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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » To Play an MMO - A Reflection of Past and Prediction of Future

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  Tryken

Ultima Online Correspondent

Joined: 7/08/04
Posts: 63

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers. - T.S. Eliot

 
OP  2/01/09 9:25:33 PM#1

To Play an MMO

A Reflection of Past and Prediction of Future by Ryan Tullis


In between finishing the revisions to my first novel, I've spent a lot of time playing Ultima Online. I've been on and off with the game for about five years; and, like many others, it was my first MMORPG. I hopped on today to get UO Automap (a free program that was fan made and STILL shipped with the disc) to rediscover the final parting words of its creator. He had moved on.

In short. I'm feeling old.

Aren't we all getting there, though?

MMORPGs are a fairly new breed of game. Even UO, the oldest existing one, is ten years old. How does it show its age? It has a tiny little staff working on it for the subscribers still playing--75,000 last I heard. The game is massively large, of course, but still... I feel something when I run through the towns.

I feel fear.

Fear that the game is going to shut down. A growing concern for any MMO player in any game. This is not Super Mario Bros. 3. If Ultima Online shuts down, as Tabula Rasa is about to, I cannot pop the disc back in years later for "good time's sake." It will just vanish with nothing but memories to back it and, if you're lucky, a few illegal servers.

Other games have grown old and died, wether it was from old age, or from the sudden illness we call bankruptcy. It is possible for every game. And, the thing is, MMORPGs are, perhaps, one of the most emotional, intellectual, and time consuming genres playable.

The only forum conversations for games older than five years are, "Is this game about to die?"

Would it die if people stopped asking those questions and played it? I'm not speaking for UO, but for everything. We jump to new graphics and new gameplay. The big news is not what is for the games we already have, but for the games we can spend more money on. In this recession, a new MMO, to me, is financial suicide. There's a limit to our time. There's a limit to our money.

And most important, there's a limit to US.

For every four hundred players going to World of Warcraft that it isn't their first MMO, four hundred players leave other MMOs and hurt them. Eventually, they all leave for this new fangled game or that one, until finally the old beast's bloodstream finally dries up and it dies.

Why does this matter? Because for years we've argued that games are an artform. The Mona Lisa did not shut itself down so people later went, "Hey, guys, remember the Mona Lisa?" But, see, MMOs are different. They're a social commentary, a microcosm of world community. And, as such, always evolving, always changing. Is this why so many people leave games because of "this update" or "that one," or are these merely excuses to move on?

What if we all still played Ultima Online, Everquest, and Dark Age of Camelot to this day? What if we gave them our time, attention, and precious money instead of these uncaring Korean MMOs. Here, I'm pointing my finger at Gravity, NCSoft, and the others that rape us with a new gimmick called graphics. I can't even name all the others ones out there begging for attention on their money shops.

And, in the end, I can't blame THEM. I can't blame these companies for cashing in on us like sheep. Why? Because it's OUR decision to do this. Developers and publishing companies follow the patterns they see in US. Because WE jump from game to game, they realize the lifespan of their title is a short breath.

I love and believe in game companies that believe and love in their customers. EVE Online, Ultima Online, the original Everquest. They're still there, pushing themselves, despite their small remainders. What did NCSoft do to Tabula Rasa? Crushed it. The news of an MMO shutting down used to be something rare and taboo, now it's "Really? Huh." Unacceptable. It's unacceptable to those that joined it.

What I'm saying here is why give money to companies that are going to use that money to continue, but rather, create new games? Because people do want updated versions of games? Ultima Online did it by making Kingdom Reborn. EVE Online did it by constantly updating their graphics. Not to mention Everquest and Dark Age of Camelot.

I can tell you what's going to happen. Games are going to start shutting down for new ones because companies will profit off of this "game hopping" we have fallen for. The original Marios and Zeldas, despite their age, are still loved and played to this day. So why do we not give the same respect to the amazing games that have given us their love and attention? The small developers that aren't making much money anymore.

I'm not ranting over the popular MMO. That's fine. UO, EQ--these were popular, at one time. But, in ten years, they're considered barely standing relics. The reason their standing is because of dedication and love from players and developers alike.

In the end, companies are going to learn long-term commitment to a project doesn't make money--and we're going to become even more conditioned that MMOs aren't meant to be a long-term affair.

If the MMO you play and love is new and shiny. Will you love it when it's not so much that way anymore?

There's many MMOs that have shown their dedication and trust to the customers over the years. I recommend checking one of them out and giving them a try. There's a reason many are still there, despite the growing odds against them:

Ultima Online, Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot, Anarchy Online--I'm sure many more on these forums can trump my list indefinitely. But PLAY one. TRY one. Keep with it. There's a reward waiting there, a gem that's kept players and developers alike smiling for years.

We are the customers. We are the lifeblood of businesses. They cannot survive without us. We, not they, dictate the fate of these games as a combined entity.

May your MMO, too, last you many good years,

Ryan Tullis, writer and proud player of good games.

  User Deleted
2/02/09 12:42:04 AM#2

 Excellent post, and excellent points.  I would like to, if I may, enter in on this discussion.

It is my feeling that you are partly correct in your analysis of game hopping.  It seems to me that the Asian market has adopted this model.  There are MANY Asian MMOs in production, and I don't forsee that rate slowing.  I do not think that model works in the west though (I say west, but I mean to focus on the United States because I am not too knowledgable on the European market).  The west, to this point, has focused on long development cycles.  Traditionally, games that are released early are torn apart by many.  Although this is a continual problem, World of Warcraft has changed the philosophy in the west.  Most developers when discussing Blizzard's success point to the fact that Blizzard brought quality to the MMO genre (which directly relates to their success).  It is noted, however, that most companies do not have the resources to focus on quality as Blizzard has.  There is a subset of developers that want to try the Asian model in the west, but I envision the Blizzard model coming out on top.

I hate to bring WoW into this, but its impact on MMOs can be hardly ignored.  Like Everyquest and Ultima Online, WoW is now the king of the hill in the MMO world.  As you have said, you think the future of the MMO genre is games shutting down (and at an increasing rate).  I would like to see your opinions on WoW.  Do you think it will slow down at all in the near future?  Is it just an anomaly in the MMO world?

Now, I'd like to inject some of my own commentary:

I think the playerbase for MMOs has changed substantially.  No, I'm not talking in common-terms and stating that the generation has changed and is therefore different.  This current generation is here to stay and will not be replaced (contrary to the popular "It's a new generation" paradigm).  In fact, I will abolish calling this difference a generational gap altogether.  The big difference between modern MMO philsophy and that of the older games is immersion.  Older MMOs felt like an attempt to create a magical world for players to play in.  Newer MMOs feel more like disposable media meant to consume precious hours of the day.  Now, this next statement is completely subjective, but it must be said nonetheless: if you have ever felt immersed by a modern MMO (WoW in particular), you are doing it wrong.  They aren't about fun through immersion; rather, a readily-available and shallow fun for its own sake.  This new, actual generation of MMO players didn't have a chance to experience the early MMOs, and are therefore rendered unfamiliar with the completely different philosophy.  This is, in my opinion, the great rift in MMOs.  Not all, but many older gamers (especially on this site) prefer any of the older MMOs to the new ones.  I argue that it isn't because those were the first they played; instead, the fundamental philosophy of the MMO has changed.  What was once so magical about the MMO is no more.  Instead, the MMO genre has become far more like every other genre, and even a bit like other media forms (Hollywood for example).

This being stated, it is hard to predict where MMOs are going.  It is agreed upon by everyone (at least I hope so) that the genre is growing and there will be many MMOs in the future.  It is unclear whether or not the Asian methodology will take hold in the west.  On one hand, Blizzard alone is making a billion dollars.  On the other hand, almost all other companies don't have the resources to focus as much on quality and content as Blizzard has.  What I will say is that companies are losing some focus on the game itself and focusing more on how they can do what Blizzard has done.  No game since WoW has had anywhere near its success, and I doubt after 2010 there will have been a title that has.

As far as my own taste goes (which is important if you want to understand my view point), I enjoyed SWG the most of any MMO I've played.  The game was probably the worst technically-made MMO of all time, but it had a magic about it (even if it didn't feel like Star Wars at all).  It was the community - a living, breathing microcosm.  It was real.  Unfortunately, I was too young to get into MMOs when they were new (UO, EQ, AC, etc.), but I did start with DAoC (which was also very enjoyable).  Although I've played EQ and UO on multiple occasions, I've had the great misfortune of never actually getting into them, as I'm sure I would have loved them.  Unfortunately, I must confess that I probably played WoW the longest of any MMO.  I will say that I did it because that is where everyone was.  Who wouldn't want to play the MMO that everyone else plays?  Actually, that question is pretty profound and has many implications on the very essence of the MMO genre itself.

 

In the end, the genre will grow.  I just hope developers have the courage to focus on the experience of playing the MMO, not the marketing and business aspects of development.

  User Deleted
2/02/09 2:17:24 AM#3

What makes you spend so much time writing stuff for a forum?

  goneglockin

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/11/05
Posts: 722

-Part of the glorious PC gaming master race since 92

2/02/09 2:29:34 AM#4

I really love the oldies but I find it hard to get back into them seeing the communities as former shells of themselves.  Part of the reason I started playing MMOs to begin with is because they were sposed to be "Massive."  I get more player interaction these days hopping into a game of BF2142, and get it faster.

I also do leave games because of ruleset changes, nerfs, buffs- whatever- because they sometimes dramatically affect the gameplay.  I left UO shortly after Trammel and never really got into any of the other oldies.  Then I got into PlanetSide in 2003 and they totally turned the way that game played on it's ass and lost most of their players inside of the first year.  Tried the Face of Mankind beta in the first 3 months it started,  (Remember that one!?  Ha!) but I've skipped everything else since PlanetSide, including WoW.  I also passed on EverQuest

You mention games as an artform but no one goes around updating art every few months until it's something else entirely that you can no longer appreciate.  Updates can be deal breakers. 

It does suck that MMOs these days are largely disposable, single-serving.  They were never meant to be that way, so I dont play them.

I'll come out of my online FPS stupor to play Darkfall.  Nothing else on the development list tickles me.

Hope you got your things together. Hope you are quite prepared to die. Looks like we're in for nasty weather. ... There's a bad moon on the rise.

  Kordesh

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/12/06
Posts: 1731

2/02/09 2:44:27 AM#5

 Excelent post, but I must disagree with your statements regarding UO and EQ. EA and especially SoE hardly "love their customers." EA destroyed the UO many knew and loved, and EQ is only around because there are still people around to milk expansions out of. I can cut some slack to UO, but SoE has never cared about anyone but themselves for as long as they've been in the biz, and quite frankly, show out and out disdain for their customer base in general. 

 

edit: Also, excelent post as well demalus. I agree completely regarding immersion and older mmos, and newer mmos being disposable mass media entertainment. 

Bans a perma, but so are sigs in necro posts.

EAT ME MMORPG.com!

  rounner

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/07/06
Posts: 535

2/02/09 3:07:04 AM#6

"Older MMOs felt like an attempt to create a magical world for players to play in. Newer MMOs feel more like disposable media meant to consume precious hours of the day."

Nice line, but as has been said many times before, that may just be because it was your first experience. Kids today have just as much imagination and desire to immerse as we did. Dismissive assumptions about their lack of attention are a bit rose coloured. As for the Mona Lisa analogy, even high art is fashion driven, and subject to boredom.

Instead I  would contend the following concern: The turnover for MMORPG's is so much slower than paintings, music or even movies, that it cant evolve as smoothly. This means financial backers are more insecure as they cant model success and we will be more prone to stagnation as I believe we are currently seeing. To paraphrase: I have faith in other players and what they want in MMO's, it is executive direction that concerns me.

  Torik

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/02/09
Posts: 2326

2/02/09 8:38:34 AM#7
Originally posted by rounner

 As for the Mona Lisa analogy, even high art is fashion driven, and subject to boredom.

Are you really going to go see the Mona Lisa every day for months/years?  Are you going to see the same movie every day even though it is 'the best movie ever made'?.

 

MMORPGS are 'functional art'.  They are meant to be used.  If they are not used they die.  The problem with functional art is that it has to be useable.  It has to be interactive or it loses its meaning.  In the case of MMORPGs they have to evolve.  However, if they evolve too much the older players will not like it and leave  (eg Trammel, NGE-SWG).  It is usually easier just to leave the game as a 'legacy' and move the new 'evolved' ideas to a new game.

  Tatum

Novice Member

Joined: 7/27/07
Posts: 1154

2/02/09 9:48:58 AM#8
Originally posted by demalus

 Newer MMOs feel more like disposable media meant to consume precious hours of the day.  Now, this next statement is completely subjective, but it must be said nonetheless: if you have ever felt immersed by a modern MMO (WoW in particular), you are doing it wrong.  They aren't about fun through immersion; rather, a readily-available and shallow fun for its own sake.  This new, actual generation of MMO players didn't have a chance to experience the early MMOs, and are therefore rendered unfamiliar with the completely different philosophy.  This is, in my opinion, the great rift in MMOs.  Not all, but many older gamers (especially on this site) prefer any of the older MMOs to the new ones.  I argue that it isn't because those were the first they played; instead, the fundamental philosophy of the MMO has changed.  What was once so magical about the MMO is no more.  Instead, the MMO genre has become far more like every other genre, and even a bit like other media forms (Hollywood for example).


 

This, IMO, is why the newer MMOs have such a high turn over rate.  The "pace" and "feel" of the games has completely changed.  No, I'm not going to say that the older generation of MMOs was perfect, because they were far from it.  However, they did have a very different feel to them.

The newer generation of MMOs is MUCH more focused on "content".  They really do play like a single player or co-op game now and thats how players are treating them.  Buy the game, play through the content, put it on the shelf, and buy another one.  Whats there to stick around for?  The next big free content update?  Pfft.  You'll burn through that in less than a week.  Developers will NEVER churn out those shitty fed-ex quests fast enough to keep up with the players.  The next expansion?  Pfft.  We can probably count on one hand the number of good MMO expansions that have ever been released.  At best, they might give a few needed updates, at worst they'll completely change/ruin the game.

  User Deleted
2/02/09 9:51:47 AM#9

The more options out there, the better. If I were a robot I wouldnt care. Although I loved Elder Scrolls, I cant play it anymore. The same with MMOs. I don't keep my toys for too long,  get new ones or I will fall into boredom. Besides, I have many things to do in my life than playing video games, there are other kind of toys to play with.  Just for the record, played WoW for 2.5 years, but just wasnt fun to me anymore. So I moved on. Now waiting to see if Darkfall is released to give it a try. I like the beast races and will roll that wolf-like one. I will be with a guild, we will play, have fun until...it is not fun anymore.

  Tryken

Ultima Online Correspondent

Joined: 7/08/04
Posts: 63

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers. - T.S. Eliot

 
OP  2/02/09 3:35:13 PM#10

Excellent points, Dem. I played SWG, as well, before the NGE, and had a great time.

I definitely agree that the Western philosophy behind MMOs is much healthier and different than the Korean one.

Great commentary on World of Warcraft, as well. I feel the exact same way. Not immersed, but, rather--just enjoyed.

 

- Ryan

  Tryken

Ultima Online Correspondent

Joined: 7/08/04
Posts: 63

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers. - T.S. Eliot

 
OP  2/02/09 3:41:58 PM#11

Also, I just wanted to state that:

a.) I write over what I care about. Wouldn't you know, great MMOs that I enjoy happens to be one of those things.

 

Also, as far as functional art goes. I would agree. Everyone gets bored and moves on at times. I'm a big Street Fighter fan, but I still take breaks of not playing for months at a time before going back into it full force. I think all things like that needs breaks, but I don't see the newer generation going for UO, EQ (despite SOE's horrible, and I mean, horrible management). Much easier to hop into a "free" Korean MMO that you can throw away in a week.

Honestly, I feel immersed in Western MMOs far beyond the scope of any Korean one, thinking back. SWG was amazingly immersive to me. I mean, at this point, the selling point hasn't been "great gameplay, freedom" things like that. The selling point to an MMO has become free*.

 

* This marks the gold dealers, in-store buyable items and millions of other benefits given to those willing to pay for small advantages.

Isn't it just better to pay one, flat monthly fee and have the same advantage as everyone?

Anyway, hopefully, some of the newer MMO players will try out the ones we've known and loved.

 

- Ryan

  mark2472

Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/02
Posts: 5

2/02/09 4:11:06 PM#12

I think that a lot of the "immersion" is gone because every little detail of the game is all over the web.  Need to know where to find that crafting material you're looking for? *alt-tab, google, viola*

 

No reason to explore, someone else has done it for you.  No need to experiment with different equipment and spells, someone else has done it for you.  Even if the game just came out, there's usually a guide that comes out within a week or two of release...  I tend to not use the internet for a game because it ruins the game for me, but since *most* everyone else does this, it gives me a significant disadvantage and therefore ruins my gaming anyway.

 

Then there's also the fact that you can buy anything in the game with real money...  Wanna be rich? Spend $50 bucks and get a couple thousand gold.  Wanna be max level?  Spend $100 and then you're level 80 (or whatever is max).

 

Nearly all sense of self accomplishment and exploration is gone...

  User Deleted
2/03/09 2:41:17 AM#13

 For a while, I thought it might be the fact that the MMOs I played first were different.  I do not, however, think that is the case.  I honestly believe the premise of MMOs suddenly changed - as if the genre itself ceased to be itself.

I think it's very sad that a meaningful experience (long-term fun) has been sacrificed for shallow bits of random fun (short-term).

 

Besides what I have said before, let me put it in a new light:  MMOs are becoming increasingly developer-centric.  Players must wait months (even years) for new content - which will be completed in a day or two anyways.  Only Blizzard has been able to keep a pace that is at least functional to the playerbase.  Most companies don't have that kind of resources, and therefore the MMO they make is lacking.  For example, WARHAMMER online took a fundamentally good premise (RvR), but implemented it with an opposite premise (linear progression).  It just doesn't work.  I've been having fun playing WAR with a good friend of mine, but the game just has no future.  From now until the summer, they will only be adding one "real" dungeon, and putting in two new classes (which aren't new - they were cut).  I don't want to play another class at the moment, and I'm not looking forward to completing their content quickly.  So for the next 6-10 months, there is really nothing being added for a player like me.  

Instead of wasting time on this futile cycle, developers should come up with some better design ideas.  Ideas about how players can have fun TOGETHER and fill in the context of their own adventures.   MMOs have so much to offer - they need NOT be single player games with chatboxes.  There's just so much unrealized potential.

 

Anyways, once again...I must say: this is a great thread.  I hope a fan or two of the modern MMO come in to give their opinions.

  Loke666

Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 16710

2/03/09 3:10:07 AM#14

I think MMO are going thru faces and evolving, sometimes to the better and sometimes to the worse, but about every 5th years have we see things turn around.

Right now we been around Wow for a long time, a very polished game but with not so much RPG feeling and easier than earlier games. Soon something else will come but if it will be korean F2P grinders, a return of the old ways, a easier more "railroaded" game then Wow or something completly different is not something that is certain yet.

But to keep playing the same game for many years is not something everyone can do, you come to a time when everything just gets boring and it is time to move on, or the devs wreck the game. Some people seems to be able to play the same game for many years but I always get bored after a year or 2, I just feel that the game has nothing more to offer me.

Myself I started with Meridian 59, then got into the Linage beta a few years later.... After that I didn't start with MMOs again until after Guildwars came out.

  Scot

Elite Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5249

2/03/09 3:48:46 AM#15

I agree with the OP, I have made many similar posts and been preceded myself by many others in a similar vein. This is a problem talked about by many with no solution in sight.

You cannot underestimate the effect allowing console gamers into the MMO market has had. By driving down the average age of MMO players, the MMO community has bought into their buy today throw away tomorrow attitude.

MMO’s have taken on elements of the game design of shooters and other inappropriate genres to become more appealing to the teen market. This has been instrumental in being the demise of the game design which we fell in love with in the first place. A MMORPG design which was not like any other, owing its only loyalty to its RPG parent.

The lure of the new, the game hopping the OP talked about have become the curse of MMO’s. The belief we can solve all the problems of the game we are in by switching to another has gripped the player base. It is a false dream but one which we fall for time and time again.

Of course we are more jaded in our MMO tastes then we used to be, we have seen and done it all before. But its short sighted of those who think this is instrumental in making older gamers have these concerns and doubts. Older gamers are not shutting new MMO’s down, are not designing the graphical and pvp worshiping MMO’s of today. That’s down to the companies working on a new model of what a MMO should be and a young player base having the attention span of a goldfish.

This quote from a poster on this thread sums up the new attitude:
“I don't keep my toys for too long, get new ones or I will fall into boredom.”

  Ordero

Novice Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 86

2/03/09 4:17:19 AM#16
Originally posted by demalus

Besides what I have said before, let me put it in a new light:  MMOs are becoming increasingly developer-centric.  Players must wait months (even years) for new content - which will be completed in a day or two anyways.  Only Blizzard has been able to keep a pace that is at least functional to the playerbase.  Most companies don't have that kind of resources, and therefore the MMO they make is lacking. 

 

Evidently you've never heard of Turbine or played Lord of the Rings Online, big/sometimes massive regular content updates every couple of months, in the form of new book chapters, sometimes new regions, sometimes "extra fluff" is introduced like housing, hobbies i.e fishing etc.

And all this from an independent and much smaller developer than Bizzard. And it's not just Lord of the Rings they provide content for either, Turbine also do it for their other title Dungeons & Dragons Online not to mention the even older (but still going strong I presume) Ascheron's Call, where I understand that they provide new content every single month for it's remaning playerbase, now that is dedication to the players :)

  Scot

Elite Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5249

2/03/09 5:17:32 AM#17

When you compare LotR's revenue to WoW and then look at how much extra free content LotR has put in it puts WoW or any other game for that matter to shame.

  Teala

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/16/04
Posts: 7433

"Really officer, they're herbs."

2/03/09 5:27:57 AM#18

I use to be a passionate MMORPG player...like the OP...but they (the game developers and designers) refuse to design a game - a virtual world a sandbox - with combat like we see in Mount and Blade.  I have been a huge proponent of this since I starting playing these games.   Back when SWG first came out I was thinking cool...awesome...we have a sandbox game...but the combat...why didn't they use straight up FPS combat...::sigh::

That was one thing I loved about Planetside...OMG...tha game sucked me in and I played if for over 3.5 years!   What kept me playing...the combat and game itself.   I'd still be playing it if SOE wasn't in charge of it.   They ruined it.  

If a game company combined FPS combat (ala Mount and Blade) with a world like Telon from Vanguard...I'd be in gamers nirvana.   Then my passion would return.   Don't bring up Darkfall...Darkfall with all it promises will fail like DnL.  

  loyaltrekie

Novice Member

Joined: 8/20/08
Posts: 108

2/03/09 5:51:35 AM#19
Originally posted by Scot

When you compare LotR's revenue to WoW and then look at how much extra free content LotR has put in it puts WoW or any other game for that matter to shame.

 

This is entirely true, I played LotR for a few months, but sunk years into other titles. I was quite surprised by the LotR dev community and everything they do. I don't still play LotR but I sure do miss the constant updates the game provided.

 

 

  loyaltrekie

Novice Member

Joined: 8/20/08
Posts: 108

2/03/09 6:18:20 AM#20
Originally posted by Zorndorf
Originally posted by loyaltrekie
Originally posted by Scot

When you compare LotR's revenue to WoW and then look at how much extra free content LotR has put in it puts WoW or any other game for that matter to shame.

 

This is entirely true, I played LotR for a few months, but sunk years into other titles. I was quite surprised by the LotR dev community and everything they do. I don't still play LotR but I sure do miss the constant updates the game provided.

 

 


 

Off topic, but I can't stand lies anyway.

here are dozens of free content updates from Wow.

http://www.wow-europe.com/en/info/underdev/implemented/

65 (!) different FREE (!) content patches total. (some as "trivial" as Black Temple and "The sunwell")

Perhaps Blizzard should seperate them and calling them also "books" to make an impression.

It is about TWICE the size of all total updates for LOTRO combined.

So inform yourself before publishing something please (besides the next content update is already expected in patch 3.1: the biggest raid content ever published by Blizzard a mere few months after the expansion).

 

 

Its TWICE THE SIZE, yes size matters. Maybe if WoW had better optomized code it wouldn't take so much space to output a singe sentence. On a less lulzy note, when was WoW launched, when was LotR launched? I forgot the release dates for both. If I'm not mistaken WoW has been out for more then twice as long as LotR so I sure as hell would hope they would have more content updates. Thats not even taking into the account of what we were talking about which is the difference between a game that has 10 million subscribers and huge profit margin, and a company that well, doesn't.

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