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Just One Moar (formerly: How To Lose Your Life To An MMORPG)

Part diary, part commentary, part news reviews and editorials covering the world of MMORPGs Among many MMORPG:I feature Runes of Magic and World of Warcraft

Author: giantsquid

Is Inaccessibility Choking the MMO Market?

Posted by giantsquid Monday November 23 2009 at 3:26PM
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I recently downloaded the Allods beta. I still haven’t recieved an email with a beta key, but I wanted to get the game installed and patched so I’d be ready to jump in. I installed to get a corrupt file warning that fixing didn’t correct. I uninstalled and tried 2 more times before redownloading. The new download was the same. I checked the forums to find a large thread that had various techno-babble that “might” help solve this problem for some people. It is now the next day and I’m redownloading so I can attempt one of these manual fixes.

This is a typical scenario for many free to play MMORPGs.

For me and some of my past game jounalism acquaintances, we always loved to discuss the business side of the gaming industry as much as the games themselves. I came to a personal belief that one of World of Warcraft’s biggest claims to fame is its accessibility. The game is extremely approachable by many demographics.

I found that playing WoW was about as easy as playing a game on my Playstation 2. I just pop the disc in and I’m practically up and running. It had me thinking of all the people that aren’t playing other MMOs because they take more effort on the users part. Many people aren’t some determined MMO lot that is accustomed to this, or even understand how MMOs work at all. They just know that it’s a game that looks fun and would like to try it.

I consider myself to be averagely skilled with computers and am still reaching a frustration level cap with getting Allods to work.

Runes of Magic, my current favorite game, is not without this problem. We see new posts from new players daily on the official forums with errors and other problems just getting the game started.

Two good friends of mine, who aren’t really MMO players as much as they are video game players, loved WoW but they’ve told me they want stuff to work period. If they are buying a game, if it doesn’t work it’s total and utter useless junk to them. These are guys who’ve owned every gaming system imaginable and have played PC games for over 10 years.

I played the Vanguard trial over a year ago. I had extensive problems and confusion over Sony’s site with registration, getting ID codes, and the like. Personally I went through it and loved the game, and plan on playing in the future, but I’m one of those determined type that will go the extra mile and know how to.

MMOs in general are not always as easy to play as console games. Adding a flood of free to play MMOs with constant corrupted file problems can immediately make a persons decision of whether they will ever play that game or not.

Have you had mainly friendly experiences with MMOs? What games do you think do a great or poor job with handling accessibility?

Should companies start beefing up tech support and waiting longer to put out well tested downloads, and making user experience smoother and more easily understood. Or is this too fine a line where people have it too easy and just need to put the work in, if they want to play?