As players settle in for patch 2.7 and the Unicornalia event, the wider MMO world has been abuzz with the launch of Wildstar. Even in the outer reaches of Dusken and Brevane, players are talking about it, sharing their opinions, their jokes, and maybe even their fears. Today I would like to take a step back and look at what Wildstar and other new MMOs might mean for RIFT. Let’s dig in.
Players Drifting Away
The first thing to keep in mind is that these are not times of doom and gloom. It can be scary looking at the launch of a new MMO competing with your own. As a member of a guild, you’re probably already seeing people drift away. You might be concerned about your regular events. Will you have enough people to raid? Will your leveling posse fall out and move onto Nexus? Will recruitment need to be reopened to make sure players have guildies to group with? These are all valid concerns.
The launch of any new MMO has a siphoning effect on every other that surrounds it. It’s fitting that Wildstar would be a bit like a black hole, no? We recently hashed out our server choice here in the MMORPG offices and someone commented that they felt like the only person not playing the Wildstar. Bill hit the nail on the head: “I dare say: most MMO people are always willing to try a new game… it’s just a matter of if we stick with them or not.” Servers go a little quiet in these times. Dungeon queues get a little longer. But does it last?
Any new MMO is going to draw people away, but it’s always temporary. Ask any veteran guild leader and they will tell you: it’s better to plan on a lull after the launch of a new game. Gamers are gamers, whether they play MMOs or any other genre, and we are nomads on short-term lease. Guild events go on hiatus. Players take mini-vacations from the rigors of raid prep. Soon enough, friends and guildmates return.
The key thing to remember is that MMOs are about relationships. The real sticking power of an MMO is in the friendships we form within it. We’ve all felt it. A new game that just feels empty somehow. Then we go home, where everything is familiar and everyone knows our name, and Woody Harrelson goes on to become a huge celebrity. Or something like that.
Idle Chatter and Cardboard Signs
Along with that mini-vacation, I’ve found it’s better to take some time away from chat. Without fail, every new MMO launch will mean the end of the world to somebody. They will stand on the street corner in Sanctum, holding up their cardboard sign proclaiming “THE END IS NEAR!” while we who have been around for a while know this isn’t true. You can try talking logic but these players will recite every sign of the game’s demise, read in their tarot decks of half-understood news stories and shouted down comments sections. Somewhere between the months old rumors and the froth creeping in at the corners of their mouth, it will hit you that this person has an agenda and that the launch was just a diving off point.
Gamers like gossip. MMO players in particular like to think very deeply on their games. This is well and good. It provides us a place such as MMORPG.com to sit down and share our passion. But take every “I heard” statement with a grain of salt. More often than not, what “I heard” is the fifth step in a game of Telephone.
But do you know what I heard? Developers know how MMO launches work. They have some numbers on the subject and might even be planning around this trend we’re talking about.
Get together with gamers who know better. When guilds come back, when an exciting patch comes out, or, heck, even when there is just something juicier to talk about, everyone will return to the business of having a good time and stop worrying about the what-ifs.
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But how about the good? That’s what we’re in this for, right? And there are definite upsides to be had now that there’s another MMO on the market. Click through to page two for the positives we have in store!