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Teala's Wickedly Cool MMORPG.com Blog For The Masses

Just my thoughts on MMO's, roleplaying, game companies, and the people that play these games.

Author: Teala

Why Original IP's Will Fade Into Oblivion

Posted by Teala Tuesday March 25 2008 at 3:57PM
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Over the years I have watched my share of MMORPG's come onto the gaming scene, and of those only five are super well known and that is Lord of the Rings Online, Star Wars Galaxies, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI and of course Dungeons and Dragons Online.  Now I know some people are going to sit back, think about what I am about to say and then tell me to go find the nearest freeway, sit down in the middle of it and play with my collection of Barbies - or better yet just pull my Ruger P85 from its holster and drop a round in my brain.    ::shrugs::  To each his own - I think I am right in thinking that original IP's will be a thing of the past with the exception of the Asian markets where they seem to have an over abundance of creativity and money to boot to create original IP's.  But as for Europe and the North American MMORPG market I think we're going to see fewer and fewer MMORPG's come along and those that do will be of IP's that are well known by the masses.

Why?

Because it is to much of a risk for investors to get behind a game design house, plop down $30 mil to $100 mil for the creation of an original IP.   To many original IP's have come to the market and failed horribly.   Now we can all agree that World of Warcraft is the 800 pound gorilla of MMORPG's.  It is a truly colossal oddity in how well it did - but it proved one thing.  It proved that if a game company goes with a well known IP and then follows the basic premise of KISS(Keep It Simple, Stupid) and launches an almost bug free, well designed game - people will knock down your door to play that game.  Warcraft was such a game.   8+ million customers...that is every MMORPG publishers dream. 

Now don't think I don't recall the failures of games like the Matrix(a very well known IP) and of course the complete and utter collapse of one of the worlds most well known IP's Star Wars.   This doesn't make a difference.   These two failed due to the fact that the game designers totally missed the boat on what players were looking for.  The games were buggy and poorly managed.   It makes no sense for a game like Star Wars Galaxies to fail.   Think about it...we're talking Star Wars here - you know...the story we followed since we were kids and still followed up into adult hood.    I have yet to find one person that didn't like Star Wars itself as a movie.   Yet the Star Wars MMORPG is one of the pariahs of the MMORPG gaming community.    The bad thing is the game just keeps sliding down into the dead games abyss and lets face it - eventually it will get there though its death will be a slow and lingering one.

None of this changes my mind though in regard to the direction I think future MMORPG's will go.  I think we'll no longer see original IP's like Vanguard, Dark Age of Camelot, EverQuest or Asheron's Call.   Nope.   It is to risky a venture any more for investors in the US and Europe to partake in such an endeavor.   Why?  Because games like Vanguard and Tabula Rasa and a handful of others have crashed and burned.   It is said that Vanguard cost upwards of $80 million dollars(rumor of course)...$80 million dollars to produce and it is not a healthy MMORPG right now.  In fact I would say it is barely holding on.   SOE is doing what they can to salvage it and right now only time will tell if it has the staying power to survive the next couple of years.  I think they will pull it off, they've done some amazing things to salvage the mess Sigil dumped into their lap and Vanguard is a much better game then it was at launch...but it still has lots that needs fixed.

So what does all this mean for future MMORPG's in North America and Europe?  It means up and coming MMORPG's will be based on such well known IP's as Star Trek, Stargate and possibly Harry Potter.   My vote would go toward a Harry Potter MMORPG and I would love to play one!  In fact if I were an investor and had the money I'd be placing it on a MMORPG based on the iP of Harry Potter.   If you think WoW is huge...imagine the number of subscribers an MMORPG like Harry Potter would bring in.   The key though and I am going to regret saying this...being that I totally dislike WoW...but Blizzards formula works and WoW is the formula to base a game like Harry Potter on.   It works because when they made WoW they kept it simple, it is easy to learn, and it runs on a McGyver made computer - a chewing gum wrapper and a bobby pin.

That is where these games are headed and the only way they are going to grow.  No investor is going to keep tossing money on a bad bet.   Dead are the days of complex, sandbox games made for gaming rigs that do not exist yet - like Vanguard.   Sorry.   That is just how it is.      Think of it like this...risk versus reward.   The risk out weighs the reward in the current MMORPG publishing market when it comes to making an original MMORPG.   So that investor is going to sheath their checkbook and walk away from the "Ultimate MMORPG Ever" and think...."...that was the smartest move I ever made.   Now where is the game company who is making that Harry Potter MMORPG?"

Worst and Best MMORPG Launches - Part II

Posted by Teala Monday March 24 2008 at 7:32AM
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So what games do I consider to be the best launched games for MMORPG's?   This list is only my opinion based on my own experiences with these games launches because I experienced them.   I know there will be people that will disagree with me, but I can only go by what I know...so here are Teala's picks for the best MMORPG launches.    I only have 3 that I can list though....3 MMORPG's that I feel launched really, really well.    I could list the orignal SWG, but I know I'd catch huge amounts of flak for it because it was a real bitch to get on for some people on the first day.  I could list Lineage II if it weren't for the lag from hell encountered in the starter zones that literally locked up my gaming rig time after time after time.   Atleast I could sign in.  So here they are - all 3 of the best MMORPG launches in my opinion.

Top 3 Best MMORPG Launches Are

3) EverQuest II - Game had a couple of issues with lag due to its system requirements at the time and you had to tweak your gaming rigs video requirements from the start...but over all the game launched and the servers stayed up those first few days without so much as a hiccup.

2) Guild Wars - This game really was awesome at launch.  The transition from beta to live was almost flawless.  I only encountered a brief period of lag in the first couple of hours and I don't recall the servers crashing once within the first week of launch.   Great launch for a great game.

1) City of Heroes - This game launched smoother then any other game I ever played on the first day.  I don't recall servers crashing or any major hiccups and the game ran smooth as silk from the moment you signed on that very first day.   This one in my opinion stands as a great example of how to launch an MMORPG perfectly on day one.

Worst and Best MMORPG Launches - Part 1

Posted by Teala Sunday March 23 2008 at 5:48AM
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So, ever wonder what MMORPG launches are the worst and best ever(in my opinion of course)?  Well  I think this dead horse can be beat a few more times and decided to make a list based on my own experiences with MMORPG's down through the years.   I have been gaming on and off now since a teenager and my first experience with a 3D MMORPG was EverQuest and since then I have played or beta'd just about every MMORPG ever launched.    Now I realize that some of you might disagree with me on my choice of what I consider to be a badly launched MMORPG and this is going to happen no matter what games I list here and in what order I put them in, but from my memory and what I experienced first hand - these are the five worst and best MMORPG launches I ever encountered.

Top Five Worst MMORPG Launches

5) World of Warcraft - Now I know I am going to catch flak for this because of the over all success of WoW.  There is no denying that it is the king of MMORPG's, but if there is one thing that I will never forget was the horrible launch of this game.   I remember how hard it was to get a server when it first launched.  Blizzard almost blew it entirely when they launched WoW because despite the fact they had over a 500k people sign up for beta within 2 days(as I recall) Blizzard failed to totally anticipate the mad hoard of people that would purchase and play their game on day 1.   Blizzard didn't have nowhere near enough servers to accommodate the mass of gamers that day and the queues to get on the existing servers was a whole other story unto itself.   Then on top of it the servers that did go live and manage to stay up where so laggy in the starter zones that it was almost impossible to play.   It took some people days if not a couple of weeks to finally get on and play due to this.   Blizzard had to add server after server to accommodate the number of players and it took like a whole month to finally get enough servers and running to accommodate all the people that wished to play it.  Because of this I give the game a number 5 spot on my list of worst MMORPG's launches ever.

WoW Queue Dance  <<<Remember this?

4) Dark Age of Camelot - Nothing and I mean nothing prepared us players for the launch of DAoC.  This game actually launched without MOB's being itemized and there was not a dungeon, as I recall in Hibernia that was itemized either, a few in Midgard and some in Albion.   On top of that the number of bugs we encountered almost made you think that you were playing an Alpha version of the game.   Yes...it really was that bad.   I know people will tell me I am full of it...but I was there and I remember people getting on the message boards over at the vault network asking Mythic when they planned on getting itemized MOB's into the - took them a couple of months but they did finally get the majority of MOB's and dungeons itemized.

3) Asheron's Call 2 - Game launched almost flawlessly...almost, but what we players and beta testers found was not what we were told we'd find.   The live version of AC2 was no different then the game was in the final stage of beta - there was no miracle patch...and many of the things that we were told we didn't see in beta would be launched with the live version of the game.   When we discovered the truth Turbine producers put out a letter begging us to give the game a chance and to become pioneers to help them make the game better.    The game was so full of bugs, holes and exploits it become a laughing stock of the game community almost over night.  The rants from pissed off players got so bad after the the game lost it chat servers that IGN literally made a separate forum for disgruntled players to voice their complaints about the poorly executed and implemented game.   We all know the final outcome of the game because Turbine eventually had to pull the plug on the servers.

2) Anarchy Online - A fitting name for an MMORPG that fell into anarchy on message boards all over the Internet.   What can I say about what many consider to be the worst launched game in the history of MMORPG's.  It was a total frikking nightmare.  It was so full of bugs, and the servers were constantly crashing even if you could get on which was nearly impossible.   OMG...3 months after launch, Funcom the creators of AO, almost went belly up...but through hard work, perseverance and help from on outside source Funcom saved AO from the depths of the dead games abyss and turned AO around.  It wasn't pretty at launch, but it did finally become stable and a very fun game to play.  Took Funcom about a year, but they did it.   Still a bad launch...but even it was not the worst.

1)  Three way tie here, yep a three way.    What I consider to be the worst 3, yes 3 worst launches in the history of MMORPG's - ever!

3a)Star Wars Galaxies/NGE - Oh this one was so bad it makes almost all other game launches look flawless.   Seriously.   This thing was so full of bugs it wasn't even funny.   The NGE even launched with an expansion that was not compatible with the launch of SWG/NGE and it caused SOE to offer a refund.   SOE managed to piss off so many of their existing players the exodus from the game of its players numbered in the hundreds of thousands...it is estimated that of the 300k people that were playing it at the time of the NGE's launch that 250k players left the game in disgust.   SWG to this day has never recovered from the launch of the NGE and SOE still struggles to get people to even play the game.

How bad was the NGE - tell me this wouldn't drive you crazy.   NGE Tutorial - Better get on the Falcon kid  <<< Ramp of Doom Video

2a) Dark and Light -  Oh I know this game has its fans(all 3 of them), but to some of us it is one of the worst launches if not the worst launched MMORPG ever.   What can I say that hasn't all ready been said or still being said about this game and its launch...plan and simple and in the general term used by most gamers  - it was teh suxor.  Yes it sucked - plan and simple. 

1a) Realms of Torment aka Mourning - This was the number one worst launch in the history of MMORPG's.   This games launch was so bad it stands as one of the most discussed games here on MMORPG.com.   Gamers flocked to MMORPG.com and used it as their soapbox to spread the word about the game and its producer that it became the pariah of gamers all over the Internet.   Eventually even MMORPG.com closed its doors to Mourning.    Yes...Mourning was and is and stands as the worst launch of an MMORPG to date.  No other MMORPG comes close to the debacle that was Mourning.

Next Installment of Teala's Wickedly Cool Blog - The 5 Best MMORPG Launches

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