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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » The Rise and Fall of a Modern MMO

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  Amathe

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/02/05
Posts: 1666

 
OP  1/21/13 4:19:22 PM#1

I have played a lot of mmos, and that includes several new ones.  I'm seeing a pattern emerge so predictable that you can almost set your watch by it.  

 

Phase 1:  People learn a new mmo is coming out, and excitement starts to build.  This will be the Next New Thing. 

 

Phase 2:  Game goes into Beta, and rumors circulate it is the Same Old Thing that is Not Ready For Release.

 

Phase 3:  Game releases and a respectable number of people buy it.  Sometimes not.  But usually.

 

Phase 4: A few months pass and cue mass exodus of 40% of the player population. Loud cries of Same Old Thing,  No One Is On My Server, This Game Sucks, Paid Beta, Nothing to Do At End Game, WoW Clone But Lacks Stuff I Liked in WoW.

 

Phase 5: Server mergers, F2P, Item Shop.

 

Phase 6: Population rebounds a little from F2P.  Some new content added, but mostly aimed at the item shop to boost revenue.

 

Phase 7: Game languishes while an expansion that should have occurred 9 months to a year after launch isn't ready, while devs putter instead with item shop content.

 

I'm not seeing an end to this cycle on the horizon anywhere.  There is a reason everyone thinks that each new game is a WoW clone, and why they usually end up annoyed that the new game lacks something in WoW.  It's because WoW is like the Borg.  They had a good game of their own to start with. And since 2004 they have been continually adding more things.  Your game will be assimilated.  If a new game comes along with something people like, Blizzard will add it to WoW.  

 

Developers.  Either make a game as close to WoW as you can and update the graphics, which is what a lot of people want.    Or make a niche game and keep the budget in check so your niche game will still make money. Or swing for the fences and truly make the Next New Thing that is so awesome we forget about WoW.  These are the choices.  

EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  Wraithone

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/09/04
Posts: 3567

If you can't kill it, don't make it mad.

1/21/13 4:49:37 PM#2
Originally posted by Amathe

I have played a lot of mmos, and that includes several new ones.  I'm seeing a pattern emerge so predictable that you can almost set your watch by it.  

 

Phase 1:  People learn a new mmo is coming out, and excitement starts to build.  This will be the Next New Thing. 

 

Phase 2:  Game goes into Beta, and rumors circulate it is the Same Old Thing that is Not Ready For Release.

 

Phase 3:  Game releases and a respectable number of people buy it.  Sometimes not.  But usually.

 

Phase 4: A few months pass and cue mass exodus of 40% of the player population. Loud cries of Same Old Thing,  No One Is On My Server, This Game Sucks, Paid Beta, Nothing to Do At End Game, WoW Clone But Lacks Stuff I Liked in WoW.

 

Phase 5: Server mergers, F2P, Item Shop.

 

Phase 6: Population rebounds a little from F2P.  Some new content added, but mostly aimed at the item shop to boost revenue.

 

Phase 7: Game languishes while an expansion that should have occurred 9 months to a year after launch isn't ready, while devs putter instead with item shop content.

 

I'm not seeing an end to this cycle on the horizon anywhere.  There is a reason everyone thinks that each new game is a WoW clone, and why they usually end up annoyed that the new game lacks something in WoW.  It's because WoW is like the Borg.  They had a good game of their own to start with. And since 2004 they have been continually adding more things.  Your game will be assimilated.  If a new game comes along with something people like, Blizzard will add it to WoW.  

 

Developers.  Either make a game as close to WoW as you can and update the graphics, which is what a lot of people want.    Or make a niche game and keep the budget in check so your niche game will still make money. Or swing for the fences and truly make the Next New Thing that is so awesome we forget about WoW.  These are the choices.  

First, trying to out WoW, WoW is a VERY pointless and risky exercise.  WoW has more than eight YEARS of content at this point.  They have polished much of that to a very high gloss.  The game has made Blizzard *Billions* of dollars, over that time.  Trying to directly compete with them is a non starter.  No venture capitalist in their right mind would fund such a project.

Niche games are a possibility, but only if those involved have sufficient experience to be able to handle all of the elements involved.  Its also a fairly low profit area (being niche) so most investors are turned off.  But Kickstarter is one possible course.

The Next Big Thing(tm)  is SO risky, and SO expensive that only those with MUCH more money, than common sense would try it.  These types of AAA games are so insanely expensive (tens of millions to way over 100 million)  that it would take not only an investor/investors willing to risk that much money, but also having suits (who else to manage that amount of money?) who let the Dev's follow their Vision(tm) while hand holding the investors, so that they don't panic.

Miss any of thousands of details (large and small, technical/personnel/talent/experience) and you end up with slipped milestones, investor panic, rushed games and wasted money.  Given those realities, the amazing thing is that things aren't even worse than they are.

  steamtank

Novice Member

Joined: 7/10/09
Posts: 390

1/21/13 4:53:45 PM#3

This is why i am no longer pre-ordering.

 

Companies need to realize that much like a nightclub... people will wait to get in.  Limit your servers. No one wants to play on a dead server. People will bitch, but they will wait to get on a full server.

  madazz

Novice Member

Joined: 10/07/03
Posts: 1306

1/21/13 5:26:16 PM#4
75% of all statistics posted on the internet are made up. Even this one!
  Fangrim

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/07/12
Posts: 474

1/21/13 5:38:18 PM#5

Nah,more and more games will release as F2P,with cash shop,optional monthly subscription where you have no content restrictions and if your lucky get points to spend in the cash shop per month.

Not a bad idea as long as there are no serious P2W items in the shop .I don't agree that xp boosters are P2W btw,I have nor ever will buy one but have no problem with them making money off the fools that feel the need to buy them :)

  madazz

Novice Member

Joined: 10/07/03
Posts: 1306

1/21/13 5:41:53 PM#6
Originally posted by Fangrim

Nah,more and more games will release as F2P,with cash shop,optional monthly subscription where you have no content restrictions and if your lucky get points to spend in the cash shop per month.

Not a bad idea as long as there are no serious P2W items in the shop .I don't agree that xp boosters are P2W btw,I have nor ever will buy one but have no problem with them making money off the fools that feel the need to buy them :)

XP boosters are bad in MMO's for a multitude of reasons. One of the reasons would be that if people were to use it, you have a crowd that gets to a modern mmo's "end game" where they repeat the raids over and over again. So those who eventually reach those raids or "end game" through hard work and determination (its fun for some heheh), get screwed as no one will group with them as they are on tier 4 of repeating the same "end game" over and over. Then again, maybe end game is the issue? hahahah

  AlBQuirky

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/24/05
Posts: 3177

Tomorrow's just a future yesterday...

1/21/13 5:49:28 PM#7


Originally posted by Amathe
Phase 5: Server mergers, F2P, Item Shop.

This was the only part I thought differently than. It is nigh impossible to find a MMO that releases now that does NOT include an item shop. Many try to triple dip (box + Sub + Cash Shop) from the get-go.

Otherwise, a good write-up of the typical modern AAA MMO release cycle.

- Al

Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
- FARGIN_WAR

  Fangrim

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/07/12
Posts: 474

1/21/13 5:50:01 PM#8
Madazz : I have never had that problem in the games I have played.I never bother too much about what other players have and I don't and in the only MMO I played longer than 1 year (eq2 6-7 years) I joined a raiding guild for the last 4 years I was there.
  ZombieKen

Novice Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

1/21/13 5:56:20 PM#9

Great post.  While I agree completely with the timeline, we draw different conclusions as to why.

 

In my opinion, the ultimate flaws in themepark MMORPGs consist of two factors:

 

1. Eventually all themeparks get top-heavy.  Once this happens there is a dire need for a fully developed endgame.  Where devs screw-up is they build a game with fast leveling content, the game gets top heavy, and they don't have a solid endgame ready for them.  If it's going to be a "rush to cap then endgame" there has to be a good endgame.  If not, they leave.

2. Sorry if this sounds biased, but it is.  There are two things that keep people in game, investment and friends.

If it takes six months to level cap, then a player has a significant investment of time, and if that means something to them, then they will stay in the game rather than discard the investment.  Easy fast leveling games don't have this.

People are the second part of this.  If a game encourages (notice I did not say force) personal contact, then people form cliques and the cliques keep them coming back to the game.  It's a freakin' 3D Facebook  :-)

 

So yeah, they do puff up and fizzle out.  WoW changed the rules for the industry and sabotaged the other devs who can't figure it out.  Endgame + investment + friends.

 

MSOTSG with PPE : Massively Single-player Online Task-driven Storyline Game with Purchasable Performance Enhancements *grin*

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12224

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Project Gorgon, and Combat Arms

1/21/13 5:57:30 PM#10
Originally posted by Amathe

I have played a lot of mmos, and that includes several new ones.  I'm seeing a pattern emerge so predictable that you can almost set your watch by it.  

Phase 1:  People learn a new mmo is coming out, and excitement starts to build.  This will be the Next New Thing. 

Phase 2:  Game goes into Beta, and preorder bonuses rack up preorder count.

Phase 3:  Game releases and the majority of preordered accounts are activated.

Phase 4: Day 31 -  Approx. 50% of the players do not subscribe past the free month.

Phase 5: Day 61 - If Day 31 hit the tippng point then steady subscription drop continues. If not, numbers hold for a few months and then slowly decline

Phase 6: Server merges

Phase 7: F2P or closure

 It's not emerging. It's been almost the norm since 2008.

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  madazz

Novice Member

Joined: 10/07/03
Posts: 1306

1/21/13 6:04:15 PM#11
Originally posted by Fangrim
Madazz : I have never had that problem in the games I have played.I never bother too much about what other players have and I don't and in the only MMO I played longer than 1 year (eq2 6-7 years) I joined a raiding guild for the last 4 years I was there.

EQ2 does it pretty well. Now go play DCUO, TSW, DAOC or many of the others out there. I can make a pretty large list.

And to be clear, it is not about what others have, its about not being able to enjoy content (if you like repeating stuff), because everyone else is on a different tier!

  Torvaldr

Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 5745

1/21/13 6:04:32 PM#12

It will take a while before studios and publishers figure out that "subscription as the standard" is no longer true.  Once they figure this out, along with creating a different more realistic goal set, this conversation will change.  The person above who mentioned the futility of chasing the WoW pipedream is spot on.

Imagine if Funcom had been insightful enough to realize that the triple dip would be crippling to their launch momentum.  The whole TSW / Funcom launch story could be different.

Industries are generally slow to change.  Give it time.

Curse you AquaScum!

  madazz

Novice Member

Joined: 10/07/03
Posts: 1306

1/21/13 6:05:15 PM#13
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by Amathe

I have played a lot of mmos, and that includes several new ones.  I'm seeing a pattern emerge so predictable that you can almost set your watch by it.  

Phase 1:  People learn a new mmo is coming out, and excitement starts to build.  This will be the Next New Thing. 

Phase 2:  Game goes into Beta, and preorder bonuses rack up preorder count.

Phase 3:  Game releases and the majority of preordered accounts are activated.

Phase 4: Day 31 -  Approx. 50% of the players do not subscribe past the free month.

Phase 5: Day 61 - If Day 31 hit the tippng point then steady subscription drop continues. If not, numbers hold for a few months and then slowly decline

Phase 6: Server merges

Phase 7: F2P or closure

 It's not emerging. It's been almost the norm since 2008.

The norm? That is debatable. But it certainly has been emerging since then for sure! Maybe if I look into it more I'll agree with you 100% heheh.

  Goatgod76

Novice Member

Joined: 6/24/06
Posts: 1226

1/21/13 6:08:01 PM#14
Bingo. You can polish a turd as much as you want, but in the end, it's still a turd.
  VengeSunsoar

Elite Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 4812

Be Brief, Be Bright... Be Gone.

1/21/13 6:08:34 PM#15
Originally posted by Amathe

I have played a lot of mmos, and that includes several new ones.  I'm seeing a pattern emerge so predictable that you can almost set your watch by it.  

 

Phase 1:  People learn a new mmo is coming out, and excitement starts to build.  This will be the Next New Thing. 

 

Phase 2:  Game goes into Beta, and rumors circulate it is the Same Old Thing that is Not Ready For Release.

 

Phase 3:  Game releases and a respectable number of people buy it.  Sometimes not.  But usually.

 

Phase 4: A few months pass and cue mass exodus of 40% of the player population. Loud cries of Same Old Thing,  No One Is On My Server, This Game Sucks, Paid Beta, Nothing to Do At End Game, WoW Clone But Lacks Stuff I Liked in WoW.

 

Phase 5: Server mergers, F2P, Item Shop.

 

Phase 6: Population rebounds a little from F2P.  Some new content added, but mostly aimed at the item shop to boost revenue.

 

Phase 7: Game languishes while an expansion that should have occurred 9 months to a year after launch isn't ready, while devs putter instead with item shop content.

 

I'm not seeing an end to this cycle on the horizon anywhere.  There is a reason everyone thinks that each new game is a WoW clone, and why they usually end up annoyed that the new game lacks something in WoW.  It's because WoW is like the Borg.  They had a good game of their own to start with. And since 2004 they have been continually adding more things.  Your game will be assimilated.  If a new game comes along with something people like, Blizzard will add it to WoW.  

 

Developers.  Either make a game as close to WoW as you can and update the graphics, which is what a lot of people want.    Or make a niche game and keep the budget in check so your niche game will still make money. Or swing for the fences and truly make the Next New Thing that is so awesome we forget about WoW.  These are the choices.  

MOdern MMO?  This has been going on for a decade at least.

Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  ZombieKen

Novice Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

1/21/13 6:16:06 PM#16
Originally posted by Torvaldr

Imagine if Funcom had been insightful enough to realize that the triple dip would be crippling to their launch momentum.  The whole TSW / Funcom launch story could be different.

 

Especially when going head-to-head with GW2.

 

Honestly I think they figured the partnership with EA would make them tons of money.  Can't say that worked out well.

 

MSOTSG with PPE : Massively Single-player Online Task-driven Storyline Game with Purchasable Performance Enhancements *grin*

  Torvaldr

Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 5745

1/21/13 6:19:11 PM#17
Originally posted by madazz
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by Amathe

I have played a lot of mmos, and that includes several new ones.  I'm seeing a pattern emerge so predictable that you can almost set your watch by it.  

Phase 1:  People learn a new mmo is coming out, and excitement starts to build.  This will be the Next New Thing. 

Phase 2:  Game goes into Beta, and preorder bonuses rack up preorder count.

Phase 3:  Game releases and the majority of preordered accounts are activated.

Phase 4: Day 31 -  Approx. 50% of the players do not subscribe past the free month.

Phase 5: Day 61 - If Day 31 hit the tippng point then steady subscription drop continues. If not, numbers hold for a few months and then slowly decline

Phase 6: Server merges

Phase 7: F2P or closure

 It's not emerging. It's been almost the norm since 2008.

The norm? That is debatable. But it certainly has been emerging since then for sure! Maybe if I look into it more I'll agree with you 100% heheh.

The 2008 date sounds reasonable.  The first prominent western games to start this pattern were DDO and LotRO with honorable mention to Tabula Rasa.  Then the cycle was more prolonged almost like it was happening in slow motion, but it was like a domino effect after that.

Curse you AquaScum!

  User Deleted
1/21/13 6:27:40 PM#18

You can't make an MMORPG that isn't been there done that because the game framework itself calls for it.  People have been playing them for years... doesn't matter what flavor of the game you've been in, you've been there and oh so certainly done that.

At least in the clothing industry they wait 10 years before they reintroduce a fashion style again... with MMORPGs they think they can recycle this stuff endlessly without making the market for it even worse.

People need to step away from MMORPGs for 10 years... only then and only then will something new come out that actually seems to be new for more than 5 minutes.

Time to put this dead horse to rest for 10 years and get all this MMORPG memorization out of our heads.  You can't do that if you keep playing them.

  NC-John

Novice Member

Joined: 1/08/13
Posts: 112

1/21/13 7:03:12 PM#19

Now you know how the modern day seer is able to predict trends. People who have been playing these games over a decade now pretty much can guess based on past releases/trends which way developers are going to go. but it's dangerous in a way to apply it or you get called out for being a troll or hater.

How many beta testers warned about SW:TOR? many of them did and they broke thier NDA but every game site even this one was fast to remove the post for violating forum rules.. BW/EA NDA was the most heavy handed I ever agreed to sign off on.

I seen from the get go it was incomplete and contained many mechanics that would lead to revolt once released. Same with SWG. In beta one and two I worked with tiggs forming groups when a profession got updates and we tested it like crazy trying to break it. And when we did break them, my forum post never made it very far without flaming from other players and many of them got locked.

Modern MMOs and the developers who make them have grown lazy re-creating the same old wheel, it's not hard guessing once they show the mechanics and design how the game will go at release.

Plus, it's not about copying Wow per-say, it's about the market share that blizzard holds on the genre. But to be honest many of the new MMO developers are starting to move away from taking blizzard head-on. You can't beat blizzard, and just when you think you are, they'll pull the Titan card and we will see an entire industry rush to mimic Titan.

But i'm still excited for some new MMOs coming, and you always hold out hope and try to look forward to maybe finding that jewel in the ruff.

 

"Not even a cray super computer can make this game run well. Thats what happens when you code an MMO in pascal. " - miglor

  madazz

Novice Member

Joined: 10/07/03
Posts: 1306

1/21/13 7:14:06 PM#20
Originally posted by Torvaldr
Originally posted by madazz
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by Amathe

I have played a lot of mmos, and that includes several new ones.  I'm seeing a pattern emerge so predictable that you can almost set your watch by it.  

Phase 1:  People learn a new mmo is coming out, and excitement starts to build.  This will be the Next New Thing. 

Phase 2:  Game goes into Beta, and preorder bonuses rack up preorder count.

Phase 3:  Game releases and the majority of preordered accounts are activated.

Phase 4: Day 31 -  Approx. 50% of the players do not subscribe past the free month.

Phase 5: Day 61 - If Day 31 hit the tippng point then steady subscription drop continues. If not, numbers hold for a few months and then slowly decline

Phase 6: Server merges

Phase 7: F2P or closure

 It's not emerging. It's been almost the norm since 2008.

The norm? That is debatable. But it certainly has been emerging since then for sure! Maybe if I look into it more I'll agree with you 100% heheh.

The 2008 date sounds reasonable.  The first prominent western games to start this pattern were DDO and LotRO with honorable mention to Tabula Rasa.  Then the cycle was more prolonged almost like it was happening in slow motion, but it was like a domino effect after that.

I agree, 2008 was when a lot of it started, but I don't think it was the norm yet... of course, just my opinion. Didn't bother to look it up lol

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