It is becoming harder and harder to write about something I truly care about. Everytime I sit down to start writing up a new entry for this blog I get maybe half way through it then stop. I go get a cup of coffee or tea, come back, and read what I wrote...and I suddenly feel as if I am wasting my time. For years(over ten to be exact), I have written about this genre, the good, the bad and the ugly. In that time I have seen my share of “good” MMORPG’s go to waste(get neglected and left to rot) or mis-managed by the people that run it. Dark Age of Camelot is one such game, it could have been improved, and it could have continued to be a game that people loved to play: same for Planetside, same for Vanguard, same for Asheron’s Call(original version). Anyone for Star Wars Galaxies pre-NGE? All these games could have been much more and yet here we are years later and instead of the games getting better - which they should have - they have only gotten worse. Either through neglect, poor mis-management, or outright bungling of the game via overhauls, changes, or revamping of game play mechanics. So many good games that could have been - great.
But I digress, I write, and I write, and I write, about this awesome gaming genre. There are times when I think I have something really good to say, so I write down my thoughts, read what I wrote, then click *delete*.
Yes...you that read my blog have no ideal how much effort and time I put into writing one of these entries. Sometimes an ideal comes to my mind in a flash of inspiration from something I have read, or seen, or experienced - this is rare. Most times I have to come up with something that I think others might find interesting, and that is becoming harder and harder to do. People like me have written tons of blog entries, articles, previews and reviews about this genre, and I can’t help but think that like the games we write about, we’re falling into the same trap and just start regurgitating things we’ve said before - just a little differently. I bet if you go back through stuff I have written here, and other gaming websites, you’ll see that I am guilty of it. I mean how many times can we produce articles about what IP would make for a great MMORPG for example?
Speaking of that I still think Harry Potter series would make a great MMORPG, as would Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom Chronicles and the old anime Robotech.
Nothing has changed...I still feel the same way.
I have written and deleted so much stuff, that if I hadn’t deleted it I would have enough material to post to my blog once a week for five years easily. Why delete it? Because sometimes I cannot bring myself to post garbage, noise, meaningless drivel - sorta like this entry. I have yet to barely touch on the subject of this blog entry, “Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games = Stagnating Genre?”, maybe because like the genre I just cannot find anything worthwhile to say. I mean if we look at games that are soon to be released(I am talking triple AAA games in NA/EU here) I am not excited at all. After getting a chance to actually test play a certain IP in a distant heavenly body many, many lightyears away, I can with all certainty say, “This is not the game I was looking for.” It really opened my eyes to see that this genre is not growing...it has stagnated and I do not think we’ll ever see a “Golden Age of MMORPG’s”, I think that time has come and gone all ready. I think we’ve seen the best we’re ever going to see and instead we’re going to just get rehashed MMOG’s(I dropped RP because these new games are not about role playing anymore) that are shallow, non-innovative, world-less, glorified single/co-op player, online arcade games.
Just look at all the recent trainwrecks like FFXIV, Warhammer, Aion, and a couple of games I’ll not mention due to players that cannot stand their game being criticized. We’ve seen them before, played them before and because of that we continue to wait for this genre to start moving again.
I am not going to blame Blizzard for this mess that this genre has become as so many like to do. Nope. This genre is not stagnating because of Blizzard, it is stagnating because other developers, publishers, and investors refuse to take a risk. They wish to play it safe and try to follow a paradigm that worked for one game company(which was a fluke and due to special circumstances - many intelligent people know this) instead of being original, or different, or innovative.
Know what the saddest thing is though? An older game, one that is pushing 8 years on in age, is actually trying to add more game play elements to their game. Something that might give it new life, more game play options and open it up to the possibility that it can actually be more than what it is today(imagine that) and people are slamming the company for doing it. I will not mention any names or what game it is, but the people that are slamming it are doing so simple for one reason and they cannot stand change(or refuse to upgrade their computers!) - even if the change is for the better, they do not care, they'd rather have the game go stale and stagnate like all the other neglected "good" old games that should and could be great today. I applaud that game company for not being like other game companies. For not giving up on their game. For sticking with it, through thick and thin, and watch it grow and get better over time(and it has constantly) - thank you. You should be the model other game companies follow. You actually have a vision of where you want and see your game going and where it can be...to bad the other game companies with older games do not.
I could be totally wrong here, and if I am, then tell me as much in the comments below. But from what I have seen, read and experienced lately, with the new titles that are soon to be unleashed, I can honestly say that in my opinion this genre is stagnating and is not getting better, or improving, or bringing something totally new to the table - it is, like this blog entry - going nowhere.