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Mmorpg Train of Thought

Mmorpg views and thoughts

Author: afk-guy

Free to Play vs. Pay to Play

Posted by afk-guy Wednesday October 13 2010 at 12:30PM
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Free to Play vs. Pay to Play

Enter your card number here. That's something a majority of us see when subscribing to a mmorpg. We reluctantly enter our card number and hit enter. Sometimes though we will just have to click the download button and we are off playing with no card info required! There are many different views on free to play mmorpg's and pay to play mmorpg's. Can a free to play mmorpg generate the content needed without players income? Can a pay to play mmorpg use their subscription income to improve their game and keep the community happy?

Free to play mmorpg's can generate numbers that would make World of Warcraft blush. Most recently Lord of the Rings Online went free to play after three years of requiring a monthly subscription. What were the results of such a drastic change? Around 20% of the players who left the game have returned, and there has been a reported 400% increase in overall players. The Wiznet mmorpg entitles Maple Story is claimed to have 100 million subscribers and is also free to play. How are these mmorpg's generating a income to keep content fresh and maintenance up? These free to play mmorpg's such as Lord of the Rings Online and Maple Story use a system where the game is free to play, but perks such as special armor, weapons, mounts, or other special content can be purchased to use within your game. A genius way to keep players money in their pockets, and still keep a game up and running.

How about pay to play mmorpg's. The genre's most popular titles such as World of Warcraft,  Warhammer, Star Trek Online, Age of Conan, and others all require monthly payments to play. Obviously with a steady income of players money every month it's obvious how companies keep a mmorpg running, but what do us players expect from companies who charge us a monthly fee? Content must be fresh. We expect servers to be well maintained. The lack of either of these can lead a community to leave due to them feeling that their hard earned money is being wasted, and their gaming experience is not what it should be. A majority of companies are good when it comes to keeping paying players happy, but many have left some of us feeling unsatisfied.

Free to play and pay to play both have their positive points as well as negative. It all depends how companies handle themselves with the income they are getting whether they are getting it through selling special in game items with a online store or charging monthly to play. As long as us the players don't feel like our money is being wasted we will continue to support our favorite mmorpg's.

Star Wars Galaxies - Memories, NGE, lost friends

Posted by afk-guy Sunday October 10 2010 at 1:03PM
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Star Wars Galaxies - Memories, NGE, and lost friends

I fell in love with Star Wars at a young age. I grew up with the films, comics, action figures, and of course the games. Then one day searching the web I came across Star Wars Galaxies. The concept of this game fascinated me. I would be able to create my own character in the Star Wars universe and do whatever I wanted. Even now all these years later as a adult that concept still could excite me. I remember doing all the research I could possibly do on the classes, races, planets, ships, everything. I remember writing down what my skills would be and even my characters name. Then I finally got the game.

I joined the SWG community right after the combat upgrade was implemented. Even though many within the community talked about how great pre-cu gameplay was I still enjoyed myself. Grinding groups on the Dantooine mining outpost, designing my many homes, running around my guild talking. The things I found to do in SWG seemed endless to me. On my server ( Tarquinas ) I was a part of a giant guild on Tatooine. There I met Mladin, Solid Snake, Toolak, Blacktalon, Thahitman, and Podin. We became good in game friends, and these few guys would become the same guys I would play mmorpg's with for the next few years.

Eventually me and my friends parted ways with our guild. I still remember the day we were flying around trying find a spot to place our own guild as a group. Just doing that was a game memory I still have with me all these years later. Once we established our guild we continued playing as usual. Then November 2005 everything changed. I remember waking up wondering what this NGE change to the game was. My younger brother told me it was very different and described the changes which confused me. Once I logged on and started playing I was shocked.

The entire UI was different. It felt like I was playing a third person shooter. The whole combat system had changed, and I didn't know what to think of it. My classes I worked so hard on were gone and made into 9 simple classes with a talent system. No longer could I be a riflemen/ bounty hunter, teras kasi/ combat medic, swordsmen/ pikemen. All those options were gone. Once I got used to everything I headed to the Dantooine mining outpost to see what was going on there. To my big surprise once I arrived I saw a sea of jedi's. Myself and one other guy  were the only ranged classes there. We all started dueling and getting used to the new combat system. Many people were very upset, and many more were like me and didn't know what to think of all this. Of course I was younger at the time and I would have had a very different reaction now as a adult. Looking back it would have not been a good one at all if that were so.

Me and my friends stuck with it though. We had all had too much fun to just leave SWG. The next few months was rough. People were quitting, guilds were disbanding, the game economy was dying, and we played less and less. Eventually the state of the game led me to leaving. Not long after that I reactivated my account to find out that only one of my friends still logged on time from time. He told me that they had all gone to World of Warcraft. Without hesitation I bought WoW and started playing once again with my friends. We again had a awesome time playing WoW together. Then soon after the Burning Crusade expansion once again we started to slow down. Eventually I left WoW. I yet again came back to the game I quit just to find some of my friends had left for Warhammer.

I did not play Warhammer. I continued with the friends I had left. Then a few months ago I grew tired of WoW and its repetitive play and quit for good. By then my friends I had left dwindled down to just one. I look back at the many years I spent with those guys and think about the fun we had. The best memories were in SWG. If SOE decided to just leave that once amazing game as it was then perhaps I would still be playing with my friends. After NGE I have never given SOE a chance with anything. They took away something that was special to us. Yes it was just a game, but those times I was relaxing and took the time to play I never logged on and was bored back then.

Star Wars Galaxies was my first mmorpg, and to this day the pre-nge version of that game remains my favorite mmorpg of all time. With the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Old Republic I believe that my childhood fantasy of playing within the huge Star Wars universe as my own unique character will be brought back. SWTOR will not bring my friends and me back together again. Our little group lasted two mmorpg's and nearly 5 years. NGE made me upset. It changed a game that was the perfect mmorpg in my opinion. Whats worse though is they took away our community. The SWG community was something special and I have yet to see another community like it.

Those were good times. Hopefully companies can look at SOE and learn from their horrible decisions. To all my friends though who I played with all those years with even though you may never read this I wanna say that those were good times and I miss playing games with you all, and to the pre-NGE SWG community I wanna say we too had good times and it was you the community that made SWG special.


Launch Day and It's Importance

Posted by afk-guy Saturday October 9 2010 at 7:54PM
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Launch Day and its Importance

For mmorpg fans all across the world nothing can be as exciting as the launch day of a highly anticipated mmo. Thousands of people log on and create their characters they have been planning to make for months maybe even years! Mmo launches are exciting, but these days can be very infuential on how the playerbase will view the coming months. Or even if they will play for the first 30 days.

Lets look at the impact of bad launches on a playerbase, and things that need to be done to avoid these mishaps. Lets look at World of Warcraft. For players that did not play at launch ( like myself ) we could wonder "How could the world's most popular mmorpg have a bad start". At launch Blizzard did not anticipate the crowd's they would be drawing to their game within the first 48 hours. There was a lack of servers, and the lag was reportedly unbearable. Companies can take something from this. Make enough servers! Companies do not know how big there playerbase will be at launch, but it is important to have enough servers to handle whatever come's their way. Blizzard obviously survived a shaky start, but lets consider another game.

Final Fantasy XIV was released not even a month ago, but if you read my review on it you'll know it has many problems that should have been solved before launch. Lag that is as bad as it is in Final Fantasy XIV currently is unacceptable to a playerbase. If you have played it or read my review you'll understand what I meen. The biggest problem with Final Fantasy XIV's launch though was the lack of content at release. This is the most important thing companies need to realize for mmorpg launches. In Final Fantasy XIV currently all there is to do are a select few kinds of quest every 36 hours, grind, craft, and gather materials. Thats it! I read that on online polls that around 20% of its current playerbase is leaving after the first 30 days due to the problems in the game. First impressions are everything!

When it come's to the most successful mmo launches it's hard to say. There are hundreds out there and fans of each game can have their arguments why theirs was the best. From what ive read Age of Conan's launch went very well. Everquest II reportedly also had a smooth launch with little lag and few reported issues.

In the end though what can we learn from mmorpg launches? Quality is everything. Have a smooth launch and your community will be happy and stick with you as long as you keep up with the quality. Release a mmorpg that seems half done with lag, bugs, lack of content and you'll lose players trust and patience. While a launch doesnt meen everything it does make a big impact.