It seems like every damn week a new massively multiplayer game is announced. Sometimes they are seriously valid potential entries into the marketplace. Most of the time, the games aren’t even going to make it out the door or, if they do, they will be piles of junk. It seems like half of the new companies making an MMO were founded by “Blizzard superstars,” aka people who once consulted someone in overseas tech support about what to eat for dinner. It’s starting to melt my brain.
You might think that it’s because I’m scared that there will be too much competition since I’m working on an MMO myself. Yeah, I’m not. Sure, there are going to be some big time competitors out there outside of the WoW spectrum when our game comes out. That’s wonderful. I can’t wait to play them, and I can’t wait to make my game better than theirs.
Why is it starting to get to me? Well, a bunch of reasons. Every time a new one is announced, everyone takes every new announcement a little less seriously. They muddy the waters a little too much for me. And every time one comes out that sucks and bombs or is canceled during development, it becomes harder for serious developers to get funding or garner interest in their game. My company is lucky because of the people who are part of it, but it still makes me sad for the industry as a whole.
Another reason is that I personally have to play too freakin’ many of them. I try to play every moderately valid entry into the MMO space, and at this point if I want to try even all of those out, I pretty much have to use all of my game time doing so. But, I don’t want to stop looking at the games because most of them have something completely worthwhile to be learned from them, even if it’s because of the flaws.
I just hope players can spot the good from the bad even if they’ve never played an MMO, because it would suck if a new player decided to dive into the MMO realm only to try out a crappy MMO and conclude that they don’t like the genre (thanks to the folks at Actiblizzion, that tends not to happen and we get new players in the pool quite frequently).
As long as there are only a couple-few worthwhile MMOs per genre (fictionally speaking, like fantasy, sci-fi, etc.), I’ll be happy enough. Then I can keep focused on the games worth really digging into.
The MMO genre is maturing into a real live genre full of crappy games with a few gems here and there (see: FPSes. The plethora of great FPSes released this season alone is unprecedented, but there were still tons of crappy first-person shooters that came out throughout the year). That doesn’t mean I have to like it.