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Reader Comments (7)

Posted: Aug 1st 2009 10:49AM (Unverified) said

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lol. All hail the twilight mmo. Best article I've read in a while. Much needed after an all nighter with AION.

Posted: Aug 1st 2009 10:50AM (Unverified) said

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Much needed laugh*


I don't see an edit button.
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Posted: Aug 1st 2009 11:30AM AlamoeJones said

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"Nothing can stop the relentless juggernaut that is the Twilight MMO."

oh man, that really made it, i lol'd. great article!

Posted: Aug 1st 2009 12:42PM Miffy said

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They peaked in 2004 and then nothing good has been released since.

Posted: Aug 1st 2009 2:29PM RogueJedi86 said

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On a serious note, I do wonder if games like TOR will still be around in 2019. Will TOR succeed beyond all expectations, or fall fast like Warhammer and Age of Conan? Will SWG finally be shut down in 2019?

As for the WoW thing, for all we know, WoW2 will flounder like EQ2 did. EQ was once the king, then EQ2 came with updated graphics and more recent MMO conventions, but it still ended up only getting a couple hundred thousand players tops(don't quote me on that). Maybe by 2019, everyone will have tired of WoW and even a sequel will feel like more of the same.

I can't even fathom how a Starcraft MMO would do. Currently it wouldn't work, since there's just too little background in the SC universe for a successful MMO. It's mainly 2 or 3 big characters per race/faction, with very little notable background that anyone would care about beyond those characters. Maybe Blizzard will make Starcraft 2 RPG-ish like they did with Warcraft 3(which helped it segue into WoW's MMORPG style), then do a StarCraft MMO after they pop out an RTS game to flesh out the world.

I wouldn't bank on Moore's Law too much. Many things change, but many things also stay the same. You see people who've been predicting flying cars for 60 years, but we're still on wheels, and we will be for decades to come. The MMO scene probably won't change that dramatically. Hell, in the 10 years since 1999, we've only gotten more MMOs that look a little better, with a focus towards being easier for casual users. The wheel, so to speak, doesn't have to be reinvented, just small tweaks here and there. The long pre-release development cycle of MMOs ensures the wheel will still be recognizable in 2019.

Posted: Aug 13th 2009 8:58PM (Unverified) said

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Evangelists for Free to Play have been making their argument from short-term profit surges, mostly accomplished through manipulating or tricking customers in some way. However, once they are tricked or manipulated, customers feel bad about their spending. Then the mmorpg will have retention issues and won't be able to sustain their profits long term.

Some Free to Play games degenerated into multilevel marketing scams, where existing players are paid game credits if they a) recruit new players and b) the new players "top up" (buy game credits).

Other Free to Play games are resorting to extraordinary measures, like auctioning off prestigious virtual items to the highest bidder. This gives the publisher and developer a quick shot in the arm, but it does nothing to benefit the general gaming community. Unless this quickie windfall is re-invested into developing game content for the larger community, the "massive" segment of the community will drift off to find a game that maintains their interest.

Another common strategy to make a quick buck is to encourage players to "craft" virtual items from ingredients purchased through micro-transactions. Then this crafted item itself is used as an "ingredient" in a more powerful item, along with more ingredients in the cash shop. The player thus keeps pooring money into the same item, and the amount of money spent is hidden by the ongoing nature of the crafting. In effect, the player subscribes to an item, and can end up paying over $1000 for a +10 Sword of Vanquishing if they add up all the times they re-invested in that item.

Then there are the increasingly popular online gambling games, preying on the impulsiveness of the young gamers.

While developers and publishers need to recover their investments and make a profit, there needs to be more pro-consumer activism in the gaming community to make sure revenue is obtained in an honest way. It's time for an MMORPG Customer Bill of Rights and perhaps a Better Business Bureau type of organization to advocate for customers and protect their rights.

Posted: Aug 1st 2009 7:22PM (Unverified) said

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Some bits for prognostications:
- OnLive and similiar services promise to make the computer you game with irrelevant. Instead, every screen with an internet connection - your TV, computer monitor, laptop, iPhone, etc - will serve as a "thin client" for cloud based computing/gaming resources. Want to play Gears of War 6? Grab a wireless controller and log-in to the game on your TV. Shortly thereafter someone wants to watch a football game on the TV. You pause Gears, walk to your computer monitor, log-in to the game and immediately resume play.
-Total wireless broadband penetration. With WiMax and especially LTE rolling out shortly, everyone in range of a cell tower will have high speed internet access. Ten more years of competition and government regulation ought to make sure that bandwidth is seen as a commodity and even a basic necessity to which people have a right.
-Social gaming. Tying in with Barnett's quote, what constitutes an MMO will blue more and more with time. Facebook and Twitter games are already blurring the lines, and Korea has an "MMO" game in every conceivable genre.
-Procedural content generation. Avoiding the uncanny valley is one thing, but I think the more serious impediment to higher fidelity graphics is the amount of time and manpower required to produce those assets. People simply aren't willing to pay the sort of money for a game that would justify the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to produce a game with a near photo realistic aesthetic. So instead of development teams with 400 artists, we will see much better development tools that allow artists to continue to develop assets with even greater fidelity but in far less time than it would otherwise take.

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