Saturday, February 6, 2010

Listened Lately: Shut Up, We're Talking #57

  • It never fails. Just as soon as I complain that I don't have anything else to say about MMOs, something comes along that makes me want to blog and/or rant. This time, it's related to the long-awaited release of Shut Up, We're Talking #57. So as I've done before, I'm going to pull up my virtual fifth microphone and add my own comments on the episode.

  • The question about stickiness in MMOs in quite a good one, especially in this era of the WoW tourist. Why don't people stay with a new MMOs? There are a few things you can blame. MMOs aren't really the best games, always, especially at launch. And people can be flighty, always hopping from one game to the next. But people do stick with games if they are the right one. Just look at Syncaine and Darkfall. But looking for problems is the wrong way around. Best time I've had playing MMOs lately were during the launches of Champions Online and Warhammer Online. That may sound strange to you considering how the games have faired since launch. But the reason I had such a great time is due to the excitement in the community around them. People were talking about them and thinking about them and it was great to be caught up in that. I was caught up in the wave of enthusiam and, darn it, that was fun. You hear or read statements that its the people you play with that make you stay with the game. But that is not just true on a micro level. If other people are in the game, having a good time and sharing that experience, that's where I see the stickiness of MMOs occuring.

  • I know it was just a small part of the cast, but Karen mentioned how statistical items in microtransaction games have disappeared from Free Realms and Wizard 101. I have to agree that this is only a good thing. Considering that one the things you play for in an MMO is gear, selling that gear undermines your reward structure. So good riddence. I wonder how well +3 swords are selling in Dungeons & Dragons Online.

  • The discussion of MMOs on other platforms went in all kinds of directions, but I think that's primarily because the question was so unfocused. MMOs have a chance to go in a few directions now, especially because they are stretching beyond the standard PC client model. Yes, they can devolve into mindless clicky games like Farmville. But they also have the opportunity grow the genre in new ways beyond the standard DIKU. The question seemed to denigrate MMOs becoming single player games. That's not the problem. The problem is that they are doing it wrong. There have been some awesome single player games released in the last couple years, but MMOs are still copying the same game mechanics used since the beginning of the genre. As little attention that I give to SWTOR, Bioware does have a chance to make a game the steps out of the shadow of the DIKU/UO/EQ/WoW lineage. And if someone wants to put an MMO on the iPhone, they darn well better make a game that takes advantage of that platform.

  • I really enjoyed Michael's discussion of the MMO labels. The fact the most games are just iterations on old games instead of restarting from first principles has made the genre stagnate. In its own way, this is part of why WoW did so well. They took the EQ model, stripped it down to the fun game stuff, and threw out a lot of the virtual world trappings. And they keep throwing more of that out as they go along. New MMOs need to question the assumptions made by prior games and throw out anything that is no longer needed.

  • Wow, this was much more random and lame than I expected. If you made it all the way down here without skipping ahead, you deserve a cookie.

© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. Claims cookie.

    I am right there with you. WAR may have flopped, but the first week around launch when the servers were really packed out was a ton of fun. Learning the PQs, learning the scenarios, and taking my first baby steps into RvR were all a blast. Watching my server die a slow horrible death within the first month, not so much . .

  2. The are no cookies here in the office but someone did bring in brownies, so I'll make a substitution. Ah guilt free brownie, so good.

    By the way, my STO obsession managed to cancel the ME2 temptation you implanted last week and I survived the weekend without buying it yet. Soon I'm sure.

    By the way, I'm not surprised that you found an inspiration to MMO blog so soon again. Never say never.

  3. @ Yeebo - That's the other side of the coin, truly. If the game lets the community down, you can't expect them to stick around.

    @ Blue Kae - Yeah, it never fails. I think blogging about not blogging is enough to bring the subject to mind.