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Reader Comments (36)

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 8:10AM Baby Choo Choo said

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MMOs sequels aren't doomed to fail, but I do think they have a higher chance of failure. There's a delicate balance you have to achieve IMO.

Too similar to the first and you have a bunch of people asking why they should pay for the same car with a new coat of paint.

Too different and you risk alienating fans of the original.

MMO sequels need to stay true the original in some capacity yet try enough new things to make the jump worth it for veterans of the original and also bring in new players who dismissed the first one.

Now that I think about it, this goes for any type of game to tell you the truth, but I feel as if MMOs have to better maintain this balance simply because the time and money invested into them, by both developer and player, is often much greater than your average game.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 8:17AM Bramen said

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How can GW2 prove an exception to a rule when it has not been released yet?

Most mmo sequels fail. But that is just a statistic, not a marker of success or failure. There are plenty of mmos that fail without being a sequel but we don't sit down and ponder if that mmo failed because it was too new. Whether an MMO sequel is a failure or not depends on the same thing that all MMO successes or failures depend on: quality.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 12:41PM (Unverified) said

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@Bramen

Let's be honest, Guilds Wars was not really an MMO, so Guild Wars 2 should do just fine.
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Posted: Oct 17th 2011 8:17AM daras said

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MMO sequels have always seemed strange to me mainly because I always considered the main feature of mmos to be the community, so when a company makes a sequel I get the feeling the community receives a bit of a mixed message, being told to abandon their accomplishments in the first game and level up in a new game.

With that said, I agree with @Baby Choo Choo. If there is to be a sequel it has to be true to the original in a sense, but still give a good enough reason to switch over.

I think it's a little early to call Guild Wars 2 an exception. While I am very exited for the the game it still isn't out yet so we can't really say that it and GW1 are going to do fine...(although it probably will...). With that said I think GW2 is doing it right as they are proposing a similar universe but a game that is fundamentally different enough to appeal to almost a different target audience all together.

many argue that GW1 is barely an mmo at all where as GW2 provides a persistent world for instance

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 8:37AM JohnFordColey said

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MMO sequels aren't doomed to failure, they're just held to the same standards that most video game sequels are held to. In the video game industry, in stark contrast to the film industry, it is expected for the sequel to be much improved over the first game. So when a company announces a sequel to an MMO, it's basically saying, "This is way better than the last game. We can't improve the first game anymore than we already have. You need to play this if you want to keep up with the world we've made."

Look at Guild Wars 2. Everything about it could be said to be an improvement over the first game, and that's why so many people are hyped up about it. For a time, there was a lot of buzz around FFXIV, then the game wound up being a huge stinker for Square Enix and the Final Fantasy brand. Perhaps it is its namesake and its promise of a quality RPG experience that is the reason behind the rare second chance it's getting.

MMO sequels should only be considered if there is a significant gap between the technology in the current game and what's being used by the industry at the moment. They should show improvements in every aspect, and extend and expand the gameplay of the first game . Most importantly, they should reflect the maturity and experience of a team that has spent time running a MMO.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 8:41AM FrostPaw said

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The problem with sequels is you have all the traditional high and unrealistic expectations from the regular mmo community then you have the supremely unrealistic expectations of those that loved/hated the original.

Fans will expect more of the same but better in ways so grand and intricate the chances of devs hitting those targets is zero. Haters will expect more of something they imagine was better and complain when they still hate it anyway because it's still the same type of game.

There are some mmos I would like to see "done again but better" and there are some I couldn't care less about. The funny thing is, the ones that need a do-over are likely the ones that will never get funding for a second try because the first one was such a flat earner.

MMO's in development seem to attract all the people who actually hate mmo's, it's a strange situation but those that love mmo''s for the most part aren't busy ranting and discussing future games they are likely still enjoying a current one. The people who want something different which isn't an mmo are transient moving from in-dev game to in-dev game claiming dissapointment over and over again.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 8:45AM Cyclone Jack said

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Technically, OU2 and UXO didn't 'fail', they were canceled by EA for whatever reason. Now, to be fair, it could be that these were not shaping up and EA cut their losses, as MMOs are quite expensive to develop.

I think sequels can do well but, as stated above, they need to walk that fine line. I think one of the biggest reasons an MMO should move towards a sequel is when you have hit the limitations of the foundation of the game engine. Art can be upgraded, certain aspects of the ngine can be upgraded, but there are some core mechanics that are the foundation of the engine where it would be easier to just make a new engine, thus move forward with a sequel.

As an example, look at how City of Heroes has evolved over the years with any number of mechanical and graphical upgrades, yet there are certain limitations within the engine that just doesn't allow certain things, especially dealing with powers (damage reflection is one example). TBH, I would have expected them to have announced a sequel by now, but they continue to push their engine forward bit by bit.

When looking at GW, you can see that they were hitting some big limitations and they decided it was time to move forward. Comparing GW and GW2, they are very different games, so it will be interesting to see how well they transition their current player base. On the flip, neither game requires a sub, so they don't need to 'win' their payers from one game to the other as much as a sub game does.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 8:49AM Bhima said

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GW2 isn't falling into the same traps of other MMO sequels. Most MMO sequels do a few things to make the game better: Better graphics, slightly more accessible, but for the most part the game remains the same. GW2 is an entirely different game from GW1... in fact, the only constant similarity between the two is really the world lore and story. How it will play out with the fans is still an unknown, but if responses from the expos can be any indicator, it will probably be very successful.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 12:38PM Saker said

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@Bhima "but for the most part the game remains the same"

No this is what the problem has been for sequels, they should have kept closer to the original games. AC2 changed what was a much better basic game in AC, EQ2 ran into major problems launching in no small part because it -didn't- keep to the original (tried to re-invent itself too much). Te various UO sequels were very different. These games would have been better to simply improve the graphics and hold stronger to the originals.
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Posted: Oct 17th 2011 9:05AM DarkWalker said

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The biggest challenge for MMO sequels is when they are run alongside their earlier versions. This divides the player base, as some will prefer the old version, or feel like their already invested effort is too great to throw away. In the end, if it's possible, it might be better to just release the new version as a big expansion - akin to what Blizzard did with Cataclysm - in an attempt to keep the previous players but still attract new ones.

Closing the old game might not be a good idea, though. It sends the wrong signals to the community - why should I start playing a game from a company that just closed another MMO? Besides, players leaving the old game are not guaranteed to move on to the new one; for example, while it's another kind of product, when White Wolf closed down the old World of Darkness RPG line, instead of moving to the new World of Darkness line like the company expected, I went to already established competitors I was interested in trying but hadn't the time before.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 9:06AM pancho72 said

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Traditional sequels to traditional MMOs is probably a bad idea, unless the original is very old and the sequel is meant to address a very different audience.

GW is an exception because owners of the original don't pay a subscription and can easily play both at the same time. In the same way F2P games will probably have an easier time making successful sequels.


I think there may be some room for mini-sequels. If developers have some fancy but risky ideas that would require large changes to the original game, releasing it on separate servers could be one way to go. This would only work if subscribers have access to both versions through the same account. This could be another way to release major patches or expansions.

No matter the circumstances any branch would result in a smaller userbase and more development cost, so it's probably only worthwhile in very few cases.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 9:15AM Knoxrun said

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There is also the subscription, most people don't want to subscribe to the sequel and the predecessor and this often splits the population. GW2 won't do this, given its a buy (once) to play model. With this in mind, everyone who plays GW1 will go to GW2, and if GW2 fails I don't see many of them going back, instead just dropping it all together.

But GW2 will rock socks.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 9:22AM Amusednow said

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AC2 failed since they changed most of the systems to a pre-WoW style game. If they kept what made Asherons good and put it in a new engine, much like people still are asking for even today, it would have been a success to run along side of AC1. It's like taking some dough, roll it out and you have a great pizza, fold it over you have a decent calzone. Same dough different format. But they took dough and turned it into pie crust by adding other ingredients while subtracting others.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 9:26AM Thorqemada said

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Imho a sequel for the sake of a sequel will fail!
A mmo can last for ten or more years until its played to death and technically outdated.
DAOC could have a successfull sequel now, the old Daoc would have to shutdown when the new starts with a new Engine, better UI, a deeper world build on the foundations of the old daoc working systems.
Ultima could have a sequel now - oh, maybe Ultimate Daoc?

But WoW would fail with WoW2 as well as EvE with EvE2 bcs they have not reached the EOL in the mind of players and would either come to early or not be real/spiritual successors.

I mean what had AC2 to do with AC for example?
It was only to harvest the good name and failed!

Harvest sequels of mmos will always fail !

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 9:26AM bobfish said

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How many MMO sequels have actually failed?

I can only think of AC2 that was released and then closed.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 9:39AM Chiren said

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Sequels have it tough - about the only thing they really do have going for them is better graphics, and hopefully, better core design. Being compared to the original, the original has: 1) SUCCESS, 2) CONTENT, and 3) COMMUNITY. Those are really hard things for any sequel regardless of medium to live up to.

I don't understand why so many comments about GW2 - the game isn't out yet. A lot of people talked a lot about FFXIV until the beta started coming out.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 10:07AM (Unverified) said

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Sequel had nothing to do with the failure. AC2 failed for a singular reason. Microsoft. I am not a MS basher, but the former devs have detailed exactly what caused the demise of AC2 and it all lay at the feet of Microsoft.

The initial subscription rates, while below AC1, were enough to sustain operations. But Microsoft haf rushed the game out. The characters skills in the game were written by one dev alone and in a months time (devilmouse). "Rubber-banding" occured excessively due to client-server sync issues.

The chat system was severly broken for MONTHS at a time. I remember having to pass items with inscriptions on them back and forth as a means of in game communication.

Exploits for killing high XP creatures was rampant.

This is what killed AC2. By the time turbine bought the rights back from microsoft, the writing was on the wall. Many of the things that made WoW a genre leader, were first in AC2. AC2 was ahead of its time and held down by a boat anchor called Microsoft.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 10:16AM smartstep said

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Thing is that those few mmorpg's sequels, did very big mistakes.

Both AC2 and EQ2 - were games that were far more streamlined than it's prededesors. Of course this was done to attract new players and widen playerbase, but it could not have been succesful as sequel in order to be succesful have to be approved and liked by it's precedesor's fans.

Both of those sequel's was not, so that's why they failed.

Of course there are exceptions, to this, but well they are exceptions :)

Similar stories are frequently in single player games. Let's take Dragon Age: Origin and Dragon Age 2.

Dragon Age: Origin was succesful game. Despite beign bit 'old school' in small way in it's design it was commercial success and sold milions of copies.

Dragon Age 2 : was very streamlined and consolized game. Flashy, more arcade and much more emphasized on comabt and 'cinematic' experience.

Result? Many DA:O fans did not like it. Game sold much worse that DA:O.


Guild Wars 2 propably will not have this problem. Why?
It's design from what can be seen on videos and read with avabile information is not simpler than GW1.

Actually game propably will be bigger and with more possibilities. GW1 was not very complex game, GW2 won't be as well.
It does seem that it will NOT be 'dumbed-down' in comparision with GW1.
It seems it will offer more than GW1.
That's why it will propably not fail.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 10:42AM donweel said

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I think you would be better off to improve and develop the original product. A sequel would only be if there was a huge change in gameplay and or game engine, things like that. It is kind of like saying the original is obsolete and here is a new version all fixed.

Posted: Oct 17th 2011 10:53AM jsweck said

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The problem is not necessarily all sequels, but some of them. After experiencing a number of these failures I’m convinced that the sequel design teams have no idea what made the previous game worthy of copying. They get an assignment and they do it, even if that means remaking the undergirding game concepts at random. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that there are no specifications or designs written for most of these games, so people have no idea what was going through the original game designer’s heads. Even with the original people, having no written specifications means that they forgot most of the basis for their own decision making.

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