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Community Spotlight: AAA MMOs and Expectations

Posted by MikeB Thursday August 19 2010 at 8:22PM
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This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thread “TOR, GW2, FFXIV three massive mmos about to rock the genre or just more games added to the list of games not living up to the hype?” by Rockgod99. Rockgod99 polls the community on their thoughts regarding the launch of a variety of upcoming AAA MMOs, wondering whether or not the games will succeed in “rocking the genre” or simply fail to meet their lofty expectations:

“Its in the title.

Three big ass games, a sickening amount of hype.

Will we be graced by three amazing games or just more crap that simply doesnt live up to peoples expectations/ hype?

I personally feel all three games are going to set this forum on fire, noone will be happy but thats just me lol.

what do you think?”

KingKong007 offers us a jaded POV:

“What did we learn in the past 4 years ? (starting with Vanguard/Lotro and ending with SC).

MMMO's in development have 3 fases:

- From 2 years before publishment to 1month before Beta.

Extreme hype from the publishers/ Everything is possible/ ALL is included/ biggest launch ever/ more features are included as long as any idiot on a website demands it.

- From Beta to 3 days before publishment.

Extreme hype from fans (most coming from those not in the game yet), corrections from publishers, down to earth expectations and lots of comments about obviously lacking features. Depending on the product the comments range from "it is still in Beta" or "biggest dud ever".

- 3 months after launch.

The game crashes to reality in a loss of around 80% of its launching hype. All people coming back down to earth and a hardcore small number of fans still defending the obvious thing: it is just another standard MMO.

Find out for yourself how this mechanism works for the 3 games above.

FF14 is by far the closest to launch (and in Beta): no PvP and 1 minute slooooow combat to even kill a trivial mob. People are already coming from predictions of millions of subs to a few 100K at the most on most forums.

TOR is the next on the line, it is a very mixed bag of comments, wait until the so called Beta will show its true face seen in video leaks in our fase 2 above.

GW2 is by far the game that still sits in its early development cycle. So it gains the most hype. It is still in the cycle of "everything and 100 times more" is in it .... reality check : 4 game developpers (head game designer first) left a week ago to join Jeff Strain already....

Lesson: People never learn from the past.”

Jayanti doesn’t think the genre will be rocked again until Blizzard eventually puts out their next MMO:

“Sadly, I think the genre won't be rocked until WoW2, or whatever Blizzard are making. 

I think smaller games will add one or two exciting new features each, and someone like Blizzard will take all those and put them in one game, and all the people who only play mainstream games will go "OMG! These new features are awesome! Blizzard rocks!" then everyone will copy them and the casuals will think Blizzard changed the genre.

i.e. Exactly the same as they did with Warcraft.”

JOK3R_3D sizes up the upcoming games and offers his take on which ones have a chance to “rock the genre”:

“I would Say TOR, GW2 and TERA are the only ones that stand a ghosts chance of rockin the genre. FFXIV seems like an updated FFXI and I have yet to see anything impressive with RIFT.

Then again, WAR, AoC, Aion, and even LotRO were supposed to rock the genre too and look how that turned out. So really, no matter how good or revolutionary an MMO looks on websites and videos, it doesnt mean squat. Anyone whose followed MMOs for the last 5 or so years should know that by now.

TOR looks good and is super hyped right now. Id bet it will sell millions around release. But in truth, theyre make a lot of dumb decisions. Starting with the space on rails mini game, and ending with their pets system. And thats just the tip of the iceberg of what little we know so far.

Guild Wars 2? Who know. Im already a bit downed (and even somewhat confused) by their self heal, no MT thing. Are they bringing back that NPC team thing, like TOR's companions (thought not as bad). I hated it, no one really teamed up anymore there after that. I mean the game is F2P so as long as its good it wont really matter and thats why I think the first one did so well. I would definitely not have subscribed to GW1.

TERA, ill admit, is my favorite so far. But even that can fail. First of all there is so much false "korean grinder" ignorance going around it makes me want to pull my hair out. But other than that there are many things they can do wrong. Is the political system theyre implementing good? Will the player warm up to it or reject it? Same with the combat, AoC looked like it had great combat to me, then you play it and it doesnt feel right. TERA's is different but well, no one knows the future ... is what ive just wasted 5 paragraphs trying to say, lol.”

So, I chose this thread to highlight this week in light of my Star Wars: The Old Republic: Great Expectations column from earlier in the week, which focused on a similar subject. In my column, I discussed my own expectations for the game and the larger issue of expectations for SW:TOR in general, but discussing expectations on the whole wasn’t within the scope of the article. Thankfully, Rockgod99 created a thread in a similar vein and we were able to get an idea on the community’s expectations for a variety of games.

Going off the specific games that Rockgod99 mentioned, my personal feelings are that Final Fantasy XIV will capture the FFXI audience, but likely fail to pull in non-FFXI players or Final Fantasy diehards, while Star Wars: The Old Republic is sure to be a huge splash no matter what, though whether or not it has legs and players stick around beyond however long the storyline content lasts remains to be seen. Guild Wars 2 is probably the only game on my radar that I think has a serious chance to make a real long-lasting dent, and that has to do with a number of factors. They’ve been saying and showing all the right things, and they just recently put all of that to the test at Gamescom. They’re also  offering all of this at the cost of simply paying the box price, ensuring they don’t really have to worry about competing with the other AAA titles that make use of a subscription based model. That lack of any sort of subscription is key, but it still leaves me wondering how they intend to fund live environment development with just box sales when developing a full-fledged MMO. It may have worked for Guild Wars which was smaller in scope, but Guild Wars 2 is in entirely different waters. I'm not sure releasing a new boxed expansion every year will cut it, we'll have to wait and see.

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Calind0r writes:

I agree with most of your assessment. I think FFXIV is just a little too harsh, it won't do any better or worse than FFXI, TERA I think has the most potential, but I don't think it will succeed, I think the developers are just watering down all the gameplay mechanics to model their idea of "westernization", it has Aion written all over it, which is a shame. I think TERA should just go for the Lineage 2 PvP model except get rid of the grind and harsh aspects of L2...

TOR I don't know really what to think, personally I think it's just going to be full of fluff, underneath it will have gameplay something like SWG once you get past all of the dialogue and missions...

GW2 I have the most hope for, the developers sound insightful and like they actually play games, and legitimately look at the concern MMO gamers are having right now...But it's still too early to make any informed decision...I've heard some bad things like they are removing healers, adding more consumables and adding long cooldown skills (like 3+minute cooldowns)...If so that is extremely disappointing.

Thu Aug 19 2010 11:32PM Report
severius writes:

I agree for the most part.  As far as Final Fantasy is concerned I have a feeling that most of 11's subscribers are most likely fans of the Final Fantasy series overall.  Granted this assessment is based in part on my own biases; I have enjoyed the storys of Final Fantasy games, but despised the adventure game feel of the series.  Way too many cutscenes that go way too long, nice graphics that come at the cost of story and gameplay.  Not to mention no choice in the character you play as you, the player, aren't important to the game.  When I tried FF XI way back when I could not, for the life of me, get into the game.  With almost every mmo I have ever played, when I jump in the first time I am lost in game for several hours, when I played FF I played for a couple hours, those were some of the longest couple hours I have ever experienced playing a game, and after I logged out I didn't have any huge desire to log back in.

I agree completely with your statement concerning TOR, it will be a huge hit at the start.  Whether or not it keeps it going 6 months, a year or more down the road will be very interesting to see. 

Guild Wars 2, I might give it a shot.  Not sure at all tho.  There are plenty of other games that I want to play and am saving "me" time for TOR lol.

Fri Aug 20 2010 2:29AM Report
Rockgod99 writes:

^ Yo!!! Thats me right there.

Might as well toss my 2cents in since i got spotlighted.

I honestly believe all three games will fail to meet expectations by this forum gaming community.

At the same time all three will be considered highly successful by everyone else.

Think about that for a second.

Fri Aug 20 2010 8:19AM Report
Athcear writes:

The recent info on the control systems for FF14 have pretty much dashed my hopes about it.  It's really a PS3 game that they're porting to PC.  Makes me wonder how much depth we'll have in controlling these characters.

Fri Aug 20 2010 9:45AM Report
Senadina writes:

I lost interest in FFXIV a while ago, won't rehash the reasons.

TOR will make me happy, but I am mostly a solo player so class based storylines, and full voice acting were enough for me. All else is gravy. And since I have zero interest in playing as a ship, space combat makes no difference to me as long as it is not mandatory for progression.

GW2 came out of nowhere to hit my radar dead center. This game looks awesome. And I hated GW1. Hope they can deliver on all the promises. After seeing the gameplay from Gamescon i am still excited.

The last 2011 ( probably) release I have an eye on is Rift, mainly for the soul system. If they can truly pull off the ability to mix-n-match abilities from several souls without the min/maxers breaking it in a week, they will have me. I really want a game where I can play with a variety of skills and not just have the same 5 to 10 as every other of the same class.

Not mentioning The Secret World, although it is my most anticipated game for the paranormal setting I have wanted for so long ,because doubt we will see it til 2012.

Fri Aug 20 2010 10:02AM Report
SnarlingWolf writes: As I say in every thread where someone says the next new game will be the most awesome evar!!!11! For some reason MMO gamers never have realistic expectations of games to come. I'm not sure what causes it but MMO fans just always think the next game is going to change the genre for ever and have millions of subs. And the truth is that is never going to happen. What will happen is each one will have a million or two in immediate sales and then in 2 months they have at most 250-300k subs. From there it declines down to what ever it's holding amount is. No the next game isn't going to be all that different. No it isn't going to come up with amazing ideas that no MMO has ever done. No it is not going to change the genre. What it will be is 90% the same as previous MMOs with a couple of things done slightly differently, and that is all. Players of other genres get this, they realize the next FPS game is going to be a LOT like the last FPS game, same with an RTS, racing, sports game. But for some reason MMO gamers keep thinking the next MMO is going to change the world, it is ridiculous. Get realistic expectations and you won't be disappointed nearly as much. Fri Aug 20 2010 11:05AM Report
dirtyjoe78 writes:

FFXIV will attract the  XI players if they want pc gamers to get it they need to do some serious work on the controls. 

GW2 just doesnt do anything for me there are a lot of people excited about it but i am doubting they are going to be able to deliver on their claims.

ToR looks interesting and has had mixed reviews.  The Problem with ToR is that its an established IP and starward MMO has been done before and i think that is the hangup with a lot of people.  They were expecting jump to lightspeed space combat and didnt get it among other things that i wont discuss here.

Rift i think is going to be the sleeper hit of the next year, there is just something about it that keeps pulling me in and wanting to know more.  I really like the soul system for classes and i hope that they get it right. 

In the end between player hype, outright lies and misinformation and developer hype, outright lies and misinformation games become something imaginary and unattainable and peoples expectations soar.  Both sides are to blame for outrageous hype i wish they wouldnt anounce games until they were almost done or within 6 months of the release date.

Fri Aug 20 2010 11:07AM Report
Benedikt writes:

well i think (judging by myself :) ) that FFXIV will have real appeal to the people who really like harvesting/crafting, because in FFXIV, unlike most of the other AAA titles, crafting is not some afterthought/unimportant side job slapped on side of adventuring. But it will not "rock the genre" nor "kill wow".

on the other hand, GW2's dynamic questing system, if they really will pull it off right, could. it can be feature which, once tried by players, will overshadow all other quest systems in all other mmorpgs.

Fri Aug 20 2010 8:56PM Report
gordunk writes:


That being said, if you played XI and even slightly enjoyed it you'll really like FFXIV.  It fixes a majority of the problems that XI had while still retaining the unique properties that made XI interesting.  Faster combat, easier job switching, sandbox-game elements, more questing content and less "grind".  All in all a win if you played FFXI, liked it, but felt it had too many obvious flaws.

Sat Aug 21 2010 5:16PM Report
Morv writes:

I don't think so... RvR was an ok feature in DAOC... It has been done over and over again.

Truth be told, I am waiting for an 'actual' next gen MMO'RPG' not just another online game.

I guess we'll see... I am not particularly interested in what they have to offer as history has shown once it starts they'll just tweak it so you can't World PVP anymore /shrug, happens every time.

Tue Sep 14 2010 10:24PM Report writes:
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