Sunday, July 19, 2009

Don't call your new game an MMO

If you promote a game as being an MMO, there are certain expectations from a certain highly vocal group on the internet. I think of this group as "MMO trolls", but they have also been referred to as "WoW tourists" (ironically by one of the most outspoke WoW tourists around).

The expectations that this group has of your game are simple to predict:

All features will be the same as in World of Warcraft

If deviations from this expectation are found, they will be frowned upon. It doesn't matter if you're hyping a particular feature as your greatest gift to the MMO genre, if the MMO trolls feel that the particular feature would make the game less like WoW, they will say that it's not a *real* MMO, and you should possibly expect the sky to come crashing down because the end may well be nigh.

So, don't hype your game as a *real* MMO. Don't hype it as an MMO at all. It only serves to attract people who have some bizarre set of anti-game-design rules that they seem to think anything with that moniker should adhere to.

Secret bonus comment: If you reply saying "How else can the company obtain $15/month from the players??" then you are a WoW tourist, I don't expect you to understand.


Lani said...

Well put.
According to some, what the world really needs is another by the numbers EQ/WOW clone without any, any deviation. It doesn't matter if you're entire approach is at a 90 degrees angle to that old approach. It must play as that one game. It's why ArenaNet called Guild Wars an CORPG rather than an MMO and why many who never tried it will still scoff at it despite its obvious success as one of two actually 'working' PvE/PvP online RPG games out there. Oddly enough the other one of that kind is also heavily instanced. Yet for some reason ultr-instance game Eve is acceptable as an MMORPG, whereas something closer to the WOW staple isn't. Odd that.
In the end one should always look at what a game is rather than what it is not. Like, is it fun?

Elementalistly said...

I called out Keen on his little article also (with a little vitriol to boot)...

Went kinda some thing like this..

"Seeing your perceptions of SWTOR are not the best, and you are making assumptions of the game [SWTOR] based on several videos...I have to think back.
You considered both WAR and Darkfall good games, and recommended them BEFORE their launch (and even a little into launch).
Based on this skill of recommendation on your part, I take your article to really mean..


BTW, that comment was deleted.

Tesh said...

Nice article, and I can't help but laugh at your response, Openedge1. :)

I'm pretty burned out on online gaming at the moment. W101 is still fun in small doses, and I'm sort of looking forward to DDO Unlimited to see how they do D&D justice (or not), but I've been having a LOT more fun with offline games of late.

Those devs know how to design, since they can't have a live team fix everything, and they have to rely on box sales for business modeling.

Tesh said...

Sorry, that was a bit unclear. Nice article, Melf, and Open, great response to Keen's blather. :)

Crimson Starfire said...

Sometimes I worry that my hatred for WoW is also directed at people who enjoy the DikuMMO/WoW clone, so I try not to be too cynical at posts like Keen's. The reality is that people don't like change. Keen compares every MMO he plays to WoW, because it's obviously impressed him. Unfortunately he doesn't really think outside the 'WoW box' and as a result I get the feeling he's only looking for a more polished WoW clone than a new MMO entirely. The vast majority of gamers and publishers in the industry think the same way, so you can't really blame him. The article makes valid point though ;)

I played DDO not that long ago and was a bit disappointed (to grindy). Definitely worth checking out though.

There is nothing worse than a blogger that deletes comments. You made a very valid point and I'm disappointed that Keen deleted it. Glad you re-posted it here though.