To players, one of the most appealing features of MMORPGs is the massive community in the game world. In this virtual atmosphere, you can meet people from every corner of the earth and grind out levels for hours… but eventually we will tire. And that brings us to today’s topic – is the most successful massive multiplayer role-playing game, Blizzard’s epic World of Warcraft becoming less massive?
WOW has more than 10 million subscribers round the world. But this huge population is divided into countless servers, which “effectively” reduces the game community size. Moreover, WOW’s enormous landmass, which was highly appreciated by the players, now has begun to show its flaw. The players are scattered in the huge maps, reducing population density. The new influx of new players is starting to decline and the veterans are all stick to high-level regions.
When I started my WOW journey recently, omg… it felt like wandering round a ghost town. As most of players are either grinding in the dungeons or on the way to the dungeons, my newborn Belf paladin can hardly meet someone for help. It was more or less the same as playing a single player RPG to me.
Now people all talk about WOW killers. Players are all looking forward to a MMO with revolutionary graphics and gameplay which can liberate them from their burnout of WOW. However, I consider that to a MMO, the massive community is more critical than the graphics and gameplay. If you’re being critical of graphics and gameplay in MMOs, it may indicate that you’re tiring of this genre. I mean let’s face it, if you take the MMO out of MMORPG, that’s 50% of your processing power saved, and with single player RPGs can always outperform MMOs when it comes to complex storyline quests, submersive roleplaying and gameplay speed (no connection to wait for, right?). Maybe we should try out other games instead.
At their core, MMOs are about sociality and communication. For those F2P MMOs, though their graphics and gameplay can’t compare to WOW, the size of their community, high population density, ability to customize yourself are pretty good. Players can also enjoy the engaging MMO atmosphere elsewhere. Just look at Conquer Online, the Chinese style F2P MMO. As published 5 years ago, its 2.5D graphics are outdated. But when you enter in the main towns of the game, you can immediately see players all chatting, trading and dancing. Players can meet people from different parts of the world, quest together, go PK noobs or join in guild wars. This is a real MMORPG.
To help its players customize their MSN and forum avatars, Conquer Online recently launched the avatar event. Players can either use the official CO theme avatar, or design their own avatar to use as MSN and forum icons. I found some designs from the players are truly impressive. Are you looking for a cool avatar? Have a try here.