Darren has released Shut Up. We’re Talking #32, and the podcast focuses on Warhammer Online and the recent back and forth debate about the game and its place in MMO land. It’s a great show and well worth a listen.
One thing I got out of the show was a better understanding of Darren’s (and perhaps Brent’s) reasoning behind their stance on Warhammer. It further made me believe that Darren and others are not burned out on WoW or whatever current MMO they are playing, but rather MMO gaming in general. Darren made a statement along the lines of ‘WAR won’t fix WoW burnout’, and for him, it won’t. Darren is hoping FreeRealms or other upcoming MMOs do something very different, because for him the traditional MMO game is no longer of interest.
That is of course a very valid stance, and certainly a void could be filled by an MMO-like game that changes up things enough to make it totally different. But I don’t think MMO burnout represents many people, and in turn won’t have much impact on WAR. I believe most of the people burned out on WoW are still very much into MMO gaming, and hence will see WAR is a cure for WoW burnout, rather than ‘more of the same’. They don’t view hotbars, going up levels, class systems, itemization, etc as old features that need to be replaced, they view those as key components to the games they like.
To use an example, take Grand Theft Auto 3 and GTA 4. GTA3 was release in 2001, yet GTA4 is very similar to GTA3 despite being released in 2008. Fans of the game will point out the numerous improvements of GTA4 over 3, but if we break the two down, like we do WoW and WAR, we can easily call GTA4 ‘more of the same’. You could even argue GTA4 is far closer to GTA3 than WAR is to WoW, and yet GTA4 is one of the most successful games of all time, both critically and financially.
My point is that if you are just burned out on a genre, like Darren is with MMOs, no matter how great a game within that genre is, it still won’t do it for you. Instead of seeing the step forward made with RvR or PQs, Darren can’t get over the fact that WAR still has tank/healer/dps. It’s the equivalent of playing GTA4 and not being able to get over the fact that you still have to steal cars and shoot guns. Where is a GTA that does away with guns and cars and brings in new gameplay? To fans of GTA, that question sounds as crazy as asking to do away with the hotbar in an MMO. Or asking how such a talented studio like Rockstar Games (makers of GTA) could spend all that time and money and ONLY come up with GTA4 instead of a ‘next gen’ game. Fans of MMOs were not looking for Mythic to reinvent the wheel, we were looking for DAoC2, and we got it and more.