Sep 202008

Massively has an interesting post – What is the potential lifespan of an MMO?

So here’s my rambling take on How long will these games last?

As Massively points out Ultima Online is still making a profit after having been out for 11 years. Anarchy Online is still alive and kicking, as is Everquest and a number of others.

So I think my answer is this – as long as the game is fun for a large enough group of players such that the company can continue to make a profit. Blizzard has the right stuff and the right business model and I hope that some of the others figure that out and can continue.

If you have an ongoing profit maker why would you ever deliberately kill it?

There’s a group of players who’d always looking for the next great thing and who won’t stick with one thing for long. Then there’s a group who finds enough there that they will stick with it for years. As Nyhm said in his interview, PvP is still fun (he’s been playing since the beta) and he’s got a big group of friends who play.

The End is Near

The End is Near

People will say, “The End of WoW is Near” and then we look at the subscriber numers and see that WoW has added another million.

Right now WoW is Blizzard’s cash cow and I can’t see any reason for them to ever end the game themselves. As far as the competition goes, well, there’s nothing which is going to knock WoW off the throne for a big enough group of players that it’ll actually hurt WoW.

Especially since there’s room in the market for a number of big games and a bunch of smaller ones.

If it does, then Blizz will get off its collectinve butt and do what it does best, put its game back on top.

Now, if Blizzard, or any company, loses its drive or interest or is taken over by someone utterly clueless, then we may see then end.

I think WoW’s going to be around for a long time. I hope WAR will be. My boys are playing it now and it looks good. There are a few other games I’d like to play, but don’t have the time for right now.

So how long can they last? As long as the owning company is making money with it and doesn’t decide to kill it for other reasons.

What do you think?

edit 9/23: Part Time Druid has some interesting remarks on WoW, WAR, DAoC, PvP and PvE.

“I’m not going to write some meta piece about how there is no WoW killer, though I do agree with that sentiment. WoW has become the McDonald’s of MMOs, the best competitors can hope for is to become Wendy’s or Burger King. They aren’t going to topple World of Warcraft.”
Warhammer Online: Why I’m Not Worried

Aug 202008

Tobold’s MMORPG Blog has an interesting post today. WAR kills AoC, not WoW

First, a bit of background.

Will anything kill WoW? Nope. Nothing will even come close. The only thing that will kill WoW will be brain-dead management, and that doesn’t seem to be happening right now.

So here’s my 2 cents worth.

I really wanted to play [tag-tec]Age of Conan[/tag-tec]. I’ve been reading the Conan books and comics since I was a little kid, so I was pretty jazzed when I heard that the MMO version was coming out. Then I heard it was Funcom . . .

I played Funcom’s [tag-tec]Anarchy Online[/tag-tec] for quite some time. Got up to level 185 with one character (Opi Martial Artist.) Lots of potential, little of it realized, and not a lot of quality bug testing happening. The Heckler AI was . . . interesting. Remember those lumpy rock piles?

AoC has its own issues, with servers and a few other things, though the game at launch was FAR more playable that AO (which apparently wasn’t playable at launch.)

Personally, I think AoC going as high end on the graphics and such was a mistake. For example, the only part of the game that my computer will run is the character generation. Past that, everything looks like water. Some form of scalable graphics system would have opened the game a lot. But . . . maybe it’s only buggy drivers.

Now, all MMOs have their issues at startup. All of them that last any length of time clean up many of those issues and constantly improve the game. AoC posted some pretty good start numbers, as I understand, and that will put a lot of stress on their servers, as it did with WoW, but how many of these people are sticking?

So, I think AoC is out of the running as anything that WoW will much notice.

Now how about WAR?

Warhammer has a good sized real world following. Lots of people play the miniatures wars on a regular basis. Drop into a hobby or game store and you’ll see a large section devoted to the game, and also to Warhammer 40k. Check out Amazon and you’ll see a nice pile of Warhammer books, figs, and stuff.

So there’s a pretty good existing fan base. The online game will draw from these guys (mostly guys, of course) and from those of us who’d like to see something compete with WoW. Combine an interesting, playable, world with good gameplay and a system that will attract all types of players and you’ll have a winner.

If WAR is playable at launch, (and I’m reading good things from the people plaing the beta,) then it’ll get a pile of subscribers. I think we’ll see the number of WoW accounts drop very little, but I think there will be a dip in active players for awhile. If WAR can do the magic that’s required to make people stick with it for months, then maybe WoW will notice.

Blizzard has an awesome track record for making sticky games and it’s definitely the 900 pound gorilla in the playground. If WAR can mount a good launch with a highly playable and fun game, a game that’s playable and fun for a lot of people, then the competition will have a good effect on WoW by forcing Blizzard to improve WoW even more.

WoW is fun for those who like PvP and those who don’t; those who like raids, and those who don’t; those who like role playing, amd those who don’t; those who like . . . well, you get the idea. If WAR can match that, then it’s competition. If it can’t, then it’s just a niche game.

So what’s your take on this?

edit: Some other posts on the topic: