This is going to be a mildly short piece, one that is straight to the point. I wanted to talk briefly about the next big MMO. Many people, despite having many MMOs release in the past year, are already talking about and questioning what the next big release is going to be.
I'm not one to complain about this break in releases that we are having at the moment, I was swamped with playing MMOs as it is. I feel like, at least now, I get a chance to catch up on games that I didn't have the chance to enjoy. Of course, I'll continue to play various MMOs, but a break would be nice. I feel like if anything, this is a break that a lot of us needed. It was tiring, time-consuming and, at times, extremely frustrating.
Now, if I had to guess, and we'll see after next week, I'd say the next big release is going to be The War Z. A lot of people are waiting to see what it'll be like. DayZ was a success for the audience it was targeting, a more "hardcore" audience, mind you. I am under the impression that TWZ is trying to bring in more of the casual/hardcore MMO players. It definitely has more MMO elements to it.
There are other games (a lot of MMOFPS games) being released as well, but I just don't get the same vibe, the same hype level, as I did from the recently released MMOs and expansions. I suppose it is because quite a few of them cater to a certain audience more than your typical MMORPG player, but also because it is a newer sort of game than what most MMORPG players are used to.
Not that it's bad to have something new. It's definitely not, but when it comes to the more traditional players that are used to the play-styles of EQ, WoW, GW2,RIFT, SWTOR, and so on well... trying out new things can tend to be rather daunting or frightening. Why try something new if you already enjoy, or at least don't mind wasting time in, a game similar to the one you are already playing?
I will talk more about this next week, should memory permit me, but all this basically boils down to: is the industry running out of ideas for MMOs? More specifically, MMORPGs? Is the MMORPG at the end of its day? Or is it just that the executives and investors are too scared to put money into something more daring? Something that could have potential become more niche and in the process refreshing? If that niche game was executed well, a new area for the MMORPG to explore would be opened up.
I don't really have the answers to these questions, as much as I'd like to ruminate on the subject. I'd argue it's a little bit of both, honestly. I feel that investors and executives are stingy and want to make the “BIG BUCKS” that we saw Blizzard make, but there is a problem to this thinking. They can't be Blizzard. There will probably never be another MMORPG as successful as World of Warcraft. I've already made a column regarding this, but let me say it again: developers need to be allowed to be more innovative. All the WoW-clones “die” after a few months, anyway.
As for running out of ideas, I'd say this might hold truth, but I'd argue it only to the extent of how tight the suits hold the leash. There's only so much you can do when you're basically told the parameters that you're allowed to work within.
Hillary "Pokket" Nicole