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How much money to make an MMORPG?

BestinnaBestinna Member UncommonPosts: 190
Assuming I had every detail planned out like classes, 30 skills for each class, map, cities, crafting table, armor and armor sets, descriptions of quests and questline story, etc., hired around 20 people to program the game, didn't pay anyone more than they were worth, used a prebuilt game engine... all that needed to be done was make the game. how much would it cost to make an mmorpg similiar to, LoTRO, WoW, Archeage, etc.?
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Answers

  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 Member UncommonPosts: 2,770
    edited November 2016
  • BestinnaBestinna Member UncommonPosts: 190
    also assuming i spent very little if any on advertising. i see games on kickstarter asking for only hundreds of thousands. camelot unchained has 2million backed on kickstarter and will be an actual mmo. why are goals not set to 50million if that's what it costs?
  • centkincentkin Member RarePosts: 1,527
    I always thought it would make a good college course to create market and publish a game.  You have a group project with say 80 people across several disciplines.
  • BestinnaBestinna Member UncommonPosts: 190
    centkin said:
    I always thought it would make a good college course to create market and publish a game.  You have a group project with say 80 people across several disciplines.
    k.
  • RobokappRobokapp Member RarePosts: 6,217
    you'd get it done in 10 weeks? Although the game "Portal" was based on was kinda like that...

    image

  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,233
    "how much would it cost to make an mmorpg similiar to, LoTRO, WoW, Archeage, etc.?"

    "also assuming i spent very little if any on advertising."

    The first can't happen without the second. Once you are up in that range, you need the audience to recoup the cost, and that costs advertising dollars. 

    And since you're maintaining a game that has to have those kinds of numbers, you need continued ad dollars to keep new accounts rolling in as the old ones drop out. 

    -- Whammy - a 64x64 miniRPG - - RPG Quiz - can you get all 25 right? --
  • acidbloodacidblood Member RarePosts: 878
    I would say it very much depends on your scope, business model, and how closely the pre-built engine matches your needs. In other words, it's anyone's guess (doubled, then multiplied by 3).

    Also, if you've never released a game (or any moderately complex software / product) I would start with something much smaller and simpler than an MMO; even trying to make an RPG Maker game (like the ones that have infested steam) will teach you way more than you ever thought you didn't know :).

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441
    It really depends on what you are going for. I don't think $2M will be enough even for a cheap game, I am rather sure that Jacobs already had made some work when the kickstarter started.

    Now, something similar to Guild Wars Prophecies could be created for a rather acceptable sum,particularly if you have access to an affordable engine. I doubt you could go below $5M even then unless you can get the devs to work for free. And you need good people for it, particularly the coders.

    Something like Wow is a different matter, it took $60M back in '04 and that would likely take $100M today if you use modern graphics. Wows team was far larger then 20 guys though but I don't think you could make it with less people. A pre-built engien would save you some money but it still would be too much.

    Everquest 2 were far cheaper (I heard $12M but it can be slightly more), you could make something like that for $20M and that includes the engine.Without it you might get away with around $15, maybe even somewhat less.

    But both in Wows and EQ2s case that cost is for the vanilla games, you can't compare with how they are after 12 years of updates.

    I think your best option is to go for a CORPG like GW, DDO and STO. Those are way cheaper to make and if it is successful you can take the earnings and put it into a full fledged MMO, or use your good name and have someone like NC Soft, EA or similar buy themselves into your company to finance it.
  • AAAMEOWAAAMEOW Member RarePosts: 1,373
    Some guy already posted a link.  And you can just search the web for answer.

    I suppose camelot unchained have a small budget.  Consider the leader manage to make dark age of camelot with 3 million budget.  The budget for camelot unchained is probably not up to wow or archage scale. 

    And it is just not the budget to make the game which is important.  You also need to consider how much it take to upkeep each year.  And usually if you don't cut staff, the budget to maintain the game is probably close to the develope cost.
  • IncomparableIncomparable Member UncommonPosts: 1,119
    edited November 2016
    If you want to reduce costs then make the system more dynamic and with sand box elements with advanced ai, and make the story a lot shorter, but you could still have a vast landscape of an mmo with many areas/worlds.

    So more end game but less story. different ways to quests, different kinds of repeatable content;

    mini games, cards, sports, racing,
    pvp,
    raids,
    large bgs with npcs,
    crafting
    housing
    different quest mechanics for dynamic events - puzzles, platforming etc
    character creation - alts and rewarding that

    there is a lot to end game, and people talk about journey, but why compete with journey when there is WoW or swtor, which needed their big budgets and years of expertise to flesh out those stories. Something thats not realized is how well done the Voice actors are for swtor and WoW. They are really iconic and different, and then watch an anime sometimes it feels too cheesy or a japanese VO (dub) even with famous voice actors but the studio and their pairings does not help when their voices almost all sound the same.

    So imo, more end game but it has to be niche, with may be gore/nudity/gambling since the atmosphere is important similar to an IP, and while a sand box can create that with good AI, it would need to be something that draws people in more than the usual mmo with similar end game, and 'good' story or lore.

    “Write bad things that are done to you in sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble”

  • BestinnaBestinna Member UncommonPosts: 190
    edited November 2016
    EDIT: deleted
    Post edited by Bestinna on
  • ste2000ste2000 Member EpicPosts: 6,194
    Bestinna said:
    also assuming i spent very little if any on advertising. i see games on kickstarter asking for only hundreds of thousands. camelot unchained has 2million backed on kickstarter and will be an actual mmo. why are goals not set to 50million if that's what it costs?

    Because Developers are abusing Kickstarter and the likes, knowing that not many would back a game that asks for ridicoulus amount of money.
    Crowd-funding money is supposed to be used to create a working demo to showcase the game concept to possible investors not to fund the whole game.

    An Indie MMORPG needs at least 10 Millions at the bare minimum to pay for a team of 15-20 people for 5 years, Engine Licence fees, Test Servers, Equipment (PCs, Monitors), Software (3D and 2D Graphics, Music), Office Rent, and General Bills (Phone, Electricity, Broadband), and that doesn't include promotion costs.

    You could do it for 5 Millions but that requires developers working part-time and remotely from home with their own equipment, which is what is happening for the majority of Indie MMO in production.
    That's why they are not delivering.
    Working from home and on a part time basis create problem of communication, motivation and coordination, not to mention longer production times, that's why after 4-5 years most games are still in Alpha or Beta.


  • esc-joconnoresc-joconnor Member RarePosts: 1,097
    I personally don't believe an MMORPG can be made with a limited budget. They are complicated beasts and any features you remove severely reduce your possible customer base. It's like making a car. You can  go cheap and choose not to support windows, and turning left, but it who will want to buy it? And yes, that car would be called the Zoolander.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,679
    If you're looking at big budget games as the comparison, you should think something on the order of $100 million.  You can make an MMORPG for much, much less than that if you're willing to chop out a whole lot of things, but that doesn't seem to be where your interests are.
  • frostymugfrostymug Member RarePosts: 643
    The short answer is "if you have to ask, you can't afford it"
  • VesaviusVesavius Member RarePosts: 7,905
    Something like Project Gorgon can be made for a very small budget, but once you start aiming at the GW2 type splurging the cost obviously rises to match. I think, without advertising, it can actually be done on a relatively small budget. Pantheon has made amazing headway on next to no money.

    I think that folks saying 100million is absolutely required to make a decent looking game with realistic goals are tripping.

    The thing is... a dev team that is given 100 million as a budget will find a way to spend 100million. They will hire big name actors to do voice overs etc. Financial management has never been the strength of the MMORPG industry, especially in the fat years when cash was flying in.
  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,146
    I think cost is a direct function of time.

    You can make an MMO, and have it contain all those things, and have it be pretty inexpensive overall to make. But your talking years, maybe even decades of very slow development. Several games have taken off with nothing but an investment of time by their creator -- it's not common, but it has happened.

    Or you can throw money at it, try to accelerate the development (hiring more programmers, using more developed third party tools), and that works up to a point - you hit a definite point of diminishing returns when it comes to money spent versus time saved, it's pretty asymptotic at some magical time investment.

    Now, you have set some criteria - size of a development team, use of some third party tools. You really just need to refine your scope out to build your estimated production schedule (I say that like it's an easy thing, but even experienced veterans in the industry have a hard time doing this).

    At that point, that magically will pretty much get you to your budget: licensing costs, hosting costs, infrastructure costs, publishing and marketing costs, and hardware are all more or less fixed, the big variables will be time, and then that leads your labor cost, your office footprint cost, and your management and overhead costs. And once you add all those costs up, that gets you to the capital requirement, and the cost of acquiring said capital. Then you add all that up, throw some contingency on it for the unexpected, and take it to the bank.

    Most current Western MMOs have had budgets in the 10-100's of millions, and have taken large teams anywhere from 5-8 years of development time. Some come in more or less, it's a big range, but the MMO landscape is pretty diverse. Older/earlier MMOs were on much smaller budgets (high hundred thousands/single digit millions), a lot of that money that today's game costs goes into upgraded graphics, voiceovers, and expanded feature sets that weren't present in games more than a decade ago.
  • blueturtle13blueturtle13 Member LegendaryPosts: 12,702
    $250 Million and I could make Asheron's Call 3 and rule the MMO Universe

    거북이는 목을 내밀 때 안 움직입니다












  • ScorchienScorchien Member LegendaryPosts: 7,569
    Yes!!!   let me know when you start lining up investors:)
  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 37,027
    $250 Million and I could make Asheron's Call 3 and rule the MMO Universe
    Sure, I'll throw in a twenty.  ;)

    "See normal people, I'm not one of them" | G-Easy & Big Sean

    "I need to finish" - Christian Wolff: The Accountant

    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, playing FO76 at the moment.

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

    Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™

    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon






  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,233
    Vesavius said:
    Something like Project Gorgon can be made for a very small budget...
    ...if you have the experience and background that the Project Gorgon dev has. 


    This place is a damn Dunning-Kruger term paper waiting to happen. 
    -- Whammy - a 64x64 miniRPG - - RPG Quiz - can you get all 25 right? --
  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,233
    $250 Million and I could make Asheron's Call 3 and rule the MMO Universe
    An AC1-ish AC3? Yes, please!  :)  
    -- Whammy - a 64x64 miniRPG - - RPG Quiz - can you get all 25 right? --
  • VrikaVrika Member EpicPosts: 6,701
    edited November 2016
    Bestinna said:
    Assuming I had every detail planned out like classes, 30 skills for each class, map, cities, crafting table, armor and armor sets, descriptions of quests and questline story, etc.,
    It would cost a lot more than deleting all your plans, then hiring professionals to do both planning and game creation for you.

    Sorry but ideas are cheap, and unless you've got a lot of professional experience your plan will likely be worse than worthless.
     
  • BestinnaBestinna Member UncommonPosts: 190
    very nice answers a lot of you. tyvm! more opinions and information would continue to be nice
  • anemoanemo Member RarePosts: 1,901

    I've got some post mortems for ya:

    http://cranktrain.com/blog/autopsy-of-an-indie-mmorpg-1/

    http://cranktrain.com/blog/autopsy-of-an-indie-mmorpg-2/

    http://www.over00.com/index.php/archives/1119

    http://www.over00.com/?p=1610

    https://web.archive.org/web/20070106063538/http://www.devmaster.net/articles/mmorpg-postmortem/part1.php

    https://web.archive.org/web/20070106063512/http://www.devmaster.net/articles/mmorpg-postmortem/part2.php

    https://web.archive.org/web/20070106063700/http://www.devmaster.net/articles/mmorpg-postmortem/part3.php

    https://web.archive.org/web/20070106063812/http://www.devmaster.net/articles/mmorpg-postmortem/part4.php

    https://web.archive.org/web/20070106063556/http://www.devmaster.net/articles/mmorpg-postmortem/part5.php

    More Tutorial-ly: https://www.youtube.com/user/RainingChain/videos?sort=dd&shelf_id=1&view=0

    https://hookrace.net/blog/ddnet-evolution-architecture-technology/

    ____

    The answer for those is just LOTS OF TIME, rather than large amounts of cash, and even then some of them were/are lots of fun.

    ____

    It's possible to make an MMO-a-like game with a small team. But even then the projects above weren't "firsts" for their large projects, they weren't in the process of learning to program, and they in general knew the difficulty ahead.

    Very small scale multiplayer is actually pretty easy(3rd programming project in visual basic using winsock controls a decade ago), not even using the winsock control correctly I was still able to get 4 people in a game (new programmer with only a hundred or so hours of programming time). Larger scale difficulty goes up exponentially, which is why you see more thousand player servers over EvE like servers. Also why you see more games going GW1 like over WoW like.

    Even then most small MMO-A-Likes don't really fail for actually failing (having a $100 to $500 a month server expense for a team capable of making an MMO-A-Like isn't really that large at all). It failed from the person/team not wanting to deal with it any more, they look at their game and realize that if they want to add 8 more hours of game play they'll have to dedicate a year to the game, their community and the level of support that they need to give just isn't worth their time any more(especially with minimal compensation). So they just stop.

    ____

    I know that I've read others at different times, just lost the links or similar.   So if anyone has one that I missed just reply or PM me so that I can make a bigger popcorn ball.


    Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

    "At one point technology meant making tech that could get to the moon, now it means making tech that could get you a taxi."

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