I often state that I’m kind of a big deal. I usually say it in jest, but for this post I’m being serious. I’m kind of a big deal. Some facts (since those are trending of late).
At last count (and most likely still true) I was responsible for getting more players to try/buy Darkfall than anyone else through the Community Publisher Program. Over 100 people followed my link and put money in Aventurine’s pocket while I was actively blogging about the game. And the CPP was not around right after launch, while I was blogging/generating interest from day one. I also don’t have a count of how many people returned/resubbed, because they don’t show up on my CPP page, but I’m guessing that’s a sizable number as well.
In EVE currently we have 15 or so people in my Corp right now, with a few people waiting to get in (war-dec, more on that in another post). Almost all of these people are either new to EVE, or returned due to this blog. The Corp has been around for over a month now, and only one member that joined has gone inactive. In addition, more than one member has multiple accounts, and a few used the PLEX fast-forward feature, in part thanks to Corp-inspired goals. We show no signs of slowing down. Actually, we are just getting started on a number of initiatives (more on THAT in another post as well).
Now, you can either design games intended for long-term retention for people like me, or you can design them for people like this.
And let’s be very clear here, we are talking about games whose business model is based on retention. On collecting that 15 bucks a month. If you want to create the next Skyrim, that’s a different topic.
The sad and ultimately futile trend over the last few years, at least in the AAA themepark space, has been not to attract people like me into the game, but to prolong the stay of the ‘others’. Feeding them welfare epics was attempted and failed. Allowing them to faceroll all of the content was attempted and failed. Dumbing down classes, skills, stats, gear; all attempted and failed. And now, in (hopefully) the final and most costly attempt; voice. Get paid actors to drone (get it) on and on, hopefully long enough to stretch the content beyond a few months. It’s laughable, in a tragic kind of way.
It’s tragic because the real source of endless content has been known since 1997 (and even before that). Players ARE the content in an MMO. Endless, ‘free’ content that not only keepings people subscribed, but gets their friends to join in as well. Without the need to pay Mr. T or Chuck! Or can be, if you allow them anyway. Which is why things like certain instancing, phasing, and quest-chain design is just so wrong on such an elementary level. It’s why voice/NPC-story as a pillar is a joke. SW:TOR never had a shot of being a successful MMO, no matter how enjoyable the stories were, how strong the SW IP is, or how highly regarded BioWare was prior to this release, because of it’s fourth pillar. They might as well have included a “Game Over” screen after the 1000th blaster shot to the face kills Vader.
Is it 6 months yet?