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  1. #1
    The Lightbringer Valyrian Stormclaw's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Ignorance, Stupidity & Sheer Incompetence: The Continual Failure of "Modern" MMOs

    Note: Read the OP first!

    In an art craft that has been honed and refined for over 20 years; it's truly staggering to see that almost every single MMO of today willing ignores the mistakes of others in the belief that they will profit off of their same methods.

    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
    Observe.

    Example 1: 17 years ago; a game called Ultima Online launched. It had limited player housing. On day one; a land rush ensued (the vast majority of which were bots programmed using knowledge taken from the game's beta), within 24 hours all valuable/advantageous/whatever land was claimed, people stockpiled tons of money to forever pay off their tenure fees, left the game, and then... empty properties everywhere. Developer doesn't foreclose empty props so new, active people can move in. With everyone else who wasn't so lucky being forced to get undesirable plots in the middle of PvP areas/far out of the way locations. Expansions came, bringing new land, and... ofcourse: the same result.

    Several dozen other MMOs have all tried the exact same thing UO did... ending with the same result. (The devs of those games quite obviously never learned a fundamental skill called "logic.")Most recent victim: ArchAge. Day 1: Bots perfected during beta and players blessed with being at the front of a queue rushed in and claimed all the valuable/advantageous/whatever land, with everyone else (including quite a few founders/patrons) being left out with bad props, exposed to easy pickings for gankers.


    Example 2: In a post Warcraft epoch (Read: Post WoW golden age); WoW clones everywhere continually demand a $15 subscription fee (in return for supposed regular updates), and then ultimately crash; forcing either a shut down or a F2P transition. WAR had a sub; failed. STO had a sub; failed. LOTRO ha a sub; failed. AoC:HA had a sub; failed. D&DO had a sub; failed. CO had a sub; failed. And ofcourse; several dozen other MMOs foolhardedly thought that they could survive with a sub. Latest [Notable] victim? SWTOR. Even being built on top of one of the world's most iconic franchises could not save it from the inevitable.

    Now; Carbine thinks that they will succeed with a $15 because... 2004 game design. (Quite actually a mixture of different ideas but overall reminiscent of vanilla WoW). With a Tera 2.0 combat system. Read: Blizzard abandoned it's crummy pre-Wrath designs and has admitted that it can never return there. Even the vanilla community admits that. On to the battle system: Tera also had a sub, failed. So; will that make Wildstar a successful shortly subscription MMORPG? Well... I don't think you need me to tell you what you already know will happen.


    Example 3: Games sold off of expectations. Most recent victim: Elder Scrolls Online. Advertised as Skyrim-with-friends; in reality it is your stereotypical post-2004 MMORPG with a new coat of paint and novel combat system. I'm pretty sure 1. STO's misexpectations couldn't save it and 2. time and time again it has been proven that new, actiony combat systems won't make you any more successful than asia's monthly newly-birthed MMORPG.


    ... I could go on and on; but I think I've established my point.

    That developers can't recognize the mistakes of others and make the appropriate adjustments.

    I'm telling you; it's pride more than anything. So let's look at the survivors.

    Guild Wars: No subs; hugely successful. Why? Because it thrives off of a dedicated base of roleplayers thirsting for more bi-weekly story updates. And finely tuned balance of everything. And innovation. (Read: it's deck-based toolbar).

    WoW survived because of a multitude of reasons: It has an incredibly loyal, established, dedicated fanbase that will keep following until they die out. It is the most accessible MMORPG in existence for newcomers. It has continued evolving as outdated traditions of having 40 players to divide 15 pieces of loot across through a overly complicated DKP system. Among other cliches. And it has built up a solid name as the infalliable king of MMORPGs; something that will outweigh a Star Wars brand name.

    EVE Online; a vastly different story, but a suitable example: It is the only sub-based MMO that has continuously gained new subscribers. Even after 10 years. Because it's a hard core game for hard core people. It's not directed at the masses; it's for a set audience that will never leave. CCP could start charging $20 a month and drop their monthly content updates and still maintain it's half-million roster of customers. (Because the game thrives off of player interaction, not new PvE content).

    EVE and WoW will grow old together. And they will die a long, long time after all their arrogant children finally gave up.

    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
    @MMO Devs: Please stop believing that your MMO with a sub will win because it's special; because it isn't. Stop pulling the same mistakes over and over again. If you want us to be impressed? Actually be innovative. And no; a cool new combat system with moving targeting lines or first person combat or big brand name logos isn't being innovative.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Metzen
    "As you can see the age of the whimsical panda sadly, is over."
    Amen!

  2. #2
    EVE is living on borrowed time.

    EVE's so-called success exists only because it's the only game in a long dead genre: the space-sim. Fans of space sims will play EVE simply because they have no alternative currently, they don't care about the economy aspect of the game nor the crafting, they just want to play with starships.

    With Elite to hit the market soon, EVE will see a drastic loss in subs as Elite is much more space-sim-ey than EVE and also it's more accessible to newbs.

  3. #3
    The Lightbringer Valyrian Stormclaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhaeven View Post
    EVE is living on borrowed time.

    EVE's so-called success exists only because it's the only game in a long dead genre: the space-sim. Fans of space sims will play EVE simply because they have no alternative currently, they don't care about the economy aspect of the game nor the crafting, they just want to play with starships.

    With Elite to hit the market soon, EVE will see a drastic loss in subs as Elite is much more space-sim-ey than EVE and also it's more accessible to newbs.
    EVE and Elite are two completely different games. EVE is a deep, complex CRPG featuring spaceships instead of fantasy character about role-playing and macro-management. Elite is a twitched based flight sim and micromanagement.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Metzen
    "As you can see the age of the whimsical panda sadly, is over."
    Amen!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhaeven View Post
    EVE is living on borrowed time.

    EVE's so-called success exists only because it's the only game in a long dead genre: the space-sim. Fans of space sims will play EVE simply because they have no alternative currently, they don't care about the economy aspect of the game nor the crafting, they just want to play with starships.

    With Elite to hit the market soon, EVE will see a drastic loss in subs as Elite is much more space-sim-ey than EVE and also it's more accessible to newbs.
    That remains to be seen once these games actually leave beta/alpha and have commercial releases, games like Star Citizen and Elite is not trying to recreate the exact EVE formula with flight mechanics being more than point and click.

    Still, these games will be far more accessible to newbs because EVE has a incredibly steep learning curve, more so than pretty much any other mmo out there today.
    Last edited by zealo; 2014-09-21 at 09:27 AM.

  5. #5
    The problem with the MMOs is that they are all long term games that share the same market trying to appeal to sub categories of that same market.
    Normal games thrives even when there are multiple games of the same genre aimed at the same market they because they are games that have a "beginning" and a "end".

    A player may end up buying 10 RPGs because he knows that when it finish one it can simply pass to the next. So every software house has the potential of selling theirs.

    However when faced with long terms investments like MMOs the player is NOT gonna buy all of them and he has to chose, the results is a fragmented community in which only few specimens really "thrives" especially considering that the new MMOs have to contend themselves with WoW and its 10 years of content and experience.

    The real problem is not with MMOs though it is the industry that has become a "let's jump the next bandwagon" monster.

    WoW successfull? let's all make MMOs
    OH wait look how well Amnesia have done! Let's all make horror survival games.
    oooh League of Legends look shiny, guess what's next.
    Last edited by Brazorf; 2014-09-21 at 11:40 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Murdos View Post
    If X is % better then Y, Y is bad. I hate that concept with the searing, burning unfathomable energy of a collapsing supergiant.

  6. #6
    Plottwist: It's investors/publishers not realizing that creative markets don't work the same as cleaning product/chips/soda/etc. markets and sadly COD is showing them that yes they can re-sell the same product in a new package (Ofcourse forgetting that COD doesn't compete with itself and lives on "Well my friend bought the new one and the servers of the old one will probably run empty so I better buy the new one") so they're telling Developers: "ZOMG WoW is printing money, make me something EXACTLY like that"
    Your post doesn't deserve a slot in my thread! But it would make the perfect coaster for my drink!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Gnasnimadan View Post
    Plottwist: It's investors/publishers not realizing that creative markets don't work the same as cleaning product/chips/soda/etc. markets and sadly COD is showing them that yes they can re-sell the same product in a new package (Ofcourse forgetting that COD doesn't compete with itself and lives on "Well my friend bought the new one and the servers of the old one will probably run empty so I better buy the new one") so they're telling Developers: "ZOMG WoW is printing money, make me something EXACTLY like that"
    that is actually a good point, I watched a while ago the video of Jimquisition that kinda look at this and he was saying exactly that most of the upper managements and marketings are usually people that comes from physical objects/packaged goods companies and do not really know well how the digital and gaming market works, so they are trying to applying the same logic they learned in the past companies to the new ones ignoring the fact that is a completely new reality.

    If I managed to find that video I will post it.

    Edit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzthXKu8lJw
    Last edited by Brazorf; 2014-09-21 at 12:09 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Murdos View Post
    If X is % better then Y, Y is bad. I hate that concept with the searing, burning unfathomable energy of a collapsing supergiant.

  8. #8
    How MMORPG's are on borrowed time and will die off. No the idea of large worlds and many players will exist but it will end up being more the norm then what we see them like today. CoD in a lobby world that sort of thing. Scary times ahead.
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  9. #9
    Biggest mistake I see again and again is the failure to recognise the magnificence of three faction PvP/RvR. Dark Age of Camelot and Planetisde are two of my most enjoyable MMO experiences to date and I would put a lot of the credit on the three faction system, the fact that Warhammer: Age of Reckoning didn't have three factions was just insane at the time given the developers heritage and the fact that the lore practically begs for it.
    Her hall is called Eljudnir,
    her dish is Hunger,
    her knife is Famine,
    her slave is Lazy,
    and Slothful is her woman servant.

  10. #10
    If you don't pay taxes in archage you lose your home and other people can claim the land. Your point in archage is invalid because it has several counter measures. Not to mention how is archage copying ultima online? Archage came out like last year in the east and ultima online came out 17 years ago you said?
    Pokemon FC: 4425-2708-3610

  11. #11
    even if it was copying ultima online nothing bad can come out of it, Ultima was awesome. If anything is that it is not copying Ultima enough.
    Quote Originally Posted by Murdos View Post
    If X is % better then Y, Y is bad. I hate that concept with the searing, burning unfathomable energy of a collapsing supergiant.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by zito View Post
    If you don't pay taxes in archage you lose your home and other people can claim the land. Your point in archage is invalid because it has several counter measures. Not to mention how is archage copying ultima online? Archage came out like last year in the east and ultima online came out 17 years ago you said?
    AA has a lot of similar aspects of the game as UO. We all commonly call theme park games wow clones for example, and AA is in the line of UO, DAoC, etc with the differences that come with new games. AA actually is a hybrid imo because its really a sand park mmo.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by zito View Post
    If you don't pay taxes in archage you lose your home and other people can claim the land. Your point in archage is invalid because it has several counter measures. Not to mention how is archage copying ultima online? Archage came out like last year in the east and ultima online came out 17 years ago you said?
    i don't think we'll be getting notice of plot availability in archeage.

    It is true though that most of hte good plots (temperate peaceful regions) got all snatched up for the most part for the initial servers in the first couple days.... snatched up by people power lvling through the required quests to get farms to place, their mains and at least one ore more alts. Seen a guild that took over the better part of a whole housing plot with small and large scarecrow farms with a couple houses in the mix.

  14. #14
    i don't think we'll be getting notice of plot availability in archeage.
    why would you? Then it becomes a clusterfuck of 1000+ people racing for a plot at the exact same time.
    Pokemon FC: 4425-2708-3610

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by zito View Post
    why would you? Then it becomes a clusterfuck of 1000+ people racing for a plot at the exact same time.

    you also have no way of seeing if there is any plots someone might be interested in selling? Or an item/npc that knows of any unclaimed sections. It seems the only way to find out for sure is to go out with your plan and attempt to find such if anything is available. would be nice to have some way of quickly scanning a region rather than attempting to eyeball fence spacing or the void space between everyone's crops.

    Hell, looking around Arcum a couple days ago I thought I found an open spot.... a lane between 2 clustered regions... NOPE just 2 zones zoned for gardens/homes with a large gap between them.

    Seriously would like some way of knowing possible availability in any capacity beyond running around with the plan readied.

    edit:

    I'd like for some way to find out about new vacancies in some region or some sort of realty group dealing with a region... but i think that would just be a player run thing at this point and I just don't foresee any non-scammy endeavors rising up to the task.

    Also thinking gathering the mats for equipment crafting will be excessivly complicated for the near future if red players keep camping the ports for turn ins like I've seen Solzreed the past week =/
    Last edited by mickybrighteyes; 2014-09-21 at 03:17 PM.

  16. #16
    yeah.. so much wrong with the OP

    1. UO was not like that in the beginning.. there never was a ´land rush´ when the game launched, in fact, player housing was so expensive that it was months before people started placing houses...and most of them were only placing the very small size houses. Yes, when trammel launched ( what, 4 years after UO?) there was a great land grab.. but there weren´t ´bots´. The way players ´cheated´ back then was to have macros that made placing a house 2-seconds faster than was possible in the game, so if 2 players were trying to place a house at the same spot, the macro guy would win.

    2. Subscription models work - I know people without jobs love f2p games.. but look at the earnings of the games involved. WOW is still making a billion dollars a year. Games like SWTOR are ´profitable´ on a monthly basis as f2p, but most of the games that failed and went F2P had to write-off their initial investment. AOC cost $30M to launch the game.. sure after 2 years it was staying alive as a f2p game ( monthly income > monthly expenses), but they never got close to making back that $30M and had to write it off as a loss. NO major MMORPG is going to get made from a AAA company and launch as F2P because no company wants to lose that initial investment. Yes, games can survive as f2p, but that is after they fail to earn back their investment. For instance, once AOC admitted they lost the $30M, then the decision is ´ok, we can go f2p and make a little profit every month´... but that is a lemonade situation, not something any business person would plan on.

  17. #17
    Pit Lord Caesius Baelthar's Avatar
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    I suspect that the main issue is the investors rather than the developers. That's not to suggest that the developers are perfect but it's very likely that their hands are tied and they're forced to come out with PR friendly excuses to explain why they're essentially bashing their heads against a brick wall over and over again. I do agree that it feels as though modern MMO's aren't learning from previous titles, though. Wildstar and ESO have been forced to make massive changes to reverse mistakes that really shouldn't have been made in the first place.

    In all fairness, though, another issue is the lack of patience many MMO players have. A new product isn't going to be perfect right out of the door and yet many expect it to be despite no previous MMO ever being flawless.
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  18. #18
    A sub fee has little to do with succes or failure, if a company can make 1 month fee for every player attempting the game at start they will at least make all the money back put in the game. I'm not sure why you think free to play games would be more succesful.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post
    2. Subscription models work - I know people without jobs love f2p games
    If this was the case, the model wouldn't be a viable alternative to P2P and wouldn't be generating more money (as a business model) overall.

    Also, I have a job and I love F2P games. I play multiple MMO's at once (generally 3-4 at a time, with around two dozen installed), so subscriptions get pricy. I'm subscribed on a year basis to both SoE (single sub for all their games now) and Rift, however that's about as much as I'm looking to comfortably spend on a monthly basis (budgeted out) on MMO's. Do I drop money in the cash shop for other games? If I feel I'm getting value out of them and there's something I want, abso-fucking-lutely. But can I comfortably commit to subscribing to 5+ games at a time? No, I'd rather not shell out that kind of money on a monthly basis, not to mention I don't think there are that many games that deliver enough value (to me) to justify a sub.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post
    but look at the earnings of the games involved. WOW is still making a billion dollars a year.
    Awesome, a single game! Care to list off some other highly profitable P2P games?

    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post
    Games like SWTOR are ´profitable´ on a monthly basis as f2p, but most of the games that failed and went F2P had to write-off their initial investment.
    Some "failed", yes. But others went F2P because while they were profitable, they saw the potential for higher revenue as F2P. Rift is an example of this.

    And no need to put "profitable" in scare quotes. These games are bringing in upwards of $100M a year, which is very, very solid. SWTOR for example, turned itself around from bombing as a P2P game to being a very successful F2P game bringing in a reported $160M+ last year.

    And none of these games see 14 month periods of time where the game is abandoned and players need to make the decision of how much value is being delivered for $15 a month with no new content : 3

    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post
    AOC cost $30M to launch the game.. sure after 2 years it was staying alive as a f2p game ( monthly income > monthly expenses), but they never got close to making back that $30M and had to write it off as a loss.
    You're right, AoC is an example of a game that struggled over the years. It's not doing awesome by any means, but that's far, far more indicative of Funcoms general lack of ability than anything having to do with a business model. However given the amount of time, I've little doubt that AoC has covered its expenses by now. The game has done alright as F2P. Not great, but it's still chugging along.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post
    NO major MMORPG is going to get made from a AAA company and launch as F2P because no company wants to lose that initial investment.
    EQ: Next says hello. Technically you could toss Landmark in too. H1Z1 might be a bit of a stretch, though.

    But you're mostly right. It's viewed as too risky for many big publishers to throw giant budgets at. But we don't need giant budgets with MMO's, I mean, they've not really done all that much to make wildly successful games anyways.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post
    Yes, games can survive as f2p, but that is after they fail to earn back their investment.
    See above. But for further clarification, this is still untrue. Rift absolutely earned back its investment. A game like LOTRO? Very possible, too.

    Games transition when the business folks look at the numbers and forecast higher revenue as a F2P game than a P2P game, simple as that. If the game is struggling, yeah, they're absolutely going to look into a model transition. If it's not though, you bet your ass they're still looking into it. These are businesses, whatever they can do to maximize revenue will be done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post
    For instance, once AOC admitted they lost the $30M, then the decision is ´ok, we can go f2p and make a little profit every month´... but that is a lemonade situation, not something any business person would plan on.
    I'm not quite sure I understand your thought process here, it seems grossly misleading.

    Simply transitioning to F2P doesn't reduce operating budgets or guarantee higher revenue (though it often does yield higher revenue). They would need to reduce operating costs first and foremost to the point where they could reduce no further without significantly harming the game. Then comes the business model transition and the hope that it will bring in higher revenue.

    There's no guarantee that it will, though. Look at Champions Online. The game transitioned some years back, and has seen little to no support until the recently released patch. The game was barely breaking even (from what everyone could tell) both as P2P and F2P, F2P didn't do anything to significantly improve the quality of the game. Sure, it got some content patches for a while, but in recent years it's largely been left to stagnate simply because being F2P didn't really change their revenue stream very much.

    You're right though, every company wants their MMO to blow up and be a big success as P2P. And most are too arrogant to investigate the possibilities of business model transitions before they launch, as they're so taken with their game and how everyone will love it. When you're working from the inside, you have an very different view of the rest of the world, and it unfortunately isn't a view grounded in the same reality that exists outside of your bubble.
    Last edited by Edge-; 2014-09-21 at 04:42 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarac View Post
    A sub fee has little to do with succes or failure, if a company can make 1 month fee for every player attempting the game at start they will at least make all the money back put in the game. I'm not sure why you think free to play games would be more succesful.
    Because Micros transactions, when done right, are very profitable setups. League of Legends for example, or RIFT. I'm particularly fond of RIFT's because players can earn anything that costs real money with only in game gold, earned form playing the game normally, which allows them to justify more things in the game money market. The only thing keeping me out of RIFT personally is they cater to more of a hardcore playerbase. In direct comparison to WoW, the game is far less forgiving, and takes longer to do anything. It's fairly easy to learn however, so that's nice, and I still log on from time to time to play Dimensions, which is probably the best player own housing system I have ever seen.
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