You’re MMO is Tanking, How are you Surprised?

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So Tobolod asked “Is the Honeymoon Over”(1) for the new MMO contenders, Champions, Aion, and the like?

Hahahaha, well DUH!

The publishers of these new titles have been trolling the blog sphere and forums listening to every golden drop of wisdom the gaming elite has to offer. Somewhere in sifting through the STFU and the “teh cazuls suxxors” they built up the notion that if they create a game with a narrow focus on play style and demographics would somehow beat out games with varied play styles and a broad player audience.

Then just can’t seem to comprehend why they never see the numbers they wanted to see. They just don’t get why their game wasn’t the success that WoW is.

“But we built it like WoW!” they say. No, you used WoW like technology and a WoW like interface, but you DID NOT build your game to be the success WoW is. You did not build your game with a wide demographic focus to draw the attention of a growing gaming audience and demographic. You Fail.

If you want to know why I’m really snarky, it’s because these developers keep building games to narrow audiences, with narrow play styles because they’re positively convinced that they have to build their game to a set of mythical specifications.

When however, you’re building an MMO, you’ve got a huge hungry market out there. But by building to the mythical specifications, you pigeon hole yourself into a niche market that won’t pump out the numbers you’re looking to nab. Why? Because you’re selling to the stereo typical gamer.

The stereo typical gamer type is male between the ages of 18 and 30, maybe 35. He’s single so he doesn’t have to spend time dealing with kids and sometimes even a girlfriend. He might work, but he doesn’t work at a job that infringes on his play time so he’s got more than enough time to spend grinding for experience or reputation. He is a tireless fan that spends hours upon hours in game.

Yeah wow, that must be some kind of life there. Aside from the clever jabs and put downs, this WAS the face of gaming back in 1999. You know back in the EQ and EQII days. Back when grind was king and women didn’t know how to turn on a computer (supposedly).

Ladies and Gentleman, may I present to you the year 2009. In THIS year we have people playing games that DO NOT fit the stereo typical gamer profile. In THIS year we have people of both genders that game, we have working professionals that game, and we have families that game.

Two games that step outside of the standard model, Free Realms and Runes of Magic, have had some staggering numbers. Sure they’re both Free to Play over pay to play, but they also focus on some little things that a LOT of the triple A games seem to have been ignoring as of late.

These games are freely available, they include ginchy stuff like holidays and pets, and they allow the players to play more than one class at a time.

Free Realms however is far more successful, and has a Pay to Play option which Runes of Magic does not have. Runes of Magic, a more “WoW” clone like game, only recently hit the 2 Million user mark. This is actually very, very good for a new MMO (2). Free Realms however, hit the 5 Million user mark back in August, but officially announced the count in September.(3) Within 5 months of it’s release, Free Realms already had almost half the user base of the infamous World of Warcraft. But how? Well instead of trying to pull players from games they already know and love (by offering chintzy substitutes) the team at SOE offered a game for family play. This opened their game up to a whole new market untouched by the big boys.

World of Warcraft and now even Free Realms have tasted the kind of success that developers are craving but just can’t seem to attain. Why aren’t they hitting these numbers? Well because they’re limiting themelves by building games that appeal to the stereotypical gamer. They bring in stereotypical gamers into their betas. They only get the stereotypical gamer viewpoint on what’s wrong with thier games.

Even if they make a game that meets or exceeds the demands of these stereotypical gamers, how long do they think they’re going to maintain the interest of a group that jumps on the ‘new game’ bandwagon every time a game is released to beta?

You want bigger numbers, stop listening to the elitist gamers. Stop building dungeons and start building games. If however you just want to build the next ball buster, then don’t get uppity when you don’t get 11 million subscribers. Otherwise, start learning what it takes to sell a game to a family audience and to a female audience. Start building games that will sell to pve players, pvp players, and crafting players.

1 Tobold’s MMORPG Blog: Honeymoon is over (Link)

2 Massively : Runes of Magic hits 2 million users (Link)

3 Massively : Free Realms officially hits 5m users (Link)

Headed to Northrend thanks to Trick or Treating

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Thanks to putting out fires and trekking most of Azeroth for candy, Geistig finally hit 68 and me and Savvy headed for Northrend. I only got in a quest or two there before it was time to call it a night but meh.

I’d really wanted to go after the Headless Horseman. In fact it’d be fun to get some video of that to add into the Halloweenie snippets I’ve been picking up over the last few days. Downside is that the horseman’s 80 and well I’m still 68.  Just you wait Headless Horseman.

Long Time No Post No Matter

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So yeah I guess I kind of had a gaming melt down and I just haven’t wanted to get back into any games since. I haven’t been playing any games and therefore didn’t really have anything to blog about. Hence why things have been really, really quiet lately.

What brought on the melt down? Well I managed to stress out my back to the point where I lived in sharp pain for two days with a nice lingering after ouch for about a week. Since I work at a computer all day to bring home the bacon it was a pretty painful experience.

Safe to say that after that and after all the other annoyances I’ve suffered at the whims of games and gamers, I haven’t felt inspired to log into anything. Well except for Free Realms but that’s mostly because it’s just stupid and fun.

I haven’t canceled my account to WoW, I still intend on logging in sometime I just don’t know when. There aren’t other games I want to play, in fact I haven’t wanted to play games at all.

I have been focusing on making music and watching some TV. I know not super exciting, but I’m not a super exciting person. I can say that life outside of the games is pretty friggin boring, but I can’t live in the games, I have to live out here.

Halloween Free Realms Style

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I love Halloween, it’s my favorite holiday of the year. It looks like Free Realms players and developers feel the same way. Check out this video I found earlier today. (ps This isn’t a video of my own creation, I just think it’s hilarious).

Category: Free Realms, Video | Comments Off on Halloween Free Realms Style

Death Knight to Music

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I finally picked up making music again. Here’s some of my first stuff. Oh and I used some of the gigs of footage I shot of Geistig running around Northrend. Woot finally getting one step closer to actual music production.

Pally at 67

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I did manage to get the Pally up to 67 last night over at Blades Edge. I just have one question though, what is with the Ogres and the dolls?

Makes me wonder if all those times you see the Ogres standing around talking, they’re gossiping about how Grog still needs his stuffed animal to get to sleep. Not sure just what brought that to my attention.

Category: World of Warcraft | Comments Off on Pally at 67

Alganon – Low on Hype, Big on Potential

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I was checking out Alganon today, and wow, it looks interesting. If nothing else here’s a game that caters to more than the PvP or Achiever gamer personalities. I’ll have to check it out and see what it looks like at release, to be sure. Alganon is currently in beta and is currently set for release on October 31, hehe.

Here’s some features that interest me the most:

Studies – offline character development (so I don’t feel like I have to live in the game to get anything done)

Library – an in game wowhead/allakazam/armory/wiki

Families – in game communities built around what appear to be the Bartle gamer types (achiever, explorer, social, pwner, etc).

Dual Role System – note that it isn’t a “dual class” system, but a dual role system (as a big fan of hybrids I like being able to mix it up, it’ll be interesting to see how they’re applying this)

There’s some other aspects of it that’ll be interesting to see, but there’s a lot about the game that has promise. Right now the game only has 4 classes and 2 races while they’re working out the game before they launch with a ton of classes to balance and models to debug. Makes sense to me, Runes of Magic did something similar. Looks also like the developer is more focused on putting out a game that’s fun andworks as opposed to focusing on competing with the big dogs. Can’t fault them there.

The community aspect of Alganon is something I’ll want to watch over time, but really the fact that there’s in game documentation and an explorer track (as opposed to just blast em up and pick through teh lewtz) is something I’d like to see in an MMO. Question is can it be implemented successfully and would it be fun?

Time to wait and see heh. Alganon (LINK)

More Beta?

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Signed up for the Star Wars Old Republic Beta. Guess we’ll have to see if tye’ll accept my modest application. I’d almost be willing to bet that they pass over me for a cranky dude gamer. Meh.