MMO Rant #13: Too Many MMOs

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.

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9 Responses to "MMO Rant #13: Too Many MMOs"

  1. mrwuss

    People want an epic WoW replacement. If for no other reason but to force blizzard into fixing the things that ruin the fun of the game. That turning point where the game becomes more of a chore and less fun.

    The market sees the dollar signs of desperate players and they are cashing in.

    Isn’t your studio doing the same thing? :)

  2. I disagree, mrwuss, no one wants a WoW replacement.

    WoW, is a great game and will continue to be. We want quality OPTIONs, not replacements. If someone releases a wow-clone that s just a valid replacement, they have missed an opportunity to expand and grow the genre. EQII is distinctly different for Warcraft. They coexist and are both successful. We need more quality options, not substitutions of one for another newer one.

    Ryan is just saying that having 12 new MMOs every week, where 9 are vaporware, 1 is poorly developed and the last has a 1% chance of reaching launch despite its potential, is making it hard for everyone to sort through the bullshit studio spin to see a game worth playing.

    Back in the day, if a game made it to a press release, it had a pretty good shot of getting on the shelves, because people just didnt market this stuff that much until late in development. Now, its like before you assemble a team, you make a cover art for your game, and call it the “Most Antisipated Game of 2014!!!1″ and hit the blog and news site circut.

  3. Teronicus

    /agree.

    I’ve tried pretty much every MMO out there and only three have really captured me. Pre-NGE Star Wars Galaxies, Everquest II, and World Of Warcraft.

    EQ2 is the best, in my opinion, and I’ve been a avid player since day 1 (I have over 30 characters between my 3 accounts! I’m a sucker for the grind!). I also play WoW because some of my “real-life” friends play it. If they didn’t, I would play EQ2 exclusively.

    I’m really looking forward the 38 Studio’s entry, but I’m sure along the way I’ll stop and play a few more as well.

  4. I disagree, mrwuss…it’s not the players that are looking for a “WoW replacement”…it’s the developers.

    There are quite a few that look at World of Warcraft’s numbers and revenue stream, say “I gotta get me summa dat!”, and get busy.

    And then…THEN, they realize just how much they’ve bitten off, their jaw muscles start to tire from the chewing, and before you know it the game disappears.

    My personal opinion is that a large percentage of the current crop of MMORPGs in development are of the “me too!” variety, and are doing exactly what Ryan said…muddying the waters.

    A perfect example (to me, anyway) is Ubisoft with their MMO version of Heroes of Might & Magic, a fairly popular IP. I just wrote up a post today on my blog about it, because not many people know exactly what Ubisoft is planning to do.

    - browser based
    - no box sales
    - developed by TQ Entertainment

    I would like to think that Ubisoft is taking this opportunity to try a fresh approach to the MMORPG market, but I have the horrible feeling that it’s more of a “gotta get me summa dat” move.

    Developing and publishing an MMORPG is not something you can just jump into, and isn’t like developing a stand-alone game. There are quite a few problems that are unique to MMOs.

    It’s a learning process, even for a tried-and-tested development company. Unfortunately, there are more than a few companies that are seeing WoW-dollar signs, and what they are learning (and will continue to learn) is that they haven’t a clue how to pull off an MMO.

    I agree, Ryan…quality, not freakin’ quantity. And good luck to us in getting that.

  5. JuJutsu

    Pffft. I say… “Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend”. If I were a game designer I’m sure I’d prefer playing in a nice oligopolistic sandbox but I’m not…I’m a customer and the more games the better as far as I’m concerned.

  6. The difference is that you are an informed customer. You know how to tell a good MMO from a bad MMO through experience. What if you’d never played one before and you looked on a shelf only to find 10 similar looking MMOs. How would you choose? The smart consumer would probably back away and do some research online, but not all consumers are smart. ;)

  7. Daven

    “What if you’d never played one before and you looked on a shelf only to find 10 similar looking MMOs. How would you choose?”

    There gonna choose the game that their friends play. So having 10 boxes isn’t going to make a difference.

  8. TheGooMan

    WoW is overrated. The only reason why it became so popular was because a well-known successful game developing company known as Blizzard made it. Actually, that in itself made the WoW already popular before the game came out. It made it even more popular due to Blizzard’s marketing campaigns for the game. Because they had enough funding, they were even able to extend their game internationally. Add to the fact that WoW has “colorful” sceneries, easy-to-gain EXP grinding and quests, and has a “Western” feel to it rather than “Eastern” (and believe me when I say that some people have biases towards these), you have a recipe for what would deem as a very popular game for both casual and hardcore gamers.

    Unfortunately, many of the ideas conceptualized and materialized in WoW are nothing new. Old and fairly recent MMORPGs have already done them. In the end, there was just so many factors involved “outside” of the actual game that helped it become popular and, shall I say it, successful. But as for the game itself? Meh…

    Sorry for the rant, and I’m even more sorry for going offtopic, but I just hate it when people keep comparing WoW vs The rest of the MMORPGs out there because WoW is not, and never should be, considered the “standard” or the “threshold” for what an MMORPG should be.

    (Btw, the above comment wasn’t directed towards anyone here in particular. I was just making a general statement.)

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