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