One point I didn’t see made when we were talking about Warhammer Online (notably I read about 3 blogs about it, so if I missed this someone post a link); I think it was the last MMO to launch where basically ‘everyone’ was playing day one.
I’ll get into this more when I get around to finishing the future of MMOs post I’m working on, but just wanted to throw this point out today because I think it’s significant enough to warrant its own post. Considering how big the social aspect is in MMOs, a title getting ‘everyone’ excited to play is a big deal, and makes things a lot more fun. Mythic did that with WAR, even if half of it was lies (bears bears bears and all that).
How are you defining “everyone”? When WAR comes up it seems to be a specific set of bloggers and guilds that remember the run-up to and launch of the game as a seminal period. That wasn’t even close to my experience.
Bearing in mind that I was heavily invested in the genre at the time, had been for years, read news sites and forums every day and talked to people in-game about new and upcoming MMOs pretty much on a daily basis back then, I find it surprising even now to hear that it was thought by so many current commentators to be such a big deal.
Not only did I not play it at launch but no-one I was playing other MMOs with at the time was even talking about it, far less stopped playing what they were playing to play it. Then again, I skipped the WoW hype train pre-release and at launch too, and even though that was right in the middle of my most active social period in MMOs, I knew literally one person who left any game I was playing to go and try WoW, and he lasted about three months before he came back.
I think there may be quite a lot of “Everyones” in MMO gaming, many of whom have little idea the other “Everyones” even exist.
I can’t think of a blogger at the time that was not writing/playing the game. I remember seeing some odd guild names at launch as well, referencing EQ2 or WoW, either positively or negatively. It was a big deal.
More to the point, I think it was the last ‘big deal’ we have had in the genre.
This may be subjective. People who were reading Warhammer blogs at the time saw lots of Warhammer, people who were reading other MMO oriented or generic MMO scene blogs saw a lot of entertaining reposts of youtube vids featuring Paul Barnett but not much actual blogging.
I played Warhammer in beta and at launch for a while but my perception of the blogosphere at the time was that most were still busy tearing Funcom a new one over Age of Conan and then turned their hyped up hopes to Warhammer Online under the barrage of paul Barnett spearheaded marketing hype.
2008 Was a one-two, two-by-four to the head of most MMO players and the start of a healthy dose of scepticism towards any MMO marketing hype after. To me those two launches together are a big deal in terms of a shift in expectations from players and studio’s alike. They were also the two big deals in terms of being Post WOW MMO’s thinking they could steal part of that pie. Earlier MMO’s kinda had to make course adjustments mid development to account for what WOW did to the genre. AoC and WAR were designed in that Post WOW era. After those two the idea of a WOW killer began to subside.
Looking forward to your post on the future of MMO’s :-)
I think there were more “everyones” at the SWOTR launch than at the WAR launch. And I think just about as many people wrote about it.
That said, it’s a valid point. I think it has more to do with big $$s not being thrown at MMOs. Without the big $$s, there isn’t big hype. If you have a game, like SWOTR, where a AAA publisher tosses an insane amount of money into it and about it – it will generate a big launch.
Of course, no one is doing that any longer because the MMO gamer is more fickle than he once was and won’t stay loyal to the game for more than 1-6 months (as opposed to years).
I wouldn’t say that people are less susceptible to the hype machine. The kickstarter craze is enough evidence to me that the proper PR pitch and video can get people excited enough about vaporware to act in irrational ways.
No, I think that you aren’t seeing the hype because there is simply nothing to hype.
SW:TOR is an interesting example, in that certainly a lot of people where there day one, but I suspect that many (most?) knew it was going to be a short stay. I didn’t get that feeling from the WAR launch (and WAR at least held on a bit longer than SW:TOR).
“I didn’t get that feeling from the WAR launch”
Really? I played the WAR beta for a few hours, it was pretty lol-worthy. And I own a ton of GW miniatures, I was ready to be impressed by anything decent and following the lore, but after an hour or two I never looked at WAR again.
I think your experience with it is on the rarer side. If anything, WAR was almost designed to look great in a level-capped beta, and during it almost everyone was expecting great things from the full game.
It was only post-release that the at-cap issues fully came to light.
Perhaps this is more a discussion on the hype and expectations of a game and the near complete lack of cynicism at that point in time. WAR, and to a lesser extent AoC, shattered the MMO psyche on what was being said vs what was being sold. It is literally impossible for any MMO to launch today without a bunch of detractors. TESO is a prime example.
WAR was the last MMO golden child.
Oh c’mon, WAR and AOC didn’t shatter some MMO psyche. People simply have shorter attention spans because MMOs like WoW have trained them to expect a reward every 5 minutes.
I think the single biggest factor that’s changed the psyche of MMO gamers. Developers simply started to “overtap” the “reward” center that provides a pleasure stimuli in order to get players hooked and playing their game.
With increased competition in MMOs and other games, the stimuli was hit pretty often and the result is that once all such rewards are exhausted, the player moves on to the next thing.
F2P and Pay2Win games tap into this same reward system in order to monetize it. It’s actually the #1 reason why I refuse to play these games or pay for it.
It’s not just MMOs, but games in general. Most gamers want a quick fix and don’t have the patience or endurance for the type of grind that’s needed to keep a subscription-based MMO profitable.
WAR, AOC, Rift, SWOTR — these weren’t lousy games. They simply couldn’t feed players the endless supply of gratifying rewards that today’s gamer has come to expect and demand.
WAR was certainly the point at which our little corner of the blogesphere seemed to be on the same page. And part of that was because Mark Jacobs, a man with a good reputation at that point, was out in front telling us how WAR was going to improve the genre. Things were going to be better. There were a few genuinely good ideas on tap even. What killed it was mediocre execution and some genuinely bad ideas in the mix.
Since then I think this little circle has been more skeptical about the next big thing, especially when the banner features are things like “story” or “voice acting” and not game play.