Former MMO blogger Tobold (I still say I won that bet) is polling his readers about how long it takes them to hop in/out of an MMO. It’s a funny read as usual, especially the comments.
A comment a made over at Keen’s blog applies here, so I’ll just copy/paste myself:
MMO blogging would sound a lot different if the year was 2004, and we were thinking back on the last 7 years of the genre, rather than 2012 and the last 7. Hopefully the 2019 7 year review is a bit better.
And what we see over at a casual site like Tobold’s is exactly this; WoW players bored of WoW. And they believe that the MMO genre is only that; solo-hero themeparks that you level through and then grind gear with bots/randoms. It’s sad really.
Of course those who have been playing MMOs, who know the genre goes a wee bit deeper than Azeroth, understand the fundamental flaw here. Long-term, themeparks are boring, but themeparks (as they stand today) are borderline MMOs at best, and so it’s not surprising that players don’t stick around for months on end in what is essentially a single player game. SW:TOR is blatant about this, but its peers are not all that different. I love Skyrim, but long-term it can’t compete with an MMO no matter how great of a job Bethesda has done, and Skyrim is one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played.
And before you suggest that it’s the players who have changed from 2004 to today, take a look at MMOs that have remained MMOs. EVE is 8 years old and doing better than most. Darkfall is three years old, and despite not getting a real update in about a year, still has an active population and a sequel/overhaul on the way. Wurm Online has its population (with a recently added server). Are people really going to be that surprised if GW2, assuming it delivers, retains players beyond the 3-month themepark burn? Looking outside the genre, how long has LoL been the most popular game out? How many people are STILL playing Counter-Strike or some older version of CoD/BF?
The belief that today all players only stick around for a month or three, regardless of the game, is blatantly wrong. Certainly a subset do, as Tobold makes pretty clear, but that’s just a case of aiming at the wrong target audience. That the recent crop of MMOs, cloned from WoW, are only worth playing 1-3 months, and attract the Tobolds of the world, well, yea, that makes sense. People burning out from SW:TOR in weeks rather than months was predicted by anyone with a clue years ago.
Assuming the themepark trend is finally past us, and the realization that WoW is an anomaly based as much on timing/luck as design has sunk in, the MMO genre should return to being an interesting place going forward.