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Whats wrong with devs these days!?

Thoughts on what might help increase the quality of modern mmos.

Author: Starbear

Abandon ship! Why MMOs arn't as good as they could be.

Posted by Starbear Wednesday November 12 2008 at 3:12PM
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Now I'm sure you've heard at least one of the many blogs out there about how everyone is copying WoW and how WoW sucks and why can't developers be more origonal in their designs. Well I'll try to avoid rehashing those blogs for you and bring a whole new concept to mind.

For a while now people have constantly analized WoW in an attempt to try and figure out why it works and how it is that the game has continued to dominate the market even when it has clearly aged. The answer in my opinion is not about origonal design or groundbreaking concepts but rather respect. I'm not a WoW fan, I stoped playing it over a year ago and have no intention of returning but what I have noticed is that the devs at Blizzard have a strong interest in the players, when someone complains they take it seriously and since its launch classes and mechanics have been rebalanced over and over untill what most players might see as perfection.

So how does WoW do it... what makes them so great? Well to answer that I'll take you to another MMO one which I've recently gone back to, EVE Online. Recently EVE has been getting a ton of press due to their latest free expantion and upcoming WiS (Walk in Stations). Their lead designer Torfi Frans Olafsson brings up a wonderful point, how many MMO devs build a game and then leave it stationing only a few devs to update it. EVE on the other hand has never had more developers working on it as it has now and the game is five years old (this is a rough quote). It seems to me that this is the key to EVE and WoWs success over the many would be dominators in the MMO market.

The key to success in the MMO market it seems is to never stop developing a game, but rather to exponentialy let it grow. Once launched devs should continue to invest their earnings back into the game, when EVE launched I never expected it to do as well as it has now and I personaly can't see a time where EVE will not be a leading MMO. Many would say the same thing about WoW, it seems unstopable and though many people give it a lot of flak it still stands strong with a massive ammount of players who are dedicated to it, why? Because the devs at CCP and Blizzard respect their players, they understand that player and developer form a symbiotic relationship, the devs give new content and the players give money. If the devs stop the players stop and so an MMO should be treated as an ever growing ecosystem and not a quick toss it out and pull in the money stunt.

Games which have always had dedicated developers have lasted the longest and weathered the ever changing markets of gaming. Games like UO, Everquest, EVE and WoW have stood strong while others have failed and fallen into oblivion so after watching the MMO market since Dark Ages (the old 2D Nexon game) it is clear that the best security a developer can buy is continued expantion of their game. I have seen in the past how games will start off strong and after launch the devs all move on to new projects while a small team struggles to keep up with the demands of a community and it is clear that that system of being dosn't work.