I’m kind of a big deal

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?

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Darkfall Online, EVE Online, Inquisition Clan, MMO design, Rant. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to I’m kind of a big deal

  1. adam says:

    I might give EVE a come back try and join your corp if my brother decides he’s sick of SWTOR (since I’ve got little interest in making in-game friends in a game I don’t care much about).

  2. Kobeathris says:

    I think one oft he great things about Eve is that PVE or PVP, there is something that a new player can do in a group with experienced players, and all without either nerfing the vets or buffing the beginner. I am not sure how you would go about accomplishing the same thing in a fantasy mmo for example, but being able to jump right into the stuff you friends are doing quickly is huge.

    • dsj says:

      The reason the new player can be valuable is entirely a product of the skill system. The earliest skills are easy and quick to train and are the basic foundation for every combat or industry action in the game. The 30 day player with the basic tutorial provided skills and ships is essentially 75% as effective in the T1 frigates as any veteran, piloting skill not withstanding. With focused and experienced leadership the new pilot can be a valuable team member (see Goon fleet doctrines). In fantasy MMO’s the class / level system dictates that you must be segregated for the content. The exceptions like CoH and EQ2 were descent attempts to get different levels to play with each other but the content “gates” and gear differences play to much of a role in those games to bring those systems up to the mix that the skill system in EVE is capable of by design.

  3. Ahtchu says:

    Choir is ready if you need a breather.
    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’.
    But damn, keep preachin’.

  4. bhagpuss says:

    I hadn’t seen Boatorius’s blog before you and Tobold started quoting/linking it. He’s a little hard to parse, but unless I’m misreading him that “best MMO ever” thing is supposed to be ironic. He doesn’t seem to like MMOS at all. I only flipped through the last half dozen of his posts, but given they had titles like “First Impression of TOR: It’s Horrible” , “TOR: Still Horrible” and “TOR, Horrible and Stressful” I am guessing he doesn’t like it much.

    I think he was mostly referring to the popular impression that since it cost the most of any MMO to date it “has” to be “the best ever”. In that sense I thought he was kind of agreeing with you.

    It’s apparent that MMO bloggers are already dropping off the TOR train, those that climbed aboard in the first place. Melmoth at KIASMA posted today to say he’d had enough after three weeks. Kaozz at ECTmmo said she’s cancelled her account. I do sometimes get the feeling that by the time someone’s sufficiently interested in MMOs to start blogging about them they are already often close to the peak of their affection for the hobby and its all downhill from then on.

    I imagine the general population of SW:ToR are having a high old time. If they get a month or two of entertainment out of it they’ll be very satisfied. Then they’ll move on to another video game, almost certainly not an MMO. Whether enough of them will get hooked to make it worth the whole project having been done this way rather than as a single-player BioWare rpg remains to be seen.

    I might elaborate on this on my own blog tomorrow, if I can tear myself away from EQ2 for long enough.

    • SynCaine says:

      If his ‘best ever’ comment is sarcasm, his sarcasm is an a level so high even I can’t keep up.

    • saucelah says:

      Oddly enough, I started a blog about MMOs because my interest in MMOs was waning and I wanted inspiration to check out free and new products.

      Since writing is actually a bigger hobby of mine than gaming, perhaps I’m an exception that proves the rule.

  5. Rebecca says:

    Count me as one of the people you got to try Darkfall. If I were able to pay in game currency for the account a la EVE, I’d have stayed there. It’s damn near perfect. Damn near. And it’s a shame that their developers haven’t realized it and given it the love it deserves.

    • Dex says:

      Awww, you dropped out of EVE again? You certainly have an open invitation to Our (Syn’s) new Corp if you end up getting into it again, heh…

    • Stylx says:

      Eight trips to WH space with us over the course of your 30 days, doing nothing else, will completely pay for your 30 days of playing.

      Each trip is roughly 2 hours hanging with friends.

      Alternatively, if you do the right Planetary interaction setup, that will pay for your subscription(s).

      • Rebecca says:

        I spent 2 years in a c5 running cap escalations. Running about the schedule you’re describing I was pulling in enough to plex two accounts and still rake in at least a bil a month for pvp toys. Wormholes are pretty much the best things ever.

  6. Ephemeron says:

    I was interested in trying out EVE, but your posts convinced me to stay as far away from it as possible.

    Thank you.

    • saucelah says:

      I wish there was some meat to this comment, so I could understand it.

    • Liore says:

      Same, Ephemeron, although I wasn’t going to bother to post it. I think I would enjoy a spreadsheet-y MMO about building an empire, but reading this blog has put me right off the idea. I’ve already played enough games with unpleasant, overly aggressive people during my years of WoW. I’m too old to put up with that nonsense now. :)

      • Sullas says:

        What’s funny – and I say this as a SW:TOR-loving Republic boy scout type – is that in my humble casual EVE experience, almost everyone I’ve ever spoken to was quite pleasant. There are good reasons not to play EVE, but bad community, so far, isn’t one of them.

  7. Dunwich says:

    Since SWTOR wasnt the game for me I think all thats left is trying out Eve. Any advice for some “must-reads” for a new player? I guess the official forums would be a good start but is there some kind of uberfansite I should take a look at? Any advice for a long day at work?

    • Kobeathris says:

      http://jestertrek.blogspot.com/ is excellent and updates regularly, also his must read blog list is very good. If you are brand new, getting in game, doing the tutorial missions, and asking lots of questions is the best way to get up to speed.

    • SynCaine says:

      Official forums won’t help much, since the topics there are generally advanced (or pointless). The EVE Wiki has some good info, but like Kobea said, the best thing is to just load up the trial, do the tutorial missions, and go from there. Once you find an area that seems interesting (missions, PvP, trading, mining, production, etc), you can look up specific resources. But you need to know the basics and core terminology before those guide will be of much use.

  8. boatorious says:

    Ha! Thanks for the link.

    Yeah, I agree. I am the world’s worst mmorpg customer.

    Pinball MMORPG, though — you couldn’t tear me away from that.

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