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Vanguard Dev Talks About the Game's Future

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the give-the-people-what-they-want dept.

Role Playing (Games) 86

Massively sat down with Thom Terrazas, producer for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes about what the future holds now that the game has had time to stabilize after a rocky start. Terrazas talks about some of the upcoming content, and explains why they chose to develop in the direction they did. "A lot of the requests are a mix of high-end content requests. You know, keep delivering higher end content so that progress doesn't stop for our players. In addition there are many requests to fix current content. Those are the two things that the players have requested the most." He also provides some general information on their ideas for alternate advancement. "... the idea is you can build your character out so it's a bit more specialized in things like damage, or mitigation, or spell damage. So you can specialize any way you want. We're working on that now, and it's something we're looking to launch in the raiding portion of Pantheon. So if you really love your character and want to specialize in something more, be a little different then the rest of your class, then AAs will be coming with the second part of Pantheon so you can customize your character further in the higher level."

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Aw man (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781353)

Aw man, I thought this was going to be about the Atari 2600 Vanguard. I was wondering whatever happened to those guys.

Re:Aw man (1)

Cymeth (122330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26793435)

Me too, man. That game rocked =).

Heh (0, Troll)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781355)

So, let me get this straight, at a time when WoW has got another couple of million players by going less specialized, so healers or tanks can still kill stuff when soloing and damage dealers don't get two-shot... Vanguard actually plans to make people _more_ specialized?

I have to wonder what _is_ with Vanguard and trying to do everything the other way around than what most people like. Is this some kind of ellaborate prank played on the publisher? Plain incompetence? Being unable to learn from past mistakes? Or just a case of keeping listening to the wrong crowd?

There seems be a group of people who've played WoW for 3 years, then got bored (which isn't anything wrong and abnormal), but can't seem to realize that the change is with them not with the game. Mixed with the usual human inability to deal with multiple variables, so if they like X then everything about X is great, and if they dislike X then every single trait or aspect of X is pure shit and an offense unto God. (Where X can be a game, a person, a company, etc.) So now they've flipped around to "everything about WoW sucks", including everything that kept them there in the first place. And I dunno why I get the idea that Vanguard chose to listen to precisely this segment, without applying much critical thinking.

At any rate, whatever the reason, it's kinda funny. It's like they're _planing_ to make a game that sucks ass end-to-end, and oh looky, they just got another idea how to make it worse.

If any of the Vanguard devs are listening, I humbly submit the following ideas to the same end:

- be the first MMO with DRM. I'm sure you can convince someone at Sony of that idea, given their past record.

- give the customers free wedgies.

- periodic player wipes. It worked great for MUDs to keep the population low, I'm sure it can work for you too.

Keep up the good job, guys. I'm sure with enough hard work and dedication you can even become worse than Anarchy Online ;)

Re:Heh (2, Insightful)

zaibazu (976612) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781475)

It is about the target audience. WoW is played by the masses, Vanguard aims at the old hardcore Everquest crowd. One of VGs main problems was that there wasn't enough gaming content for them so they quickly abandoned the game.

Re:Heh (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781487)

Except EQ1 peaked at 500,000 players. And if you want to aim at the hardcore segment, you get even less. It's probably barely enough to pay the development costs.

"Only" 500,000 (3, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781783)

500K is not chump change. 500K is more subscribers than anything but WoW and Lineage have ever seen at peak. People really need to stop grabbing these numbers out of the air.

Re:"Only" 500,000 (3, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782103)

500K is more subscribers than anything but WoW and Lineage have ever seen at peak.

Wrong. Final Fantasy XI peaked at over 600,000 and probably still has more than 400,000. FFXI was the #3 subscription MMOG (behind Lineage and Lineage II) when WoW came out, having overtaken EQ over a year earlier.

Re:"Only" 500,000 (2, Funny)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26786109)

But 300k of those playing FFXI were gold farmers.

Re:"Only" 500,000 (1)

rokknroll (677118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26786337)

"probably still has more than 400,000" Opinion != Fact....so please stop eh?

Re:"Only" 500,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26788271)

Final Fantasy XI numbers are bullshit, because of Japan. Most of those 500,000 users are Japanese, and they're only playing that MMORPG over others because it's available on a console.

And with the PS2 dead and FFXI no supported on the PS3, those Japanese subscribers can't keep it floating. I'd be amazed if it still had more than 100,000 subscribers.

FFXI's numbers are meaningless when talking about the PC MMORPG market, because it was basically the only MMORPG available on consoles when it got those figures.

Re:"Only" 500,000 (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26790439)

Wrong, wrong and wrong.

Everquest: Online Adventures came out for the PS2 less than a year after FFXI's JP release (and before the NA release). FFXI is perfectly well supported on the PS3. And as far as supported only by Japanese--not hardly. The past several Vana'diel Censuses have shown that the big peak for log-ins is during NA prime time. At JP prime time, there is a distinct spike, but a much smaller one. This has been true for years.

Re:"Only" 500,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26792339)

Everquest: Online Adventures came out for the PS2 less than a year after FFXI's JP release (and before the NA release).

So freaking what? It wasn't exactly a complete MMORPG, was it?!

FFXI is perfectly well supported on the PS3.

How? There's no PS3 version, the PS3 no longer has PS2 compatibility, and even if it did, it never offered PS2 hard drive support.

And as far as supported only by Japanese--not hardly.

According to who?...

The past several Vana'diel Censuses...

...according to their little reports that contain no hard numbers. Great. Get back to me when Square Enix decides to offer exact figures rather than vague charts with no scales.

Re:"Only" 500,000 (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 5 years ago | (#26798853)

He provides facts. You provide emotional outbursts with no facts. He wins. What do you have against FFXI anyways? Did a gf leave you for a tarutaru?

Re:"Only" 500,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26800863)

What facts? See any links there? There are no facts to say that FFXI has a player base anywhere near that large.

Do some research and you'll easily see that the only reason FFXI had 500,000 players at one point was because:

1. It was before WoW was released.
2. It was the only full MMORPG on consoles. Others were severely limited due to lack of hard drive support.
3. Japanese gamers are predominantly on consoles, making FFXI essentially the ONLY MMORPG in Japan, allowing it to tap into the entire market.

So, basically, its figures were only impressive because it's the only MMORPG on consoles, and even then, it only got to some amazingly small percentage of the console gaming population. (WoW, by contrast, hits something like 5% of all gamers world-wide.)

We're talking about PC MMORPGs here. FFXI is entirely irrelevant to the conversation, since it's a console MMORPG by a console game company.

Re:Heh (1)

zehaeva (1136559) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781957)

Well if you take EVE Online as an example where they have only about 250K to 300K accounts. Pretty hardcore game with an economist on the payroll. They seem to be expanding and have been since release when there was only like 50k accounts. With 500K accounts should be 750K per month in fees, sounds like more than enough to keep a game running. With 50k accounts getting 75k per month, well that's a bit harder. This isn't counting the monies from the initial box sales which should have been used to cover the initial dev costs.

Re:Heh (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26790909)

Unless the fees are $1.50 a month you should probably add a zero to your revenue figures.

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26796399)

ACK! i kept thinking 15 dollars, 1.5 multiplier!! i have angered the gods of maths!!

Re:Heh (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 5 years ago | (#26794375)

Here's a neato graph of Eve Online subs [mmogchart.com]

quoted from CCP CEO Hilmar Petursson on 17 Aug 07

"We began full-force in 2000," he continued, "by raising $3 million, which is about one-tenth of the current MMORPG." Its flagship product, EVE Online has been in development for three years, "the last year of which we had no money, but everyone turned up to work anyway despite us not being able to pay them," he admitted.

"This created a core of people who have gone through hell with us, and helps with the community especially," said Petursson.

"We had publishing problems with Simon & Schuster," he continued, "which resulted in no distribution or marketing, despite having 30,000 players. We ended up buying the rights back at 2002 and going into digital distribution. This has forced us to treat [EVE] more as a service than a product, and using viral marketing techniques to propagate the product out, long before others were doing this."

Petursson said CCP is planning a "massive graphical upgrade to the game," and also predicted that this year would see a total of 200,000 subscribers, after reaching 100,000 subscribers in February of last year.

"We have had different growth than most other games," said Petursson, "because the whole game takes place on a single shard, which allows escalation of power and social equity as the size of the community grows."

The rest of the article [gamasutra.com]

EVE seems to have succeeded because the people who made it love it and won't give up.

Re:Heh (1)

uncledrax (112438) | more than 5 years ago | (#26785071)

Except there was a significantly less overall MMO players at the time.

EQ1 probably had comparable market share in the MMO market when it was out then WoW does now.

And this is coming from someone who didn't like EQ at all (UO 4 lyfe yo)

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26788737)

Generally agreed. Back in its hay day a lot of people were still on dialup. Gaming capable computers weren't as cheap as today. Not too many games released at that time required a dedicated 3d graphics card.

This coming from someone who loved EQ, but has been playing WoW for the last few years.

Re:Heh (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783215)

Vanguard aims at the old hardcore Everquest crowd.

As an old EQ player... they missed when they started being more guild centric, mass teleport, EQ2-mechanic lifting, and generally nothing like the GOOD days of EQ. The problem is that they started listening to the guilds and started putting in things that broke the original design. The game was meant to have regional economies, vast distances, and group centric content. Now, since SOE has them, they are plugging in all the code from EQ2.

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26786723)

I remember EQ in its heyday, but I really can't wax nostalgic about making sure I only wore gear that I wouldn't mind losing if my guild chose to raid Fear or another plane. I also don't think I could bear camping one mob that spawned every 6-29 minutes for exp which is how one levelled pre-Kunark, assuming someone else didn't have that camp.

Old EQ1 (pre-Kunark), you couldn't level or solo as you do in almost all MMOs. You had to either wait hours on end for a camp (assuming someone doesn't steal it, causing a petition fest and forcing a guide to sort it out), or try to get a group in Guk or Solb for access to a small 2-3 mob camp. Of course, one death would set you back hours, if not days, assuming you could retrieve your corpse. Of course, all it would take for a group wipe is one person running through a zone with a nice train of mobs behind them, and pretty much there was nothing to be done about griefers like that unless a GM or guide was actively watching and caught them in the act.

Kunark made things easier to find stuff to kill, but the exp curve for 50-60, especially for a soloer, was painful.

I like modern EQ. Even classes that were unable to solo (and when I say unable, I mean *unable* because HP regeneration was so slow without a healer) can hire mercenaries and go hit somewhere to work on exp. You can always find mobs in some zone somewhere. If you want an instanced dungeon all to yourself (although boring), there is always Nedaria's Landing and the Forgotten Halls which scales to your level, and if mobs are too hard, you can shroud down to a lower level, get the instance, then de-shroud to make things easier. Death still hurts, but you can almost always find some cleric or paladin to res in the guild lobby after a corpse summon. The fact that EQ1 had added in combat and out of combat states for accelerated regeneration (around the DoD expansion) has made life easier if soloing as a class that was unable to in previous years.

Maybe it is me getting older, but I don't miss the "classic" EQ a bit. The modern EQ is a lot more pleasant to play, without having to spent 4-5 hours trying to recover if I lose my connection while soloing and end up at bind point. Just the sheer amount of content available is staggering.

Re:Heh (2, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26789269)

I remember EQ in its heyday, but I really can't wax nostalgic about making sure I only wore gear that I wouldn't mind losing if my guild chose to raid Fear or another plane.

Fear should have had a small staging area. The early EQ1 zones definitely had design flaws.

EQ pre Kunark wasn't designed to make you wait forever to get a kill. It was simply that the game at launch didn't have enough high end content.

Of course, one death would set you back hours

It gave you motivation not to die. And/or gave you motivation to group with a Cleric/Paladin, or at least make friends with other players, even if you played solo. WoW is dull because I simply don't care if I die, it costs an in game nickle; and outside of instances I simply don't ever need help. That really kind of sucks.

I will agree that EQ combined painful deaths with arbitrary deaths, and THAT wasn't fair. (Zoning into oasis and getting stomped by a giant and getting sent back to qeynos and losing a few hours worth of xp, and having to do a corpse recovery... was unfair.)

I don't mind getting punished for making a tactical combat mistake. I do mind getting punished for zoning in at the wrong time.

Of course, all it would take for a group wipe is one person running through a zone with a nice train of mobs behind them, and pretty much there was nothing to be done about griefers like that unless a GM or guide was actively watching and caught them in the act.

I thought you said you had to wait half an hour to get a kill, because every spawn point in the zone was being camped? ;) Seriously though, yes, that both sucked, and was awesome at the same time. The trains in blackburrow, guk, and sola/b were legendary and usually weren't even intentional, and actually getting griefed - meh it wasn't -that- common. They had a saying in EQ... if you don't want to be hit by a train, stay off the tracks.

Greifing sucked, but it also enabled the stuff that made the game great. 3 or 4 independant groups getting together and fighting off a train (intentional or otherwise) for example... that made lasting memories, and started lasting friendships... it can't really happen in WoW and it doesn't happen. Sure some friendly passerby might wander by and assist... but its just not the same. Because there is no meaningful death penalty I don't really care if I die so heroically banding together and surviving doesn't mean much.

In EQ we were all in it together against the game. In WoW, the game is so easy, you aren't forced to rely on others so there is no real impetus to be sociable. Two groups in EQ fighting in the same general area often made contact and chatted and talked; you had downtime so there was time, and it was well worth your time too -- if you wiped, maybe they could rez you and save you hours... and vice versa... or maybe they'd come to each others rescue, or join forces together to take out a rare spawn named or work together to break a multi-spawn. That's the sort of stuff that made classic EQ great... that WoW and other new games simply don't have.

Kunark made things easier to find stuff to kill, but the exp curve for 50-60, especially for a soloer, was painful.

If you "played the game" instead of "rushed to 60" the level curve was a non-issue. Who cares how long it takes to level? Its not like you get a prize for reaching 60... you just to play the same game, but now without the xp reward. Whoop-de-doo.

I like modern EQ. Even classes that were unable to solo (and when I say unable, I mean *unable* because HP regeneration was so slow without a healer) can hire mercenaries and go hit somewhere to work on exp.

EQ wasn't designed for solers. The fact that any class could solo well was almost an accident.

If you want an instanced dungeon all to yourself (although boring), there is always Nedaria's Landing and the Forgotten Halls which scales to your level, and if mobs are too hard, you can shroud down to a lower level, get the instance, then de-shroud to make things easier.

Worst combo in the game. Not only can you level up without ever going anywhere else in the game, but you get to decide exactly what level the mobs are. Seriously, its basically just a case of 'make a line of mobs that I easily can take solo'. Why bother? If you are going to put that in the game, why not just add a button to the UI that says "give me a hallways worth of easy mobs xp and save me the hassle of actually playing the game".

but you can almost always find some cleric or paladin to res in the guild lobby after a corpse summon

They should have made this cost money scaling with your level (like necro coffins only more money), and given you half the xp back you'd get if you got the rez from a proper CR.

The fact that EQ1 had added in combat and out of combat states for accelerated regeneration (around the DoD expansion) has made life easier if soloing as a class that was unable to in previous years.

Again, this changes a lot of tactics. Managing health and mana levels during a dungeon crawl used to be a skill. You had to keep moving, you didn't always heal everyone up to full after every fight, because getting everyone up to full strength took too long, and you'd be perpetually caught by the respawn and be unable to move forwards. With fast regen as soon as your out of combat, dungeon crawls changed from long multi-battle runs from safe-point to safe point to fight, heal to full, fight, heal to full. It takes a lot of the dynamics out of the game to be able to start practically every pull at full power.

The modern EQ is a lot more pleasant to play, without having to spent 4-5 hours trying to recover if I lose my connection while soloing and end up at bind point. Just the sheer amount of content available is staggering.

Agreed, but the modern EQ is almost -too- "pleasant", to the point that its teeth have been worn down to almost nothing.

And station cash offends me on so many levels. I don't object to the fact that it exists - to each their own... but there should be a few special rules servers so players can opt out of the whole stupid concept.

I just wanted to give the 'other perspective' on the evolution of EQ. There are a lot of things I like that they added over the years. And a lot of things where they went too far... Leadership XP is a nice touch, shrouding is nice, the luclin spires were nice, but should have been expanded... but the pok books were overkill, the initial mapping was nice, where you could mark places and things yourself... but then they provided complete detailed maps for practically all the zones, which made it too easy. Not KNOWING exactly where you are sometimes is fun dammit!! Having to navigate by learned landmarks instead of running with the map open is far more immersive. I liked the addition of the guild lobby corpse summoning -- but like I said, thought there should have been a penalty for using it vs doing a CR. (Some CRs are murder... but many aren't that hard.)

Instanced zones were cool, but they over used them and made them much too simplistic, a hallway of mobs in ones and twos all the same level with the very odd wanderer? WTF? More wanderers, safe spots, mixed level mobs, more mini-bosses, named, etc ie...give them a story... they should be like regular zones, except that your group faces them alone (although the time limits were cool).

LDoN missions were cool (rescue, kill, collect.. etc) but letting you choose what you did was bogus.

Basically it seemed everytime SOE added a cool feature, they overdid it.

Just my perspective on it.

Re:Heh (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26790653)

Thank you for writing all that so I didn't have to! Spot on. Especially with the mapping! I remember more of EQ than I do any other MMO because I had to learn the land.

Previous EQ DE Enchanter, breaker of (lower level) trains.

Re:Heh (2, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781481)

So, let me get this straight, at a time when WoW has got another couple of million players by going less specialized, so healers or tanks can still kill stuff when soloing and damage dealers don't get two-shot... Vanguard actually plans to make people _more_ specialized?

So your suggestion is that they instead copy WoW as closely as possible and hope that players spontaneously jump ship because...?

WoW is the Windows of the MMORPG world, and by that I simply mean it is the one that everyone, even those with no interest in the subject is aware of. WoW may even be fantastically good at what it does, but it seems like a lot of people pick it because they are already invested in it or it's the most widely known option.

If WoW is actually so fantastically good at what it does that most players are choosing it because it does what they want perfectly, then this gives other developers even less reason to chase the mass market. Much better to make a game that beats WoW's experience for 'hardcore' players, because at least that gives it an edge with a certain market segment.

You overestimate WoW (3, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781547)

Actually, you seem to:

A) assume that owning the MMO market is a for ever. WoW started from zero once too, and people predicted it won't do that great competing with EQ1 which owned the market. With EQ2 right around the corner, nobody expected WoW to do that great. Even the publisher only allocated funds for a couple of servers... resulting in the hideous queues to get in, as 100x more people wanted to play it than anyone estimated.

WoW _will_ eventually be dethroned too.

B) assume that there isn't room to grow the market. Again, people said the same about WoW back then. It had been years since any MMO had done more than steal some players from another MMO, so the total number of players looked static. (Seriously, look at the MMOG charts.) But then it turns out that making it more accessible for casual gamers has enlarged the market by an order of magnitude.

I see no reason why another game can't do the same.

C) forget that people do get bored and leave any game after a while. Last I've heard a statistic, it was an average of 6 months per player. Sure, it's still a Gauss curve, so some people leave after the free month, some stay around for years, but the average was half a year.

WoW sheds a million or two of players per month, who look for another home. Then we try a bit of EQ2, a bit of COH, and end up right back on WoW. A game would just have to not suck much to make a good living out of such people who, yes, liked WoW but got bored after a while.

Even briefer: we're talking about a game, not about Windows. Windows is something that just runs your programs, so if you already have it, might as well keep it. A game is something you have to actively play, and people get bored eventually of doing the same thing. Same as in any other game.

D) Going in the opposite direction is hardly a way to achieve any of the previous possibilities. Even if you don't plan to dethrone WoW or enlarge the market, aiming to actively suck for the millions of ex-WoW-ers around, seems pretty stupid to me. That's a lot of people who have already decided they like MMOs and _are_ looking for a new MMO to play. Any reason to actively try to hold them off?

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781805)

All your points are valid, and I agree that it is possible for someone to dethrone WoW, although how and if it is worth trying I'm not sure.

Even briefer: we're talking about a game, not about Windows. Windows is something that just runs your programs, so if you already have it, might as well keep it. A game is something you have to actively play, and people get bored eventually of doing the same thing. Same as in any other game.

We are not talking about a 'game' at least in the traditional sense. WoW is something people have sunk hundreds or thousands of hours into, in which they have developed large social groups and amassed hard to acquire items. The reason I used Windows as an example if because it fits much better than other games. People stick with Windows because they know it, it works how they expect and moving to another OS means starting from scratch.

aiming to actively suck for the millions of ex-WoW-ers around, seems pretty stupid to me.

Do you really think the Vanguard Devs make their design decisions to intentionally annoy typical WoW players? If you don't then it's a pointless argument, if you do then I don't think you are right.

The cost of developing a product that could usurp WoW as the biggest MMORPG combined with the likeliness you will succeed in making a better product and the difficulty in moving players already entrenched in WoW makes me believe that the majority of Devs would be making a financial mistake to even try. On the other hand, spotting that there is a segment of the WoW player base dissatisfied with a specific aspect of the product and designed a product that fulfills this niche could well be a financially viable option.

I don't develop games, and I don't play and MMORPGs as I have tried around a dozen and never liked them enough, so I can't judge Vanguard's quality accurately compared to WoW and I don't intend to. I merely disagree with the OPs premise that because WoW has been doing certain things that are popular with most of its market other developers should always follow.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783043)

We are not talking about a 'game' at least in the traditional sense. WoW is something people have sunk hundreds or thousands of hours into, in which they have developed large social groups and amassed hard to acquire items. The reason I used Windows as an example if because it fits much better than other games. People stick with Windows because they know it, it works how they expect and moving to another OS means starting from scratch.

It's obvious that those items and groups do provide a lot of the pull to stay there. I'm not going to argue with you about that.

All I'm saying though is that even that only goes so far. Eventually you're bored to tears of doing the same thing again, anyway. Well, a few people aren't, but most do have a finite resistance to monotony.

Yes, lots of people _imagine_ MMOs to be some kind of holy matrimony, until death do them part from those servers. Which is also responsible for the resentment when they discover that there actually isn't enough content to keep them entertained for the rest of their lives. But for most reality comes back knocking soomer or later anyway: it's just a game, and as finite as any other. It's longer, it has extra motivations to keep you there, but nevertheless it's not for ever.

Do you really think the Vanguard Devs make their design decisions to intentionally annoy typical WoW players? If you don't then it's a pointless argument, if you do then I don't think you are right.

Actually, the idea that they deliberately want to make their game suck ass was sarcasm. What I really believe is that they're genuinely clueless.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

rokknroll (677118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26786553)

Absolutely bang on on the last point, and most modern /. readers wouldnt be able to spot the difference in the arguments sadly. WoW exists, so why try to beat it? Windows also exits, so mac go for cultural cache and linux goes for "sub-prime" markets. Theres room for them all. It is likely that a large portion of WoW players have not played any earlier generation MMO's, therefore Vanguard will make no sense to them at all. If you played EQ or UO, then vanguard is a breath of fresh air. Its hard, uphill both ways in the snow with no shoes gaming, and plenty of people pine for that. If you feel threatened by another MMO surviving against WoW, ask yourself why.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

MBlueD (1464095) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781935)

I don't play MMOs (yet). I do, however, play a lot of PC games. Quoting your last line:

That's a lot of people who have already decided they like MMOs and _are_ looking for a new MMO to play...

Define 'new'? My impression is that 'new' means it actually brings additions/changes to the known formula.
If the players who leave WOW were looking for more of the same, why leave in the first place? I will pay for a good clone of X-COM 1 or 2 (silent prayer), but what really excites me is the next game I will find that will be as dear as X-COM is to me while being entirely different.

Let the Vanguard team try going wherever they want. I read a quote once that goes along these lines: The greatest advances in science aren't the ones that came after a "Eureka!", rather the ones that came after a "That's funny..."
(Points to whoever comes up with the original quote and/or whoever said it)

Because content isn't infinite (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782943)

If the players who leave WOW were looking for more of the same, why leave in the first place?

Mostly because nobody has ever made a game with truly infinite content. (Even random generated maps eventually start to look like more of the same, once you figure out their rules and mob placement.)

So eventually people have done all the quests, seen all the zones, did their share of grinding the same "endgame content" a hundred times, etc. They eventually get bored and move on.

Since you mention X-COM: ok, they were great games. But now imagine playing X-COM for years straight. Same maps, same enemies, you just cycle through them one more time. And one time more. A thousand times. You get bored eventually, don't you? That's all I'm saying.

Re:Because content isn't infinite (1)

Sage Gaspar (688563) | more than 5 years ago | (#26788847)

So you tend to leave briefly and come back for new content. Most people tend to go back to the first MMO they enjoyed. I don't know what makes it so but it seems to be a rule. A ton of my old EQ buddies still even swing back through the game, and the others are in EQ2 or Vanguard. It makes me think that you don't win much by making WoW Jr. You're already four years behind on content and hojillions of funding, you'll just be the game people switch to for a month to remind them why they enjoy WoW more. People will do that anyway whether you clone WoW or not.

Also, the "anti-WoW specialization" you seem to be talking about sound like the same old alternate advancement/talent systems that even WoW itself has. Dunno what the stink is about, Vanguard has been working on streamlining things, making them less intimidating, and dropping its "hardcore only" reputation.

I don't see specialization as being that terrible either. In WoW my prot warrior can solo just fine but you're not going to be mistaking him for a DPS class and if he's not in front of the mob you can forget about DPS entirely. Basically if he's not tanking people are going to want him to respec arms or fury. In Vanguard you get what you get, I rolled my warrior to tank and he's a tank all the way. I sort of prefer that to being able to completely change what your character does on a whim, because then I won't be expected to do that. Yet in a lot of ways he solos better than my WoW warrior, and the mechanics are a lot more fun. Fuck spamming heroic strike. Vanguard class design after they revamped and fixed all the bugs is really pretty great. Honestly I'd probably be playing it if I didn't think most of the content was a steaming pile.

Re:You overestimate WoW (3, Insightful)

Exitar (809068) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782007)

If WoW will be dethroned, it will be by another Blizzard MMORPG.
It seems that other producers cannot grasp the concepts of "deliver when ready", "appeal to the masses", "don't need a supercomputer to run" and so on...
Surely other factors concurs, but AoC was targeted to mature(?) audience, WAR to PvPers. They started with a market base already reduced by their choices, and killed themselves by being uncomplete and bug ridden.

How much will you bet that Darkfall (pvp with consequences), Aion (graphic heavy), Champions Online (niche market)... will fail? If they won't have the quality that WoW has *now*, people will play them for the standard free month and then leave them for the next game.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782553)

Part of the problem is that no other company has both the financial capital and intestinal fortitude to have the patience to deliver the kind of overall quality and polish Blizzard does. In fact, the majority of MMO developers *never* had those qualities, even before WoW.

Remember when WoW came out, and all the problems it had associated with having a player base 50x larger than the expected player base, including lag, server crashes, and queues, and it was *still* considered the most successful MMO launch up to that time? That's a bad sign.

Re:You overestimate WoW (2, Interesting)

Exitar (809068) | more than 5 years ago | (#26786887)

Sony and EA would have the money, but they're simply too greedy and shortsighted: they want money NOW and don't understand that with MMORPG you make money on the long time, but only if you don't botch the launch.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26789695)

Sony and EA would have the money, but they're simply too greedy and shortsighted: they want money NOW and don't understand that with MMORPG you make money on the long time, but only if you don't botch the launch.

DING DING DING DING. This all the way.

Re:You overestimate WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26787513)

Darkfall is trying to appeal to the types who loved the grief play in pre-Trammel UO, spanking crafters and merchant PCs with their bone-armored tankmages the second they left the protection of a city's guards.

The problem is, when you try to appeal to the grief play market segment by offering unrestricted PvP with major item loss for the gankee (and lots of gain for the ganker), you also bring in the people who will cheat and exploit. The people who are interested in PvE and crafting which is pretty much the mainstream market will be driven out because their hard work making items can be lost in seconds by a PK-er who does nothing but grief.

The fact that you are forced to play in first person view unless resting in Darkfall doesn't help matters.

So, I'm not sure how Darkfall will survive. Drive the mainstream market people out, and invite the griefers, exploiters, and the other bottom of the barrel MMO users isn't going to help DF much, but it will make other MMOs glad that part of the player base is gone.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26789837)

People who cheat and exploit will be in a game regardless of target audience, do not kid yourself.

Pre-Trammel UO was wondrous, I enjoyed in immensely even as a person who was often on the receiving end of such pounding. Even losing everything you could bounce back quickly, because the game was not populated by ultra-rare must-have uber weapons or armor.

The freedom that "kill everyone and cut up their body and stomp on it" environment has fosters greater player interactions. Actions of other players just cannot be ignored. When someone arrives int own claiming there is a murderer or few at the City of the Dead (usual ganking and farming spot), a posse forms to go fight them immediately. Hell I remember one time when a well known murderer with a huge price on his head showed up, about 20 people went to get him on short notice! But he got away that time.

Players formed guilds, players crafted and sold wares, players fought wars, or even protected others for money. The game had a very good economy with an unquenchable demand for armor and weapons from smiths and tailors. It was simply another world.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26790083)

Even losing everything you could bounce back quickly, because the game was not populated by ultra-rare must-have uber weapons or armor

Unless you owned one of the original "Vengeance" weapons, the ones that did +45 dmg. Did they every completly remove them?

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26793899)

Wear and tear circulated those out. And they were +25 damage if I recall correctly.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26794553)

I remember it going +15, +25, +35, and Vengeance was +45.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26798707)

How much will you bet that Darkfall (pvp with consequences), Aion (graphic heavy), Champions Online (niche market)... will fail?

Seeing as how EVE online (pvp with consequences), Everquest II (graphic heavy) and City of Heroes (niche market) aren't anywhere near failing, not a whole lot. Unless you define failure by the ridiculous standard of "not a WOW-killer".

Well, Darkfall still might well and truly fail, since its "pvp consequences" look pretty obnoxious. But that would be an indictment of Darkfall's implementation rather than the concept.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782487)

During EQ1's prime, a lot of games came within 50% or better of its market share. No game has even come CLOSE to touching 50% of WoW's market share, no matter how much you massage the numbers to make it look bad. We're talking about significant digits worth of difference here.

I'm not saying WoW will be #1 forever, but there's just no historical precedent for its popularity. You cannot compare it to the EQ1 age or any other similar game type in history.

And there's no way WoW has a million player churn of leaving for other games and coming back, because the only people leaving and coming back are from the old MMO crowd, which is still incredibly small. WoW didn't create new MMO players, it created new WoW players, and when they quit wow, they're more likely to play Halo or Counter-Strike or something than they are another MMO.

If they have a million player churn, it's from players who believe they cannot participate in end-game content, and feel like there's nothing left for them to do in the game (or whatever the complaint of the month is), who are tired of rerolling. They don't go play another MMO, they just flat out quit. And when they come back, it's because of a content patch or expansion for WoW.

While you can probably say almost all MMO players are or were at some point WoW players now, I do not believe you can say all WoW players are now MMO players.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783233)

No game has even come CLOSE to touching 50% of WoW's market share, no matter how much you massage the numbers to make it look bad.

Actually, I have no intention whatsoever to either make it look bad, nor to massage any numbers. I'm just saying that sooner or later someone will figure out how to make an even better game. I don't know who or when. Maybe it'll be one of the games due to be released this year, or maybe in the next decade, or maybe in a thousand years. But given practically infinite time, even very small chances eventually happen.

Basically I'm just optimistic that it's not some inherent limit of the human species.

I'm not saying WoW will be #1 forever

Then it seems to me that we already agree.

If they have a million player churn, it's from players who believe they cannot participate in end-game content, and feel like there's nothing left for them to do in the game (or whatever the complaint of the month is), who are tired of rerolling. They don't go play another MMO, they just flat out quit. And when they come back, it's because of a content patch or expansion for WoW.

Some flat out quit, no doubt. Some go play another game. I know I've been cycling through MMOs and alternating with offline gaming periods, and know a few more people who tried other MMOs too. So basically not _all_ flat out quit MMO gaming either.

While you can probably say almost all MMO players are or were at some point WoW players now, I do not believe you can say all WoW players are now MMO players.

I never said _all_ or all the time. But there is enough of a population who's either now playing some other MMO, or is at least receptive to the idea of another MMO, if it's any good. We've already gotten past the mental hurdle of paying monthly to play, so why not? If it's any good, that is.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783929)

Some flat out quit, no doubt. Some go play another game. I know I've been cycling through MMOs and alternating with offline gaming periods, and know a few more people who tried other MMOs too. So basically not _all_ flat out quit MMO gaming either.

And here is your problem. You are an "MMO player", not a "WoW player". Your circle of friends are mostly MMO players. Your demographic probably represent less than 20% of WoW's total subscriber base. You're framing everything on your perspective, which is not representative of the whole. You have to look beyond yourself to see the bigger picture.

In fact, the game that kills WoW doesn't even have to be an MMO game of any sort, or at least, not recognizable as one by today's standards.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26785933)

1. I'll go by your numbers, since I see no point in arguing wild guesses. Ok, fine, let's say only 20% of ex-WoW players ever try another MMO again. At 1-2 millions recycled a month, that's 200,000 to 400,000 per month that are ripe for picking by another game. It's more than other games have as their total population.

It still seems to me like it can't be that horrible an idea to aim for at least some of that potential market.

2. Well, this isn't just about WoW, but rather more generally about game design and target demographics.

There is no such thing as someone who was predestined from birth to play WoW. (Not accusing you of having said that, it's just to make a point more dramatically;) In the grand scheme of games and potential players WoW just was liked by more people than the previous design paradigms. It showed that basically for each tough-as-nails gimme-more-penalties-for-death make-me-need-a-group-even-to-go-to-the-toilet gamer which was being recirculated by the previous crop of games, there are a dozen people who'd gladly pay for something more casual-gamer-friendly. And more polished, let's not forget that.

This isn't just about trying to steal WoW's ex-gamers, but just about looking at what they did well. We already know that product type A topped at about 1 million players total, and no amount of new games based on the same formula increased that total number. That's it. Seriously, look at the MMO charts: for a while they just stole each other's players. That's the total market for the hardcore EQ-type MMOs. Then we know that product type B has almost 12x the subscribers and is still growing.

Basically why would any devs or publisher actively want to move towards even more hardcore gaming, in the already known small market for that design type, instead of even trying to have a go at the larger pool? I mean, it would make sense if you at least got more money per month off the smaller pool, but you don't.

3. Well, if you don't want the "WoW killer" to be an MMO, then I'd say there is no need for a WoW killer in the first place. There are far more people who play offline, and WoW didn't come even close to even challenging that. The Sims sold more copies than WoW, and it's definitely not an MMO by any standards.

4. Well, I'm thinking though that I can't be _that_ unique in seeing WoW as just another MMO, and not as some kind of sworn duty for life. Because I still remember the guild chats when every single other "WoW killer" wannabe was launched. There were hordes of people swearing they're cancelling their accounts and never touching WoW again, as soon as NEXT GAME launches. Where NEXT GAME was D&D Online, LOTRO, AOC, WAR, etc.

I haven't actually met many people -- IRL or online alike -- who think they're married to WoW for life, or that their only choice if they ever leave WoW they'll have to swear off online gaming for ever. Most seemed to be at least aware of the possibility that they might play another game at some point in the future.

Of course, I haven't done a proper study or anything. So maybe I was in the only guilds who were talking about that ;)

Re:You overestimate WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26787221)

At 1-2 millions recycled a month, that's 200,000 to 400,000 per month that are ripe for picking by another game.

Too bad you simply make your statistics up as you go, troll.

2/10. If you want to hit the big leagues, you'll need to do a lot better than this.

Re:You overestimate WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26788637)

sadly, better games have been made.

its all about getting the people to forget wow and play a new game which is hard unless its... a new blizzard game. if and when blizzard makes a crap game they'll return to the old blizz game they liked... only then to realized they're bored of it and THEN try to find a new game to play.

sucks to release an MMO until that happens.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26791385)

Better in whose eyes? Many if not all other MMORPGs try to be more hardcore, focussing more on competition and teamwork and such. WoW got into its position precisely by realizing that the people who are decked out in top tier equipment at max level and discuss the relative balances of the classes in PvP are only a tiny fraction of the total number of people and that while they probably enjoy facing harsh penalties on death and danger everywhere the rest doesn't. WoW was better for those who don't want to turn the game into a science or job in order to get anywhere. The mistake gaming publications and such often make when proclaiming an MMO to be better is that they view it with the eyes of the hardcore which values entirely different qualities than the rest of the playerbase. Hell, I've heard schoolgirls talk about their WoW characters and their guild. These aren't even players who go to Halo or Counterstrike when they stop playing WoW, they go back to The Sims or Bejeweled and what else PopCap made. The audience that made WoW big is the audience that the gaming press only considers clueless plebs. No wonder that designs fail that try to "enlighten" the plebs.

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26792425)

Amen.

1. But additionally the thing is: nowadays even people who are hard-core nearly-full-time gamers prefer a more relaxed game. E.g., I'd think Tycho and Gabe from Penny Arcade are anything but casual 1-hour-a-week gamers, and they probably qualify as "gaming press" more than some magazines out there... but the thing that stuck to my mind is that they praised COH back then for lacking the disproportionate penalties for death of EQ. (And that was before it got reduced even further.)

Or off the top of my head, both the VG Cats and MacHall comics picked on needing to spend hours to get a group going in FFXI, only to watch it split up after the first kill. I don't think either of the authors counts as a clueless pleb when it comes to computer games.

The elitist hardcore group is shrinking by the day, as they too discover that they don't really need those penalties.

Hence my seriously wondering why on Earth would they want to catter only to that shrinking group.

2. Heh, if you think schoolgirls are an indication, now picture senior citizens in the same game. You know, the stereotypical computer semi-illiterate Aunt Emma, or rather Grandma Emma. It's true, there's a growing segment of retired senior citizens in WoW and generally MMOs. Why not? They have plenty of time, their body is hardly fit to go do some outdoors activity instead, and they get some virtual social interaction. (For a lot of old people having someone to talk to is a very real problem.)

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

Jaeph (710098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26786569)

WOW will be dethroned only when someone programs to lower-end machines. All these MMOs act like mass pixels is the height of design. WoW undercut them and achieved a wider audience with no competition.

-Jeff

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 5 years ago | (#26795491)

I don't think WoW will be truely dethroned until a company actually manages to create a system of progression that isn't just more questing. Just hoping its not another godforsaken fantasy setting :(

Re:You overestimate WoW (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26793533)

WoW _will_ eventually be dethroned too.

Other than the market expanding even further, I can't see how.

If a game is made that differs from WoW in any way, the WoW players won't play it, as it doesn't have the exact same set of features and gameplay mechanics they demand. If the game is exactly like WoW, they still won't play it, as they already have WoW and don't need another game that's exactly the same.

Seriously, there are players who won't touch another MMO if the quest-givers don't have question marks over their heads. You will never convert people that picky.

Re:Heh (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26786857)

The funny thing is what WoW is becoming so standard, it gets used as a communications medium. A lot of people have friends that the best (perhaps only way) to get in touch with them is through the game.

This is the reason that I keep my WoW sub current. There are so many people I know that their E-mail address, IM handles, and Facebook messages are changed or never watched, but people do log into WoW to check on their auctions and WoW mail tends to work well almost all the time.

Add a Blizzard Authenticator (a rebranded Vasco Digipass Go 6) to minimize the chance of an account being stolen if a box gets compromised, and for most things, its a decent means of communication.

Wow, What An Idiot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781505)

Why the fuck did you bother typing out all that crap?

Re:Heh (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782189)

Vanguard has always been aimed at a select "hardcore" group of people who feel that any MMO you can play without it being a full time job is for noobs. Those people seek to recreate a mythical golden age from Everquest, which is impossible since back then it was a new and shiny thing for most of them. It's not new anymore.

But, thats the audience they have. At this point in the wider market Vanguard is known only as the "WoW killer" to bomb most quickly. It was one of the buggiest, worst performing, and outright not done MMOs ever when it came out. There is no way it'll ever move into the mainstream market successfully.

Since that market is closed, they're best off catering to what they have.

(Lord of the Rings Online does pretty well without a huge market too, really. I really wish I liked that game more then I do, Turbine does so many things well.)

Re:Heh (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783503)

Vanguard has always been aimed at a select "hardcore" group of people who feel that any MMO you can play without it being a full time job is for noobs.

Actually, when I tried it real recently (when the new newbie island was in beta), I was shocked at how noob friendly the game really is. Soloing content was doable, maps were pretty straight forward. The things that got to me were the bugs (couldn't complete goblin starting quests without at least two GM petitions), and the sheer repetition. I remembered again the glory days of watching TV while playing Everquest, and how long it took me to realize that if I'm doing something to keep from being too bored in a game, it's probably not a good game for me.

Re:Heh (1)

silanea (1241518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782291)

That has got to be the most short-sighted and ignorant comment I've read on an article unrelated to Vista, Apple and iTunes ever. By your logic, all RPGs created after 2000 should have been doomed to failure since Diablo 2 took the market by storm. And the Colin Mc Rae franchise should have been ruined by MarioKart. Nice. You haven't, by accident, heard of something called target audience? There is a market for complex games. It's smaller and harder to cater to than the mass-market, but apparently it is there, and viable.

Re:Heh (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782811)

[quote]So, let me get this straight, at a time when WoW has got another couple of million players by going less specialized, so healers or tanks can still kill stuff when soloing and damage dealers don't get two-shot... Vanguard actually plans to make people _more_ specialized?[/quote]

Not everyone is happy with WoW's generalization so this will appeal to them.
Least loved healing class for a party.. check.
Fragile cloth class w/ laughable aoe.. check.
Itemization forces competition with 1/2 the dps .. check.

Thoughts of playing that crazy blood mage again... check

Re:Heh (1)

rokknroll (677118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26786379)

"be the first MMO with DRM" Oh dear, whats the subscription for then?

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26786779)

Oh look, it's the drooling WoW fanboy troll making another idiot post.

Talking about the game's future... (2, Funny)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782547)

That must have been a short conversation.

Re:Talking about the game's future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26791303)

I tried to rtfa but all I got was the Goatse guy. Though, considering Vanguard's position there probably isn't anything else that needs to be said. Or held open.

WoW is only the beginning of MMO growth. (2, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783219)

I don't think that WoW grew a userbase that wasn't already there. While it is true that a large number of players came to a genre that they wouldn't have 2 years before, I think that WoW caught a lucky break in a number of factors, the first that comes to mind is this:

Network/computing potential. Prior to WoW, broadband wasn't as widely available, and it is now doing nothing but expanding. Computers also struggled to play games unless they were specifically built for such a purpose. As WoW arrived, it was designed, and took advantage of the introduction of newer, cheaper game-capable machines. It no longer took $1500+ to build a machine that could play WoW.

In short, they capitalized on a market that existed but just didn't have anyone trying to sell to it.

Re:WoW is only the beginning of MMO growth. (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 5 years ago | (#26785065)

This is all true, but I think the biggest win for WoW was that they had the world's most popular gaming franchise (Warcraft/Starcraft) and turned it into an accessible MMO. You already have millions of gamers familiar with your product, your quality, your characters. This is unlike Star Wars which has a larger fanbase but decidedly fewer fans who know it already as a computer game.

Basically, WoW moved all its Warcraft RTS gamers into its MMO. Star Wars and Lord of the Rings had to move all the movie-watchers into computer gaming first...

Then explain TSO please (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26786121)

This is all true, but I think the biggest win for WoW was that they had the world's most popular gaming franchise (Warcraft/Starcraft) and turned it into an accessible MMO. You already have millions of gamers familiar with your product, your quality, your characters.

Now explain The Sims Online please. The Sims had sold more copies than all warcraft games combined. TSO flopped quickly anyway.

This is unlike Star Wars which has a larger fanbase but decidedly fewer fans who know it already as a computer game.

Well, gee, all those Star Wars games on just about every computer type ever made, must have not existed in your alternate universe. The first IIRC was in 1982 on the Atari. Followed by several on the NES and SNES, which were _the_ number one gaming platform in their time.

On the PC? Let me see, several XWing and TieFighter games, Rebel Assault, Dark Forces, the Jedi Knight series, Force Commander (an RTS too, since you credit those with the success of WoW), Force Commando ('nother RTS), Rogue Squadron, and at least a dozen other games if we stick to just those _before_ SWG.

Sorry, SW was a major franchise in computer gaming too. It wasn't that which limited the appeal of SWG.

Re:Then explain TSO please (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 5 years ago | (#26786461)

Point taken. Rebuttal:

Sims Online: coming, like WoW, from The Sims, an all-computer gaming audience. Except TSO didn't translate well into an online game. It doesn't matter if your fan base is huge, if the next game you put out sucks, you get initial sales, followed by poor reviews, and nothing else.

Star Wars: Yes, there were a mishmash of Star Wars games of varying quality. Two things here: 1) Star Wars was a bigger movie than any of its games. 2) SWG was a mediocre game at best. You're taking the greatest franchise of all time and turning it into a boring turn-based pseudo-RPG. It wasn't what Star Wars was about. People played it, but it just wasn't Star Wars.

I'm not saying WoW's only reason for doing so well is the translation of the RTS world into an MMO and therefore all its players....it's a decent MMO (like EQ, only prettier), stable, and arrived as the GP says, at a time where gaming computers and broadband became resonable in price.

Bingo (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26788939)

Well, I see you make basically my point: a license will only get you so far either way. In the end, if people like your game they'll play it and provide word of mouth advertisment to their friends. If not, not.

Everquest is probably the best illustration of it: it was based on no franchise whatsoever, and for a while it was king of the hill. It overtook both UO (which had the very strong Ultima name) and wasn't surpassed by SWG (which had a huge following in computer games, though as you correctly note an even bigger one outside of it.)

Re:WoW is only the beginning of MMO growth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26788505)

i doubt that they won over a significant number of RTS playes. maybe if WoW had RTS element in it.

i would say more of its D2 fanbase into the WC-themed MMO.

Star-wars and LotR geeks had to be move? i don't think so! they were already presently gaming, SWG - Ultima etc

Re:WoW is only the beginning of MMO growth. (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26793629)

This is all true, but I think the biggest win for WoW was that they had the world's most popular gaming franchise (Warcraft/Starcraft)

Really? I'd never heard of Warcraft before WoW. Was it an MMO or an RPG? I'd have thought the most popular gaming franchises would be Mario, the Sims, Halo etc.

Re:WoW is only the beginning of MMO growth. (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26785113)

They also built upon an established Franchise, I mean, Warcraft was one of the main RTS Series at the time (and way back when only it and C&C were the main players) - it was a very recognisable brand to most gamers, made by a company they knew had a reputation for making good multiplayer games (Diablo, Warcraft, and ofcourse, Starcraft)
Everquest was just one of those 'sad MMORPG games' that people wasted their time on, drained their life and ruined marriages, whereas WoW was the next chapter in the Warcraft story (which for alot of Warcraft RTS players was something they would have to play, and piqued interest in those who'd played the RTS's and enjoyed them)
Would blizzard have had the success if they'd started a brand new franchise?
Perhaps they would have, but if any other company had made their own MMO in place of WoW (Same specs, same graphical style, different setting and plot) I don't think market forces alone would have seen them rise high. I think if it was EQ2 vs some unknown, EQ would have won. But because it was Blizzard, and an established franchise with gamers for over 10 years, WoW won out the day.

And even if WoW hadn't been successful in the West, Korea would have ate it up regardless

May have to give it another shot (1)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26784629)

I tried Vanguard for a few months shortly after it came out. It seemed like it could be really fun, lots of potential there, but it crashed more than any game I've ever played. More than Morrowind, even. And there was no protection so that your character wouldn't get slaughtered if your game crashed, so it was frustrating. Also, I think I picked the worst race possible - it was the ones that look like cat people (so I could be a necro). They were 'kill on sight' to the people in all the major cities of their own home continent, and also that home continent was horribly, horribly unfinished.

But...if they've made it this far, they must be doing something right. I may have to give it another shot.

Any /.'ers play that could say if things have improved?

Re:May have to give it another shot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26786955)

It's a lot better. I've had 0 crashes in the 2 weeks I started playing again. No races are KoS now. They have starting area called Isle of the Dawn to introduce you to the game, you end up with a decent full set of class specific newb gear that will last you until 12 or 14 depending on your class..

After the tutorial you end up on Qa river bank with a lot of decent starting area quests.

Grouping is pretty fun in the game, it's interesting since every class is so complex.

If it had been this good I never woulda quit. It's not perfect now (if you go really far adventuring there's lots of unpopulated areas) but it's quite fun so far.

Too bad it all went the way it did, I personally hate the way SoE manages their games. They're money grubbing whores who nickel and dime you to death, with their _terrible_ website UI's for management.

/.'er who plays Vanguard (1)

finelinebob (635638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26789465)

I played since beta, lasted until a little while after they merged some servers, took a break for about 9 months, then came back to it. It is much improved from the original launch. There is finally some high-end content that is rather enjoyable and complex -- not all encounters are pure "burn" fights and require instead a lot of strategy, timing and cooperation by 18 to 24 players. And as mentioned above, expanding the level cap by introducing AA's will make the grind much more worthwhile than killing an entire populations of high-end mobs.

Plus, as mentioned elsewhere, the new Isle of Dawn "tutorial" will level you up to the max of the first tier for all professions -- you can leave the nexbie area after completing the last combat quest or you can stick around until you are a level 10 adventurer, 10 diplomat, 10 crafter, and maxed out on tier 1 harvesting as well. The adventuring, crafting and diplo quests are all inter-related when it comes to the story line as well. When you finish the combat questline, you get an item that grows in power as you rise in levels -- existing players have to go to ridiculous lengths to get a similar item.

Plus, the Isle has some silly, fun features that you can't get on the mainland, like Slappy's whistle.

Sure, there are still problems. Bugs still related to ones from launch, bugs introduced with the new content. And there are the eventual nerfs of favorite character abilities, but the devs do pay attention to the player base, even if they can't fix an issue immediately.

If your main interest in an MMO is PvP, then this probably isn't the game for you. Originally, there were two types of PvP servers -- Free For All and Team PvP (similar to SWGs Imps and Rebels, but based on the race of your character). I loved the team-based PvP, but when Sony merged servers the one remaning PvP server went FFA. Plus, overpowered classes have a much more dramatic effect on game play in PvP than in PvE, IMO (too many TLAs, I know ;^). I wound up migrating my PvP toons over to a PvE server, got hooked up by a friend into a heavy raiding guild, and haven't looked back on my decision. The raids are far more challenging than PvP combat in this game ever was. But for those who want a taste of it, the devs introduced an FFA PvP arena on the PvE servers.

If you want to give it another look -- get the 14-day trial and give it a look. That way you won't have to spend money for a month if you decide you don't like it ... just don't get too attached to your characters unless you want to convert the trial into a full account -- no transfer of toons between accounts is available.

Hmmmm (1)

rcuhljr (1132713) | more than 5 years ago | (#26784865)

I was really hoping to hear they'd implement something new and cool, but AA's are just a rehash of old EQ.

Re:Hmmmm (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26790775)

Not only that, Achievements will become unimpressive must have for all MMORPGs before long.

Vanguard Dev Talks About the Game's Future (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26785721)

Or lack of there of... Can I end that with a preposition?

Looking at this thing [mmogchart.com] you can really tell when the game was launched, and when the free month ran out. And there is no reliable data since. Not a promising sight for a WoW-killer.

Re:Vanguard Dev Talks About the Game's Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26794053)

Well seeing as it's spelt thereof and is an adverb I'd say it was fine, apart from the redundant 'of'.

Have they made the game fun yet? (1)

Kepesk (1093871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26787283)

Seriously. I dove into Vanguard for a year before I quit. The game had amazing graphics, worked extremely well even on my mid- to low-level graphics card, it didn't seem to have any feature missing, from swimming to flying mounts to a plethora of different races, it had a unique crafting system, it introduced the extremely interesting diplomacy content, there were quests around every corner. I could go on.

But they forgot to make the game fun.

They spent a ton of time focusing on features and graphics and the technical aspects of the game, but I was never really drawn into the gameplay. The storyline was disjointed, confusing, and uninteresting. Soloing in combat was extremely difficult, and getting a group together was hard (though this did improve toward the end of my year). Crafting, while initially interesting, didn't significantly change when you advanced and it became dull and repetitive. And they all but stopped developing diplomacy, the most unique aspect of the game.

As much as I wanted to like the game for all of its features, graphics, and technical aspects, I just couldn't keep playing. It just wasn't that much fun.

Re:Have they made the game fun yet? (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26793657)

Seriously. I dove into Vanguard for a year before I quit. The game had amazing graphics, worked extremely well even on my mid- to low-level graphics card

Really? I played the demo the other week, I got maybe 3fps on default settings, and the graphics were abysmal. No detail whatsoever, the blandest game I've ever seen, and buildings popping up yards in front of me. What exactly was taking up so much processing power to make it so slow, when the game looked no better than Everquest 1?

Re:Have they made the game fun yet? (1)

Kepesk (1093871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26793805)

Really? I played the demo the other week, I got maybe 3fps on default settings, and the graphics were abysmal. No detail whatsoever, the blandest game I've ever seen, and buildings popping up yards in front of me. What exactly was taking up so much processing power to make it so slow, when the game looked no better than Everquest 1?

Well, out of fairness, I think I got a bit lucky with the graphics situation. They looked incredible on my machine whereas others were having problems.

Nothing can change the simple fact that... (1)

Il128 (467312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26788299)

"Vanguard - Saga of Heroes" is not fun. Vanguard doesn't even have 50k players let alone 500k.

WOW truel (1)

Jeez01 (1442147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26791495)

To date no MMO has designed a world that is as large or vivid as what Blizzard has done. Most MMOs utilize zoning while moving from one zone to another where as WoW incorporates seamless transition not to mention the amount of quests, npcs, instances is truly remarkable. I hope Blizzard will work in true successor to WoW or something new rather than more xpacs.

Lower the monthly fee. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26797983)

I'd subscribe to 3 or 4 MMOs if they cost $5/month. At $15 they'd better have as much content as WoW to keep me interested. And none do.

WoW has *enormously* more content than every other MMO I've tried.

I really liked Tabula Rasa, shame it's being shut down.

Diplomacy working yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817655)

Did they fix the dead-end rabbit trail that is diplomacy advancement?

Did they make the game attractive to solo players as well as parties?

Did they improve the horrible client performance?

Lastly, does Vanguard now have any cool (and working) features or unique (and working) game mechanics that are NOT already in one of WoW, WAR, or LotRO? If it does not - there is no reason to play Vanguard because those three games are all already much better than Vanguard in every feature that Vanguard has.

If any of the questions above could be answered other than 'Yes', fuck off. Vanguard has no business developing anything new until they "fix that shit!"

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