Storms, tourist, and failure: The MMO market

2009 is not 2004, yet after reading this post over at TAGN, it sure seems that way. Let’s define the environment WoW launched in first, because John’s recount seems to have forgotten a few minor details.

1) EQ2 launched just before WoW, pulling players out of their established EQ1 communities. While EQ2 now is a very stable game, it was near unplayable in 2004, conveniently displacing the biggest PvE crowd of MMO gamers. WoW, the better EQ1 clone, launches shortly after and avoids the mistakes made by EQ2, mainly the unreasonably high system requirements. Blizzard did not take the MMO crown from SOE, they handed it over on a silver platter.

2) DAoC saw it’s Trials of Atlantis expansion release in late 2003, an expansion Mythic themselves admitted was a giant mistake. ToA basically screwed the game for its core audience, changing the focus from an RvR game to PvE raiding. While still popular in 2004, players were dying for an excuse to leave it thanks to ToA. The pre-launch hype of WoW featuring PvP, with the whole Horde vs Alliance setup (it’s the core of the game, right Blizzard), was a nice draw for DAoC players.

3) UO/AC/EQ1: The big three of the first generation, by 2004 they all looked horribly outdated. UO was pseudo 3D, EQ1 looked like a bunch of blocks fighting it out, and AC was the ‘me too’ game of the bunch. WoW looked like the Mona Lisa compared to any of those games. Not to mention that all three were already deep into cash-cow mode in 2004. The leap in computing power, and the general acceptance of graphics cards by the masses between 1997 and 2004 is not an easily ignored factor.

4) It’s nice to think WoW had this perfect launch, and by 2004 standards it sure seemed like it. If fact, it was so perfect, Blizzard handed out weeks worth of free account time to players due to servers being down for 8+ hours at a time, and server queues of an hour+. If you happen to pick one of the ‘troubled’ servers in the early days, it was not uncommon 3-5 MONTHS after release for that server to still be down for extended maintenance. Had SOE launched EQ2 anywhere near playable, all those WoW players watching their server status in red might have had a place to go, but in 2004 WoW was it. Taken out of that perfect environment, what would happen to a new MMO today if their servers were down during prime time for weeks or months after release?

5) WoW was viewed as a sequel of sorts to Warcraft 3, the most popular RTS game at the time, meaning it not only entered the market when MMO fans were looking towards the next-gen games, but also brought a swarm of internet-ready gamers looking to continue playing a Warcraft game. It also launched during the economic boom of late 2004, long after the fallout of the dot-com era was over.

In short, late 2004 was a ‘perfect storm’ of sorts to launch an MMO. The current king shot himself in the foot, removing himself right before your arrival. The previous king told his core audience to screw, and gaming itself was moving out of its nerd niche and into the mainstream thanks to Sony and the Playstation brand. Oh yea, and WoW was a great game.

But let’s keep that greatness in perspective. WoW is not 10x better than LotRO/EQ2/WAR/EVE, and because of that amazing greatness it has reach its 4-5 million US/EU players. It’s a polished EQ1 clone, and it’s a pop sensation, propelled by its own popularity. It’s the equivalent of Britney Spears in music, Titanic in movies, or The Sims or Myst in gaming. You reach a certain popularity point, and people buy it because everyone else is doing it. The masses are lemmings, this is not news.

And those same lemmings now are indeed the MMO tourist population, jumping into WAR and thinking the sewers in Aldorf are going to be The Deadmines, or that RvR will be sitting and waiting for them whenever they log on, be it during prime time or 5am on a Monday. That the same pattern they followed in WoW will apply to any and all future MMOs. Then they will turn around and demand innovation, but only if that innovation is as polished as the copied, refined, and safe features they are use to.

To bring things back to John’s post, he wrote: “You can cry “jaded gamer!” all you like, but for what other audience was WAR shooting?” 300k IS the jaded gamer audience, 4-5 million is the non-MMO-playing casual market, and a portion of that 4-5 million will take one month trips into each new shiny that launches, only to return home regardless of their recent vacation spot. It also helps when you release a paint-by-numbers expansion for a content-starved game, packing 2 years of development time into an upfront, quick, and ultimately shallow experience, another market condition that simply did not exist in 2004.

That line John talks about at the end of his post is not the line between success and niche, it’s the line between casual gaming and the MMO market. As THQ recently learned, chasing that casual market is not as easy as it seems, and while you might get lucky and strike it rich, more often than not the lemmings won’t even notice you.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Asheron's Call, Console Gaming, Dark Age of Camelot, EQ2, Lord of the Rings Online, MMO design, Rant, Ultima Online, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Storms, tourist, and failure: The MMO market

  1. Hudson says:

    Meh

    WAR is clunky, clumsy, laggy and boring. The interface issues, mailbox and other problems at launch caused by a crappy client that changed little from beta annoyed the hell out of me. WoW worked fast and was sharp on release. To this day in WAR (at least 2 months ago) I STILL could not see axes I was throwing, or my bow when I shot an arrow.

    I mean Christ a damn free MMO like Runes of Magic can even get this crap right. And that bug was STILL there on launch day from beta. Sloppy, boring, and crappy PVE are what plague WAR.

  2. syncaine says:

    “WoW was fast and sharp on release” – No, it was not. We just like to think it was. You could not loot items at launch, you would get stuck in the kneel animation for hours, you could not find a single quest mob in the starting areas due to the abysmal spawn rate, and the game was a slideshow in Ironforge at launch and up until they added AH’s to the other capitals (which was what, a year+ after release?). A slideshow that makes current 600+ person Fortress sieges look like a dream. That’s all assuming the game was up, which again it was not for LONG periods weeks/months after release. Not seeing an axe thrown seems a bit small compared to a server chain crashing or the game preventing you from advancing.

    To this day and 2 months ago might as well be an eternity for a new MMO, WoW or not. I’m not saying the game is perfect or for everyone, but lets at least be a bit more realistic here.

  3. mandrill says:

    Finally someone tells it like it is. WoW is not a gamer’s game. Its a casual game designed and aimed at those who are not really gamers. Other MMO’s should stop trying to go for the non-gamers and think about what a real gamer really wants from an MMO. Darfall looks promising, Jumpgate less so.

  4. Wilhelm2451 says:

    You can’t have it both ways Syncaine. You can’t say WoW was this shining beacon in the midst of crap and then go on about how WoW was itself crap at launch.

    And perfect storm is an excuse. Some of your points have an air of truth about them, but they over state the reality of the time.

    One of the things that happened was that a lot of people from EQ did jump to EQ2… and then jumped right back to EQ and remain there to this day.

    And finally, this falling back on insulting people, these “WoW Lemmings” you’ve now started to call them, is just unmitigated BS. If Mythic had made a better game than WoW, then we wouldn’t be having this exchange. But Mythic made a 2004 game in 2008, just as Turbine made a 2004 game in 2007 with LOTRO, and they’re now getting the market segment that they deserve.

  5. Wilhelm2451 says:

    @Mandrill – So nobody who enjoys WoW is a gamer? Find me somebody who really believes that please, because it smells like bitter resentment from here.

  6. pitrelli says:

    Syncaine having more of a pop at WoW surprise surprise…. Look mate if WAR is that bad that you have to constantly deflect away from its shortcomings just leave!!!

    WAR has had the advantage of releasing after many previous MMO’s have been released and you would think they would have learned from their mistakes and had the correct technology and systems in place or perhaps they might have had the foresight to make sure they had enough content to release a full game…… or not.

    You also have to remember WoW is pretty much open world except for instances and different continents so id imagine it will be harder to keep that stable than zones broken down by area.

    And if someone can explain how WoW is not a gamers game I would like to see it. I play plenty of games be it console or PC and for me WoW is the ultimate game.

  7. syncaine says:

    WoW was crap at launch compared to NOW, but back in 2004 a server being down for 12 hours was better than one being down for 24. My point with all that is everyone likes to think a new MMO should play like WoW 3.0, and that’s just not possible. WAR technically had a great launch (servers up, possible to get to 40, no major gamebreaking bugs), but stuff like players chain-queuing scenarios, ignoring some PQs, etc you can’t really predict until you go live (think how different beta players played WAR than how it’s played now)

    And I strongly disagree that if Mythic had made a better game, they would magically get WoW numbers. That’s not how pop culture works, and we have countless examples of that in all markets. Just providing a better product/service does not guarantee you the top spot. It’s nice to think that’s how it works, just like ‘doing your best’ is a nice thing to tell kids that’s all they need to succeed. Reality is far different.

  8. syncaine says:

    And it’s not that NOBODY playing WoW is an MMO fan, its that they are the minority in the 4-5 million sea of players. Look how quickly the toughest content was taking down by any guild with half-decent players, or how amazingly short the new content is for the average gamer. Who was WotLK for, MMO fans or Joey Casual who can’t beat the final boss of a BC 5 man?

  9. pitrelli says:

    WAR will never get WoW numbers because the game simply isnt good enough. Now you can argue otherwise till your blue in the face or call us WoW players lemmings and belittle our point of view all you like but little takes away from the fact that after release they couldnt hold on to over 50% of people who purchased a box.

  10. pitrelli says:

    So you cant be an MMO fan if you only play casually?
    What blizzard have cleverly done is make content more accessible for casual players who previously may not have had the change to do a MC run or Onyxia. Do I agree with it? to an extent I do and on the otherhand I dont. Lets see if people vote with their feet and head off to another MMO.

  11. Einherjer says:

    “Finally someone tells it like it is. WoW is not a gamer’s game. Its a casual game designed and aimed at those who are not really gamers.”

    I’ve been commenting that ever since the casual vs hardcore debacle started. I always said that the issue was not casual vs hardcore but gamer vs non-gamer.

    Put it in another way, the vast majority of WoW players are not there to play a game but to be entertained. Same as people going to a Brittney Spears “concert” or rent Titanic. They don’t want music or cinema, they want entertainment. And if there is anything a tad less obvious in the music or movie they all cry foul.

    Such is WoW. And no. There will never be a game ever again with that kind of subscription numbers. There will be, yes, theme parks with joyrides for everyone to which the only skill needed is to press 3 buttons in the right order and the occasional left or right when the fire is below their feet. And they will feel great and accomplished and that will be the challenge for the designers: to maximize that feeling in a trivial set of chores.

    True games for gamers will have to stay out of the big bucks but my only consolation is that technology is cheaper each year so production costs should come down making small niche games profitable. That’s how we have independent cinema and independent music made for non-retards (yes, i know I’m being a douche here).

  12. syncaine says:

    That’s what you don’t understand Pitrelli, they won’t head off to another MMO, they will go back to their Wii, or whatever pop hit comes next. Why do you think WoW has the highest churn rate in the space, if it’s such an amazingly deep game?

    Which factor is responsible for new people trying WoW, Mr. T saying to try it, or the newest instance or class change? Blizzard is not marketing WoW to the MMO space, they are chasing the masses.

    They made a good game, got picked up by pop culture, and are now riding it for all it’s worth. Congrats to them, a healthy mix of skill and luck made a bunch of people rich, but lets not confuse that with the overall MMO market please.

  13. pitrelli says:

    Well i would go as far to say that WoW is alot deeper than WAR.

    To also say that people after leaving WoW wont try another MMO is just hearsay, this is down to personal choice. You cant cry about someone playing Warcraft then chosing not to play WAR after they have left WoW, for some WoW may be their first taste of an MMO and they may not like it.

    I myself do think WAR has potential but im sick to the back teeth of WAR players thinking that they are the dogs bollocks and we WoW players are something you scrape off your shoe.

    What also worries me is you are making out MMO players are a ‘special breed’, were we not all ‘normal’ human being before we ventured into MMOs? Of course we were, if Blizzard want to advertise on TV to attract the next ‘generation’ of gamers then they are free to do so. Its not an exclusive club and im all for new players joining the ranks

  14. Slurm says:

    Do you like Coke or Pepsi? Or, do you like one of the various other cola’s on the market?

    Arguing which is the better game is pants on head retarded becuse its all in what you like. I played WoW but couln’t get into it because I didn’t like that Blizz took a game that was at its core meant for PvP, and made it, IMO, too accessible.

    Theres Gamers, and theres Casual gamers. WoW delivered for both crowds. Even with the faults that fogged the window it had on launch, people could see the game they wanted if they rubbed the glass hard enough. And the people were willing to wait for it until the kinks got worked out.

    WAR is my game because I love the lore,setting, pvp, etc. I know its got some faults, but im willing to wait for the game to catch up just like people were in 2004 for WoW.

    If you like WOW, its ok. You can still be a gamer. Blizz made high end content for you. Just know that alot of WoW’s population fit the casual crowd more than you might.

  15. Swift Voyager says:

    Yes, Syncaine. Pitrelli is a perfect example of what you’re talking about here. An MMO is a huge and complex piece of software and the same can be said about the server systems. There’s no “off the shelf” systems that a developement company can buy to create an MMO. An FPS developer today can simply go out and purchase a license for the Unreal Engine, while an MMO company can’t do that. The servers are the same situation. Everything about a new MMO is prototype technology. It takes time to work out bugs in the dev tools and hardware infrastructure, as well as the game code. After several years of using and refining those back-end systems, those systems become better and the developers become better at working with them. The typical WoW player expects this level of developer competence on day one from a new MMO. Pitrelli’s comments illustrate this very well. I really don’t see how WAR’s being released after many other MMO’s helps them. The back-end systems used to create WAR are not borrowed or bought from Blizzard. They were created from scratch, just like every other new MMO. WAR isn’t dying, it’s growing more stable and more complete. I don’t play WAR so I’m not a fanboi, but I can clearly see that WAR had a great release. WoW fanbois like Pitrelli can only see the features that WAR didn’t have at launch and the bugs that haven’t been fixed yet. From an outsider perspective, what I see is a game that had a very respectable list of features that worked well at launch, with many other features coming online within the first six months after release.

    Pitrelli, the massive crowd of people who joined WAR on release day didn’t leave because WAR sucks. They left because they didn’t intend to stay in the first place. I’ve seen so many people say something along the lines of “I’m going to try game xxx while I’m waiting for the next yyy game to come out”. Unfortunatley for MMO companies, this creates a financial problem. That huge influx of users creates server and customer service demands that won’t be sustained beyond a couple of months after release. It’s money down the drain to build infrastructure in a service business if your subscribers aren’t going to use that infrastructure. That then leads to degredation of service for the people who may be making a decision to remain subscribed or not. The effect of massive numbers of people who don’t plan to stick around is devestating to the forums as well. They’ll say anything they want because there’s no reason for them not to.

  16. pitrelli says:

    @ Swift Voyager

    So I am a WoW fan boi now? Fair enough your entitled to your own opinion.

    You state people didnt leave WAR because it sucks? Again that is your opinion which you are entitled to just like the many who did leave because they believed WAR did indeed suck.

    And the systems they used werent bought from blizzard they had them from DaoC ….. lessons learned? Naw

  17. Van Hemlock says:

    All seems to be getting a bit abstract to me:

    “Put it in another way, the vast majority of WoW players are not there to play a game but to be entertained.”

    Eh?

    I’m not quite sure dismissing 4-5 million ‘Entertainees’ as irrelevant helps this kind of discussion really. Instead, we should be trying to bridge the gap, educate these potential guild and groupmates, grow the genre and all that. Folding arms, scowling and calling everyone lemmings (retards, whatever) for not sharing a *vision* seems like it’ll just exacerbate whatever underlying problem there is here.

    Incidentally, as far as I remember, all five of your observations indeed seem accurate. I tend to give any new game a few months before jumping in, but by the look of it, you’re suggesting we should give WAR four *years* to hit it’s stride? Or that because of Big Dumb Stoopid WoW, all bets are now off for *everyone* and we should all just go home?

    Interesting insights; would love to read more on positive and inclusive ways forward, for WAR and in general!

  18. Nat says:

    I still hold to the fact that WAR lost numbers because it is not a very good game. You can blame WOW tourists all you want, you can say WOW had some magical perfect storm or that Mr. T told people to play so they played because everyone in the world is so damn stupid they do what the TV tells them but they are all just bullshit and excuses for the truth. Even the idea that WAR is a 2004 game released in 2008 is not really the issue. The issue is WAR is not fun and is shallow as a puddle.

    This idea that WOW players are not real gamers or MMORPG gamers is crap. WOW is deeper and far more complex and hardcore than WAR ever thought of being. On a side note, I think this is something a lot of MMORPG’s get wrong – they cut out things that are old school that WOW left in. When you take these things out it makes the game seem pointless and shallow. This drive to make these games more casual and easy does not seem to be working.

    WOW (Blizzard as a whole actually) has a special something that most games don’t. It’s the same thing the separates Pixar from other studios that make animated movies. It’s the same something special Disney had 50 years ago.

    WOW did not start off with millions of subs. It didn’t come out of the gate with TV ads. It grew through word of mouth and hit a critical mass that launched it into pop culture (EQ kinda did the same thing but media and the internet was more primitive back then so it didn’t have as big a reach as WOW). It grew through word of mouth initially because it was a good game.

    This idea that WOW is some pop culture, talentless creation of the media like (insert flash in the pan pop star here) is crap. The game is 4 freaking years old and keeps getting better. Shouldn’t it have faded away and became tragically uncool if the above is true – like New Kids on the Block or some shit?

  19. Swift Voyager says:

    hehe, sorry pitrelli, i couldn’t resist the fanboi poke. No offense intended, just having some fun with you.

    Since I didn’t play WAR I don’t have an opinion of my own. I was looking at ratings from the game press when I said that it didn’t suck. I know they are biased to some extent but overall reception of WAR was positive, even amongst the jaded blogging community. Heck, even the eternal pesimist and Eve fanboi, Syncaine, has given a thumbs up to WAR. :)

    I’m going to stick by my opionion that a huge number of release-day WAR customers didn’t plan to play the game long-term. I’m basing that from my own personal experience, and not really any actual data. I could be wrong but it seems to make sense that people will eventually go back to whatever game they call home, and that most people won’t maintain very many subscriptions at the same time. I know that I missed my character and my friends in Eve when I left for a few months to play Wizard 101. When I did return to Eve, the warm welcome from friends there was a real pleasure. It felt good to go back. I am sure I won’t return to Wizard 101 because I tried it and I couldn’t help but compare it to Eve every time I logged in. That’s just human nature, and it’s not a character flaw to be a fan of something you enjoy, so count me as an Eve fanboi if you like. :)

  20. pitrelli says:

    No offense was taken, I criticise WoW when needed ( TBC expansion for one) however I feel WAR fans need to concentrate on their own game and look closer to home as to why WAR has been a relative failure (in some peoples eyes).

    I feel too many of Syncaines blogs these days could/should be renamed

    ‘Don’t blame it on sunshine. Don’t blame it on moonlight. Don’t blame it on good times. Blame it on the World of Warcraft’

  21. Darraxus says:

    I got War the day it came out. I went back to WoW. I had a number of reasons.

    1) Was that my old rig couldnt really play it at the level that I wanted it to.

    2) Was that I found the game to be pretty boring. I didnt like the quests, the chat was wanting, the Auctionhouse feature was terrible, and I like to PvP, but the fact that I HAD to PvP was a bit irking.

    Everyone likes different things. War did some nice things, but WoW was a much better game IMO.

  22. PTD says:

    More flailing from Syncaine, why am I not surprised. I know it’s tough to watch your favorite game not do nearly as well as you hoped, but you should honestly quit wasting time on the blog bashing WoW. Is it just for the readers? Do you do it to get hits? Why don’t you just talk about WAR?

    As far as WoW’s launch, it wasn’t perfect. But it was pretty damn good. You want to know what the major problem was at launch? (And just so you know, I’ve played since closed beta, and I was there on day 1.) There were so many more damn players than even Blizzard expected. WoW exploded on day 1 with more players than they even dreamed, so they didn’t have the hardware to support the load. If you were there, you would remember that they rolled out a ton of new servers immediately, but then had to wait to procure more hardware to open more. It was unprecedented.

    Now, about this whole “gamer vs non-gamer” crap. What a load. Ok, we get it, you don’t like WoW. I’ve got news for you, games ARE entertainment. Whoever claims otherwise isn’t playing with a full deck. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that there is a whole lot of skill involved in ANY MMO. Success in the MMO world is based almost exclusively on one thing, time invested. Don’t act like there is some special technique that only the real “gamers” know to succeed in an MMO. That’s crap.

    If you’re looking for a game based on skill, fire up an FPS.

    I guess I’m not surprised that you have a hard time admitting that WoW is, in fact, a good game. NOBODY had the cohesive, beautifully drawn, highly detailed IMMERSIVE world that WoW had at launch. Nobody. LOTRO came close, but they didn’t quite get there. WAR? A joke in terms of immersion. Boring landscapes, poor, out of sync animation, paltry PvE content. They had to frigging GUT the game to get it out, and now they’ve sold you this old stuff as “new” classes, and you’re eating it up. Sure, scenarios are great, but if that’s what you like you may as well be playing an FPS.

    Now, I don’t blame Mythic. I KNOW that their vision was different. The problem is the suits had to get a product out, so the dev team had to make some tough choices. It sucks, but that’s the way it is. It didn’t help that they had to basically start over halfway through when the first beta was complete crap.

    Ya know, I don’t want to sit here and bash your game, but I can only take getting hit in the head with a hammer so many times. I’m no lemming, and I AM a gamer, and I love WoW.

  23. TheRemedy says:

    While this wasn’t your main point but one could also argue that all mmo gamers are casual gamers. I have successfully played both wow and warhammer (not at the same time) while eating a sandwich and watching a movie. I can’t say the same for any shooter/shmup/strategy game I have ever played. I mean really, it doesn’t take effort to accumulate gear and press the 1-5 keys.

  24. Swift Voyager says:

    Well, according to mainstream media, WoW does eat children, cause unemployment, kills kittens, and turns nice people into psychotic gunmen who rampage through office buildings. It’s hard to argue with that, since it’s obviously true.

    In response to Van’s comment about learning lessons and improving: I think WAR is going to turn out to be just fine as long as financial troubles at EA don’t kill it prematurely. Mythic seem to be on the right track as far as releasing a steady stream of updates and expansions, fixing bugs, and making balance changes. You really don’t want to add a whole bunch of systems at once or make a bunch of bug fixes all at once either. As opposed to an off-the-shelf retail game, an MMO can actually benefit from taking its time on bug fixes. Players may actually stick around to see how the game gets better over time as things get fixed. It’s a bonding process between the players and the game. Each patch is a carrott leading the players towards the next subscrition renewal. The feeling that they’re getting something for their money.

    You know, there’s one MAJOR factor that you missed in your list at the top Syncaine. When WoW was released, people were just really starting to “learn” how to buy stuff online. The average consumer was just getting used to the idea of a subscription game at that time. Best Buy had just started keeping an actual section for subscription games, and WoW was the king of that section by far. The explosion of internet sales and online subscription services around 2004 had to be a major factor. Think of all the other big names in internet service providers that really exploded at that time. Online insurance companies, Amazon, I-Tunes, and the list goes on. The consumer market was primed for an online game at that time like no other time in history. Online services in general were the “new shiney” of that era.

  25. Ska says:

    The box sales show there is a big demand for a new player in the MMO market. The fact War couldn’t keep their players subscribed shows they didn’t have it. End of story. Any business that trys to say they are losing business because their customers don’t know what they should want is bound for failure.
    I actually played war through beta and it was a lot more fun than when the game went live. The L33t players that showed up ruined the feel and the fun of the game. Even with the bugs and lack of population in beta we still had a lot more fun.

  26. smakendahed says:

    Hi, I’m a lemming. :)

  27. Pingback: Lemmings Play WoW… « Random Ogre Thoughts

  28. Placebo says:

    “I’m no lemming, and I AM a gamer, and I love WoW.”

    For some reason I can not get the image of Stuart Smalley saying this over and over again into his mirror!

  29. Mikejl says:

    IMO WoW still has not achieved “polish.” No player housing, outfit or armor dyes. Its starting to look tarnished to me.

    Don’t get me wrong I loved WoW and had some great times .. howver it’s the Pop Music of MMORPGS now and WAR is Heavy Metal .. and these days:
    I want to rock!

  30. Einherjer says:

    @TheRemedy

    Great, do that while raid healing in Brutallus.

    @PDT

    And here’s the news for you: a game is where you have an objective and you have to use your skill and wit to overcome it. Take the difficulty of it and it just becomes sight seeing. That is why some people trek in the mountains and other people like “long strolls on the beach.” Those are usually the ones who “like any kind of music as long as it’s good and upbeat” or love to read for they “loved The DaVinci Code.”

    Hurrah for profitable mediocrity. But don’t fret: you guys have won already, that’s where the money is. Be happy that your shallow tastes are catered for but don’t even begin to tell how great of a game it is or how deep.

    Hey, everybody likes a Big Mac once and a while. And then there is the vast majority that goes there day in day out. But at least they don’t pretend they are eating gourmet or healthy food.

  31. Bonedead says:

    IMO old school MMO players > WoW players (enmeshed players are the 9th wonders of the world)

  32. Herc says:

    WAR is so hardcore! If your playing WoW you are a zombie with no taste in games! RAWRRR!

    /sarcasm off

    Call me crazy here but I thought people play games for entertainment, thats why you call them gamers? O_O
    Or you’re only a gamer if you play “hardcore”? Get some sun.

    FLASH NEWS – alot of people actually plays WoW because its fun not because everybody is doing it. Now now don’t get a hearth attack WaR fanbois.

    Of course people will play to try out other games. Jesus! Is that illegal? If those new games can’t hold their subscriber base then that’s their problem. They can’t tell me how to have fun.

    Also hardcore skilled mmo gamers? plz what a joke. Like one commenter said it doesn’t really take much, seriously. This is not a jab at all hardcore players(be it WaR or WoW), I hate to break it to all of you leet players but it’s not that hard.

  33. Einherjer says:

    More and more i wonder where did all the amount of QQ saying Karazhan was too hard in the beginning came.

    It takes no skill to raid just time, great. I can hardly wait until 15 of modern day raiders go back and steamroll AQ40. Should be easy if you’re level 80. Flawless even. Just read the strats on the webz, watch some ‘tube videos and voila, AQ40 in less than 4 hours just for sightseeing.

  34. Guy says:

    “You could not loot items at launch, you would get stuck in the kneel animation for hours”

    You make it sound like it happened every time. I played WoW from 1 week after launch to 6 months after, and this happened about 10 or 15 times total, mostly in the span of a month when they had the problem.

    Your contemptuous attitude towards WoW “lemmings” is counter-productive.

  35. Jim says:

    Wow. I do not understand why people get so bent out of shape. It is only a game. With that said. WoW players are a bunch of cry babies. Always using the “But we have 11 bigillion players” line. OOOOOOOO AAAAAAAHHHHHHH you are right I bow down to your Superior game. Please let me play it. The Sims have more players then WoW does that make it better. How about some of these no talent ass clown bands are they better because they have more people listening to them?

    I want one feature that is actually better in WoW. One that it did not steal from some other game. ONE!

    I am not saying that WoW is not a good game but the reasons every one is using are seriously flawed.

  36. i must be a tourist says:

    I bought WAR the evening it was released in Australia. Pity all the WAR disks sold in AU and NZ were defective.

    I was furious. This was my first experience with the game. They sold me a coaster.

    I eventually found an unofficiel beta patch that fixed my problem, and got the game working. After four weeks, with my main reaching tier 2, I was faced with the choice of continuing WAR or returning to WoW.

    Guess what I chose.

    Perhaps in another 6 months I might return to WAR to see if it has improved.

  37. ciarlaoch says:

    Personally, I think that WAR is the better game by far. It improves upon the MMO formula in the way that WoW improved upon the MMO formula years ago, but it also incorporates alot of the great aspects of DAoC that no other company has bothered with and implemented the ToK, PQ’s, and really made RvR accessible as well as the primary focus of the game.

    Ultimately, I think the real problem is that the vast majority doesn’t realize WAR is an option. When I played WoW just 6 short months ago, just prior to WAR’s launch, I was a member of a midsize guild. One day some of the 70s were talking about how much they wished WoW was more PvP oriented and that Blizzard had given them more content that provided PvP opportunities in the game, both small scale and large scale, as they did not enjoy any aspect of the game other than Arenas and BGs but wanted more content. When I mentioned that WAR might be worth checking out in a month or two, they responded with “What’s WAR?”.

    Not only does most of the market, aka most WoW subscribers, not know what other options are available, many are simply “not looking”. They want WoW to change to meet their wants and don’t consider the option of trying a new game. Those that do venture to new games either find what they’re looking for, or return to WoW and complain about how much the newer games failed to deliver what they wanted. WAR would be much more successful if the majority of it’s target audience knew it existed.

  38. Nees says:

    “WAR is clunky, clumsy, laggy and boring.”
    Imo it’s really as simple as this, qouted from the first response on this post.
    I’ve tried WAR, twice. I love the focus on PVP and they way it’s implemented, especially the ORVR part. But the gameplay is just too much of a turnoff to keep me playing the game.

  39. Malakili says:

    I think the comments are getting WAY off topic here. The point here, is that WoWs success is not due to being a superior game ALONE. Its not about whether WoW is good or not. Its about the fact that WoW has become a pop sensation. The average WoW player isn’t going to analyze game mechanics of new games and determine if they want to switch or not. They are playing WoW because its popular,because its the game to play. There is nothing WRONG with that. But it is wrong to suggest that WoW is simply the best game on the market simply because it has the largest player base. Its also wrong to compare the success of other games against WoW becuase it is a totally different beast.

  40. Gwaendar says:

    All of this is all fine and dandy, but superior features != fun. The difference between box sales and subscription numbers tell just one story: 25% retention rate.

    Those 75% who left don’t give a rat’s ass about things like Mythic and their fanboys telling them that they shouldn’t expect 2008 WoW-style polish on a new game, that they should be content with a launch on par or barely better than 2003 standards, that they shouldn’t expect the first instance to be fun, and that they should embrace the Vision, enjoyment of the game be damned.

    WAR is a very successful Western MMO by the numbers if you would just make abstraction of the ridiculous expectations as a “WoW-Killer” piled up by part of the blog pundits and the senseless hype to the same effect coming from Mythic’s own PR dept and CEO. Setting completely unrealistic expectations is the best way to generate the perception of failure.

    From there, you have two choices. The first is to address the reason why 75% of the box buyers didn’t find the game fun enough to stick around. The second one is, unsurprisingly, to find fault with them. Guess what, only one of these will eventually lead to a better game, and it ain’t the latter.

    There’s definitely a lesson for every producer working on their second or third MMO here. Their new game won’t be judged by how much they improved over the lessons learned 5 years ago, but by those of today’s market. Trying to fight the new war the same way as the previous one with some improvements is exactly what the Maginot line was doing, and we know how that turned out.

  41. Gooney says:

    I guess I don’t really get the point of the main post.

    Is it that WAR is a failure is because WoW is a success and that the success of WoW was due primarily to the “perfect storm” MMO market of 2004?

    Or is it some long apology for WAR’s under performance?

    All MMO’s succeed or fail by virtue of their quality, marketability, and the business plan that drives the product.

    WAR’s quality is arguably average, average in just about every respect.

    WAR’s marketability and business plan are the true problems here. An RVR specific game is by definition a niche game, the War Hammer IP is and always has been a niche IP.

    The business plan driven by both EA and Mythic from the get go was aiming at mass market appeal, they expected to position themselves in exactly the same market segment as WoW.

    See any problem with that expectation? I do.

    Niche + Niche != Mass Market.

    This is why WAR will under perform relative to corporate expectations, and why Jacobs and company will scramble and dance to explain it.

    DAoC was a great RVR game, ToA did not destroy the game it changed it, but by the time that ToA was released DAoC was literally bleeding subscriptions. RVR is not enough of a draw to hold a significant majority of players for very long.

    -Gooney

  42. Heiki says:

    Precisely why a new RvR/PvE end game experience will be added in WAR for those who seek PvE with a twist.

    I quit WoW Wotlk the day PvP was no longer an option (hello rogues 3 shotting everyone) and PvE was just gearing up so you could… gear up some more through boring and seemingly endless Naxxramas nights.

  43. Centuri says:

    Overhype Underdeliver. That is why WAR lost 2/3 of their players after the first few months.

    You seem to forget that DAOC launched in 2001. Mythic had 7 years of MMO experience going into the launch of WAR and is working on their 8th year now. I am not sure how you can say they deserve so much slack to be cut for them.

  44. MD says:

    I just don’t understand these posts? I have been gaming since before there was an “A” in D&D. I have seen thousands of games come and go; popular ones and unpopular ones. I remember when Wizardry on the Apple ][ was THE game. I have also seen web flame wars. This seems like the later in which people with the inability to say what their real point is, spend time slamming others with no touch to reality.

    Not everyone that tried WoW loved it; same it true for WH:AoR. That does not mean that 100% of them are idiots, or lemmings, or whatever else over generalization you wish to delude yourself with. I am convinced that both games have a mix of great players and total idiots. Both games have people that hate them and people that passionately love them. Honest discourse though, is not possible if you want to over-generalize and ignore this.

    What are you really trying to accomplish? Flaming, denial, and bad mouthing everyone is not a way to make me want to listen to points about Warhammer. Quite simply, I can turn off Barren’s chat, I am having fun with mature friends in a top guild, and you are making it seem like Warhammer is not a game to consider.

    Perhaps you should back off on the ad-hominems and engage in a proper dialogue? Or is that beneath you?

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  46. lith says:

    Your logic of “people will buy WoW just because it’s popular” doesn’t apply to pay to play subscriptions.

    There has to be something about WoW that hooks 10 million people in way that they keep subscribing, otherwise WoW drops down to 300k subscriptions.

    Generic, cookie cutter “lemmings” argument fails.

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  49. Mr.T says:

    Very nice read/debate. I see we have succefully polarized. Overall math is simple
    WAR:WoW :: PvP population:PvE population. Simple as that. I do have to say that the condescending attitude shown towards ex or “touring” WoW players just makes people making such arguments look really juvenile.

    I quit WoW after 4 years of very hardcore raiding and cleaning out Ulduar. I have/had an active WAR subscription for a while. I hit 40 on 2 toons in WAR, now what? There in lies the issue I think. Also, being force fed RvR doesn’t make it fun. I am trying LOTRO now but it has some very annoying features that I doubt will help me continue playing that game. I am sure as hell not going back to WoW but have yet to see another game fix issues and address issues (barring shammy issues :P) as quickly as blizz has. My 2cs.

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