GW2: Retention fails

My retention post about GW2 had some interesting if not unsurprising responses. Perhaps the MOST surprising (but not really) part was how varied the ‘why’ explanations were.

The easiest justification was that GW2 will have fluff to ‘grind’, and since fluff-grinding worked in GW1 (not an MMO, according to Anet), fluff-grinding will work in GW2 (an MMO, according to Anet). And I kind of agree. I’m sure that for a good number of people, chasing a weapon skin or some cute pet will totally work for them for X amount of time. Hell, for a smaller subset of that group, collecting EVERYTHING will keep them busy EVE-style long-term. And so long as new fluff to grind is introduced, this can continue. Granted, we are basically talking about raiding-style gaming but with the epics replaced by puppies, but hey.

Another justification was the one that some MMO fans always fall into: Anet will add more stuff ‘soon’. If I have to explain why this one falls flat on its face, you must be new here.

Then there is the ‘the gameplay is fun!’ thing. Let’s pretend GW2 combat is not WoW combat with a dodge feature. Let’s pretend it’s something really new and great and totally not WoW with dodge. Even in this fantasy world, how long do you think gameplay itself will keep you playing? Better yet, think back to the last non-MMO game you played with amazing gameplay and ask yourself how long you played that. If the answer is not 6+ months straight, gameplay is not the answer to retention (which is not to say it’s not important overall, but we are talking retention here).

An offshoot of the above is “But people play LoL long-term based on gameplay”, which is true. But there is a reason LoL is a MOBA title and GW2 is an MMO. Two very different things. Even GW2’s sorta-MOBA-like WvW is really not. MOBAs work based on gameplay because they are balanced, start fresh, and contain almost countless possibilities in terms of how a match plays out. Banging on a keep door is how WvW is going to play out, with the major variable being whether you are playing the FOTM class/build and owning or playing the gimp-of-the-month and watching your screen go 50 shades of gray on you (how topical of me).

What GW2 does have going for it (based on beta anyway) is solid design and gameplay, which is partly why so many are so excited for it. GW2, by almost all accounts, looks like it will be a fun game to play. And if ‘fun game to play’ is all you are aiming for, then retention is irrelevant. Except that if you are making an MMO (which Anet has stated GW2 is), retention is… kind of the point. Tortanic would have been a great little sRPG if it had not been pitched as an MMO, and everyone knows it.

So I still thing retention is something to keep an eye on as related to GW2. The lack of a sub fee might make tracking it a bit more difficult, but if only a few servers ‘matter’ in WvW 6+ months after release, we will have our answer.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Combat Systems, Guild Wars, MMO design. Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to GW2: Retention fails

  1. Nazgum says:

    Well, personally I disagree with your initial assessment that progression equals retention.

    In WoW, most people I knew never made it far into endgame (including myself); but they continued playing for long periods by rolling many alts, because questing and exploring was fun. Most people I knew stopped playing wow because they became forced to do something else in the game they did not like after they reached level cap (primarily raiding)

    In DaoC, few progression options were initially offered, and it had great retention as you mention. Arguably, their first real retention scare (other than WoW) was when they introduced the Trials of Atlantis expansion, which forced progressions on players to stay competitive; later they released their classic server without this which became popular, despite lacking progression options.

    LoL, TF 2 and many other games remain fun for long periods retaining players with almost no progression offered…

    I would argue most mmos have retention issues because they fail to recognize which parts of their game players enjoy and, rather then focusing on those aspects, instead resort to forcing something else entirely upon them.

    Guild Wars 2 isn’t doing this, and, providing their game is actually fun to play, I believe they will do well.

    • Dril says:

      So, you failed to read his post, then (I’d phrase this as a question, but you either didn’t read it or didn’t actually take in anything that was written, which leads to the same outcome).

      Let’s try again:

      “Better yet, think back to the last non-MMO game you played with amazing gameplay and ask yourself how long you played that.”

      GW2 does not have amazing gameplay, for pretty much anyone who’s played a game before. MMO vets aren’t going “WOAH! I can spam my autoattack manually and I can dodge some attacks by *rolling*!? Totally shakes this formula up, man!” Non-MMO players will probably be wondering why a flurry of gunshots/axeblows/magic missiles doesn’t kill that bear instantly.

      “Fun to play” will not cut the mustard when you’ve already been playing it for years, and when ANet doesn’t release a new class every two weeks to try out.

      • Ano says:

        So you don’t think GW2 is pushing the genre forward with directional combat, dynamic level adjustment, cross class combos, and no requirement to group up.

        GW2 won’t be all things to all people but it is doing a lot of things right in a genre that is starting to self-implode. It is also a wakeup call to other companies that continue to sell dying subscription based MMO’s.

        • Dril says:

          Pretty sure:
          -Rogues had to stand behind people to backstab back in Vanilla WoW.
          -Many other games have had mentoring before, Rift already auto down-levels for Instant Adventures.
          -Abilities interacting with other abilities? Sounds totally new.
          -WAR did PQs back in ’08.

          It’s not a wake up call just because a lot of rabid sheeple have got themselves hyped up. If that was the case, SWTOR should have been a wake up call, too…

        • coppertopper says:

          Actually I was thinking Nazgum not only read and understood the post, but also thoughtfully answered with well reasoned points and real world examples, and all you are doing is bringing trollish comments.

        • SynCaine says:

          I mentioned why DAoC had solid retention (RR) and he said DAoC did not have a lot of progression.

          I said why LoL does not need progression, and he used LoL as an example of a lack of progression.

          I don’t know, sounds like he missed some key aspects of the post to me.

        • coppertopper says:

          lol he said DAOC “initially” had no RR rewards, which is true. How do you get “he said DAoC did not have a lot of progression” from that?

          And if WvW is only knocking down doors, than how can LoL be successful at all since its all about knocking down a single tower to win the game?

        • coppertopper says:

          Actually just found this in the wiki. I dinged Level 2 of a rank during spvp and was wondering what it meant:
          http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Rank

        • SynCaine says:

          The initial progression in DAOC was getting to lvl cap, which was not insignificant (how many people went into RvR prior to the cap?). Not to mention the item grind. To say that DAOC did not have significantly longer/grindier progression at launch than what GW2 will have at launch is… yea.

          Knocking the door down in LoL is fun because I have 80+ classes to do it with, with 4 others, against 5 others, in a game that is ONLY about ‘door knocking’. The more people bring up LoL as a defense for GW2, the more I feel they are giving up the point.

        • coppertopper says:

          So given all these games have a level grind and some sort of gear grind, is your arguement about GW2 lacking an end game carrot? I am definately convinced that gearing up 1-80 will take either luck thru drops or crafter friends, and that is the gear you bring to WvW (until you have 1 max level crafter in each profession blah blah).

        • SynCaine says:

          If you want to call progression an ‘end game carrot’, then yes.

        • coppertopper says:

          Well you referred to DAOCs 1-50 part of the progression so can’t really discount GW2’s 1-80 as insignificant either. WoW seems to make getting to max level the easy part so you can start “the game” but for so many, getting to max level is “the game”. Yes once you get that max dps weap at level 80, there will be the question “whats next?”. For some the answer will be satisfying – delevel to help friends get thru dungeons, rank up in PvP, help your server in WvW, work on faction to get titles and weapon skins. How many will be disappointed not to be one of the few to own the highest DPS weapon in the game, when all have the same DPS and only some art tells the difference between who put in the most effort is the big question. From what I have been hearing, once people get there legendaries in WoW they leave due to fatigue. Could be the same here, but there is a lot of depth to the entire game – not just end game – and no sub, that retention shouldn’t at all be the same issue with the monthly sub games. That $15/mo is a big factor.

    • Nazgum says:

      well to be clear, I read your post and the one you reference; I mentioned daoc and lol because I disagree with some of what you said about them…

      I feel your new points on lol are a bit off also, so for discussion, I would argue lol does not have 80+ classes, but 4: support, ad carry, bruiser and mage. I mean really, how different are most ad carries to play; if you swap out graves for vayne is it really that different? Are the differences between ad carries in lol that much different then, say, the differences between rangers in gw2, which each may fight with different weapons, traits, items, skills and racials?

      Even mages, which I would argue are the most diverse in LoL, really aren’t that different in most cases; they are primarily squishy, bursty cooldown dependent ranged classes with usually 1 cc ability. That description would really suit 90% of them, and they are the most diverse option. And again, would likely not offer more variance then you would see between necros, elementalists and mesmers factoring in weapons, traits, etc.

      I don’t feel the variety in that sense matters much, lol succeeds for different reasons gw2 needs to pick up on; and personally, I played lol for about 18 months and only played two champions (kat and poppy) – http://www.lolking.net/summoner/na/22359817 – because, well I guess I’m used to mmos and having a single character to focus on and enjoy that…

      I do agree if gw2 becomes simply “banging on doors” the game is destined for failure; I personally have no interest in sieging keeps with zergs, or battling other zergs, and hope there is more to do in the pvp zones for smaller groups of players like they suggest.

      • SynCaine says:

        I see your point, I just 100% disagree with it. A master at Vayne won’t be 90% as good with Graves, so they really are not that similar once you really ‘get’ them. But more to the point, even if they were somewhat similar, the fact that they play with 4 other champs is another huge factor. In GW2, its mostly going to be zerg vs zerg, and in that situation it might not even matter what class you are, let alone what weapons/traits/whatever you are using (that’s by design btw, because anyone can be part of a zerg, while its too hard for most people to get even decent at something like LoL)

      • Nazgum says:

        Well, what I mean by this is, take Vayne vs Graves and the variations between them…

        Then compare that variation to the amount you would see between different rangers in gw2, which have different weapons equiped, different skills, traits, items, racials, etc.

        imo, the variation between rangers is far greater. And you can apply that across the board for all “classes” in both games.

        And in gw2, they do have 5vs5 spvp, just like lol, if that is what you are after. I definitely agree that if all gw2 boils down to is zerg vs zerg it will likely fail; but they seem to realize they need to provide other options, they have stressed there is much to do in pvp zones for solo/small groups, and there is 5vs5 spvp; so hopefully that isn’t the case =)

        • SynCaine says:

          I view it as: if I want 5v5 PvP, I play LoL. If I want MMO PvP, I (hopefully) play GW2 with 20-30ish guildies. That’s the context I’m viewing the PvP in, so while I know GW2 will have smaller instanced-based stuff… not the point IMO.

        • Nazgum says:

          Well, I guess my initial point of this sub-discussion is that lol does not succeed based on its variance of character options; there will be just as much in gw2, and there is arguably just as much in past mmos (such as wow, which has horrible pvp imo); so variance is not the key. imo lol succeeds because of gameplay, its rewarding, easy to get into and has depth if you invest time.

          I’m personally hoping gw2 small combat is fun, easy to find, and basically a lol replacement; I have no interest in zerging; even in warhammer which had a pretty flawed pvp design, there ended up being a lot of small skirmishes available when you looked, and those were incredibly fun.

        • SynCaine says:

          As much as people complain about LoL having too many champs, without them the game would get very stale. I think release new champs so often is why the game is still so entertaining after a year+.

          But now we are WAY off topic :)

        • Nazgum says:

          hehe agreed =)

  2. Lyss says:

    Aside from the Fact that its an MMO, would it be bad if I get just 4-6 Months out of it? It would be bad for ANet, maybe It would set a bad example etc, but is it bad for me as a player?

    It costs me roughly 50 euro to buy it (dont know the dollar price and how much that is worth in other goods). That is cheaper then the next Tales of … RPG I will buy fpr my ps3, and I think this wont last 6 Months.

    Since there are no monthly sub costs I can play as much as I want so where do you draw the line if a games worth it or not?

    Of course it is an MMO, and as such it should have a longer appeal then the 6 months but do you feel screwed over as a customer if you dont get more then 6 months fun out of it?

    • Slow Dave says:

      If you play for 2 months or a year it makes very little difference to Anet, just as long as you buy the next expansion. The important part is enjoying the game to a point where you are interested in new expansions i.e. where Anet make their money.

    • SynCaine says:

      Core MMO aspects (guilds, server community, server/game history) don’t work if most people just jump in for a month and jump out.

      I play MMOs in large part because of those aspects. If your goal with GW2 is to solo/stranger see $60 worth of content over a few months, cool.

  3. bhagpuss says:

    It’s going to do fine. It isn’t going to go vertical like WoW did and the people who’ve convinced themselves it will may see that as a failure. It will be soundly profitable and it will be around for years. ToR was, as you rightly pointed out from the start, a predictable disaster. This is a predictable moderate success.

  4. ausj3w3l says:

    I think it will be an amazing casual game, and I think retention in this case should be drawn from the fps genre rather than mmo as many of its core mechanics and side projects are taking there ques from them. It allows you to group with friends whenever without the being needlessly prohibited due to level or quest and it shares the lobby system for it’s pvp mini games as well (Personal Servers and all.)

    Retention being based on your average manshoot is probably more appropriate then as it not only shares these mechanics but also similar pricing scheme (DLC and all) and the sense of progression being brought about by gaining more unlocks rather than being all mighty and powerful.
    I actually think it is the gear grind that inhibits much of player retention in the traditional mmo as it promotes that all or nothing approach to gaming and prohibits people from being able to just pick up and play when they have some idle time.

    • Ano says:

      “I actually think it is the gear grind that inhibits much of player retention in the traditional mmo as it promotes that all or nothing approach to gaming and prohibits people from being able to just pick up and play when they have some idle time.”

      This is a big issue for many people. I think by levelling the playfield and removing gear grind it will encourage people to continue playing. GW2 won’t appeal to hardcore endgame focused levelling monkeys who have no interest in world exploration and storylines.

      • Actually world exploration and story lines are 2 of the finite sources of entertainment that can limit retention.

        When you’ve seen the world and experienced the stories you have to wait for more content to be added. (See also: every themepark MMO ever)

        Unless you are suggesting that the world and stories in GW2 are going to dynamically change over time as they would in a sandbox game?

  5. Ravious says:

    I’ve played TF2 for a few years. I’d guess half of my hours are in one map (Hightower) because I find it fun. There is only a scintilla of progression in the game, and I would go to achievement servers for that.

    More and more, I’d rather have fun than progress. I’ve found in most video games there is always progression. Next star system, next level, next skill, next unlock. But, having fun is not always necessarily present.

  6. João Carlos says:

    Syncaine,

    You get wrong about asura and sylvari and their starting cities not being present at launch.

    Maybe you get a big surprise about the retention rates…

    Anyway, you say we are “rabid fanboys” (yes Drill, I am talking about you), but we played the game… we aren’t “rabid fanboys” because we saw a cinematic trailer with jedi and sith fighting to death…

    The source of hype is not the same now.

    Anyway, the MMO genre need change, the WoW clone model is a dead end. But you need get rid from your illusions, the sandbox PvP MMO will not be the solution, Darkfall proved it. Something need be done to the themepark model or MMO will die.

    • Ano says:

      João
      To be fair to Dril there is a lot of hype surrounding GW2. Not at SWTOR mouth-frothing levels but still there. But this has been based on three very solid beta weekends and word of mouth has been a big factor.

      GW2 does offer a solid play experience with a variety of things to do. People need to moderate their expectations though. The big test will be once the new player freshness wears off after the GW2 launch. Like GW1 I believe GW2 will have a solid core of players that will continue to play the game a year after release.

      I personally enjoyed every moment of my BWE experience in GW2. I have not had that feeling since when I first played WoW back in Nov 2004 and to a lesser degree LOTRO when that first launched. I did not have that same feeling about SWTOR even with all the fancy lightsabre sound effects. Eve Online whilst having moody music and lovely space effects left me cold and I prefer reading about it here rather than playing it.

      It is obvious the devs have put a lot of care into crafting GW2 and this is reflected in the environments and variety of classes. It is a good game regardless of what people expect of it.

      • ausj3w3l says:

        Haha you’re kidding right, the amount of hype induced rabid fans out there is mind blowing, Tor pales in comparison… I wouldn’t even dare stepping foot in GW2 Guru and say even an offhand comment about how it might not be the messiah off mmo’s

        It is definitely a solid experience but even I don’t think it can live up to the level of expectation that’s been placed upon it… Its going to be great sure but there will be dissapointed people for sure.

        • João Carlos says:

          As I wrote above, the hype is coming from who played the betas, not from a cinematic animation tv spot.

          And if you cannot understand what is happening, GW2 had 300 k pre-purchases at first BW. Two weeks ago it had 1.1 million pre-purchases. We can only try imagine how many pre-purchases the game will have until 25th august.

          That pre-purchases were caused not by a cineamtic trailer, or by a very know franchise (that lightsaber one, for example), but from word of mouth…

          Something big is happening, that is the reason why Blizzard put the patch at 28th.

        • Dril says:

          People playing the betas doesn’t mean they aren’t rabid fanboys.

          It just means they’re even more moronic because they can’t actually analyse what they’re playing (because, let’s be very clear here, if you take GW2’s feature set with its exact implementation, put it into a game not called Guild Wars 2 which hasn’t been hyped up by ANet’s ridiculous hyperbolic manifesto and then present it, people will not give two shits about it.)

          And, as you say, it will be fantastic to see how many pre-purchases there are come the 25th; especially if that number is lower than SWTOR’s. Then I’ll be laughing my ass off.

        • Anonymous says:

          @Drill,

          players playing the betas are turning to what you call “rabid fanboys”. There are a lot of posts at Reddit about players that stoped to play any other game after play one beta, they simply cannot play any other MMO. You can see one or other post about players that said hated the GW2 “hype”, then played a beta and now are enamorated to the game.

          I remember the age when EQ was called Evercrack. Some players are showing the same symptoms now with GW2. Everytime Anet anounces a new stress test you can see comments at Reddit about the “fix”…

          Remember too that GW2 have pre-purchases, pre-order and at launch day people will buy the game. No one knows how many copies will be bought at launch day (28th), only anet know how many copies were pre-ordered, but there is a trick (just look for at google) for know how many copies were pre-purchased. The only advantage now for pre-purchase is the 3 day headstart and the stress tests, that are open for everyone that pre-purchase and are happening frequently (there is other stress test today, 15th, so it makes the 6th stress test since BW3).

          So, the total copies sold will be the pre-purchase (problably more than 1.1 million now) + pre-orders (only Anet knows it) + launch sales. As I said, we can only imagine where that sales numbers will go…

          A thing important to take note is that at BW1, the game had 300 k pre-purchases, at BW3 the game had 1.1 million. That growth don’t come from cinematic spots, and that growth don’t come from a famous franchise. That growth of pre-purchases come only from word of mouth. And it is good emphatize it: “word of mouth”. That is not a phenomena that happens fequently.

          It is important to know that BW3 had 1.1 million players from pre-purchase more 200 k players from free beta keys. If Anet is greedy they can just try an open beta before launch. IMHO, if they try it, you will get mad with the huge quantity of “rabid fanboys”.

        • Aerynne says:

          @Dril

          Of course DW2’s numbers will be lower than TORs. After all, there can only be one “greatest innovation in gaming ever” … “akin to the advent of sound in motion pictures.” We all know that once you try TOR, you “have trouble playing any other MMO on the marketplace.” What game could possibly complete with an MMO based on the world’s most popular pop culture IP, coupled with a game the developer of which repeatedly assured it us it is the most bestest game evah!

          Hype is high for GW2 but it pales in comparison to the slavering predictions made about TOR by Bioware/EA. We all know how well that turned out for TOR. Every game has fanbois who will defend their game to the end (even TOR!) but I have not seen Anet do anything that compares to the ridiculous hype machine Blizz/EA unleashed on the world in the weeks leading up to TOR’s release.

        • SynCaine says:

          ‘Dynamic’ event hype aside, Anet has been pretty level about GW2 (from what I’ve seen). That said, what a lot of GW2 fans have been saying about the game, well, they make EAWare sound modest at times.

        • Dril says:

          @Syncaine:

          The GW2 manifesto video is anything but tame. Go watch it and chuckle at how little of it they’ve actually fulfilled (even though MMORPG.com posters seem to think they have).

        • João Carlos says:

          @Drill

          It is not only the MMORPG.com posters that think that Anet manifesto video was fullfilled. It is pratically everyone that tested any BW. And that is more than 1.1 million pre-purchasers.

          Just look at any GW2 forum, as reddit. The hype is not coming from Anet, they don’t put the marketing machine at full speed yet. As Syncaine said “[…] Anet has been pretty level about GW2 (from what I’ve seen).”

          That is the point: the hype is coming from players that tryed the BW 1-3, not from Anet marketing machine. Anyway, we have hints they will launch a cinematic trailer (or a “in game” trailer) soon, maybe before launch. If they get greedy, they will make an open beta before launch.

          Be warned that if they really try an open beta, the number of “rabid fanboys” will multiply…

          @Syncaine

          “[…] a lot of GW2 fans have been saying about the game, well, they make EAWare sound modest at times.”

          Yes, that exactly what is happening. I agree, you can blame me or any other “rabid fanboy” at any other blog or post.

          But take note: that GW2 fans PLAYED the betas. They saw the game. As I wrote above, the Anet manifesto video was fullfilled. If you don’t want believe me, or the otehr 1.1 million players that pre-purchase the game and played the BW, it is your problem.

          I know you want a sandbox PvP game that try return to the time of UO, but that will never happen. The sheep now have a lot of other MMO for run off, the wolves will have only other wolves for fight, and the population of wolves is only 10% of MMO gamers.

          The solution for MMO will not be a sanbox game. someone need fix the themepark model because the wow-clone model is a dead end.

        • SynCaine says:

          @João: I’ve preordered GW2 and played the BW. I think GW2 is a fun game, well worth the $60 price. INQ will be playing it in force as will my wife. Also at no point was I under the impression that GW2 would be a sandbox or anything like that.

          I just wonder (read: I’m not sure) if GW2 will be all that some people believe it will be. By the sound of some people, they are expecting 2004-WoW (by 2004 standards) in terms of awesome, and I did not see that, nor do I see it in the design.

          Again, good game, worth playing and all that, but it might very well end up just being a nice game that entertained a little longer than the usual themepark. We will see.

        • João Carlos says:

          @Syncaine

          From what I saw at the 3 BW, GW2 is working the same as Evercrack when it had 400 k peak number. And a lot of players are comparing the same feeling they have with GW2 to Vanilla WoW.

          However, GW2 is not a WoW-clone, the game is enough diferent for a MMO player get confounded at the first hours of gameplay (“where are the ‘!’ NPCS?”). The DE system can be a lot chaotic at the first hours playing before players learn to “surf it”.

          So, the question is: you tryed only PvP at GW2 or you had time for explore* the PvE? I am asking it because I know you are a PvPer hardcore.

          *the correct word here is “explore”, it is how GW2 PvE works.

        • Anonymous says:

          @João Carlos, who wrote:

          “The solution for MMO will not be a sanbox game. someone need fix the themepark model because the wow-clone model is a dead end.”

          I disagree, because I believe the solution for MMOs IS a sandbox game, with themepark elements. It does not seem to me that the two are mutually exclusive. SWG, a game I loved (even, yes, after the NGE, though that took time), had elements of both. Nor do I believe that sandbox games are solely for PvPers, though that may be a more natural fit.

          An MMO that provides an open world with a high degree of player automony, that provides players with the tools and opportunity to make actual changes to the game world and still provides some optional “guided” elements for players who prefer to quest their way through a game could be a great MMO. It is certainly one I would like to play, if done well.

        • Dril says:

          I’m not entirely sure you understand my point.

          It does not matter if they have ***PLAYED THE GAME*** or not.

          What matters is: are their rabid ravings anywhere close to the actual game that’s exhibited? Lolno. Do a large swathe of them even acknowledge that the game has any flaws, any flaws at all? Absolutely. Do the rabid fanboys invade threads about other games (most recently Wildstar: “ughhh hotbar trinity combat, this is off my radar already, im so glad GW2 has already fixed this, even if I have no idea how this will actually play out in controlled group mechanics) completely uninvited and in far greater numbers than any bandwagon before this? You bet.

        • Dril says:

          *Absolutely not.

        • SynCaine says:

          I completed the first human ‘zone’ and most of the second. Got to level 20ish (I think), completing the solo story quests as well. Tried two other starting areas as well. Did both styles of PvP. Again, the game is good-enough, but nothing as “gotta play this right now forever” as UO in 97, AC in 99, or even WoW in 04.

        • ausj3w3l says:

          @joao Carlos and @ANON

          The future is definitely sandbox elements, nothing else will ever sustain the masses for long. I think though that themepark elements will be needed for people to aclimatise though.

          Also a proper pvp sandbox would sell no doubt… Eve is relatively niche with its setting and it has a large constant subscriber base. The issue I think is the silly all or nothing approach. FFA full loot or nothing, why not different servers for different options

        • João Carlos says:

          @awsj3w3l

          The problem is that THERE IS a PvP sandbox: Darkfall. And Darkfall is 100 k playerbase. PvP sandbox will be niche game, wolves like it, but sheep will stay at other MMO.

        • ausj3w3l says:

          Considering it was completed by a new indie studio, with a miniscule budget and staff compared to many I think it has done remarkably well… better then many that have tried.

          what I was trying to say is that these mmo’s like darkfall would do far better if they had various rulesets such as ffa partial loot, ffa no loot, hell maybe even a pve server..also why not apply that philosophy to other games. Why the hell cant gw2 have one pvp server

        • João Carlos says:

          @awsj3w3l

          if players REALLY want a sandbox PVP MMO, they were playing Darkfall, being indie or greek or whatever. CCP is Icelander and indie too, they financed the creation of EVE with a gameboard.

          Basically, only a minority dreams about a sandbox PvP with full loot and ffa. If a big company waste money at that model we will just see a HUGE financial disaster. a financial disaster that will make sure no investor waste a cent at any sandbox MMO forever, and too at any other MMO. Your dream will prove be a nightmare.

          Read this article from Heartless Gamer http://www.heartlessgamer.com/2012/03/problem-with-modern-mmo-pvp.html

          It is impossible to return to the golden era of UO where sheep and wolves lived at same MMO, not peacefully, because at that era the only MMO that existed was just UO. No one had other MMO for go. It is not surprise that when EQ was launched they syphoned UO players…

          There are a lot of diferent MMO at market and the sheep will just go to other MMO, leaving the wolves alone at the sandbox pvp MMO. If someone try to waste $ 300 million to make a sandbox pvp MMO, that company will discover that they will go bankrupt fast.

          If any indie company try to create a sandbox pvp MMO, they will just discover they are eating the playerbase of Darkfall (there is only wolves there now), but geting no new player to the market. Bad for the company, bad for Darkfall, both will lose money. 50k players will not cover the cousts for both companies.

  7. Shiolle says:

    In a way, those MOBA games are really the distilled formula of WoW as MMO, the final destination where Blizzard is taking their game. When you extract battlegrounds from WoW and water down gear and level progression, you get something similar to world of tanks or LoL. On the other hand, TOR shows that WoW with watered down endgame gameplay is almost a classic RPG.

    The dynamic events of GW2 seem to be a small step towards the PVE sandbox, which would be indeed something really new in the MMORPG genre. Unfortunately, I’ve heard Arena Net doesn’t really push the concept much further. Yet, if the initial game is good (fun), they will have time to further advance in that direction (if Arena Net sees that as their goal at all).

    • SynCaine says:

      DoTA predates WoW :)

      I’ve also argued strongly against calling the ‘dynamic’ events in GW2 a sandbox-like concept. They are still very much on-rails PvE, just in a loop with a few possible tracks to go down.

  8. Brand/advertising gets the initial attention.
    Gameplay/feel gets short term retention (up to 3-6 months).
    Long term retention only comes from human interaction, be it via eSport/PvP, MOBA or a group of people with whom you regularly play.

    GW2 will lose a bundle of people after month one because it is non-subscription and people can park it while they play the next WoW expansion, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they hold on to enough non-WoW players through the gameplay mechanic so that the human element can build up as the WoW players dribble back after getting their panda-fix.

    • David S says:

      Andrew,

      I think you hit the nail on the head with your first para. I completely agree.

      But I’m not sure GW2 will get long term retention through human interaction in the same way WOW did/does. In the absence of something like raiding which requires collective organisation in order for it to work, what incentive is there for stable guilds etc to develop? So far as I can tell (which may not be far – haven’t played in beta), the collective stuff in GW2 is all set up so people can easily opt in or out and no regularity or guild organisation is required. That seems to me to make it much harder to develop the sorts of regular and repeated interactions between people that prompt long term retention.

      Maybe they will settle for short term retention after each expansion.

  9. theJexster says:

    It’s fun, not the second coming, but better than what we have been getting fed for years now. It’s better than WOW and does a number of things to move the genre ahead about half a step. Long term is a question, even endgame is a concern. I have to point out the gameplay did not feel WOW like to me. It felt much faster and more exciting.

  10. Ano says:

    @Dril
    To be perfectly blunt the only rabid fanboy I see lately is yourself. Your hatred of the game and fanbase and resulting posts here seem to be bordering on hysterics. I find it amusing you can’t comprehend that people have become fans of GW2 based on solid fun gameplay.

    Syncaine made comment on GW2 and some of us wish to engage in interesting conversation which you seem to take personally at every level. I am not sure what your game of choice is but I hope you do get some enjoyment out of computer gaming.

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