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News & Features Discussion  » General: Retaining Your Subscribers

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35 posts found

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/11/12
Posts: 19

1/25/12 6:17:36 PM#21

Originally posted by zigmund


If you want me to stay subscribed to a game.

I need to be engaged.

I need to have fun.

I need to be challenged.

I want to be social and make new friends.

I want to have impact, be the hero - reshape events and the world I find myself in.

I want to play the character I want to play, no restrictions. Let me build and customize my character the way I want.

I think Eve is almost one of the most perfect mmo's ever created. If you put Eve in a fantasy setting I would play it and subscribe to it in a second.


This is exactly what I want too, I want a game where I can be a hero, where I can do something someone else can't, or have the opportunity to at least, not just more of the same, hey, let's all go kill this pathetically easy boss and then kill him 5-50 more times to try to get gear off him!!  Eve is a good example of this, I enjoy it off and on, it's certainly earned more attention and money than any other mmo yet.









Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

1/25/12 6:39:58 PM#22

An MMO is like a local pub.  I may poke my nose into the new place, but all else being equal, I'm going to default back to the familiar to hang out, even if it is a little stale.



Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/25/12
Posts: 1157

I'm only playing the role chosen for me. Who you supposed to be?

1/25/12 7:36:28 PM#23

First I would like say this was a great thread, especially to someone like me who is new to MMOs.  I come from the console side going back to the Atari 2600 and was introduced to MMOs (and PC Gaming in general) with SWTOR, as I am an avid Star Wars.  As a person who loves RPGs this game was made for me.  But after 20 days I saw the 'game' underneath the polish and all of a sudden I felt limited.  I couldnt be a true dark jedi.  I couldnt just explore space and that sapped the fun from me. What if I dont WANT to follow the main story path?

Now interested in MMOs I purused all through this site to find TONS of choices, but like everyone has said before me, it was more of the same.  The leveling was the same. The grind was the same, maybe the story and the lore were different.

I finally settled on Everquest 2 which I personally find phenomenal.  This is the game for me.  Open world where I can control what I want to do (turn of XP, powerlevel, etc).   I WANT to play one game for a year+, really learning the mechanics, but its conditional on that ONE game having enough content to support a year of playing.  I see most games today as get to level as soon as possible and just raid over and over. Not my type of game.  Surprisingly I never tried WoW nor do I have an interest to.  From what I have researched its not 'deep' enough for me to enjoy.  I am also anticipating Guild Wars 2 which Im hopin is an update on the model.  

I definitely see 2 different type of MMO gamers, which I naively place into two generic categories.  Those who like to powerlevel, reach end-game, and raid and those (like me) who like to role play and like the freedom to create their own journey. 

Each category has different almost opposing goals for a game which I can see being confusing for a developer.  I believe the market will have to go more niche and cater to their particular audiences which would assist in maintaing subs going forward.

There are tons of MMOs out there and I am starting to see the niche markets get some love, but overall you can boil the experience down to the same template.  MMOs as a concept has so much it can offer, but in reality its going to take a visionary who is willing to invest serious capital to make it happen.  Waiting to see who is willing to take a risk.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/25/12
Posts: 4

"You want the truth?" "You can't handle the truth!"

1/25/12 8:53:09 PM#24
Originally posted by zigmund

"Despite what some might say about today's MMO gaming sphere, I believe that we as gamers are pretty well-off these days. We are not starved for choices in MMORPGs, and there are many that cater to various genres and gameplay styles. "

Sorry I don't agree.

The last couple of years of mmo releases have been horrid for gamers.

Yes we have choice, but we have 100 different choices of a different variety of "the same thing".

I haven't subscribed or played any mmo in the past 5 years for longer than a month.


Because I have been playing mmo's for 10 years. I have money to spend - but why level up another character in another mmo that is basically the same as the one I played last month or last year?

I don't even care about getting to max level anymore to see if endgame is any different - because the leveling process for pretty well every mmo is the same.

So why would I think endgame would really be that much different?

If you want me to stay subscribed to a game.

I need to be engaged.

I need to have fun.

I need to be challenged.

I want to be social and make new friends.

I want to have impact, be the hero - reshape events and the world I find myself in.

I want to play the character I want to play, no restrictions. Let me build and customize my character the way I want.

I think Eve is almost one of the most perfect mmo's ever created. If you put Eve in a fantasy setting I would play it and subscribe to it in a second.






I completely agree with you, except I have never liked EVE. I am not a Sci-FI fan, but I can see its appeal to others. If they released a game like EVE in a fantasy setting I would also jump all over it.

Pwn is a leetspeak slang term derived from the verb own, as meaning to appropriate or to conquer to gain ownership. The term implies domination or humiliation of a rival, used primarily in the Internet-based video game culture to taunt an opponent who has just been soundly defeated (e.g., "You just got pwned!")


Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/29/10
Posts: 2870

1/25/12 9:46:47 PM#25

If you don't want to lose a lot of people after the first month:  Don't under deliver.  Make gameplay and combat fluid.  Communicate where the game is headed and give rough timelines.


SWTOR seems to have failed in all counts.  Releasing an MMO with combat lag, broken loot rewards in endgame instances and broken PVP is a money loser.  I don't care how many extra months of development would be required, you need to get that stuff right on release.  Otherwise it makes you look like you are selling a beta version AND charging a subscription.


Novice Member

Joined: 7/03/04
Posts: 3618

1/25/12 10:17:49 PM#26

Well if you make an mmo where the central focus is to level, I hit max in a month or two and quit.


If you make an mmo that immerses me in the world and has rp and a feeling of community...a world that lets me wear clothes I want or build a house to live in...a game that allows me to suspend disbelief for a short time and live a virtual life...then I feel as though I am putting down roots and will stay longer.


So I guess it's up to developers to decide.  $60 (cost of box) or $1000 (cost of box plus multiple  subscriptions over 1 to 2 years).  Which would you rather have?  I've done both of these options, but would rather do the later.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/17/03
Posts: 345

1/26/12 1:22:41 AM#27

I agree with this article.

One thing though that kept me from returning to games after new content was added, was that my characters were stolen. After you've spent a long time in leveling up a character, you don't want to return to be a newbie. This has happened in almost every major MMO. This is one area I think games are looking at, time will tell.


Novice Member

Joined: 7/07/05
Posts: 3167

1/26/12 2:55:00 AM#28
Originally posted by victorbjr

Hi folks, Victor here. Just found out my article went up, and saw the comments.

I see the point of those who are starved for an MMO that fits their needs. While there are many more MMORPGs available to play, not a lot of them have something different (dare I say world-like) in their approaches.

At the same time, what some of you are calling an illusion of choice can still be a valid set of choices for many newcomers to the gaming scene. Again, it's a matter of perspective. :)

I will admit though, I'm really looking forward to a game that provides structured themepark content and combines with with sandbox elements like extensive crafting and a vast world to explore. Perhaps Archeage can provide that diversion for us.


Frustrating always looking to future games as possibly being different, but yeah, there are a few that might be.  Even themeparks that seem to break away from WoW conventions, but we won't really know for sure until we can sink our teeth into them.  So those games aside...


I think the 'illusion of choice' issue is compounded by how old a lot of these choices are.  The genre may seem saturated, but that's only if you're fine with playing five year old games, most of which haven't been updated much to stay current, because they haven't retained subs well enough for that to be worthwhile.  It's a vicious cycle for them, and for consumers, it means all those flavors aren't just mostly vanilla, but different degrees of clunky, old, and deserted.  Really, not much of a choice, in that respect, either.


Maybe if they'd done more to differentiate themselves from the crowd, they'd have done better at retaining subs, and in turn, been profitable enough to keep updating and expanding.  Assuming they'd been managed well enough to see how important that can be.

When I want a single-player story, I'll play a single-player game. When I play an MMO, I want a massively multiplayer world.


Novice Member

Joined: 2/19/07
Posts: 642

1/26/12 8:39:14 AM#29

for a sandbox-fan like me, all these theme-parks are just single-player RPGs. perhaps i like the story, so i follow these rails and enjoy the sightseeing. if i reach the end of the rails, there is nothing what could attract me: no open huge territorial pvp liken in EVE, no plaeyer driven economy which alone makes any crafting senseful for me and no extensive building and architecture like minecraft (no MMO has that yet). heck, there is no virtual world at all from my standpoint. perhaps i will like dynamic scaling events in open world zones and open dungeons for PVE-endgame in GW2. we will see. 

so i go and play perhaps a 2nd char, if the story is different enough. for SWTOR this means 2 charcters max: 1 republican, 1 imperial. more is not of interest due to repeating content. and then i quit until an expansion could perhaps attract me again. 

i played EQ for 6 years and EVE for 3 years. so i guess i am a loyal customer and i would appreciate to stay in a game. but no theme-park (but oldschool EQ) was able to keep my interest longer than a few months. so i keep on hopping, most propably until an AAA-sandbox will launch.


played: Everquest I (6 years), EVE (3 years)
months: EQII, Vanguard, Siedler Online, SWTOR, Guild Wars 2
weeks: WoW, Shaiya, Darkfall, Florensia, Entropia, Aion, Lotro, Fallen Earth, Uncharted Waters
days: DDO, RoM, FFXIV, STO, Atlantica, PotBS, Maestia, WAR, AoC, Gods&Heroes, Cultures, RIFT, Forsaken World, Allodds


Novice Member

Joined: 12/26/07
Posts: 826

*Everyone dies, not everyone really fights*

1/26/12 4:52:33 PM#30

I have to agree with many other posters here. Like many of them I started with UO, it was my first real MMO experience, and I played it (and paid a sub) for 5 years, allong with most of my guild mates too.

While UO is still around, and actually many of the people I used to interact with are still playing it today some 10+ years later, Its current version does not appeal to me either.

That being said, since UO the only game that was able to retain me for more than 6 months was SWG, and mainly because it was so similar to UO, I actually considered it UO2 in many respects.

So for me, retention is not some magical thing that Companies have to do to retain me, it is rather about them making a game that appeals to me as an MMO player.

of course that is easier said than done, when one seeks to understand every single like of every player, the end result could be all different.

Still, is it coincidence that the only games which have retained me were not Themeparks with the fact that most of the MMO's made in the past decade or so are Themeparks?

This is how I see it, the game that appeals to me and would retain me just has not been made yet... and I would immagine, this applies to many other people, and all of us contribute to the Retention problems that companies have, yet the root cause is the type of design the companies choose, this is where it all starts.

Seeking some magic way to make me love and stay and play a Themepark based on progression and gear aquisition, confined in to classes and having only one choice every time I play it to quest and progress more or go from ride to ride in that linear path...simply does not exist..because that is not who I am, and that is not what appeals to me.

If the companies say "we do not want your money", then by all means, continue making Themeparks..and wonder how you can have Subscribers that will stay and play your games.

Nice article, interesting subject, but the answer is closer than some think.

- Duke Suraknar -
Order of the Silver Star, OSS

ESKA, Playing MMORPG's since Ultima Online 1997 - Order of the Silver Serpent, Atlantic Shard


Hard Core Member

Joined: 6/13/07
Posts: 1302

1/26/12 5:10:30 PM#31

'Open world' stalwarts  overestimate their number, and underestimate the difficulties of designing and running a graphically up to date MMO of that type.


Proving something in this field  a business success is the only way anyone will see more of this style of game. 

If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/26/07
Posts: 826

*Everyone dies, not everyone really fights*

1/26/12 5:52:12 PM#32
Originally posted by Arglebargle

'Open world' stalwarts  overestimate their number, and underestimate the difficulties of designing and running a graphically up to date MMO of that type.


Proving something in this field  a business success is the only way anyone will see more of this style of game. 

Well then everyone will keep having retention issues then.

Seems to bme that companies today want their cake and want to be able to eat it too. Success is never Guaranteed, and business cannot always be "safe". At one point some risk is needed in order to have success.

But when no one is willing to take the risk by fear of losing, then no one will ever know and games will continue to be made based on the same model that gave success to someone else.

In business, you either lead you either follow, at this point Blizzzard leads and everyone else is but followers.

- Duke Suraknar -
Order of the Silver Star, OSS

ESKA, Playing MMORPG's since Ultima Online 1997 - Order of the Silver Serpent, Atlantic Shard


Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/26/12
Posts: 10

1/26/12 8:40:45 PM#33

As much as I like EvE, lets be honest.  What are their subscriber numbers? maybe 300k? Many of those are alts since if you've ever played the game, having a scout or industiral alt can be invaluable. That's the problem. It's not like EvE is a secret. It's actually pretty well advertised. But if you look at their subscriber numbers, they're not impressive. It takes massive amounts of money to develop a AAA MMO with modern graphics. What group of investors in their right mind would ever sign off on a project that, in all honesty, would be a massive losing investment? If the "standard bearer" of the alternate route is EvE, you can see why development on similar games is either pitiful or nonexistent. I realize the sci-fi setting is a turn off but even the most optimistic number crunchers will still be turned off.


With that said, I'm a big fan of any idea that brings sandbox and themepark ideas together. My biggest issue with WoW starting at Wrath was the game was just turning into a dungeon/BG lobby. Kind of like CoD print money. There is no real need for exploration. Just queue, queue pops, run dungeon/BG/arena, rinse and repeat. The issue I always have with EvE is the PvE content is mega poop at best. The players drive the content I know but sometimes that content gets thin and sitting at a gate waiting for some poor schmoe to jump through, go on 30 jump roams and maybe see some poor schmoe to jump or go shoot at a PoS and by that I mean start firing at the PoS (player owned structure though after a while you do start saying piece of shit) and then turn to the TV and watch a movie always left something to be desired. If there was just some way to combine the whole exploration, changing of your surroundings and player driven territorial conquest with interesting PvE content including dungeon running and hell even battlegrounds, I would be happy


Novice Member

Joined: 3/07/04
Posts: 169

1/26/12 8:57:33 PM#34

For me, I thought Rift 1.0 nailed it and then fell into the mind numbing, button clicking content in 1.1.  I won't play a game that thinks it's ok to nerf content every patch in order to open it up to more players.

1.  I don't want to have to be the poop in a sock, bleeding edge player to to see content when it's still challenging.

2.  Teaching people that if they fail, just wait 3 months and can then faceroll the same content for the same rewards is abad design.  It softens the players base instead of teaching them to become betters players.

If you don't worry about it, it's not a problem.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/25/09
Posts: 9

1/29/12 6:13:26 AM#35

Originally posted by HurricanePip2.  Teaching people that if they fail, just wait 3 months and can then faceroll the same content for the same rewards is abad design.  It softens the players base instead of teaching them to become betters players.


"Soften"? This is typical hardcore wrong thinking.  Hm, I wonder why Rift and WoW keep nerfing content.  Hm, those fools must not know what they are doing.  It kills your player base to repeatedly not win because they quit.  They want to have fun, not to work day and night to be hardened into raid machines.

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