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News & Features Discussion  » [Preview] General: The End is Not Remotely Nigh

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Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 16260

OP  10/17/13 8:49:38 PM#1

People have been sounding the death knell for the MMO genre for years but is it a reality, a thing certain to occur somewhere in the misty future? In today's Fair Game, we take a look at the notion. See if you agree with our assessment before heading to the comments.

We hear it every day. We read it here, we read it there, shrieking from one gaming site to another. There is a Thing coming and this Thing is so terrible, so destructive, so very pernicious at its very core that it will sound the death knell for MMOs as we know them.

What is it, you ask? What game-destroying, apocalyptic nightmare is even now hurtling toward an Internet connection near you? Well, that hardly matter, does it? It’s a Thing! A new Thing! And it’s the end, the eeeeeeennnd!

Read more of Lisa Jonte's Fair Game: The End is Not Remotely Nigh.

Associate Editor:
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom


Novice Member

Joined: 12/13/04
Posts: 495

10/18/13 10:11:21 AM#2


I don't think anyone has ever said the mmo genre is ever going away - I think what most people are saying is - the mmo genre is stale, repetitive, lacking in innovation and boring.

Do we really need another bad Asian ftp mmo?

Do we really need another WoW clone?

I think most people would say no.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/26/13
Posts: 39

10/18/13 10:12:12 AM#3

EQN and TESO will probably be big tests in that way. Too casual and people will be off in a month.


I'm okay with casual players, they have the right to play, but I don't want devs to dumb the game down just to appeal them. I know more "noobs" means more money, and it's a tough choice, but I'd rather have a solid and somehow complex one than a dumbed down one.


Make it easy at first, work on the learning curve, but don't simplify mechanics just so people don't have more than 4 buttons. Noobs can learn like every people. Build the tools so they can become better players instead of reducing possibilities.

  User Deleted
10/18/13 11:11:42 AM#4
It's not going to die, it's going to grow, but it's going to evolve too. The evolution is nog welcome by all. In the eyes of the folks saying it's dieing, if it's not what they want, then it might as well be dead. I think mmorpg's will be growing alot with next gen console capabilities, these next gen mmorpg's won't be your grandfathers mmorpg's.

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/10/12
Posts: 1559

10/18/13 11:16:22 AM#5

I just don't see this MMO genre dying . From what I can see this is the heyday of MMOs and possibly the early period. Look how many people are playing and look how many different MMOs are out there to choose from.   Dying?   I see no evidence myself.  

You see older gamers on here lamenting the "olden days" but this happens with everything.  "In my day I had to walk 5 miles to school in the snow AND IN JULY".  You get the idea.   

MMOs today just seem to continually improve and we are getting EQ Next and another generation of games that are trying different things. 


Long live MMOs.   I just wish I had the time to play them all. 


Elite Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4723

I don't Forum PVP. If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.

10/18/13 11:22:28 AM#6

Death of the genre caused by:

  • P2P
  • F2P
  • Hardcores
  • Casuals
  • Gold Sellers
  • Gold Buyers
  • Item Shops
  • Elitist Jerks
  • Gankers
  • Carebears
  • Content Locusts
  • Zergers
  • Speed Runners
  • Old Farts wearing Rose Colored Glasses
  • People who don't like MMORPGs
  • Purists
  • Fanbois
  • Haters
  • Greedy Publishers
  • World of Warcraft
  • WoW clones
The way I see it, to some the MMORPG genre is alive and thriving.  To others it's been dead a long time.
Who's right?  Meh, who am I to say?  I'm not the genre police.  I just play what I like.

Realm Lords 2 - October 1st, 2015 - Retro-Styled Old-School Graphical MUD with Public Dungeons


Elite Member

Joined: 10/06/09
Posts: 2416

10/18/13 11:27:54 AM#7

I think that the real downfall of MMOs will come at our own hands. I find that we often use vague references like "WoW Clone" 


Does this mean faction-based Fantasy MMO with skill trees, action bars, tab targeting? Or are you talking about any MMO that implements an action bar? At one time or another, I think that I've seen just about every MMO accused of being a WoW Clone. Or at least the majority of them. It's kinda like saying that Spec Ops is nothing more than a CoD clone. Well, yeah, it's an FPS. How else would you like us to develop an FPS? 


Furthermore, when someone DOES deviate from the "mold" or "clone" people get all up in arms. They ruined X by doing Y. 


Then there's the whole "Casual Player" reference. Does this refer to my commitment to a particular game? Or am I allowed to play other games? Does it refer to skill level? If I am playing a game for 2 hours a day, then well over 10% of my waking LIFETIME is spent playing that game. I would take offence to someone telling me that I'm casual. Maybe I just suck. Does that mean that we shouldn't cater to people who just suck at something? I play slow pitch during the summer. My bones are getting older and I really don't get excited about having a ball hurling towards my head at 80mph any more. Doesn't mean that I don't want to play, though. 


Point is, I think there needs to be a balance. Sure, there is a fan base who will be "hardcore" and want content that challenges them, but the same way that those players don't want these casual players ruining their gaming experience by catering content to the more casual, the casual players also don't want to feel like there are barriers put in place which specifically prevent them from progressing in the game. 


It's a delicate balance, but there are games that have this balance mostly figured out, or at least show that they are aware of it and want to cater to both camps. 


Azarelos - 90 Hunter - Emerald
Durnzig - 90 Paladin - Emerald
Demonicron - 90 Death Knight - Emerald Dream - US
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Novice Member

Joined: 2/16/13
Posts: 226

10/18/13 11:29:57 AM#8

F2P, cash shops on every corner, easy mode play, arcade style play, and now... now, they are letting the console kiddies play them.

I think the end is nigh, may not be the death throws, but it sure isn't the same RPG style MMO's of old.

To me that is the end, it's a lost cause and the fat cat's love it... More money on throw away games that last a month. MMO's are history! :(

No trials. No tricks. No traps. No EU-RP server. NO THANKS!

...10% Benevolence, 90% Arrogance in my case!


Advanced Member

Joined: 11/10/05
Posts: 5651

10/18/13 11:41:48 AM#9

I made a post a while back saying the genre is dead. At the time, it looked that way. Now we have themeparks getting more intricate crafting systems and housing is starting to become standard again. Virtual world genre is the most popular on consoles these days. Id say lately, things are looking up.

It was touch and go for a minute there though heh


Novice Member

Joined: 2/18/11
Posts: 156

10/18/13 11:58:21 AM#10

I think a similar entertainment analogy can be found in television...

the expansion of premium (e.g. HBO, Showtime) and good cable networks (e.g. FX and AMC) was supposed to signal the end for the core America anyway. Instead, we have a significant increase in content that appeals to a wider audience, but also dilutes the participation (viewership) for most singular programs. 

Now, we have those who still can watch decent quality television for (basically) free on the networks, and then another demographic that chooses to pay for expanded cable service (for those that want/wanted to watch Breaking Bad or Justified), and then another group that is willing to pay even more for the premium content (Game of Thrones, Homeland). 

The MMO game industry is not terribly different in the current form. If you want to pay more, then you will have more options. This is the way the free-market system is supposed to work. Unfortunately, this kind of competition means quality products die (e.g. Glitch and Firefly).

The MMO as a genre will not die anytime soon, but will continue to evolve based on the developers' ability to adapt to the desires of the audience they  seek to entice. 


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/18/08
Posts: 2270

10/18/13 12:08:05 PM#11

I think that the real downfall of MMOs will come at our own hands. I find that we often use vague references like "WoW Clone"

Heavily quest based casual friendly level based MMORPG with group content mostly pushed off into its own little instance. To me that is a WoW clone. It describes 95% of the MMORPG to come out in the past 5 years. It does not describe EQ Next or Star Citizen which are two games I'm looking forward to.

I took heat for this in another thread but GW2 is still a WoW clone. It hides it better than almost all others do but it still is a soft clone of WoW. Rift and LOTRO are examples of hard clones that are basically a reskinned version of the same exact game.


Novice Member

Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 2279

"Playing things I shouldn''t be playing since 1977."

10/18/13 12:17:55 PM#12

This gives me pause:

This is the total aggregate number of subscriptions and active accounts tallied across all MMOs by MMOdata in 4.0.  Notice, it shrunk from its peak in 2010/2011.  It is at about late 2008 levels, and I have no reason to suspect it is growing.  What this tells me is that consumers around the world are leaving MMOs faster than new customers line up to replace them.


If we are to look at the MMO business as a pie, where the publishers are trying to get as big of a slice of the pie as possible, then what these data show is that the pie itself is shrinking.  This isn't a growing industry anymore.  It's a mature industry where the easy growth is over, marked by ever-fiercer competition over an ever-shrinking pool of potential customers.


So why is it shrinking?  Well, the genre itself has to compete with other genres, who do the things MMOs used to do exclusively, but do them better.  I bet you that this decline of MMO subs and active accounts can be directly related to the rise of League of Legends, World of Tanks, and other online games with "MMO-like" gameplay.  We may laugh at Facebook games, but they are taking the players this genre has left behind in games like Farmville.  MOBA has taken MMO combat and achievement, packaged it in a more user friendly form, and dumped all the remaining MMO stuff that slows the action down.  Single player RPGs, with some online components, have the "deep immersion" MMOs used to have, plus a lot of replayability and customization that has been lost in MMOs.


In short, players don't need traditional MMOs to get the gameplay they used to get from MMOs.  They can find them in a more accessable, user-friendly, cheaper and more satisfying way outside the genre.  So where does that leave the MMO?  If your customer base is shrinking, you squeeze the ones you have for more cash to make up for the ones who are leaving.  Which is exactly what we are seeing in terms of freemium and cash shops.  MMO publishers are like stars in the red giant phase: the easy hydrogen (the new customer) is in short supply, so you end up pressing the harder helium, lithium and so on (hardcore MMO junkies).


What we are seeing right now is something we should have predicted, when we started seeing these stripped down MMOs come out after the WoW-era.  At some point, the only way you can make the MMO more accessable is to remove the remaining MMO elements altogether: the common zones, the chat bubbles, visual customization, and so on.  So why buy an MMO, when you can get everything you like cheaply and more conveniently in other games?  That's the 4.5 Million subscriber question (the gap between the peak on the chart and where it is today).

"Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."

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Advanced Member

Joined: 5/18/08
Posts: 2270

10/18/13 12:43:29 PM#13

All data provided by!


To me that chart says we haven't had a good MMORPG released in a few years. There just hasn't been much to get excited about or to stick with for a few years now.


Elite Member

Joined: 10/06/09
Posts: 2416

10/18/13 12:46:50 PM#14
Originally posted by Ender4


I think that the real downfall of MMOs will come at our own hands. I find that we often use vague references like "WoW Clone"


Heavily quest based casual friendly level based MMORPG with group content mostly pushed off into its own little instance. To me that is a WoW clone. It describes 95% of the MMORPG to come out in the past 5 years. It does not describe EQ Next or Star Citizen which are two games I'm looking forward to.

I took heat for this in another thread but GW2 is still a WoW clone. It hides it better than almost all others do but it still is a soft clone of WoW. Rift and LOTRO are examples of hard clones that are basically a reskinned version of the same exact game.


Yeah, and this is my biggest issue. I think that it began much like you indicated in your last sentence. These so-called hard clones are definitely a nuisance, unless you enjoy the lore, I suppose. I just found that Rift was all too familiar and cliche, so I think I quit after 30 or 40 levels. 


However, the issue is with things like GW2. We can class it as a WoW Clone, or we can provide feedback on what we do and don't like. I give kudos to GW2 for their attempts at progressing the Fantasy MMO genre towards what they thought we wanted to see. Same with SWTOR. It's like Space WoW, but I appreciated that they had deeper story telling and a fully-voiced experience. 


As you said, I think we can break down just about every game to a WoW Clone, but we actually do more harm by not providing the constructive criticisms needed to progress MMO game design as a whole. Then, those who actually do have something constructive to say are drowned out by the boos from the peanut crowd.... know what I mean?


Azarelos - 90 Hunter - Emerald
Durnzig - 90 Paladin - Emerald
Demonicron - 90 Death Knight - Emerald Dream - US
Tankinpain - 90 Monk - Azjol-Nerub - US
Brindell - 90 Warrior - Emerald Dream - US


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/18/08
Posts: 2270

10/18/13 12:52:36 PM#15

As you said, I think we can break down just about every game to a WoW Clone, but we actually do more harm by not providing the constructive criticisms needed to progress MMO game design as a whole.

I do provide feedback but it doesn't change the fact that I'm sick of the WoW clones~. Age of Conan was not a strict WoW clone. EQ, UO, AC, AO, DAOC all pre-dated WoW but I don't consider WoW a clone of any of those. The closest would be EQ but WoW and EQ did not feel the same at all. WoW has a very distinct build that is just being copied way too much instead of games going down a different path. It is like every game has to start with the WoW system and tweak 1 or 2 things instead of just making their own game.

Lets see how about we have a quest based world and then some dungeons and PvP in instances. Oh crud they are going to call it a WoW clone. Well instead of ! we'll use a heart and then we'll let you dodge attacks and make you aim your AE. Whew, now we aren't a clone.

It is still the same game I've been playing for 10 years or whenever beta 2 started for WoW. I'm just really tired of it. I don't want them to improve on it, I want them to rebuild it. I appreciate that they are adding pseudo dynamic content like GW2 events and Rifts etc. They are improving on the base that they start with for sure, I just want some games that start with a different base.


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Joined: 6/21/12
Posts: 335

10/18/13 1:04:49 PM#16

It's shrinking because wow made mmos mainstream and most of those players are getting too old to play an mmo anymore, getting a family or busy job. 


Wow is like power rangers or pokemon, has a huge effect but only on that generation.  There is nothing to bring in huge chunks of mainstream teenage players to the mmo market as when wow was popular.


MMO market isn't dead or dying, it's just reverting to normality before WoW blew it into space, it's happening very slowly though.


Novice Member

Joined: 4/10/09
Posts: 809

10/18/13 1:05:27 PM#17
MMOs are dead. All that's left is their shadow. Why give me the choice between war and peace and twilight?  Their both bad books. There is nothing left on the market to chose. 

Novice Member

Joined: 3/17/07
Posts: 6702

"Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.” - Mordin Solus

10/18/13 2:00:17 PM#18
My issue is that developers/publishers try to make a game that makes everyone happy. I'm sorry but it doesn't work that way in mmo world nor the real world for that matter. A perfect example is Elder Scrolls Online. That mmo has no business trying to attract people who do not know what Elders Scrolls is. It should be made strictly for Elder Scrolls fans and players only.  The mmo genre will get better when they stop trying to make a game that pleases everyone.

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/28/04
Posts: 699

10/18/13 2:45:10 PM#19
Originally posted by Ender4

All data provided by!


To me that chart says we haven't had a good MMORPG released in a few years. There just hasn't been much to get excited about or to stick with for a few years now.

Yup, we're in a gap between releases and it's a pretty big gap. Spring is when ESO & Wildstar launch so there should be another peak during that time frame.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/14/03
Posts: 52

10/18/13 4:54:30 PM#20

I don't see the death of MMOs, but I hope that somebody really does take note that a large majority has "been there, done that" on MMOs as they stand. Most will not keep a high base of players past 3 months because it is rinse and repeat.

It takes a long time to build an MMO, but by the time they've got the foundations in place they're ready to launch. There's no expansion on the basic model - often there's a small tweak. There is so much more than can be done. We've seen in games like minecraft that players will play for no reason just to build something. The MMO world is perfect for that and so houses should appear in the world (like UO) but with great customisation.

Then there is the economy/crafting side of the games, which are always poor. Why isn't there a big focus on sorting this out? Stop dropping items everywhere and make buying them (or crafting them) off other players the priority. Get players to set up contracts for newer players to supply them with materials so that they can sell crafted items to others. Get rid (or have a large charge) on auction houses and replace them with player/guild run shops.

Keep some open world areas for PvP, but allow guilds to declare war on each other and set no loot, some loot, full loot on the battles.

Combat should be more like the Loremaster in LOTRO, where you are constantly switching between attack, defence, crowd control, heal, etc. No more 1,2,3s!

Have skill come into it more by things like... having a crosshair which grows larger or smaller depending on the level of your opponent. You can fight someone 10 levels higher, but you have to be damned accurate, or fight someone 10 levels lower and get a big advantage with a larger crosshair... be prepared to be beaten by a weaker player!

Turn large scale battles into multiple smaller battles - where the zerg does not have an impact and skill and teamwork can win the war.

Every area can be looked at and expanded on. Improved so much, but nobody seems to bother. They all seem to get the basics there, get a story about elves, dwarves and humans, put your tank/healer/dps/support in. Game done!

We can only hope that Titan raises the bar so much, because the MMO gaming world has stagnated.

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