs are failing not because they naturally aren't good engh, but instead because WoW is too good, or if you prefer too addictive, or too in control of what people expect from a gaming experience. See?

So if that be true, the flipside is that being a good MMO with a lot of fresh ideas (assuming that's what AoC is) may not in itself be enuogh to stop the game from going under. WoW exerts a massive undertow and perhaps can pull down a MMO ship that might otherwise float just fine.

It's kind of like google. Would you want to develop and market a competing search engine? Even if your search engine is great, you can't win.
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June 1st, 2008, 11:37
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
That is exactly right. You simply have to keep people interested. Any MMO is only as good as its last update/new contence. Once those will stop coming fast enough the game is doomed!
Well, I think it's not only that really. Look at Lotro for example. Turbine updates like mad. There is no other MMO-Company on the market at the moment that updates so frequently. Still, it never became the WoW-Killer that everyone prophecised it would become. I was always pretty sceptical about Lotro's potential. I think it's a good, solid game in it's current state and still it could only get a fraction of the number of subscribers that WoW has. I see the same happening to AoC, especially in terms of the PC audience. Funcom definately made a few mistakes during the development, which in the end, will cost them customers. The instancing for example - you can't win the hardcore mmo audience that plays mmos since UO with a game that is completely instanced…

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June 1st, 2008, 12:31
On the other hand … An MMO that's not being overcrowded might be a bit better, imho …

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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June 1st, 2008, 13:57
But why "WoW killer" should be any sort of measure of game success? According to wiki WoW currently holds about 62% of the market which means that there are enough online players out there for another 2 or 3 mmos which, while less popular than WoW, could still be popular enough to make a tidy profit for publishers/developers.
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June 1st, 2008, 15:26
This is actually the same as any company which wants to make an "AAA game".

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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June 1st, 2008, 15:40
I am not quite sure what you mean Alrik?
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June 1st, 2008, 17:07
The same complaints were made about Evercrack. No one thought that could be unseated. It kicked every other MMO to come out like a wet dog and it took gimmicky settings like City of Heroes to compete with it (barely).

Curious. How does WoW compete in Asia with the likes of Lineage? Since Blizzard has a strong division in Asia I imagine its pretty healthy there too.

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June 1st, 2008, 20:10
That's my point LD! Why should any mmo be judged on its ability to immediately equal or surpass WoW? I know that Americans are a very competitive folks but I have hard time believing that any devs/publisher team worth their salt would adopt "We kill WoW outright or die" mentality. After all Rome wasn't build in a day was it?
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June 1st, 2008, 21:41
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
I am not quite sure what you mean Alrik?
I meant this line :
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
But why "WoW killer" should be any sort of measure of game success?
The point I was referring is that of the "WOW killer".

Now, Blizzard has erected another kind of "standard" in gaming - in online gaming.

Everyone who wants to suzcceed in building an "WOW killer" must achieve to dethrone it - how ever.

For example, a company could try it with even better graphics. Just as an example.

But the standard is already so high, that the profits such a "killer game" would reach would be easily eaten up by the whole development process.

The standard is just too high.

Same goes imho with AAA games : The standard for even better graphics is set so high that the possibility to create a "killer game" is the more reduced the higher the standard is.

That's why some people complain about the claim of Radon Labs trying to make an AAA title called "Drakensang", which cannot be really achieved, because the already set standard is too high !

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June 1st, 2008, 22:54
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
That's why some people complain about the claim of Radon Labs trying to make an AAA title called "Drakensang", which cannot be really achieved, because the already set standard is too high !
But that's an obvious fallacy (not on your part I hasten to add)! Success of a game is caused by a combination of features but not by any of those features alone! If a developer team can't beat graphics (just for exmple) there is still a killer story line to go for or immersion or interaction. If you can't outspend them why not try to outhinking them?
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June 2nd, 2008, 06:50
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
Curious. How does WoW compete in Asia with the likes of Lineage? Since Blizzard has a strong division in Asia I imagine its pretty healthy there too.
From what I can recall seeing occassionally in the media (which may well be out of date) WoW does ok but the Asian market is dominated by Korean MMOs - Squeek probably has a better knowledge.
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June 2nd, 2008, 20:16
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
If a developer team can't beat graphics (just for exmple) there is still a killer story line to go for or immersion or interaction. If you can't outspend them why not try to outhinking them?
Yes, you are right, but IF developers see no other way than to "outdo graphics", then it won't work.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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