Tobold, after all these years of blogging, has finally figured out that it’s more fun to troll WoW fans than it is to provide for them. Welcome to the club.
My trolling aside, there is one thing I would like to expand on. In this post, Tobold predicts a solo-only WoW in 2020 (reasonable, given Blizzards update pace). Half take it for what it is, the other half can’t wait for the day. I welcomed Tobold to the MMO niche, to which Tobold replied:
I’d argue that wanting to play *with* other players is a different niche than wanting to play *against* them. So while I’m not moving into your niche, maybe we can consider ourselves as neighbors.
Now there are few interesting bits here. For one, you can’t play against people in a game like Darkfall without also playing with them. And I don’t just mean playing with my clan against another, but even the clan we are fighting. We are fighting a known group rather than whatever team some queue matched us up against. Rivalries happen, forum wars become an active part of the game, and victory or defeat mean more than just a +1 on a scoreboard. That is massive multiplayer interaction, the very raw and basic principle that separates an MMORPG from a single player game or some online lobby. It happens whether we are talking about a clan war in Darkfall, a market war in EVE, or a friendly-but-not competition in ATitD. Regardless of the rule-set, competition against others makes for great content, content MMOs deliver in spades.
Random, cross-server dungeon pugging is technically group content, but only technically. It generally totally lacks any of the social aspects of group content, and as Tobold’s post shows, many wait for the day where they can replace those anonymous humans with bots, if only because bots don’t go afk, don’t play ‘bad’, and don’t ninja-loot. And while I don’t want or need those type of players in whatever MMO I’m playing, there is no doubt a market for them as WoW has shown. A market much larger than that for those who do wish to play with and against others. But at that point, we are no longer talking about an MMO, at least not by my definition.