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Blizzard: Companies underestimate launching new MMOs

Posted by magdalene08 Wednesday October 15 2008 at 5:25AM
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Publishers and developers new to the MMO genre underestimate the difficulties of launching in the market, according to Blizzard's Mike Morhaime.

Following GOA's struggle to launch Warhammer Online, GamesIndustry.biz asked Blizzard's CEO if companies fail to anticipate the true logistics of launching a massively multiplayer online game.

"I think everyone who hasn't done it will probably underestimate the logistics behind it - we certainly did," he explained.

"You focus on the things you are used to but you don't necessarily realise how difficult it is to scale up quickly and with an MMO you have to factor in providing 24/7 customer service, multiple languages... and that's not just hiring all those people to do customer service because internally within the organisation you still have to support your employees and that's a whole lot of management infrastructure that doesn't exist before the launch."

Morhaime further revealed that the company still aims to release a World of Warcraft expansion annually but is currently on the "longer than a year plan" and following Wrath of the Lich King fans won't see another for more than a year.

"That's still the ideal goal," he said in response to GamesIndustry.biz, "but as with anything there is this underlying rule that trumps everything which is that we'll take as much time as we need until... it reaches the expectations of ourselves and our players."

"Right now we're on the longer than a year plan," he added. "The next one I think it is still unlikely that we're going to get it down to a calendar year. We're going to continue to try and decrease that but really the content of the expansion is more important and I think you guys are going to find with Wrath of the Lich King that it's going to be worth the wait."

 

James Lee 11:03 (BST)
14/10/2008

 

Source : www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/blizzard-companies-underestimate-launching-new-mmos

Soupgoblin writes:

It is also harder due to the fact that MMO gamers have matured and are pickier about the games they play. They won't accept "any old MMO" like they did 5 years ago, they also expect a more polished and "complete" game.

I just hope that developers realize that the average age of  MMO gamers has changed, it isn't "mid-twenties" like it was back in 2000, it is more like 35, now, IMO.

Wed Oct 15 2008 6:22AM Report
Ivan2 writes:

Soupgoblin. Very true.

 

Wed Oct 15 2008 7:02AM Report
Hashbrick writes:

I wouldn't say matured, before hand the MMO community was small, the voice was low and constricted mostly to official forums of that game.  Now since the launch of WoW the MMO community grew ten folds, ordinary people from all over came to experience MMOs or Video Games themselves first hand.  With a large crowd and bigger voice, there isn't much leway for something unorginal.  Thus you have the massive uprising of this MMO will fail/is the best discussions.

Wed Oct 15 2008 9:44AM Report
stayontarget writes:

I wonder of the Darkfall Dev's are finding this artical to be true. Sometimes you focus on one thing and lose sight of the big picture.

Wed Oct 15 2008 1:55PM Report
el_muerte writes:

IMHO WoW spoiled a lot of gamers.  If a new MMO launches and it isn't as polished as WoW is (after how many years now?) tons of people piss and moan about how the game is a total failure, rather than being willing to give it a bit of time... remember all the issues WoW had at launch?  Huge imbalances, server crashes that lost you xp/loot/quests from the previous three hours, lag and more lag, etc.  and it wasn't until several months later these things were all ironed out.  Launching an MMO is probably a bigger undertaking than any of us little ppl can imagine, let's all cut companies some slack and give them more than two weeks to prove themselves.

Wed Oct 15 2008 3:48PM Report
Makestro writes:

I remember in WoW for months we'd joke about Wal-Marts "Roll back our prices" when the server is coming down message would display. Everyone was worried about roll backs for the first few months. WoW still has tons of bugs and issues, the game is polished though after years of tweaking and balance is still an issue for some classes.

 

New MMOs have to compete with that, a lot of people are willing to play a buggy/laggy game if it is fun though... WoW proved that with it's first few months when people left their old games to play it.

Wed Oct 15 2008 7:31PM Report
Qmire writes:

WoW, when launched was the most polished MMORPG ever, and still is the single greatest powerhouse in form of polishment and content.

 

the thing is, i tried the WoW beta 2 years before it launched, just back then i was sure it was already ready for launch, when looking at the standards back then but Blizzard waited, thank god for that, and made a pretty great achievement right there.

 

The thing is many of the mmorpgs, launched this year and possibly the next year as well, are only able to compete with the WoW 3 years ago, not the current one, since release Blizzard has added shitloads of content to such a point, where the mmorpg player in WoW is so greatly spoiled that it actually hurts the mmorpg genre itself.

 

Blizzard still value their quality in polish and so they did before they became a billion dollar company, now with these massive funds, how on the world can any mmorpg compete with them?

 

Their WoW flagship is a "borg", it assimilates all new features from other new mmorpgs quickly and in some cases even improves them, then put it into their own, so people don't feel the need to move for a new game.

Wed Oct 15 2008 10:48PM Report
synn writes:

i agree that the issue with games coming out now have to content with present day WoW and not the launch version. The downside to this is that alot of the new gamers aren't as forgiving as the older ones that have been gaming for years prior to the launch of wow.

WoW is a good game but I think they will do a good job destroying themselves. The game is way to gear dependant and now they want to turn a game where pve/raiding is the core into a more pvp friendly game. Great idea, but  because of the mechanics of the game and class differences I don't see the pvp being as entertaining as the pvp you'd find in a game that focuses on pvp.

While i have no complaints about blizzard. What has blizzard contributed to the advancement of the MMO industry?

p.s. i like that MMOs are more mainstream because of blizz but sometimes I miss the days before wow just because the gold sellers and a-holes came by the boatload when wow was launched.

Wed Oct 15 2008 11:12PM Report
UnSub writes:

Polishment?

Blizzard had a difficult stretch of it because they really exceeded expectations. People were asking if WoW would exceed 1 million subscribers, not 10 million worldwide. That was where the challenge was. Also, it was their first MMO. Their second will see a different challenge at roll out - namely equalling WoW's market impact.

Also: how can WoW be an an annual expansion plan, but then say the next one will take longer than a year? One of these things isn't correct - and knowing Blizzard, it certainly isn't the one with the shortest time period.

 

Thu Oct 16 2008 3:10AM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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