I’ve finally got my head above water on my project and returned to my blog reader. It feels like it has been so long and as a result I have a whole lot to catch up on. I came across something so interesting on Elder Game that I just had to share. Basically Eric talks about what a woefully bad year 2009 was for MMOs and why. As of late I’ve been throwing a lot of blame for these failures on poor management decisions and the nature of the business. He seems to suggest a bit of the same.
In the article Eric basically addresses Warhammer Online, Champions Online and Aion. He talks about why they had such rough years and attributes a lot of it to poor decisions made at the top and rookie mistakes. I know I certainly agree when it comes to the pair that ends in “online.” I opted out of Aion because I just wasn’t going to buy into another PvP game that pretended like PvE mattered so I can’t honestly comment on it other than to maintain I was right about the end game!
He addresses that Warhammer Online really didn’t offer a lot of functionality that other MMOs do. Eric even goes so far as to point out where the developers did their best not to be influenced by the market. I’d certainly say it felt that way.
On the other hand he talks about the knee jerk reaction of the Champions Online team to shift the game’s pace at the last minute. This is what ruined it for me to say the least. By increasing the experience requirements the quest progression was thrown out the window and you’d find yourself as many dead zones as an AT&T wireless user! It wasn’t fun and as a result I quit. Had they left the original pace in they’d have gotten at least two more months out of me.
The really interesting part comes towards the end when he explains why companies make the decisions they do. He speaks with authority on venture capitalists and funding options. He also notes something that I’ve brought up. MMO companies are no longer interested in the stable long term growth. They want to get rich quick. They throw all their money on 21 black and lose a lot more than they win. Everything relies on hype and initial box sales. Then, once the wheel starts spinning the developers sit back and prey for their number (conversions past the first month). I’m tired of that style to be honest. I just don’t get excited about new MMOs anymore because of it. At this point I refuse to purchase any game that hasn’t been out six months. Why? It isn’t worth your money to be an early adopter.
At any rate that is enough soap boxing from me. Go read that article. You’ll enjoy it!