View Full Version : BFF Report - Gods and Heroes
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03-17-2011, 03:25 PM
03-18-2011, 02:37 AM
I dunno, it seems like developing a successful MMO is a very steep hill for game companies to climb now. There are just so many conditions that must be met in order to maximize the immediate success and longevity of a game like an MMO. First, in order to ensure a wide enough player base to support such a massive game, there's needs to be buzz in the market about the game, This can be done through direct advertising, ie going to things like GDC and putting out commercials, as well as indirect advertising, ala Too Human's failed viral videos. However, there can be many problems with this. First and foremost the content which is being displayed must appealing, not just on it own merits, but comparatively with the top MMO's. First impressions are everything, and if your game doesn't immediately intrigue me, chances are I'll forget it in the torrent of other games launching. Second, the game company in question must weigh out the cost-benefit of bankrolling the commercialization of such a large game; do we invest $x into advertising that may not attract 1mill people, or just invest $y and try to just get by. Mind you, the latter of these two choices is viable, in that you could build a cult following which spreads to others, especially as new content comes out. However, this assumes that you have garnered enough players to support the infrastructure of a game so dependent on the multiplayer experience that you were able to stay profitable long enough to produce new content.
Now that you have your game funded, advertised, and people are interested, you need to have a way to give people the experience of your game, let them see that its (relatively - beta's are beta's for a reason) functional, that it will be fun, and more importantly, that its worth people's time and money. It is here where i think WoW has really succeeded in giving 10 day trials. You get people playing the game, completely free, and you give them enough time to get into the game far enough that they would have some reason to continue playing. The best part of the trial period from a game company's perspective, though, is that you have restrictions which would be lifted should you take the dive and purchase the game. If you're a trial player, and you see certain functions of the game's infrastructure that you would enjoy, on top of the enjoyment you're currently experiencing, you're being reminded of the benefits of spending your money on this game.
So, I think for a company to make an MMO successful, they must 1) have a large amount of buzz in the industry, and 2) there must be a way for people to experience the game for themselves, yet leaving them wanting more (which is oh-so great a part of mmo's anyway). Should you have made it far enough to have a viable playerbase with enough profits to invest back into the game, you're on your way to some level of mmo success.
03-18-2011, 08:52 AM
I for one, do not like the "small company" MMO's that are popping up. They just lack the polish that I like. Maybe I am spoiled by World of Warcraft but that's just how i see it. Now, I am not saying that a small company can't make a great MMO, they just have to work very hard at it. However, it seems that most of them just throw something together, and hope that someone plays it. I have tried a few F2P ones and I just hate them. I just can't get into them. It also seems that in the long run, a F2P would cost you more than a subscription based game if you want to enjoy everything the game has to offer. I will gladly pay $15.00 or so a month to get everything the game has to offer as opposed to $$$ here and $$$ there to access certain F2P features, items etc.
I would also like to see more free trials for subscription based MMO's. Rift is a current example. I know they want to sell as many boxes and downloads as possible so they don't have the trial at the moment. I think this is a mistake. If they truly believe that they have a quality product, why not offer a 5 day trial? For me, $50.00 is just too much to experiment with. I really want to try it but don't have that kind of money to "gamble" away. If I had the trial, and I enjoyed the game, I would buy it and sub. This is what I did with WoW. I didn't start playing till I had the free trial. I saw it on the shelves, heard about how fun it was, but I just couldn't do it. I saw the trial one day and gave it a shot. I subbed the very next day. So, Blizzard made quite a bit of money off me by letting me have a free taste of their game.
I apologize if I rambled on a bit but these are just some general thoughts that I have on MMO's at the moment.
03-18-2011, 03:17 PM
Hurry up and review Dungeon Fighter Online already. It's got the most enjoyable battle system in an MMO, the leveling grind is pretty well balanced, it's free, and, come on, it's FUGGING STREETS OF RAGE ONLINE. SERIOUSLY. More people need to play this. If you need someone to show you the ropes, let me know.
03-18-2011, 04:17 PM
I agree very much with the previous posts by Kremdčnoyaux and Vicktor. They both make quite a number of compelling points.
Let's face it, developing a decent MMO these days takes a lot of effort (which is the product of time and money; although the ratio may vary depending on if it is a smaller studio pouring blood, sweat and tears into something or a larger studio with boatloads of resources).
I think there is still room in the market for some measure of success but as many others have noted in the past, it is unlikely, if not impossible that any other game will be quite as successful as WoW. The trick for these studios will be finding the "right" level of commitment.
You have to jump in enough so that there is "buzz in the market about the game"[@Kremdčnoyau] but how much is too much until RoI becomes hard to achieve? Companies have to be careful to keep costs under control in the first year or two.
So I have a question to shoot out for the forum in general. Is perhaps a better recipe for success in the MMO market to develop a good single player (or small scale multiplayer) game first?
This has been tried before to varying degrees I suppose. I mean, there are elements of both Warcraft (obviously) and Diablo in WoW. Both of which had some smaller scale multi-player elements. I think both of these games helped Blizzard develop the setting (the world if you will) without jumping directly into an MMO immediately. There needs to be a reason for people to be in the game; some sort of purpose. Having a fully fleshed out world with a bit of history, some conflicts, factions, storylines etc. All these things provide the framework on which content can be derived.
On the other hand, there is something like NWN, which arguably had lots of MMO potential but never seemed to make that transition from smaller scale multi-player.
[There are so many more examples too, but I need to stop writing at some point :P]
03-22-2011, 08:49 PM
I for one enjoy the more niche-oriented MMO games-when they are good. I think it is totally feasible for a smallish game developer to make and maintain a quality MMO, if they can produce a quality product. I believe they can do this, and here is why.
Blizzard has huge resources to develop WoW, but that intellectual property development is by no means all of Blizzard's focus. As I understand it they are making a totally new IP for a new MMO, and continuing work on SC2, and D3. My point is that Blizzard has 3 distinct IP franchises right now that are all under development, and a 4th one on the way and thus WoW does not constitute most of Blizzards focus at any given time. A small developer could come in and sneak off with a certain demographic if they were well presented and produced a quality game. Granted, a small game developer would have no way of competing on the level of WoW's market share, but that is not required to enter the MMO market and turn a profit.
A small, quality MMO with a loyal playerbase (easy to acquire if the game is quality) will carve out its own niche. WoW has massive appeal; the 1st gen MMORPGs, Everquest, Ultima, etc. did NOT have this massive appeal (and this isn't even counting MUDs, which were, in some cases, more hardcore than those games). These games were for the hardest of the hardcore on WoW's terms. A raider in WoW probably wouldn't even finish the grind to 50 in Vanilla EQ, for example, because it was much harder. These players still exist and will gladly play a tougher game than wow, IFF the opportunity presents itself! Wow will NEVER cater to these players because that simply isn't their business model, but if they have nothing better out there they will simply stick to WoW since its the only game in town.
Where I think new MMO's fail is trying to be competition for WoW; they will fail. Blizzard's games are so influential that their games are the paradigm for the genre they occupy. I think a successful non-Wow MMO in today's market needs a "boutique" appeal, which means a quality product tailored to a specific audience to which WoW does not appeal.
03-25-2011, 10:28 PM
If studios want to pump out PS2 graphics standard MMOs they need to make some changes. Small studios have trouble making nice looking games but that isnt necessarily a bad thing, they can think outside the box and make something totally different and original. For example a side scroller MMO like Dragonica, cell shaded like Zelda phantom hourglass or just look at Minecraft, 16 bit blocks are as simple as you can get. and having something original will help them stand out from the crowd.
But to be honest, if your game has highly polished gameplay and tight balancing or the next gen of PvP then it doesnt matter what it looks like and you can get away with these weaker graphics. What i dont like is the complete laziness on design from every part of the game; from dull quests to the out dated graphics to the repetitive combat. And at full retail price too!? They'd be lucky if they get any customers at all.