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  1. #1

    When a Great Game doesn't know how to Sell itself

    Originally posted in the GW2 Forum https://forum-en.guildwars2.com/foru...st#post3893334
    Good morning fine GW2 fans and ArenaNET people (at least its morning where I am). I am groggily writing this as I recuperate after three long days at the Penny Arcade Expo in Boston. It was a great time! But onto the crux of the conversation I want to start.

    Where the heck is GW2’s marketing department? Why are they not pushing this game outside of strictly GW2 markets? I’m talking about representing themselves at community events (PAXEast and other game conventions) and online outside of specifically GW2 communities (MMO Champion as an example).

    At PAX I spend most of the convention just talking to people primarily because my wife works in the industry so I tend to support her at panels and doing some husband as forklift jobs while she’s doing interviews with devs and folks. I spoke to dozens of complete strangers about what games they play and what they thought of the MMO scene in general (given that really there is only Wildstar and Everquest NEXT in the AAA queue which is a little scary after years of having something new to look forward to). No one mentioned GW2 and when I brought it up the reaction I got from a lot of people was a shaked head followed by “Its sad that it failed”. When I explained that economically the game is actually doing quite well and has delivered content more regularly than any MMO I am aware of I was universally met with disbelief – the average MMO player seems to equate GW2 with SWOTOR and Warhammer Online (as games that have ceased to create content outside of things to buy… or simply ceased being).

    I’ve gone to PAX for four years. Outside of the PAX prior to release, ArenaNET has never really been active at the convention and even then it was just on the panels, never with a booth. This year apparently Jon and Colin were onsite but they had a room completely separate from the convention (it was in the adjacent hotel) and it was for Press only.

    GW2 is a great game. I’ve been playing MMO’s for over a decade and GW2 is the first that I really just fell in love with. I play everyday, I play PvE and WvW and ever so occasionally sPvP (although I have begun watching the tournament and those are really fun). There is so much content within the game! I honestly believe that even a modest booth with a game play demo would have resulting in hundreds of game sales. Heck, there was a THREE HOUR wait at the Microsoft Booth to play Killzone on the Xbox One. That game has been out for six months and I think it would be hard to argue that their level of content has increased even at a fractional level where GW2 has a year worth of bi-weekly updates and a movie that summarizes new content and changes!

    The GW2 forum community managers are superb. The game and design are impeccable (not to say improvements can’t be made, but you tend to make them). But its time for ArenaNET or NCSoft to reach out to top notch professional marketing teams that can trot the product around (the less said about the live action GW2 commercial from just post launch the better).

    Next year at PAXEast make sure you have a presence. Look at Bioware’s model, this year they didn’t have their booths and didn’t have high profile panels, but they did setup their own room in the convention hall and have trailers for their games past and present rolling, writers, devs, and community managers available to talk to fans and I think they are going to walk away with a lot of both awareness and good will.

    If this weekend was any indication, the greater community seems to have forgotten that GW2 exists, do not let them. I’m writing this as someone who is VERY invested in the game, world, and future prosperity.
    Last edited by PeskyJNixon; 2014-04-14 at 01:48 PM. Reason: Spacing

  2. #2
    MMOs are such that players tend to think of an MMO they quit playing (for whatever reason) is a failure or "dead". It's the nature of a genre that doesn't lend itself to passing investment easily. This of course is merely perception.

    Though logically that is improbable. For example, Everquest 1 and 2 have continued steadily for years & years with many expansions. SWTOR is one of the most profitable games on the market, Etc, etc.
    Last edited by Fencers; 2014-04-14 at 03:26 PM.

  3. #3
    Bloodsail Admiral Rhywolver's Avatar
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    Marketing is normally limited by budget. Wait until the game is released in China, then they will promote their next living world season / expansion / whatever is in their pipelines. Then you will read and hear about it all day, ever day.
    Sing like no one ist listening - Love like you've never been hurt
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  4. #4
    Fencers is right. Basically for players if they don't think about it, it doesn't exist.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhywolver View Post
    Marketing is normally limited by budget. Wait until the game is released in China, then they will promote their next living world season / expansion / whatever is in their pipelines. Then you will read and hear about it all day, ever day.
    The problem really is that they will promote it in the same places they already promote things, as the OP says, they seem to advertise mostly to people already playing their game. Their larger promotions tend to be odd, so maybe that's a good thing, but their marketing department could certainly use some advice.

  6. #6
    I think people tend to believe a game is dead when they don't promote it very much. I think Arenanet really should think about doing a marketing campaign because nobody really realizes how much content they put out. I was talking to a friend who plays wow and he was telling me he only plays games with monthly payments because they make 'quality' content. I even told him how GW2 makes money and how they put out way more content than wow does. He basically told me that he is waiting for the next wow and wont play anything else and continued to talk about how wow puts out 'quality content. I don't understand why people think GW2 is lower quality because it really isn't, they put out so much content without a subscription and they need to promote this because nobody knows about it.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by worprz View Post
    I think people tend to believe a game is dead when they don't promote it very much. I think Arenanet really should think about doing a marketing campaign because nobody really realizes how much content they put out. I was talking to a friend who plays wow and he was telling me he only plays games with monthly payments because they make 'quality' content.
    Well, you're friend may not value the content GW2 offers as much as that in World of Warcraft. Even if the frequency may be higher in GW2.

    There is really nothing to it, honestly. Not everyone is going to think rescuing the survivors of Lion's Arch is "quality" over the latest raid, dungeon or quest line.

    Personally, I think GW2's content is fine for a non-sub based game. But I absolutely would not pay for any of the LS updates if they were sold or sub based. However, I greatly enjoy the new pay-per ala carte content of The Secret World. I gobble them up as soon as possible. Because I find that content more engaging than the aforementioned refugee rescue.

    I also really enjoy the SWTOR content additions. Where I pay for a month or two, consume the new expansion/content. Then I promptly unsub because the base game isn't worth a whole lot to me.

    These are just subjective value judgements which everyone will have to one degree or another. None of which is to say GW2's content is "bad", but it is very likely not all potential customers will see GW2's content as equal value.

  8. #8
    MMO is sort of a dirty word right now. Games like Destiny avoid using it directly. It has a lot of bad voodoo associated with it.

    Basically, people assume every MMO fails. WoW created a mentality that's stuck and people struggle to understand what's actually going on. The WoW based reality is one of a single monolith MMO and a bunch of 'failures' beneath it. The current market is one where gamers are spreading out. The current market has more competition and the different business models are a reason why there's more competition. While the general populace thinks F2P exists because a MMO failed, the industry folk realize that F2P and B2P options exist to encourage diversity. Subs were discouraging players from moving beyond one game. The lack of a binding contract (the subscription) has lead players to try more MMOs and play more MMOs semi-regularly.

    As well, MMO elements are appearing in non-RPG games. The MMO definition is widening at the same rate the audience is spreading out. Minecraft falls somewhere on the edge of things. People cry for a sandbox, ignore the fact that sandboxes have been released and already exist, and ignore that many psycopath simulators stuff like DayZ and Rust are poviding the systems people ask for on a semi-MMO scale.

    It's not just GW2 that the populace is out of the loop on. It's the entire MMO industry that they're clueless about. GW2 and SWTOR are both succeeding at this point. FF14 ARR is a good recovery story for Square. TESO probably just sold in the millions at launch. There's just a giant, vapid gap in gamer's brains about MMOs. And I don't think it's a good investment to try to alter their minds about this.

    One reason why I wouldn't fight against the hordes of negativity is because of how terribly toxic most MMO communities have become. A small but vocal subset of autistic nightmares try to dominate thought in MMO communities. People get stuck in a hype/exhaustion cycle. You can try to approach people and say "uh that game is full of players and gets updates", but they'll have some pathetic friend screaming failure. They'll check the MMO communities abut game X and the community will have their canned responses of failure. If you look at MMORG.COM, you would find an auditorium for self-hatred and manchild theatrics that would deter anyone from any game either by believing the nonsense or by just not wanting to be associated with that type of community.

    So I think MMO companies will start going outside the status quo demographic. I think they'll take the Wii/Blue Ocean approach. Nintendo faced a gaming audience that said they wanted things, were given those things, and still were hesitant to invest because a console was purple. So they ditched that plan and said "fuck you nerds" and went after others. MMO companies will probably start to do the same. The customer isn't always right. Sometimes you have to realize you're trying to please those that don't want to be pleased. You move on.
    Last edited by zed zebes; 2014-04-14 at 05:45 PM.

  9. #9
    Brewmaster Lazuli's Avatar
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    Any MMO player already knows GW2 exists and either play it or think it fail because any content is temporary.

    What ANet needs to do is advertise more for their target demographic, super casuals with gambling problems.

    Maybe advertise in purple parrot or something lmfao
    Quote Originally Posted by KungFuFanta
    Oh my god, a company tries to put some lore flavor into the game mechanics, all is lost, whatever shall we do without a whole 1% of crit or haste.

    Quick, call Ukraine and Russia, let them know to put their conflict on standby because Touch of Elune is BULLSHIT!

  10. #10
    They are quite fine at the moment and dont need to do it. Word of mouth sells it for them.
    The community doesnt need it either.

  11. #11
    Pit Lord barackopala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazuli View Post
    Any MMO player already knows GW2 exists and either play it or think it fail because any content is temporary.

    What ANet needs to do is advertise more for their target demographic, super casuals with gambling problems.

    Maybe advertise in purple parrot or something lmfao
    Heheh, want more salt on your tears?

    Ontopic:
    The game works well with word of mouth, it does not catter to the mainstream rollercoaster mmo player
    Cod has a new campaign, new weapons, new multiplayer levels every year. Zelda has been recycling the same weapons, villains, and dungeons since the 80's. Zelda recycles enough to make cod blush. The same weapons, villains, dungeons, and princess in every single Zelda for the most part. It's almost as cheesy as bowser vs Mario round 35

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Fencers View Post
    Well, you're friend may not value the content GW2 offers as much as that in World of Warcraft. Even if the frequency may be higher in GW2.

    There is really nothing to it, honestly. Not everyone is going to think rescuing the survivors of Lion's Arch is "quality" over the latest raid, dungeon or quest line.

    Personally, I think GW2's content is fine for a non-sub based game. But I absolutely would not pay for any of the LS updates if they were sold or sub based. However, I greatly enjoy the new pay-per ala carte content of The Secret World. I gobble them up as soon as possible. Because I find that content more engaging than the aforementioned refugee rescue.

    I also really enjoy the SWTOR content additions. Where I pay for a month or two, consume the new expansion/content. Then I promptly unsub because the base game isn't worth a whole lot to me.

    These are just subjective value judgements which everyone will have to one degree or another. None of which is to say GW2's content is "bad", but it is very likely not all potential customers will see GW2's content as equal value.
    Yeah I agree with you, I shouldn't have said quality. What he meant by quality was how much content wow puts out, specifically expansions. So you can't really compare the two because so far GW2 hasn't released an expansion. I do think there needs to be an expansion though, I am sure a lot more people would prefer an expansion over the living story. I wouldn't mind seeing both though.

    By the way how is the secret world? I was really interested in it, but the combat seemed boring to me.
    Last edited by worprz; 2014-04-15 at 07:54 AM.

  13. #13
    Stood in the Fire
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doozerjun View Post
    Fencers is right. Basically for players if they don't think about it, it doesn't exist.
    Yup. Heard within days of each other (roughly paraphrased from memory):

    On SWTOR, Republic Fleet general chat: "Does anybody even play GW2 anymore?"

    On GW2, Queensdale map chat: "Isn't SWTOR dead?"

  14. #14
    The Lightbringer May90's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fencers View Post
    MMOs are such that players tend to think of an MMO they quit playing (for whatever reason) is a failure or "dead". It's the nature of a genre that doesn't lend itself to passing investment easily. This of course is merely perception.

    Though logically that is improbable. For example, Everquest 1 and 2 have continued steadily for years & years with many expansions. SWTOR is one of the most profitable games on the market, Etc, etc.
    I noticed that as well. For example, I rarely can play anything (even my favorite games) for more than a month straight, so if a game managed to hold me for more than 1 month in a row, it is an outstanding game from my perspective. However, MMO Champion, WoW, GW2 and other forums are just packed with threads like this: "I've played Guild Wars 2 for a year a few hours each day, I've leveled every class and every race, I've done all this game has to offer. And, you know guys, this games sucks, because there is nothing left for me to do!". I don't know, it's like playing through Planescape: Torment once and then say, "I've seen the story. There is nothing left for me in this game. Planescape: Torment sucks!".

    So, now some people see that players come to GW2 and go, and they say, "This game is a failure". And go back to play WoW they have been playing since 2004 and in which they "haven't seen everything". Really, some people are a strange lot...

    As for SWTOR, I don't listen to what other people say, but 1 million of subscribers and constant trades on Cartel Market hardly indicate that the game is a "failure"...
    Last edited by May90; 2014-04-15 at 01:12 PM.

  15. #15
    Hilarious.

    Because leading up to, and around when GW2 launched, it was "when a mediocre game knows how to spend all its money on selling itself"

  16. #16
    I see the, "We're playing a SPECIAL MMO." smugness still hasn't worn off of some people.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Bovinity Divinity View Post
    I see the, "We're playing a SPECIAL MMO." smugness still hasn't worn off of some people.
    Its because gamers are not very smart quite frankly. Very rarely does a MMO die yet you always hear "this game will be dead in a year". Had it not been for licensing fees, Warhammer likely would have continued for some time. DAOC is STILL alive as is EQ.

    Games like Rift, SWTOR, GW2 and TESO as well as smaller niche titles like Tera and TSW will continue to thrive despite people's perception of their demise.

    People won't admit why they refuse to leave WoW but we all know why. Its cause people don't want to abandon what they worked for 7+ years on. They have built communities however dysfunctional they may be. Moving to a new MMO means starting over. People hate starting over and they hate change.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by worprz View Post
    Yeah I agree with you, I shouldn't have said quality. What he meant by quality was how much content wow puts out, specifically expansions.
    To be fair, there is quite a lot of content in World of Warcraft.

    Keeping in mind that others might value that content higher than others, there are still a lot of play systems in World of Warcraft to keep one busy for a long time. So it's still a fair statement on behalf of your friend.

    The thing about MMOs is that the frequency of content is not really that important. It's the degree of engagement that content offers or forces in some cases that truly matters. From a business and entertainment standpoint.

    For example, it only took me a day or two to participate in the content of the Living Story. By in large, GW2 had a lot more updates of actual content than Rift this year. However, I spent far more time playing the content in Rift than in GW2. It just took longer to do anything in Rift due to various investment and elongation mechanisms.

    I don't think Rift's content was significantly better than GW2's LS. Rift's updates were not as frequent either. Though the Rift content was more engaging simply in terms of time investment for me.

    Now I do not play World of Warcraft, but I imagine there are many similar play systems in WOW (as in Rift) that for some players offers more engagement. I know absolutely Blizzard designs and views their own products as such. Where Blizzard believe their content additions are substantial time sinks engaging enough to keep their player base happy for X weeks/months.

    GW2's content frequency takes the approach of something "new" always happening as an engagement mechanism. So it's okay to be "done" with a LS update in a few days. Which for some people works- they are happy to do little jumping challenges, mini dungeons or collect trinkets. Yet the lightness of content of that frequency might not feel as substantial as working on a single boss in raid tier bajillion for 3 days.

    Both approaches are fair and can be successful, obviously. I think what is important is we don't respond with our own biases under the assumption one method is better than the other.

    They're just different games.

    By the way how is the secret world? I was really interested in it, but the combat seemed boring to me.
    The Secret World is interesting. The game has a lot of flaws, mostly technical, but at the same time has some of the best realized gameplay in an MMO. Like at the same time too.

    Like you can look at the skill wheel during a running narrative and remark; "Oh yea, this is a really well structured and delivered narrative with a strong foundation of gameplay mechanics." But like the process of like talking to an NPC or firing a gun is utterly terrible.

    Incredibly super awesome ideas. So-so execution. The game is all over the place, yet a very interesting intellectual exercise in game design. So to speak.
    Last edited by Fencers; 2014-04-15 at 02:48 PM.

  19. #19
    Pandaren Monk
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    Quote Originally Posted by zed zebes View Post
    MMO is sort of a dirty word right now. Games like Destiny avoid using it directly. It has a lot of bad voodoo associated with it.

    Basically, people assume every MMO fails. WoW created a mentality that's stuck and people struggle to understand what's actually going on. The WoW based reality is one of a single monolith MMO and a bunch of 'failures' beneath it. The current market is one where gamers are spreading out. The current market has more competition and the different business models are a reason why there's more competition. While the general populace thinks F2P exists because a MMO failed, the industry folk realize that F2P and B2P options exist to encourage diversity. Subs were discouraging players from moving beyond one game. The lack of a binding contract (the subscription) has lead players to try more MMOs and play more MMOs semi-regularly.

    As well, MMO elements are appearing in non-RPG games. The MMO definition is widening at the same rate the audience is spreading out. Minecraft falls somewhere on the edge of things. People cry for a sandbox, ignore the fact that sandboxes have been released and already exist, and ignore that many psycopath simulators stuff like DayZ and Rust are poviding the systems people ask for on a semi-MMO scale.

    It's not just GW2 that the populace is out of the loop on. It's the entire MMO industry that they're clueless about. GW2 and SWTOR are both succeeding at this point. FF14 ARR is a good recovery story for Square. TESO probably just sold in the millions at launch. There's just a giant, vapid gap in gamer's brains about MMOs. And I don't think it's a good investment to try to alter their minds about this.

    One reason why I wouldn't fight against the hordes of negativity is because of how terribly toxic most MMO communities have become. A small but vocal subset of autistic nightmares try to dominate thought in MMO communities. People get stuck in a hype/exhaustion cycle. You can try to approach people and say "uh that game is full of players and gets updates", but they'll have some pathetic friend screaming failure. They'll check the MMO communities abut game X and the community will have their canned responses of failure. If you look at MMORG.COM, you would find an auditorium for self-hatred and manchild theatrics that would deter anyone from any game either by believing the nonsense or by just not wanting to be associated with that type of community.

    So I think MMO companies will start going outside the status quo demographic. I think they'll take the Wii/Blue Ocean approach. Nintendo faced a gaming audience that said they wanted things, were given those things, and still were hesitant to invest because a console was purple. So they ditched that plan and said "fuck you nerds" and went after others. MMO companies will probably start to do the same. The customer isn't always right. Sometimes you have to realize you're trying to please those that don't want to be pleased. You move on.
    This post hits so many nails on the head that u shall now be known as 'The Handyman'!

    Thanks for such a realistic and intelligent observation of the MMO industry and its players/fans.

  20. #20
    Old God Hyve's Avatar
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    It's not always about whether or not they do marketing, but the content of their marketing campaign.

    I recall quite specifically the pre-lease adverts for Rift were attacking World of Warcraft with titles like; "We're not in Azeroth anymore". Now look at Rift, barely played and no-where near the scale of World of Warcraft. The situation is the same with Guild Wars 2, you have to be careful with what you say, but marketing is very important to business success.

    Without making a public image for new or old customers, how can you be expected to grow? Viral marketing only goes so far.

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