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The Rise and Fall of a Modern MMO

AmatheAmathe Miami, FLPosts: 1,657Member Uncommon

I have played a lot of mmos, and that includes several new ones.  I'm seeing a pattern emerge so predictable that you can almost set your watch by it.  

 

Phase 1:  People learn a new mmo is coming out, and excitement starts to build.  This will be the Next New Thing. 

 

Phase 2:  Game goes into Beta, and rumors circulate it is the Same Old Thing that is Not Ready For Release.

 

Phase 3:  Game releases and a respectable number of people buy it.  Sometimes not.  But usually.

 

Phase 4: A few months pass and cue mass exodus of 40% of the player population. Loud cries of Same Old Thing,  No One Is On My Server, This Game Sucks, Paid Beta, Nothing to Do At End Game, WoW Clone But Lacks Stuff I Liked in WoW.

 

Phase 5: Server mergers, F2P, Item Shop.

 

Phase 6: Population rebounds a little from F2P.  Some new content added, but mostly aimed at the item shop to boost revenue.

 

Phase 7: Game languishes while an expansion that should have occurred 9 months to a year after launch isn't ready, while devs putter instead with item shop content.

 

I'm not seeing an end to this cycle on the horizon anywhere.  There is a reason everyone thinks that each new game is a WoW clone, and why they usually end up annoyed that the new game lacks something in WoW.  It's because WoW is like the Borg.  They had a good game of their own to start with. And since 2004 they have been continually adding more things.  Your game will be assimilated.  If a new game comes along with something people like, Blizzard will add it to WoW.  

 

Developers.  Either make a game as close to WoW as you can and update the graphics, which is what a lot of people want.    Or make a niche game and keep the budget in check so your niche game will still make money. Or swing for the fences and truly make the Next New Thing that is so awesome we forget about WoW.  These are the choices.  

EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

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Comments

  • WraithoneWraithone Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 3,592Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Amathe

    I have played a lot of mmos, and that includes several new ones.  I'm seeing a pattern emerge so predictable that you can almost set your watch by it.  

     

    Phase 1:  People learn a new mmo is coming out, and excitement starts to build.  This will be the Next New Thing. 

     

    Phase 2:  Game goes into Beta, and rumors circulate it is the Same Old Thing that is Not Ready For Release.

     

    Phase 3:  Game releases and a respectable number of people buy it.  Sometimes not.  But usually.

     

    Phase 4: A few months pass and cue mass exodus of 40% of the player population. Loud cries of Same Old Thing,  No One Is On My Server, This Game Sucks, Paid Beta, Nothing to Do At End Game, WoW Clone But Lacks Stuff I Liked in WoW.

     

    Phase 5: Server mergers, F2P, Item Shop.

     

    Phase 6: Population rebounds a little from F2P.  Some new content added, but mostly aimed at the item shop to boost revenue.

     

    Phase 7: Game languishes while an expansion that should have occurred 9 months to a year after launch isn't ready, while devs putter instead with item shop content.

     

    I'm not seeing an end to this cycle on the horizon anywhere.  There is a reason everyone thinks that each new game is a WoW clone, and why they usually end up annoyed that the new game lacks something in WoW.  It's because WoW is like the Borg.  They had a good game of their own to start with. And since 2004 they have been continually adding more things.  Your game will be assimilated.  If a new game comes along with something people like, Blizzard will add it to WoW.  

     

    Developers.  Either make a game as close to WoW as you can and update the graphics, which is what a lot of people want.    Or make a niche game and keep the budget in check so your niche game will still make money. Or swing for the fences and truly make the Next New Thing that is so awesome we forget about WoW.  These are the choices.  

    First, trying to out WoW, WoW is a VERY pointless and risky exercise.  WoW has more than eight YEARS of content at this point.  They have polished much of that to a very high gloss.  The game has made Blizzard *Billions* of dollars, over that time.  Trying to directly compete with them is a non starter.  No venture capitalist in their right mind would fund such a project.

    Niche games are a possibility, but only if those involved have sufficient experience to be able to handle all of the elements involved.  Its also a fairly low profit area (being niche) so most investors are turned off.  But Kickstarter is one possible course.

    The Next Big Thing(tm)  is SO risky, and SO expensive that only those with MUCH more money, than common sense would try it.  These types of AAA games are so insanely expensive (tens of millions to way over 100 million)  that it would take not only an investor/investors willing to risk that much money, but also having suits (who else to manage that amount of money?) who let the Dev's follow their Vision(tm) while hand holding the investors, so that they don't panic.

    Miss any of thousands of details (large and small, technical/personnel/talent/experience) and you end up with slipped milestones, investor panic, rushed games and wasted money.  Given those realities, the amazing thing is that things aren't even worse than they are.

  • steamtanksteamtank Rochester, NYPosts: 385Member

    This is why i am no longer pre-ordering.

     

    Companies need to realize that much like a nightclub... people will wait to get in.  Limit your servers. No one wants to play on a dead server. People will bitch, but they will wait to get on a full server.

  • madazzmadazz A town, ONPosts: 1,564Member Uncommon
    75% of all statistics posted on the internet are made up. Even this one!
  • FangrimFangrim PrestonPosts: 589Member

    Nah,more and more games will release as F2P,with cash shop,optional monthly subscription where you have no content restrictions and if your lucky get points to spend in the cash shop per month.

    Not a bad idea as long as there are no serious P2W items in the shop .I don't agree that xp boosters are P2W btw,I have nor ever will buy one but have no problem with them making money off the fools that feel the need to buy them :)

    Gnome Wankers two.After the events of 18/07/2015 i fucking hate anyone that has anything to do with skyforge
    image

  • madazzmadazz A town, ONPosts: 1,564Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Fangrim

    Nah,more and more games will release as F2P,with cash shop,optional monthly subscription where you have no content restrictions and if your lucky get points to spend in the cash shop per month.

    Not a bad idea as long as there are no serious P2W items in the shop .I don't agree that xp boosters are P2W btw,I have nor ever will buy one but have no problem with them making money off the fools that feel the need to buy them :)

    XP boosters are bad in MMO's for a multitude of reasons. One of the reasons would be that if people were to use it, you have a crowd that gets to a modern mmo's "end game" where they repeat the raids over and over again. So those who eventually reach those raids or "end game" through hard work and determination (its fun for some heheh), get screwed as no one will group with them as they are on tier 4 of repeating the same "end game" over and over. Then again, maybe end game is the issue? hahahah

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member


    Originally posted by Amathe
    Phase 5: Server mergers, F2P, Item Shop.
    This was the only part I thought differently than. It is nigh impossible to find a MMO that releases now that does NOT include an item shop. Many try to triple dip (box + Sub + Cash Shop) from the get-go.

    Otherwise, a good write-up of the typical modern AAA MMO release cycle.

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • FangrimFangrim PrestonPosts: 589Member
    Madazz : I have never had that problem in the games I have played.I never bother too much about what other players have and I don't and in the only MMO I played longer than 1 year (eq2 6-7 years) I joined a raiding guild for the last 4 years I was there.

    Gnome Wankers two.After the events of 18/07/2015 i fucking hate anyone that has anything to do with skyforge
    image

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,895Member Uncommon

    Great post.  While I agree completely with the timeline, we draw different conclusions as to why.

     

    In my opinion, the ultimate flaws in themepark MMORPGs consist of two factors:

     

    1. Eventually all themeparks get top-heavy.  Once this happens there is a dire need for a fully developed endgame.  Where devs screw-up is they build a game with fast leveling content, the game gets top heavy, and they don't have a solid endgame ready for them.  If it's going to be a "rush to cap then endgame" there has to be a good endgame.  If not, they leave.

    2. Sorry if this sounds biased, but it is.  There are two things that keep people in game, investment and friends.

    If it takes six months to level cap, then a player has a significant investment of time, and if that means something to them, then they will stay in the game rather than discard the investment.  Easy fast leveling games don't have this.

    People are the second part of this.  If a game encourages (notice I did not say force) personal contact, then people form cliques and the cliques keep them coming back to the game.  It's a freakin' 3D Facebook  :-)

     

    So yeah, they do puff up and fizzle out.  WoW changed the rules for the industry and sabotaged the other devs who can't figure it out.  Endgame + investment + friends.

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,633Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Amathe

    I have played a lot of mmos, and that includes several new ones.  I'm seeing a pattern emerge so predictable that you can almost set your watch by it.  

    Phase 1:  People learn a new mmo is coming out, and excitement starts to build.  This will be the Next New Thing. 

    Phase 2:  Game goes into Beta, and preorder bonuses rack up preorder count.

    Phase 3:  Game releases and the majority of preordered accounts are activated.

    Phase 4: Day 31 -  Approx. 50% of the players do not subscribe past the free month.

    Phase 5: Day 61 - If Day 31 hit the tippng point then steady subscription drop continues. If not, numbers hold for a few months and then slowly decline

    Phase 6: Server merges

    Phase 7: F2P or closure

     It's not emerging. It's been almost the norm since 2008.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • madazzmadazz A town, ONPosts: 1,564Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Fangrim
    Madazz : I have never had that problem in the games I have played.I never bother too much about what other players have and I don't and in the only MMO I played longer than 1 year (eq2 6-7 years) I joined a raiding guild for the last 4 years I was there.

    EQ2 does it pretty well. Now go play DCUO, TSW, DAOC or many of the others out there. I can make a pretty large list.

    And to be clear, it is not about what others have, its about not being able to enjoy content (if you like repeating stuff), because everyone else is on a different tier!

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon

    It will take a while before studios and publishers figure out that "subscription as the standard" is no longer true.  Once they figure this out, along with creating a different more realistic goal set, this conversation will change.  The person above who mentioned the futility of chasing the WoW pipedream is spot on.

    Imagine if Funcom had been insightful enough to realize that the triple dip would be crippling to their launch momentum.  The whole TSW / Funcom launch story could be different.

    Industries are generally slow to change.  Give it time.

  • madazzmadazz A town, ONPosts: 1,564Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Amathe

    I have played a lot of mmos, and that includes several new ones.  I'm seeing a pattern emerge so predictable that you can almost set your watch by it.  

    Phase 1:  People learn a new mmo is coming out, and excitement starts to build.  This will be the Next New Thing. 

    Phase 2:  Game goes into Beta, and preorder bonuses rack up preorder count.

    Phase 3:  Game releases and the majority of preordered accounts are activated.

    Phase 4: Day 31 -  Approx. 50% of the players do not subscribe past the free month.

    Phase 5: Day 61 - If Day 31 hit the tippng point then steady subscription drop continues. If not, numbers hold for a few months and then slowly decline

    Phase 6: Server merges

    Phase 7: F2P or closure

     It's not emerging. It's been almost the norm since 2008.

    The norm? That is debatable. But it certainly has been emerging since then for sure! Maybe if I look into it more I'll agree with you 100% heheh.

  • Goatgod76Goatgod76 Stow, OHPosts: 1,214Member
    Bingo. You can polish a turd as much as you want, but in the end, it's still a turd.
  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,290Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Amathe

    I have played a lot of mmos, and that includes several new ones.  I'm seeing a pattern emerge so predictable that you can almost set your watch by it.  

     

    Phase 1:  People learn a new mmo is coming out, and excitement starts to build.  This will be the Next New Thing. 

     

    Phase 2:  Game goes into Beta, and rumors circulate it is the Same Old Thing that is Not Ready For Release.

     

    Phase 3:  Game releases and a respectable number of people buy it.  Sometimes not.  But usually.

     

    Phase 4: A few months pass and cue mass exodus of 40% of the player population. Loud cries of Same Old Thing,  No One Is On My Server, This Game Sucks, Paid Beta, Nothing to Do At End Game, WoW Clone But Lacks Stuff I Liked in WoW.

     

    Phase 5: Server mergers, F2P, Item Shop.

     

    Phase 6: Population rebounds a little from F2P.  Some new content added, but mostly aimed at the item shop to boost revenue.

     

    Phase 7: Game languishes while an expansion that should have occurred 9 months to a year after launch isn't ready, while devs putter instead with item shop content.

     

    I'm not seeing an end to this cycle on the horizon anywhere.  There is a reason everyone thinks that each new game is a WoW clone, and why they usually end up annoyed that the new game lacks something in WoW.  It's because WoW is like the Borg.  They had a good game of their own to start with. And since 2004 they have been continually adding more things.  Your game will be assimilated.  If a new game comes along with something people like, Blizzard will add it to WoW.  

     

    Developers.  Either make a game as close to WoW as you can and update the graphics, which is what a lot of people want.    Or make a niche game and keep the budget in check so your niche game will still make money. Or swing for the fences and truly make the Next New Thing that is so awesome we forget about WoW.  These are the choices.  

    MOdern MMO?  This has been going on for a decade at least.

    Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,895Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    Imagine if Funcom had been insightful enough to realize that the triple dip would be crippling to their launch momentum.  The whole TSW / Funcom launch story could be different.

     

    Especially when going head-to-head with GW2.

     

    Honestly I think they figured the partnership with EA would make them tons of money.  Can't say that worked out well.

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by madazz
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Amathe

    I have played a lot of mmos, and that includes several new ones.  I'm seeing a pattern emerge so predictable that you can almost set your watch by it.  

    Phase 1:  People learn a new mmo is coming out, and excitement starts to build.  This will be the Next New Thing. 

    Phase 2:  Game goes into Beta, and preorder bonuses rack up preorder count.

    Phase 3:  Game releases and the majority of preordered accounts are activated.

    Phase 4: Day 31 -  Approx. 50% of the players do not subscribe past the free month.

    Phase 5: Day 61 - If Day 31 hit the tippng point then steady subscription drop continues. If not, numbers hold for a few months and then slowly decline

    Phase 6: Server merges

    Phase 7: F2P or closure

     It's not emerging. It's been almost the norm since 2008.

    The norm? That is debatable. But it certainly has been emerging since then for sure! Maybe if I look into it more I'll agree with you 100% heheh.

    The 2008 date sounds reasonable.  The first prominent western games to start this pattern were DDO and LotRO with honorable mention to Tabula Rasa.  Then the cycle was more prolonged almost like it was happening in slow motion, but it was like a domino effect after that.

  • pmilespmiles Federal Way, WAPosts: 383Member

    You can't make an MMORPG that isn't been there done that because the game framework itself calls for it.  People have been playing them for years... doesn't matter what flavor of the game you've been in, you've been there and oh so certainly done that.

    At least in the clothing industry they wait 10 years before they reintroduce a fashion style again... with MMORPGs they think they can recycle this stuff endlessly without making the market for it even worse.

    People need to step away from MMORPGs for 10 years... only then and only then will something new come out that actually seems to be new for more than 5 minutes.

    Time to put this dead horse to rest for 10 years and get all this MMORPG memorization out of our heads.  You can't do that if you keep playing them.

  • NC-JohnNC-John burlington, WIPosts: 113Member

    Now you know how the modern day seer is able to predict trends. People who have been playing these games over a decade now pretty much can guess based on past releases/trends which way developers are going to go. but it's dangerous in a way to apply it or you get called out for being a troll or hater.

    How many beta testers warned about SW:TOR? many of them did and they broke thier NDA but every game site even this one was fast to remove the post for violating forum rules.. BW/EA NDA was the most heavy handed I ever agreed to sign off on.

    I seen from the get go it was incomplete and contained many mechanics that would lead to revolt once released. Same with SWG. In beta one and two I worked with tiggs forming groups when a profession got updates and we tested it like crazy trying to break it. And when we did break them, my forum post never made it very far without flaming from other players and many of them got locked.

    Modern MMOs and the developers who make them have grown lazy re-creating the same old wheel, it's not hard guessing once they show the mechanics and design how the game will go at release.

    Plus, it's not about copying Wow per-say, it's about the market share that blizzard holds on the genre. But to be honest many of the new MMO developers are starting to move away from taking blizzard head-on. You can't beat blizzard, and just when you think you are, they'll pull the Titan card and we will see an entire industry rush to mimic Titan.

    But i'm still excited for some new MMOs coming, and you always hold out hope and try to look forward to maybe finding that jewel in the ruff.

     

    "Not even a cray super computer can make this game run well. Thats what happens when you code an MMO in pascal. " - miglor

  • madazzmadazz A town, ONPosts: 1,564Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Torvaldr
    Originally posted by madazz
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Amathe

    I have played a lot of mmos, and that includes several new ones.  I'm seeing a pattern emerge so predictable that you can almost set your watch by it.  

    Phase 1:  People learn a new mmo is coming out, and excitement starts to build.  This will be the Next New Thing. 

    Phase 2:  Game goes into Beta, and preorder bonuses rack up preorder count.

    Phase 3:  Game releases and the majority of preordered accounts are activated.

    Phase 4: Day 31 -  Approx. 50% of the players do not subscribe past the free month.

    Phase 5: Day 61 - If Day 31 hit the tippng point then steady subscription drop continues. If not, numbers hold for a few months and then slowly decline

    Phase 6: Server merges

    Phase 7: F2P or closure

     It's not emerging. It's been almost the norm since 2008.

    The norm? That is debatable. But it certainly has been emerging since then for sure! Maybe if I look into it more I'll agree with you 100% heheh.

    The 2008 date sounds reasonable.  The first prominent western games to start this pattern were DDO and LotRO with honorable mention to Tabula Rasa.  Then the cycle was more prolonged almost like it was happening in slow motion, but it was like a domino effect after that.

    I agree, 2008 was when a lot of it started, but I don't think it was the norm yet... of course, just my opinion. Didn't bother to look it up lol

  • tixylixtixylix gfff, TNPosts: 1,207Member Uncommon
    The last time I played an MMO and had fun was 2005 with SWG and WoW but they were both ruined that year and I haven't played one I liked since. I did like EVE back in the day but after Capital Ships I lost interest. 
  • bryzbryz Oshawa, ONPosts: 5Member
    MMOs are just too much grind these days.
  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by XAPGames
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    Imagine if Funcom had been insightful enough to realize that the triple dip would be crippling to their launch momentum.  The whole TSW / Funcom launch story could be different.

    Especially when going head-to-head with GW2.

    Honestly I think they figured the partnership with EA would make them tons of money.  Can't say that worked out well.

    Yeah, that was poor decision making from the higher ups in marketing.  It's too bad because I've found the game to be pretty good.  I love the combat, the world is very immersive to me, and the community is one of the best.

     

    @Madazz - lol, yeah I don't really care enough and I'm too lazy to look it up even if I did.  If we're off, no biggie.

  • MMOExposedMMOExposed lalal land, DCPosts: 6,255Member Uncommon
    levels are boring.

    image

  • Squeak69Squeak69 Colorado Springs, COPosts: 956Member

    honestly i think MMOS are at the make a quick buck stage

     

    Devs KNOW that subs are a thing of the past so know they make a game hype it and get alto of sales right off the bat then sell alot of stuff in their market, then basicly leave a small crew to run it from that point on and focus on the next one, that is the pattern with new MMOs

     

    its sucks and leads to a whole line of half assed MMOs,

     

    to use a old saying they just dont make them like they used to *with love and care*

    F2P may be the way of the future, but ya know they dont make them like they used toimage
    Proper Grammer & spelling are extra, corrections will be LOL at.

  • shmashedshmashed semi, FLPosts: 18Member
    Originally posted by Squeak69

    honestly i think MMOS are at the make a quick buck stage

     

    Devs KNOW that subs are a thing of the past so know they make a game hype it and get alto of sales right off the bat then sell alot of stuff in their market, then basicly leave a small crew to run it from that point on and focus on the next one, that is the pattern with new MMOs

     

    its sucks and leads to a whole line of half assed MMOs

    I definitely agree with you.   MMOs seem to be released now with planned obsolesence.  For a while there in the middle of the last decade, a lot of MMOs got pushed out to release way too early due to lack of funding, or stupid executives.  But now, its almost like they plan to fleece as much money from you as possible before you discover there is in fact, no end game.

    The only lasting endgame any of them have is pvp (if it even comes remotely close to working), which has become increasingly twitch based, as I become increasingly old and uncoordinated :)  Not to mention the vent/TS demands when I just want to chill out when I get home and not listen to mouthbreathers....

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