Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Random Shots: Misguided

  • One of the things I miss about MMO blogging are the debates that would rage through the community. Debates like that don't come along very often anymore. So when I discover that someone is wrong on the Internet, I must avail myself of every opportunity to pounce on the gormless perpetrator and rip him or her to shreds.

  • At the beginning of the month, Polygon posted an opinion piece by L. Rhodes about the eventual end of World of Warcraft. The author compares this to the decentralized worlds of Animal Crossing: New Leaf. In Animal Crossing, multiplayer games are peer-to-peer affairs, which allows players to connect with other players to explore their towns. The author argues that by taking a centralized server out of the equation, Animal Crossing is much less likely to suffer a world failure than World of Warcraft.

  • Of course what this does not take into account, something that the author even acknowledges in the article, is that these games have so little in common as to make the comparison silly. Animal Crossing has more in common with something like Diablo III, which could actually benefit by enabling peer-to-peer networking. The loss of online worlds is a serious matter and should be discussed, but I don't see how comparing massively multiplayer games to fundamentally single player games serves any purpose.

  • All of this discussion could be for naught anyway. Although his list may not be exhaustive, Syp keeps an excellent list of MMO launches and collapses. Although he lists ninety-eight launches on his timeline, only twenty-seven games have closed. Even more interestingly, only twenty games have transformed to free-to-play or relaunched. That leaves fifty-one games that are, presumably, humming along just fine. Maybe our online worlds are not in as much jeopardy as we might be lead to believe.

  • If there is one valid takeaway from this article, it's that our online worlds survive only at the pleasure of their owners. Only when these worlds are placed in the hands of the players do they have the chance to live on. And who knows, maybe there is a future for Azeroth yet.


  1. I found your bullet point abuot MMO launches and collapses very interesting. I think it demonstrates clearly the difference between perception and reality.

  2. Be careful with Syp's list. He does not note when a game is in trouble. I am not sure WWII Online, Meridian 59, and Saga of Ryzom are all "humming along just fine," despite appearing on the list. And what do you do with Guild Wars, where all development has officially ceased? There seems to be a pretty wide zone between the various states of the games.

    1. Sure, no argument there. But those games do prove that point that, although they are no longer in active development, ways have been found to keep those worlds available for exploration.