I visit these forums several times a day, but post maybe 5 times a week if that. I also never start a topic thread. I am a lurker, stalker, whatever you want to call it. Why? Because i have come to realize that I am a carebear. But not in the traditional sense of the word. I find no joy in fighting with people about their opinions. I will happily throw up a post in giving my opinion, but rarely will i argue with someone else about theirs. Its not that I don't find it amusing, but I would much rather talk to like minded people about MMO's then i would to argue with someone over something that they already have made their mind up about. To be honest, there are posters who's opinions I actually respect since i find them to be like minded based on what they have said in the past. Its kind of the same way i feel about MMO's. How much time should i spend with hating on a game that i have tried and don't like versus spending time talking about a game with people who also enjoy it? After i figured it out, I started spending my time in the GW2 forums most of the time. I will however read up on posts about Tera (although really not much anymore) because for a long time it was the game i was looking forward to. Also, I read up on the TSW forums only because although i tried it and didn't like it much, I still find it to be a refreshing concept which i am curious as to how the game's life will play out. This is the life of those who lurk. We are not set in a single mindedness that excludes reason, but are interested in a broad range of what the world of MMO's presents to us.
So now that i have the boring backdrop to this entry laid out, allow me to continue with my main point.
MMO's have reached a breaking point. With SW:TOR going free to play and no MMO coming out to kill WOW since Warcraft became WOW, I am wondering what is next. "WOW-clones" are dropping left and right (either going F2P or closing up shop altogether), no one has made a sandbox right since SWG (although the argument for its actual success based on sub-numbers is a grey area as wide as the internet itself) and the only thing gamers are ever left with is a slightly smaller wallet, bitter resentment towards the future and a bad taste in their mouth. "WOW-Clones" (I do so loathe that title) will not satisfy anymore. We want something more, something different and are willing to White Knight anything that comes along that gives us a glimpse of hope. Well, I have come to my own personal conclusion.
There is no hope. MMO's need to be killed off like the dinosaurs of the past to make way for whatever can survive this ice age we are in.
And for those of you who claim sandboxes are the answer, allow me to ask you one question. If it hasn't worked yet, why would it work now? (I am not talking about individual games like EVE whose success is evident, i am talking about the sub-genre as a whole) Are Devs going to magically find the right sandbox combination to attract the crowd the way WOW did? I highly doubt it. Now, before i am flamed into ash allow me to state that i personally love nothing more then a game that gives me freedom of choice and the ability to build. Yes, I love sandboxes. I will spend time in sandboxes. The problem is I have lost faith in Devs and the money that backs them. The "sandbox" as I see it today will no longer satisfy the crowd (meaning more then 50% of active MMORPG players). And hey, I could be wrong, but I have yet to see anything that would convince me otherwise (don't pipe in with ArcheAge, it is yet an unknown entity so my judgment does not reflect what it may or may not be).
So, now that i have probably made half of the ten people who will read this angry, please stick with me for a few more lines for the wrap up and you will have my thanks.
Without some major changes in the genre, changes so drastic that we begin to argue if the game itself can even be judged as a MMORPG based on todays standards, we are going to continue along this line of fails and folly with no end in sight. We will find our breathes of fresh air (GW2 for some, Archeage for others, or whatever else we happen to enjoy) but they can both still be classified as Sandbox/themepark (even if they incorporate elements from the other sub-genre into itself). I don't really believe that either sub-genre will be the answer. So, what is it? What is it that we need for MMO's to become to survive, appeal to the masses and entertain the hardcore elite? I don't know the answer and it seems that neither do the Devs. Only time will tell if we will get the game that grips us and never lets us go. But hey, here's to hope! Of course, this is my opinion, my rambling and my blog. All thanks to MMORPG.com.