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  1. #1

    The Future of MMO's

    Found this article. I thought it was a pretty interesting read. Maybe you will too...

    Just a little snippet from the article in case you don't feel like reading it all..

    "Mark Kern, the original lead developer of the breakthrough MMO World of Warcraft and now the head of Red 5 Studios, explained the problem in an interview with Wired earlier this year.

    “The biggest problem is the fact that you’ve got a monthly model, but it’s so expensive to make content for the traditional MMO now that if you spend $250 million like EA did on Star Wars, you’ve only got 30 days’ worth of content,” he said. Old Republic’s big draw was an elaborate, multi-part storyline set in George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away. But once Old Republic players burned through all of that content, there was nothing to keep them involved. The cost and time required to develop more content for players to enjoy made it difficult to impossible to keep them supplied with entertainment for their $15 a month.

    “So you’ve made 15 bucks from the consumers, basically, before they churn out of your game,” Kern said.

    World of Warcraft, said Kern, didn’t have this problem because in 2004, game production costs (and players’ expectations) were so much lower that it was economically feasible to churn out content and keep players engaged every month, so they didn’t cancel their subscriptions.

    With today’s high cost of game production, Kern said, “that model is dead.”"



  2. #2
    Fluffy Kitten Darsithis's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Makes a lot of sense to me. Everything was lower-res, ran on lesser hardware, and required less work to create. I won't even pretend to know how to develop a true 3D game, but I know models today are dozens of times more complex and need to be rendered with so many additions compared to 8 years ago when WoW was first released.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Darsithis View Post
    Makes a lot of sense to me. Everything was lower-res, ran on lesser hardware, and required less work to create. I won't even pretend to know how to develop a true 3D game, but I know models today are dozens of times more complex and need to be rendered with so many additions compared to 8 years ago when WoW was first released.
    Totally agree. I saw an article about a year ago or so, right around the release of Cata, and the author of the article basically said...

    "If World of Warcraft launched against itself, it would not be able to succeed."

    And I think part of that has to do with the time it takes to develop content.

  4. #4
    It would be fair if they lowered (appropiate verb?) the subscription. But they won't as long as they have the most-succesful MMO of the market.

  5. #5
    Scarab Lord shise's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
    Spaniard in Copenhagen
    There no future for the genre, not as we once knew it.

    From now on all games will keep on the same direction, a 100% business direction where game must be designed for lazy people who really don't want to put any effort on it and yet be able to feel like they've achieved something.

    It's not a complain about other games, don't take me wrong, and to prove so I'll pick a non MMO game example as big and knows as the GTA games where now you can simply pick a taxi and teleport from one point to another, in order to save people's time when they want to do the missions.

    The same happens with MMO. Check wow level up, it's a joke, you simply can't do all the quests in one area because you'll out level the place in one hour..even without bonus perks. In fact, I've been leveling my druid, from level 15 to 50 without even going out of Stormwind. And let's be honest, if you can do something fast you'll simply do it most of the times.

    That's why, imo, MMO's future is gonig to be rather sad, so be happy if you've been lucky enough to have played WoW when it actually toke shit loads of grind/time to achieve something, it's no longer gonna happen with the new games.

  6. #6
    It is an interesting read, but I am not sure how serious we can take it when SWTOR still has more subs than any major sandbox MMO. Its hard to call that the future of MMOs when it really just isn't that popular.

    Personally I just don't really see the appeal of the sandbox. I do think that is another reason SWTOR has lost subs though. A lot of people were expecting SWG2 even though they were told over and over it wouldn't be.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by shise View Post
    That's why, imo, MMO's future is gonig to be rather sad, so be happy if you've been lucky enough to have played WoW when it actually toke shit loads of grind/time to achieve something, it's no longer gonna happen with the new games.
    Maybe in the future it's no longer necessary to achieve something to have fun.

  8. #8
    Merely a Setback adam86shadow's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Yorkshire - England
    I agree

    MMORPGs especially are a dying breed, the novelty is wearing off. Gamers simply expect more

  9. #9
    Merely a Setback Slowpoke is a Gamer's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
    World of Wisconsin
    Players are needy, intrinsically lazy, and never satisfied. And that's the future not only of RL but also MMOs.

    Expect to see fewer things to do, more free gear, and a more alt-friendly single player atmosphere in future new games.

    In a worst case scenario, the end of the world. MMOs will become the same as FPSes, a queue.

    I think WoW will resist this trend simply due to age and how large the game is, but expect this trend to hold true in new games.
    Last edited by Slowpoke is a Gamer; 2012-11-19 at 04:09 PM.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by shise View Post
    That's why, imo, MMO's future is gonig to be rather sad.
    I'd say that only applies to triple A mmorpgs. The gamer will have to look now elsewhere, seeing as we're being pushed away from the big titles and replaced by the instant gratification crowd.

  11. #11
    Fluffy Kitten Darsithis's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by adam86shadow View Post
    I agree

    MMORPGs especially are a dying breed, the novelty is wearing off. Gamers simply expect more
    I don't agree with that. I think it's that production values are too expensive, as the article is explaining. We like MMORPG's...if we didn't, we wouldn't have 10m+ subscribers to WoW. It's just that the cost of producing the content is very high compared to the amount of money gained in the timeframe necessary to make more. It's a losing proposition now.

  12. #12
    I think there is a lack of newness to the MMO genre, and certainly a lack of innovation. MMO's don't thrive on the leveling experience. They must somehow appeal to both the leveling experience and the end game experience.

    WoW was new. It felt like a world I wanted to explore and become a part of in 2004-2005. By 2006 I had made friends and was looking forward to the coming expansion. Emotionally I was hooked to the friends I met in game and the game experience. WoW's streamlined leveling experience and causal friendly endgame experience doesn't force me to make new friends. In fact it sort of hampers this process. As a result, I have become emotionally less attached to the game. I log on to MOP to do my weekly raid finder raid, and look around at the other stuff to do, and throw my hands up. It just doesn't feel worth it.

    With SWTOR, I went all in. A number of my friends quit raiding wow, and moved to SWTOR. We were genuinely excited. I thought SWTOR was going to be a power house. Lots of cool story quests, neat back story. Things to do on off-raid nights. Three months in reality set in. I enjoyed my first pass through. I disliked my second pass. Never made it to another character. My friends were leaving. The end game fizzled.

    With Rift my experience was totally unsatisfactory. I was playing casually every few days or so. Basically searching for a class I enjoyed. I reported someone for gold spamming. Maybe even commented on it in general, not sure. Logged later to find my account locked, and an e-mail saying that their results were final. I had been accused of gold selling. Laughable, because I didn't have more than a few silvers to my account. I give them credit however for trying to force interaction between characters when rifts were formed.

    As to the future.

    MMO's are going to be in tension between the players needs and the company's needs. Players want to log on casually, but need to develop close personal ties to truly enjoy the game. Players want to have an impact on the world around them, but the company needs to provide a static world for so everyone's experience is consistent. Player's want dynamic content, but don't want to be bothered with the details.

    I don't think the free-to-play model has an effect on the overall future. The defects are in the model itself. Players will need to find ways to become emotionally invested in a brand. Those that do will form the player base, that will stick to the game. WoW will continue to be wow, because its been going for 8 years and has millions of people emotionally invested in the product. This is likely the last time we will ever see this phenomenon. Future MMO's may attempt to replicate the emotional thrill, but few if any will succeed.

    As for future MMO's. I see the single game experience trending away. It works for WoW, but only because they can afford to miss more than they hit on the leveling experience they provide. I also think you will see forced guild interactions. Pilot guilds that agree to take on new players and agree to provide the new players with positive experiences and reward the experienced players with perks, or half subscription fees.
    Last edited by Woeful; 2012-11-19 at 04:48 PM.

  13. #13
    Bloodsail Admiral hiragana's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    South Yorkshire
    Its a shame really, some games take so long to make i sometimes wish we could go back to crappy graphics. I was waiting for final fantasy 12 and 13 for years and years. God knows how long it will be before we see 15?
    Though i agree that players keep people playing longer than content, i would most likely have quit wow years ago if i didnt have friends playing. Also i recently bought Skyrim for PC even though i already had it on ps3 and didnt play it much, just for the player mods, millions of players are always going to come up with more interesting content than developers given the right tools. Just look at some of the amazing videos of Minecraft.

  14. #14
    The problem with MMORPGs is that they focus too much on the grind/content. Does starcraft need gear and level grinds for people to play it? Call of duty ? Counterstrike ?
    Surely Im not the only one who still plays the old X-com : Ufo defence every year? These games don't need gear or level grinds in order to be played. How many of the things in today's MMOs are things that you'd never EVER do if it didn't have a reward attached to it. I think the combat is ok, and it has gotten deeper lately aswell, it's something I would probably do at least for a while. But gathering/crafting ? No ! Not like this ! Who in their right mind would fly around going after yellow dots in order to see a progress bar fill ? Thats like playing pac-man without the ghosts and with less dots to go after, and each dot would take you 2 sec to eat. If it's not fun doing without a reward, then adding a reward will only make people do it untill they no longer need/want the reward.

    Take Free realms for example. Yes that MMORPG aimed at kids.
    It's basicly a collection of mini games. Even crafting weapons and preparing food. They took allready existing games (like cooking mama and mario kart), then added an MMO type reward to it. Oh, and doing better in these mini games gives you better rewards too, a detail that makes it a bit more interesting.

    There's allready plenty of mini games in WoW, I never understood why they didn't make use of it in a better way. Let us play peacebloom vs ghouls for herbs or something.

  15. #15
    When WoW was released MMOs weren't mainstream. For most, it was their first MMO, a new gaming experience. It was an easy way to play with others, make friends and stay connected. Nowadays, you don't need an MMO you have Facebook, Twitter and for gamers Steam. You don't have to play the same game to have fun with your friends.

    I think MMOs are evolving but the sandbox model is not for everyone. Most people are lost without a predefined path.

  16. #16
    Seems to be pretty much bang on, from what I can see.

    WoW has been the life, and bane, of the MMO industry. It's created the consumers, and showed them how it's done....but then they've been unleashed on other titles and found them wanting. Resulting in £200million flops or games starting from the F2P basis.

    Is the sub game dead? Most likely not

    Will we see another "Super-Doopa £200 million all in MMO" like TOR ever again? Again, most likely not

  17. #17
    Moderator MoanaLisa's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Good article and a lot of things to think about. What struck me in particular was the business in the middle of the article about making the game (EVE online in this case) so that more people can interact with one another as a model for sustainability. We've seen this process started in WoW just recently with very controversial results. Long-term though, it's probably good for the game to begin to get people into the same world.
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  18. #18
    I don't think that the games of today are only productionally limited. Gaming, RPGs included, has experienced a cultural shift. It has become more mainstream and the average gamer no longer approaches games with the same mentality as gamers did even five years ago. Consumers are also more acknowledging of what they want and expect out of their purchased products. All of this in combination with the increased competition between titles results in the users being divided over a massive numbers of games and being more willing to switch from one to another.

    MMORPGs are games that function on a large scale and require a reasonable user base to do so, so not only do they face the said limits in how much content they can provide for their players, but currently the only way for an average title to become acknowledged by the biggest audience possible is for the developers to give in to some of the biggest common denominators and offer a smooth experience with fast gratification.

    I expect that the model where gamers can create content for themselves will be becoming more popular in the future. Not only does it open up more possibilities but it also shifts some of the strain away from the developers who will more than anything be responsible for simply creating more tools for the players.

    EDIT: There have also been some opinions being brought up regarding games being designed so that there is actual interaction between the players. This is a fine point and one of the weaknesses of many failing games is and has been that they are more single player games than actual MMOs.

  19. #19
    Bloodsail Admiral DonQShot's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    Well I can only say that WOW should not fall for the trap that is the f2p model as Mark Kern is insinuating. If it does become f2p then the game is dead because there will not be any more money to finance patches and constant updates. It is a sad true that Wow already made a big mistake with the current model of the LFR and LFD. But this is not me saying these are bad things, because we must look at the other side of the coin and think about the casual players or those without a guild.
    For me, I think it would be a good solution for both hardcore and casuals to make the LFD and LFR have higher requirements, apart from the ilvl and actually remove the teleport feature. I used to like LFD and LFR but as it was noted in the OP article and by myself, unfortunately, LFD and LFR are a cancer to WOW and to the community.
    I didn't mean to derail the topic, and I read every single post in here while roughly agreeing with every1. But I just had to bring this problem to Wow's light and turn the issue around my favourite game =). Srry

  20. #20
    I think the idea of emergent gameplay carries a lot of weight to it. It feels natural to me that the players would be the ones creating the world, and it lifts a huge amount of strain from the developer's shoulders. IIRC, this is one of the principles that Spore was built around; the idea that players created content and that that content would be broadcast to every other player would create an incredible wealth more content than a developer could ever hope to produce on their own.

    The only problem I can foresee is that a majority of playable races will be penis slugs.

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