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Academics Speak On 'Life After World Of Warcraft'

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the it'll-come-eventually dept.

Role Playing (Games) 171

simoniker writes "Are MMO populations 'tribal', and if so, what's the next tribal shift after World of Warcraft? At Gamasutra, academics including MIT's Henry Jenkins and Ludium's Edward Castronova discuss what's next for the MMO market, based on their research and play patterns. Jenkins states that WoW is getting _too_ much analysis from researchers right now: 'WoW deserves attention because it has so captured the imagination of gamers over the past few years. That said, I don't think it is healthy for the field of games studies, which is still emerging, to be so fixated on a single game franchise — no matter what the franchise. A few years ago, it might have been The Sims or GTA, now it's WoW.'" For more on this topic MMOG industry veteran Gordon Walton spoke on this topic last week at GDC Austin, and notes from that event are also available at Gamasutra.

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I wouldn't say... (0, Troll)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 7 years ago | (#20575355)

That it captured the imagination of anyone. It has certainly attracted the interest of bunch of players, but the game is not imagination-grabbing by any stretch of the... oh you know.

Re:I wouldn't say... (2, Funny)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#20575407)

That's until some lonely single guy sees a female night elf and begins imagining things.

Re:I wouldn't say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20575441)

In defense of the lonely singly guy... those night elves are HOT!

Re:I wouldn't say... (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#20575517)

Nah, gnomes are where it's at. mmm, midget porn... wait, what?

Re:I wouldn't say... (4, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576745)

That it captured the imagination of anyone. It has certainly attracted the interest of bunch of players, but the game is not imagination-grabbing by any stretch of the... oh you know.
I think it's safe to say that it's captured the imaginations of players in the sense that it has become one of the most popular Tolkienesque settings in the world. I'm sure that a hefty fraction of the player base were exposed to either WoW or the LoTR movies as their first dose of high fantasy. Now, no one's going to say that the entire game is innovative. It's very much like EverQuest. It's very much like Warcraft. Warcraft was very much like all of the rest of the genre. There's certainly some originality (as a game and as a story), but originality and imagination-capturing aren't always the same thing, especially when something is so popular that it's the first exposure to a genre for so many.

Re:I wouldn't say... (2, Insightful)

DeDmeTe (678464) | more than 7 years ago | (#20581011)

-Warcraft was very much like all of the rest of the genre.-

What? The original Warcraft was ground breaking. There was nothing else like it when it first came out.

Second life after Warcraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20575357)

Ready for your life after Warcraft? It's time to get started on your Second Life.

Re:Second life after Warcraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20575715)

How about we forgo that and go strait to a first life [getafirstlife.com]

Printer Friendly - One page (4, Informative)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#20575377)

Did hey say (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20575669)

"Henryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Jeeeeeeeeeeenkinnnnnnnnnnnnns"

Before running into the office all by himself?

Re:Did hey say (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#20575923)

> Did hey say "Henryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Jeeeeeeeeeeenkinnnnnnnnnnnnns"
>
> Before running into the office all by himself?

Hey, at least I got a red stapler.

MOD PARENT FUNNY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20577891)

For those of you who aren't in the know...

Henry Jenkins is one of the people mentioned in the article.

There is a famous video (google for "leroy jenkins") shot in the World of Warcraft game involving a person who uses his own name as a warcry before charging into a room all by himself.

He got blamed for making everyone die...though those even further in the know know that the plan they had been discussing was utterly ridiclous...every mistake you could make in that room (each of which could get you all killed) was exactly what they intended to do from the get-go.

So now you know!

And knowing is half the battle.

WoW is getting too much analysis from researchers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20575413)

Well jee-whiz, mom. Once they get done farming, they have a raid to attend at 9pm SHARP, which won't be over until 4am, which is then time to sleep so they can get up at noon and start farming again before the next raid...

Re:WoW is getting too much analysis from researche (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20576271)

The only "analysis" of WoW that needs to be done was done by South Park.

Fuck WoW (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20575471)

LEEEEEERRRROOYYYYYYYYYY
JEEEEEEENNNNNKKKKIIIIIIINNNNNNSSSSSSSSS

Seriously. Fuck WoW

Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's likeReason: Don't use so many caps. It's likeReason: Don't use so many caps. It's likeReason: Don't use so many caps. It's likeReason:

"Games Studies"? Are you kidding me? (0)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#20575497)

...I don't think it is healthy for the field of games studies, which is still emerging, to be so fixated on a single game franchise -- no matter what the franchise. A few years ago, it might have been The Sims or GTA, now it's WoW.'"


"Games Studies"? Are you kidding me?

Are they studying at the University of We'll-Take-Your-Money-And-Give-You-A-More-Useless-Than-English-Degree?

(BTW, the franchise or brand should probably be "Warcraft" - Vivendi, Inc. is probably pretty keen on making sure its "Warcraft" brand extends beyond its MMORPG product.)

Re:"Games Studies"? Are you kidding me? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20575617)

Heh, it's funny how these basement dwelling pasty geeks - such as zonk - probably think "games studies" is equivalent to game theory. Don't justify your anti-social behavior you pasty, basement dwelling, "aspergers" suffering, pasty dice rolling wannabe teen throwbacks from the 70s but were born in the middle to late 80s.

Re:"Games Studies"? Are you kidding me? (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20575927)

Yeah, it's called Sociology. I might not have a problem with them if I ever met one who I actually liked or made any sense...

For a $1.5B annual gross, damn right! (4, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576397)

Actually, given the $120 million dollars WoW is pulling in each month, and the number of competitors out there trying to create the next great game, hiring a person who has made it their goal of understanding the psychological, social, and economic drives inside the game, and the same factors outside the game, should be a very high priority.

I was following a game a few months ago. Solid looking graphics and network engine, decent sounding game engine. It looked like it had some great potential and they had a multi-million dollar budget. But they had absolutely no knowledge about handling their community or managing a MMO, and the whole thing crashed and burned a horrible death. They hired a fan from the forums to become their community rep. Nothing like taking a kid with nothing more than a high school degree and put him in charge of distributing knowledge to packs of rabid fans.

Had they brought in people with experience in managing MMOs, and people with an understanding of the underlying factors, they would have likely done much better.

-Rick

Re:For a $1.5B annual gross, damn right! (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576919)

Actually, given the $120 million dollars WoW is pulling in each month, and the number of competitors out there trying to create the next great game ...
This is, I think, Blizzard's greatest challenge. They need to continue to innovate incrementally (the way the game did when it was introduced) without holding back because they have a lot of money to lose now. They absolutely will lose the market if they treat WoW like a cash cow and milk it until everyone leaves. Well, not everyone will leave. EverQuest is still out there, and I'm sure WoW will be for many years after it ceases to be popular.

But I really think that WoW could exist as a popular MMO functionally forever, should the decide to continue to push hard at the limits of their creativity.

The next expansion will be very telling. I'm not seeing anything yet that indicates that they've put as much thought or creativity into it as the first expansion. The first expansion introduced several new modes of play including arenas, heroic dungeons, and a real parity between the depth of content for raiders and that for more casual players. If they were to keep that process up, and continue to breath new life into the game with expansions rather than just milk another round of retail sales, I don't see any reason why new gamers would choose something other than WoW as their primary MMO. Just the fact that it has a strong, established player base makes it very attractive.

Yeah, but... (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577033)

"hiring a person who has made it their goal of understanding the psychological, social, and economic drives inside the game, and the same factors outside the game, should be a very high priority."

True, but if that person exists today, they're probably not going to be willing to work for a professor's salary; they'll earn the money themselves. More to the point, somebody taking a few years of classes on the psychology of the online gamer is not going to be an expert in the field. That kind of knowledge and experience has probably got to be learned in the field, doing.

I agree with the original poster; this seems more of an attempt to get people to pay money to study an area that is very hot at the moment without consider that nobody knows what the right skills are.

--Tom

Re:"Games Studies"? Are you kidding me? (3, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 7 years ago | (#20578133)

Your 2-line complaint is based on such a deep confusion, that I need to answer at length.

First, game studies is not the same thing as a major program in videogame studies. Most of the academics involved in game studies have other home disciplines, whether anthropology, film studies, communications, computer science, sociology, comparative literature, economics, or what have you. Talking about the over-focus on one game or another is a top-level discussion among researchers across disciplines, not a question of what to be teaching undergraduates. Research fields are not the same as undergrad programs.

Second, I can imagine at some point there actually being an undergrad program in game studies. I know that there are minor programs. Like English or other degrees that don't seem to have immediate relevance, they are usually made far more relevant when mixed with a different graduate degree. An undergrad in game studies who then goes to law school might work on game-related policy, censorship issues, game-dev labor disputes, etc. Another one who then goes to business school might work on game-dev management issues, etc. Another might get an MFA or a CS MS and working on design or programming issues at a high level.

Games are significant. We're now seeing in adulthood people who grew up with them as their primary entertainment activity. Digital games structure thought, attention and activity differently than any other media before them. They merit study.

life after... (0, Troll)

dstiggy (1145347) | more than 7 years ago | (#20575505)

Hi my name is Bob and I'm a WoW addict. I used to be 3rd in my guild as a level 60 night elf mage. I played so much that I grew these b*tch t*ts...

Now I'm in recovery and am once again a productive member of society.

I seriously thought the article would be something like this based on the title. Imagine my disappointment...

Re:life after... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20576289)

Night Elves cant be mages.

Failure.

Re:life after... (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576793)

Hi my name is Bob and I'm a WoW addict. I used to be 3rd in my guild as a level 60 night elf mage. I played so much that I grew these b*tch t*ts...
When I saw, "Hi my name is Bob," I immediately thought of posting a "Bob has bitch-tits" reply. I'm glad I'm not the only one who remembers that line.

Oh, and what the **** is with the penguin!?

Re:life after... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20578155)

Because god knows Fight Club is the least referenced and least quoted movie ever.

"Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken"

Re:life after... (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577367)

What are you bitching about? A lot of men pay good money to have tits. You got them for a measly $15/month!

Hmm... (1)

dontspitconfetti (1153473) | more than 7 years ago | (#20575575)

Maybe envisioning a "Life after WoW" is hard because their game studies department is now based exclusively in WoW itself...

World of WarCraft 2: The Attack of the RPG Clones (2, Insightful)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#20575619)

Maybe I'm just being cynical, but at this point I suspect WoW will continue to dominate until Blizzard creates WoW2. It's so far ahead of all the other MMORPGs on the market that I don't see anyone being able to displace it.

I wouldn't be that sure (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576247)

Well, I certainly see your point, but the cynic in me says that we've thought this before... and we were wrong.

When Origin invented the genre, they were literally the only player in town. They were so far ahead the other MMOs, that the others were just getting started trying to copy it. Even if you consider MUDs to be essentially the same genre, the difference between UO and your average text-based MUD, if nothing else in terms of number of players, was larger than between WoW and Anarchy Online nowadays.

Other people who arguably invented a genre, or made it mainstream, are still the Gods of Gaming in that genre. E.g., Id and FPS. You'd expect Origin to share that fate, wouldn't you?

You'd think nothing could possibly dethrone UO at that point, until Origin creates UO2, right? Well, we already know how that went.

Then came Everquest, and it was so popular it became synonim with MMOs. You didn't talk, say, about people losing their job and wife to MMOs, you instinctively spoke of them losing that to Everquest. It's also the game which caused the deluge of me-too MMOs. It was such a money-printing license, everyone wanted a piece of that market.

Worse yet, along came a long period of stagnation, and most new MMOs just managed to steal some of someone else's players, only to have them stolen by someone else in 6 months. It looked like there were a total of about 1 million MMO players total... and EQ owned slightly more than half of them.

Once you factored in their other games too, Sony _owned_ the MMO market.

Surely one would have thought nothing will challenge that until their own EQ2 came out, right? Well, wrong, actually. EQ2 peaked a lot lower than what EQ still had, never mind its former peak. It _still_ has less players than the old Everquest. (Not saying it's necessarily a bad game, as that's something highly subjective, just that subscription-wise it failed to be the block-buster everyone expected.)

Instead there came this WoW noone really expected that much of. What people wanted from Blizzard was Starcraft 2 or maybe Diablo 3, not a MMO. They hadn't proved that they know their elbow from their arse in the MMO arena yet. They had the Warcraft franchise and name recognition, but an unrelated franchise name only carries you so far: see TSO which flopped in spite of the The Sims franchise which had outsold all 3 Warcraft games _combined_.

Not only it handed Sony its arse at its own game, it managed something that noone else had managed in years: it actually enlarged the western MMO market. About 10 times.

So now we think the same all over again. "Man, nothing's going to displace WoW until they launch WoW2." I dunno, we've been wrong about that at least twice before. (Or more than twice if we're talking about sequel surpassing their original. AC2 bombed so badly that it was shut down, for example. Essentially that sequel moved the AC franchise from being the second most successful MMO to being nobody.)

Before anyone accuses me of wishing that WoW fails or anything, note that I'm not against any of the games I've mentioned here. I actually liked WoW, though nowadays I'm playing COH yet again. I can see why WoW was successful. In this highly subjective taste matter, they sure managed to give the larger market segment, the casual gamers and off-line Oblivion-type gamers, more of what they wanted in a game. They "deserve" their current position. I'm just saying that noone, Blizzard included, has a certificate of ownership of the market. They all "rent" the #1 spot for a while. They can fall like everyone else, eventually.

In fact, I'm sorta surprised that WoW hasn't fallen back yet. Again, I don't wish it or anything, but it's not like they have a patent on what made WoW successful. Everyone else is free to copy the elements that made it sell well. It's just that everyone else seems to be surprisingly slow to understand it. Oh, they've tried to copy bits and pieces of WoW, but they just can't seem to understand _what_ they copy. It's... a bit like watching a clock maker try to copy random individual cogs from a competitor's clock, without understanding what they copy or the larger scheme of the mechanism in which it must fit in.

But eventually it's bound to happen.

Re:I wouldn't be that sure (5, Insightful)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576875)


In fact, I'm sorta surprised that WoW hasn't fallen back yet. Again, I don't wish it or anything, but it's not like they have a patent on what made WoW successful. Everyone else is free to copy the elements that made it sell well. It's just that everyone else seems to be surprisingly slow to understand it. Oh, they've tried to copy bits and pieces of WoW, but they just can't seem to understand _what_ they copy. It's... a bit like watching a clock maker try to copy random individual cogs from a competitor's clock, without understanding what they copy or the larger scheme of the mechanism in which it must fit in.

But eventually it's bound to happen.


The problem is that it's not just one thing that makes WoW successful. It's alot of things that Blizzard is doing right all at once. The key though, is that Blizzard, despite what you read on forums, does listen to it's players. The game as it stands now is vastly, vastly different from when even I signed up in 2005 -- and they're laregly positive changes.
  • World PvP sucks? They added instanced PvP.
  • You miss World PvP? They created world PvP "minigames".
  • Honour system is a joke? Scrapped, in exchange for a token system.
  • Unorganized instanced PvP too much of a hassle? Have short (on the order of minutes, seconds if you're up against a 'lock) 1v1 - 5v5 arena matches.
  • Farming for the 1% elemental drops sucks? We'll split them up into more common drops (motes), so your farming doesn't suck as much.
  • Crafting seems useless as a moneymaker? Epic crafted items now require a BoP drop, so you can now actually make money from your profession.
  • Hybrid classes and off-specs getting the shaft? There are different versions of the new class armor sets for different specs.
  • Instance runs taking too long? All the new 5-mans are split up into wings a'la SM, so that you can run one in less than an hour.
  • Want epics in 5-mans? Okay, we'll add a heroic mode, but it'll be harder, and you can't expect to go in green quest rewards.
  • Having trouble getting a group? We'll tie entry into heroics to specific reputation grinds which can only be done in instances, so people have incentives to run them.
  • Still having trouble? We'll create an actually useful LFG system, and tie entry into the LFG channel to registering with it (to avoid it looking like Trade - City)
  • Don't have a warlock in your group, or he's out of shards? The summoning stones can summon raid members with only 2 people present.
  • Reputation grinds suck ass? Okay, instead of having one or two factions with everything, and a miserable rep grind (I'm looking at you TB), we'll create lots more factions and make each grind easier.
  • Need an easy source of money? We'll make daily quests you can repeat each day, which give cash (and rep) rewards.
  • You want to fly? Sure.

Ontop off all of that listening, the technical quality of the software from Blizzard is continually top notch. They've folded in popular mods (Scrolling Combat Text, etc), and there were mentions about built-in VOIP, so voice chat won't be limited to guild runs.

Really, it's Blizzard as an organization that someone would have to copy to unseat WoW from the fantasy MMO genre, not any specific attribute of the game.

Re:I wouldn't be that sure (1, Interesting)

Creedo (548980) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577835)

Unorganized instanced PvP too much of a hassle? Have short (on the order of minutes, seconds if you're up against a 'lock) 1v1 - 5v5 arena matches

Sorry, but this struck me as funny. I'm a level 64 pally, and in the last two days, I've pwned 2 70 'locks. The moment they start to fear, you bubble, Holy Shock, whack 'em a few times, do a Hammer of Justice and a judgement, and watch them cry all the way to the grave.

Re:I wouldn't be that sure (1)

Creedo (548980) | more than 7 years ago | (#20578483)

Now why was this moderated as a troll? Did I insult someone's favorite class or something? Sheesh.

Re:I wouldn't be that sure (2, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#20578563)

Then they're absolute morons. 8 seconds of dps from a pally barely dents a good lock's health- your dps is just too low, and no self respecting warlock with moderate gear has under 10K health. Once that bubble is off, you're toast.

Re:I wouldn't be that sure (1)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 7 years ago | (#20580007)

Talking out of butt are we now? You wouldn't last more than a minute against a level 60 affliction lock, let alone two 70 locks. I do not have a warlock and i do not plan on getting one but stop typing out of your ass.

You meets affliction lock =

UA..Dot..Dot..Dot..mana drain..while you are being feared and deathcoiled and the felhunter is eating your buffs and healing itself.

Link to your armory page please...

Re:I wouldn't be that sure (2, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577977)

World PvP sucks? They added instanced PvP.
Yes, and Alterac Valley for example is so lopsided that most Horde players simply sit in the cave because the Alliance has the advantage.
Furthermore, where is the WAR in Warcraft? Hi, remember the games of Warcraft? Remember the epic battles with various seige weapons and vehicles and the like? In WoW? Three years after release almost? Nope, sorry. AV is the closest we get and like I said, it's horrible.

You miss World PvP? They created world PvP "minigames".
Refer to previous comment. We don't want minigames. WTF are minigames. Screw that. We want WAR. Incidentally, Warhammer: Age of Reckoning (WAR) intends to deliver where WoW failed miserably. The jury is still out on that one though.

Honour system is a joke? Scrapped, in exchange for a token system.
Token system? Where have you been? You still have to grind honor points, not just tokens. And BTW, many players liked the old honor system more, even though they knew they'd never be able to achieve Grand Marshal etc. But it made those titles and achievements MEAN SOMETHING. Right now any total nub can grind out honor by sitting in the cave in AV and get the epics. (Yes, they are adding a way to prevent this, but it's a band-aid fix and not a real solution)

Unorganized instanced PvP too much of a hassle? Have short (on the order of minutes, seconds if you're up against a 'lock) 1v1 - 5v5 arena matches.
Clearly you have no clue whatsoever what you are talking about. There is no 1v1 arena. There is no 4v4 arena. There is 2v2, 3v3 and 5v5. While I do like the Arenas for the most part, they are grossly inadequate and still do not make up for the lack of real WAR in WARCRAFT. You get a team together, you get teleported automagically into a locked-in arena, and you get to be owned by classes who are clearly overpowered (there's your lock reference).

Farming for the 1% elemental drops sucks? We'll split them up into more common drops (motes), so your farming doesn't suck as much.
Farming still sucks. It is not fun. This is not a plus.

Crafting seems useless as a moneymaker? Epic crafted items now require a BoP drop, so you can now actually make money from your profession.
Yes, you can make money from crafting. However, you can't make much. Generally on the order of 50-100g per piece (the price of the primal nether varies by server). I can make more money than that in less time farming mobs in Shadowmoon Valley. So if you are crafting to make money, and only to make money, you're doing the wrong thing.

Hybrid classes and off-specs getting the shaft? There are different versions of the new class armor sets for different specs.
Yep, it only took 2 years for this to happen. Practically didn't have to wait for this at all!

Instance runs taking too long? All the new 5-mans are split up into wings a'la SM, so that you can run one in less than an hour.
I have no idea which "wings" you are talking about unless you mean something like Tempest Keep: Arcatraz and Mechanar are separate wings of Tempest Keep (even though they are different instances altogether). Oh and by the way, each one of those requires more than an hour to complete. And they ALL still require clearing trash mobs which really suck and blizzard calls "pacing mechanisms". That's the worst possible thing to say to your playerbase. "We just don't want you guys to go fast, so we arbitrarily slowed you down." Gee, thanks. I feel really good about that.

Want epics in 5-mans? Okay, we'll add a heroic mode, but it'll be harder, and you can't expect to go in green quest rewards.
And you'll have to grind hours upon hours to get into heroics. Oh and btw, new players, you're screwed because everyone is already in heroics and they don't want to run non-heroics anymore!

Having trouble getting a group? We'll tie entry into heroics to specific reputation grinds which can only be done in instances, so people have incentives to run them.
Read above comment. When TBC came out it worked. Now it's horribly broken. New players are getting the shaft big time.

Still having trouble? We'll create an actually useful LFG system, and tie entry into the LFG channel to registering with it (to avoid it looking like Trade - City)
ROFL!!! The Trade channel is still the most widely used LFG channel. The LFG system is practically useless, at least on my server, where the Horde population is so dead it's nearly impossible to find a group. But I guess that's a separate issue which has come to play. Don't even get me started on that one.

Don't have a warlock in your group, or he's out of shards? The summoning stones can summon raid members with only 2 people present.
Or party members. This is a good change. Again though, one which took far too long to implement and I cannot say I am impressed by Blizzard's current rate of implementing new content. Two months since 2.2 has been on the Public Test Realms, with no sign of completion on the horizon? WTF?

Reputation grinds suck ass? Okay, instead of having one or two factions with everything, and a miserable rep grind (I'm looking at you TB), we'll create lots more factions and make each grind easier.
Easier if you can find a group. Impossible if you are a solo player. But hey, it's an MMO, solo players should be punished. AMIRITE?

Need an easy source of money? We'll make daily quests you can repeat each day, which give cash (and rep) rewards.
These are decent and I am glad they were implemented.

You want to fly? Sure.
But you can't fly in the old world, because we're too lazy to allow it (read: fix terrain issues and add city defenses).

Look, I agree that Blizzard listens to the players. What they don't do, however, is get half of the shit they do RIGHT.

WoW has had its golden age. That time is now over.

Re:I wouldn't be that sure (1)

k8to (9046) | more than 7 years ago | (#20578685)

World PvP sucks? They added instanced PvP.
Yes, and Alterac Valley for example is so lopsided that most Horde players simply sit in the cave because the Alliance has the advantage.
Which has been addressed in the soon-to-be-released 2.2, in keeping with the grandparent's message.

Honour system is a joke? Scrapped, in exchange for a token system.
Token system? Where have you been? You still have to grind honor points, not just tokens.
The change essentially pushes it to a progression system as opposed to a peak effort system, as I'm sure you're aware. However for most players the honor requirements are met long before the mark requirements, but the players shoot for honor anyway because they cannot do mathematics. I'm not sure what social factors are necessary to cure this one.

The rest of your comment focuses on things which have not yet been addressed, or which I think cannot be addressed (a level and gear focused MMO *RPG* presenting a real sense of warfare and battlefronts? I claim impossible.) Sure there are aspects of the game which are not great, but the point stands that Blizzard makes a serious effort to improve things as they are identified, an act which seems like it would be hard to follow.

And an aside:

The LFG system is practically useless, at least on my server, where the Horde population is so dead it's nearly impossible to find a group.
Recommend changing servers. Really. All these things you're dissatisfied about, especially in-world PVP are vastly smaller problems or working just great on servers with higher populations.

Yes it's stupid they charge 15 bucks to transfer, but if you plan to pay 15 bucks a month to continue to slog it out, you owe it to yourself to move somewhere more fun.

Re:I wouldn't be that sure (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#20580087)

While, again, I actually like WoW, I feel that some things aren't _that_ impossible. (Though they might still be arguably undesirable.)

A level and gear based MMO having a war? Well, I'd say it's actually possible, with a bit of thinking outside the box.

E.g., COH has a very elegant way of effectively lowering or raising someone's level to that of a team mate. Sure, you won't be a real level 49 if you're level one and someone raised you to 49 by making you their "sidekick". But it's possible to recalculate someone's base stats and some equivalent equipment suitable for their new level.

In WoW terms, if, say, you were to proclaim the large scale battles to be "everyone is level 70" battles, then a level 1 in white level gear would become (for the scope of that zone) a level 70 in white level 70 gear. A level 19 with, say, a blue level 15 weapon, would become a level 70 with a blue level 66 weapon. You just need to scale the weapon's stats accordingly. You would keep your fewer talents, though.

(And I suspect that Blizzard already has a formula about how equipment stats should scale with level. Or if not, heck, they've randomly generated equipment before in Diablo, based on a formula. They already know how it's done.)

Sure, they'd still get pwned one-on-one by a real level 70 with epics. But enough of them scaling the walls of your castle would be a realistic threat anyway. Same, I guess, as in the middle ages not everyone was a knight: enough peasants with a cheap spear and shield would be a problem anyway.

I guess in the interest of not tripping suspension of disbelief, in such massive war areas, basically you could make everyone level-less. Everyone is a soldier in there, their level is hidden, and their stats and equipment are scaled as above.

E.g., COH again, has monsters which are level-less. All giant monsters are like that, and the Rikti spawned in Issue 10 events are like that too. Against them, your attacks have a base value calculated in (very low) percentages of the monster's health, and their attacks do a percentage of the base health for your level. (Which in turn is modified by class, so in practice a mage still dies faster than the tank.) Buffs and debuffs are already calculated in percentages there. (And could be auto-scaled instead on WoW.) So basically everyone has a chance at fighting them.

So again, I could see a PvE event working like that in WoW too. Go take that massive orc fortress defended by level-less orcs npcs, for example. Get a trebuchet and a couple of battering rams while you're at it.

So IMHO impossible it is not. Whether that's _desirable_, now that's a whole other question. It would essentially turn a chunk of the game into a game without levels, or at least a lot less level based. I can imagine a lot of good arguments against _that_. (But then again, also for.) So I'm not saying that Blizzard _should_ do that. Just that, well, at least theoretically it's not impossible.

This is key, IMO (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577565)

Well, wrong, actually. EQ2 peaked a lot lower than what EQ still had, never mind its former peak. It _still_ has less players than the old Everquest. (Not saying it's necessarily a bad game, as that's something highly subjective, just that subscription-wise it failed to be the block-buster everyone expected.)

This, I think, is key. Why do people play MMO's? To quote Sony, 'Live in your world, play in ours.' People are looking for an online world they can enjoy in their free time. So my thought is, why should there be an 800lb gorilla (formerly EQ, now WoW) and a few other MMO's scrapping along for dear life? Why not have a nice collection of MMO's with diverse ecosystems and healthy populations. People focus so hard on being #1, I think it is important instead to do things well. I'm hopeful that more game studios will come out with different MMO's in the future and try new things, not breaking the bank making a remake of EQ or WoW for millions of players but just trying new setting, even if it means a smaller budget.

EQ2 is a good game, I agree. Played it for a year, and my wife and I go back from time to time (we play MMO's on a month to month basis). WoW is **ok** in my opinion, played it for about half of that. I just felt the WoW world wasn't deep enough. So I went back to my old 'habit' - EQ. Sure, the servers aren't nearly as populous as they once were but that doesn't matter. I like the environment and there are still enough warm bodies to group and raid :). I had high hopes for Vanguard, but it didn't pan out.

Re:World of WarCraft 2: The Attack of the RPG Clon (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577013)

Maybe I'm just being cynical, but at this point I suspect WoW will continue to dominate until Blizzard creates WoW2. It's so far ahead of all the other MMORPGs on the market that I don't see anyone being able to displace it.

I remember them saying the same thing about Ever Quest, that the only thing that could displace it was Ever Quest 2. That didn't turn out to be too accurate. I think WOW will run it's course and then most people will move on.

MMORPGing other franchises... (1)

spocksbrain (1097145) | more than 7 years ago | (#20575629)

It's pretty clear to me that the MMORPG has not finished running its course as the leading game genre.


If were to guess I would say that whatever Blizzard's next MMORPG is will probably be the next leader in the industry because they currently hold a growing pool of 9 million customers in their grasp and have a had an extremely long time to perfect the genre. They also have the popular Starcraft and Diablo universes left to MMORPGify.

With that said, there are many alternatives releasing in the next six monthes that also have the potential to become the next big thing in the gaming world, such as Warhammer Online and Age of Conan.

The WoW killer (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577163)

It's pretty clear to me that the MMORPG has not finished running its course as the leading game genre.

The single niggest complaint I usually hear about MMORPGs is that what your character does has no real effect on the game world, at best you can get player triggered events that lasts half and hour. If WoW2 or some other well made MMORPG incorporated lasting world changes based on player achievements (ie: a slow replacement of Horde flora and fauna with Alliance flora and fauna) then it would be set to become then next big thing. Set up warring player factions competing over control of the many key places that would trigger those world changes and you would have real player driven conflict. Don't instance the competition, make it the core of the game. Make HomeCity based player made/moved supplies crucial to the task so the non-PvP player can contribute meaningfully. Why do I think this would work? It would feed off of "the group effort" instincts in the same way raids do, and it would have a story line that the hardcore player would be a real part of, thus building a strong community. EVE has bits of this, in that the best events to ever happen in the game where entirely player driven, but it's too fragmented and geared for the long term for the general populace to really have fun and make any kind of difference in 0.0 space, and the rewards are not flashy enough (building a spacestation is a HUGE accomplishment in EVE for a player group, but has very little effect on the game for anyone outside of that player group) Haveing NPC Orcs tear down a Dwarven town and build a Orcish town if the Orc players can hold the ground long enough would be a much bigger player motivator. People love these game because it gives them a different way to feel a sense of importance and accomplishment than they get in the real world. Making bigger, more visible, more community oriented rewards will serve that much better than a flashy sword or fancy cape.

Re:The WoW killer (1)

spocksbrain (1097145) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577415)

Everything that you describe here is almost word-for-word what Warhammer online is aiming for, a completely dynamic server where the achievements of the faction is represented in ownership of territories.

With that said, I think the reason many people are driven to WoW is bacause it is very "carebear" friendly, even on the PvP servers. I think the majority of the players are exactly the opposite in that they do not want an unpredictable environment. I happen to be with you and want more rewarding PvP, that is why im jumping on the Warhammer bandwagon.

Re:MMORPGing other franchises... (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577285)

I don't know if Bliz would actually create the "next big thing" instead of continuing to grow the world of WoW. Releasing WoW v.1, v.2, etc. in terms of new content being released every year/few years seems to be the better move. It's in their interest to keep everyone in one world and one billing system. If you have two products, people will always feel that their product, Product A, is getting less developer attention than new, shiny Product B. Rather than getting people to switch to the new product, Product A fans will be so angry at Bliz that they'll take their ball and play in someone else's game. And to placate those looking for Starcraft or whatever, they could always pull a Star-Trek'esque move of once your character hits level gazillion a portal opens and a Zerg steps out, inviting you to join their fight (or whatever the plot is.)

(And as a side note: Until there are quality alternatives to WoW, us Mac users are left with two choices: Keep playing WoW or go out and get a life. Now if you'll excuse me, level gazillion awaits ... ;))

Re:MMORPGing other franchises... (1)

LParks (927321) | more than 7 years ago | (#20578389)

It sounds like Blizzard just needs to not release a sequel to WoW.

EQ2 and AC2 just divided their respective player bases. With the remaining communities being too small to sustain an MMO, players moved on to other MMOs. Its an easy choice for someone who has already quit the original MMO in the series to move to a wholly new franchise.

If Blizzard just keeps releasing expansion packs, then they will maintain their momentum. Its certainly not agood way to be innovative, but they want to keep those monthly subscriptions. Without dividing their own base, they can at least prevent a mass exodus when newer, shinier MMOs come out.

Henry Jenkins? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20575695)

"At Gamasutra, academics including MIT's Henry Jenkins and Ludium's Edward Castronova"
Hennnnry JEEEEENKINS!

Re:Henry Jenkins? (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#20579255)

I wonder if when he goes to conferences people say, "Henry, you are just stupid as hell."

Tribal? Hell yes! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20575785)

Are MMO populations 'tribal'[?]
Try complaining about an MMORPG. Any MMORPG. Even an MMORPG where the players frequently complain about it (say, Star Wars Galaxy). Watch the responses come in, saying that you don't understand it or defending it as having once been great.

Try saying that World of Warcraft is the best MMORPG ever created, and watch people defend "their" MMORPG.

Read through the recent Protecting Final Fantasy XI From the Gil-Sellers [slashdot.org] Slashdot article and you can watch this happen. Just peruse this thread [slashdot.org] to watch people slam the game and tribe members springing up to defend it.

Yes, MMORPG players are intensely tribal and defensive over their choice of MMORPG. As for the rest of the question:

what's the next tribal shift after World of Warcraft?
Who knows? But I can guarantee it won't come from Sony or Blizzard or any other established MMORPG publisher. People will get tired of WoW eventually and want something new just for the sake of playing something new. What will it be? I have no idea.

But it won't be revolutionary. It'll be a glorified WoW clone, with different graphics and some slight gameplay improvements. It'll be new enough to intrigue people, but familiar enough that they won't run from it.

Re:Tribal? Hell yes! (1)

CatPieMan (460995) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577535)

I think much of this comes from the "I enjoy this, you should too" mentality.

You could say the same thing bad about someone's favorite hobby, and I'm sure they would defend it just like people defend their own MMO -- b/c it is a hobby for many.

For others, a MMO is some sort of justification of their existance. "Oh, I killed the big bad mega-boss, I'm awesome, will you date me now?".

Even withing each MMO there are different levels of dedication and the same sort of 'tribes'.

I play FFXI, I don't deny it. In this game, there are many groups that consider themselves to be "end game", whatever that means. You have the hard-core players who will stay up to 5am just to see if some monster will pop. Then you have the people who will play from 9pm - midnight 4-5 days per week. The more casual players sometimes look down on the hardcore players b/c they spend too much time, but question anything they do, and they will defend their decision and call you a gimp or noob or tell you that you just don't know how to play.

The same is probably true for WoW. One person will argue that the rewards for beating X or Y instance are not worth the time and effort to get to that point. Someone who has put the time and effort will tell you exactly why it is worth the effort.

Re:Tribal? Hell yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20578625)

Yes, but you were also seriously trolling on that thread.

I'm not sure what you were expecting...

Games with Endings (4, Informative)

SonicTheDeadFrog (1155815) | more than 7 years ago | (#20575835)

If I see one more franchise going "MMO" to try to get a bite of the WoW pie, I think I'm going to puke. After playing WoW for five months, grinding to 60 and grinding on "end game" content, I've come to the conclusion that offline games (i.e. games with ENDINGS) are actually a much more rewarding expenditure of time.

Practically every MMO out there is either a glorified chat room, or a grindfest-turned-second-career because it want's to be WoW without being WoW and all it succeeds in doing is becoming one more WoW or EQ clone and even the most ardent fanboys would have a hard time saying otherwise. The guys doing Warhammer Online claim that even WoW was largely a ripoff of DAoC, and popular though it was, DAoC was not a super smash hit like WoW.

There's nothing earth shattering about WoW except being in the right place at the right time. It's moronic to speculate on what the next big thing is because it's as likely to be random dumb luck as anything else.

Re:Games with Endings (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20576117)

Practically every MMO out there is either a glorified chat room


Correct. And this is why they will continue to flourish. The "game"'s only purpose is to give the social communities that appear something to talk about, allowing desire for social acceptance to pressure people to retain their subscription.

Re:Games with Endings (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576527)

Well, there *are* a lot of similarities between WoW and DAoC. Sadly, the one thing that made DAoC rock (the realm vs realm pvp content) isn't really done well in WoW. Sad, because the RvR stuff in DAoC was by far the most fun.

Re:Games with Endings (Happy) (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576965)

If I see one more franchise going "MMO" to try to get a bite of the WoW pie, I think I'm going to puke.

So, I take it you're not buying Animal Crossing II: Rise Of The Tiger then?

It works with My Sims: Third Life as well ...

wonders why he ran off screaming ...

Re:Games with Endings (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577159)

WoW isn't about endings - the end game is supposed to be about having fun with friends. Frankly if my friends quit playing I'd quit playing too.

Re:Games with Endings (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577431)

Sounds to me like you might like Guild wars. Every campaign so far has a clear defined ending and there is no grinding to do anything but get a special style of axe/sword/bow/armour whatever which is no more powerful than drops have been since mid game (even early game if you play factions). Plus it really breaks the mold in that your build is switchable on the fly (just visit town), so if you're bored of playing your Ranger relying heavily on his bow you can switch to a trapping ranger where you lay down an area of traps and then get the enemies to chase you through it to take massive damage.

If you haven't tried GWs pick up a copy of the original, it's dirt cheap now (bargain bin prices) and while the first game is slow compared to the others (they make it so you hit max level about 2/3rds the way through the original campaign compared to 1/4th of the later expansions) you will get the feel of it and the newbie area is one of the most amazing places I've seen in a game. It's amazingly detailed and has a very "Shire" type of feel to it.

Either way if you haven't given it a try you really should, it's nothing like other MMORPGs.

Re:Games with Endings (1)

zokier (1049754) | more than 7 years ago | (#20579411)

Makes me wonder why there are not any hybrid mmorpg-games which would have an evolving world and storyline. Make killing that dragon mean something.
And while you are at it, add strategic layer(ie. if i capture this town i get 5 tree and 3 iron, which I could use to summon npc-creeps or advance technology) and buff tradeskills to create complete player-to-player economy(ie. eliminate most of npc merchants).
Ofcourse the reason for this kind of game not existing is money and the infinite need of content. Creating storylines over several years where half of creating is not controlled by anyone(players) is hard to do, and adding more levels of complexity surely makes it both harder to code and to balance.

Re:Games with Endings (1)

Manchot (847225) | more than 7 years ago | (#20581095)

Personally, I stick to games with endings because I have a tendency to obsess over things, especially video games. Once a game takes hold of me, nothing can tear me away from it (to my detriment). If I played a MMORPG, there's no doubt in my mind that it would eventually ruin my life.

Incidentally, this is also why I don't drink, and why I can only buy enough food to last for three days at a time. Alcoholism runs in my family, and frankly, I don't have the self-control to prevent myself from becoming an alcoholic. Likewise, if I have any more food than three days' worth, then I'll eat it all in the first three days anyway, so it's better for me to not even have the opportunity.

There Is A Reason.... (5, Insightful)

Atomm (945911) | more than 7 years ago | (#20575887)

No other MMORPG has captured the audience that WoW has. This alone is a reason to study this MMORPG over all others.

As for upcoming MMORPG's, none of them will command the attention that WoW has. If Lord of the Rings Online couldn't make a dent in WoW, especially given the long, great history of the Tolkien Universe, what chance does any other MMORPG have?

Warhammer might have a chance to top some of the other MMORPG's like EQ, Eve, AO, etc... But that is only because they copied a lot of the aspects of WoW and present a very similar style of game and universe. Don't believe me, look at the goblins in both games. It's like looking at cousins.....

So yes, WoW deserves to be studied to understand how they could capture and maintain an audience many times over any of the previous MMORPG's.

 

Re:There Is A Reason.... (1)

LordSkippy (140884) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576469)

You do realize that Warcraft was basically a RTS version of Games Workshop's Warhammer table top miniatures game? So really, WoW is a MMOPRG version of a rip-off of Warhammer, so it's no wonder Warhammer Online looks like a rip-off of WoW to those that don't know it's lineage. That's why the goblins in both games look like cousins.

Re:There Is A Reason.... (2, Informative)

Psmylie (169236) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576557)

"Warhammer might have a chance to top some of the other MMORPG's like EQ, Eve, AO, etc... But that is only because they copied a lot of the aspects of WoW and present a very similar style of game and universe. Don't believe me, look at the goblins in both games. It's like looking at cousins....."

I'm not disagreeing about Warhammer's chances against WoW, but that statement made me think of this Penny Arcade:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/04/10

Re:There Is A Reason.... (1)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576687)

I'm convinced the main reason WoW has taken off like it has is simply branding. The game was build on a well known and well liked game franchise and they put a lot of effort into developing a community around the game. Granted, branding is the only reason or SWG would have done much better.

Re:There Is A Reason.... (2, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577153)

Absolutely not. Final Fantasy XI was built on an much more successful brand, yet is less successful than World of Warcraft. WoW attracted many, many players that were not only new to the Warcraft franchise, but new to gaming in general.

The main reasons for its success are, I think, the quick pace of rewards and its friendliness to casual and occasional players. It is possible to have a very rewarding experience in WoW, easily play with your friends, and still "have a life." This isn't really the case for other MMORPGs.

Re:There Is A Reason.... (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577531)

I know people who, apart from some casual console gaming, hated video games and thought all game players were hopeless nerds before starting up WoW, dropping out of school, quitting their jobs and leeching off their friends/family/SOs. The really ironic part is that one of those people still hates games and gamers and thinks that playing WoW 20 hours a day actually makes them cool.

Re:There Is A Reason.... (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577791)

Make no mistake, it is possible to lose one's life in WoW just like other MMOs. But other MMOs seem to penalize you for not playing obsessively. WoW, in general, doesn't, although it offers many of the same appeals that cause people to abandon real-world rewards for in-game ones.

Re:There Is A Reason.... (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#20581035)

I'm more in the camp of the poster above, who noted that WoW was just in the right place at the right time. (MM)ORPGs had been growing exponentially in popularity since the days of Kesmai and AO (if not earlier), and they just happened to hit critical mass around the time WoW was launched. New gamers couldn't really get into any of the established competitors at the time and, coincidentally, the established game players (particularly in the behemoth that was EQ) were getting burned out and looking for something new. WoW didn't really bring anything new to the table, other than perhaps the Warcraft name recognition. The offline XP bonus may have contributed somewhat to the success of WoW, but I sincerely doubt that most of the new vict.. er, new gamers took much advantage of it (other than during sleep/work), or that it contributed in any meaningful way to keeping up with their "more dedicated" friends. New gamers have few, if any, existing friends in-game anyway, and I suspect that most people mainly become friends with others who happen to level at the same rate, regardless of what that rate might be.

Re:There Is A Reason.... (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577007)

As for upcoming MMORPG's, none of them will command the attention that WoW has. If Lord of the Rings Online couldn't make a dent in WoW, especially given the long, great history of the Tolkien Universe, what chance does any other MMORPG have?


I don't think it will take a lot of "study" to see that game success has nothing to do with weight of established lore behind it. Just look at the history of Star Trek games. If anything, having a license to an existing "Universe" is a millstone around a game's neck.

LotR is almost as good an example as Trek. Due to the way magic in the books worked (almost no one had much, except a very few massively powerful wizards), they felt they had to make the magic system in LotRO impoverished compared to most other such games.

We could just go with logic here. Who's going to spend months or years of their free time playing a game, regardless of the game's own qualities, just because they really enjoyed the 5 to 10 hours it took them to read the books its lore comes from?

So I think pointing to a licensed product as somehow the "best hope" to unseat WoW just because of the strength of the source material is a bit wrong-headed.

Academics aren't market researchers (1)

Geof (153857) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577291)

No other MMORPG has captured the audience that WoW has. This alone is a reason to study this MMORPG over all others. . . . So yes, WoW deserves to be studied to understand how they could capture and maintain an audience many times over any of the previous MMORPG's.

Although the focus of whoever wrote the article is on the Next Big Thing, this isn't necessarily the top priority for scholars. The study of games is more about people than it is about games themselves. Here's Florence Chee from the article:

I don't believe we are at the point yet where we're going to have 'one game to rule them all,' because we're only beginning to understand the realities of local contexts that may or may not work with the mechanics of certain games culturally, or otherwise. In other words, the game itself cannot do it alone. It must be strongly integrated with a person's 'lifeworld' as a whole.

The connection between the game and the rest of a player's life is important. Are game players better problem solvers? Do they connect more or less with people outside their "tribe"? Do they work well with others? Do they cluster according to social class? Does this have an impact on their participation in the wider society? Are they more likely to be left wing, right wing, extreme, moderate, (un)critical thinkers, politically active or inactive? Does the game reflect their values, or does it influence what they believe and how they see their place in society?

Think of the old question of whether television viewing encourages violence. You probably wouldn't research that by focusing on the most popular show.

Regardless of whether you're interested in one game in particular, other games can provide important evidence. Florence Chee gives a good example in the article when she cites players who refuse to leave City of Heroes for World of Warcraft because they don't want to leave their friends behind. The strength of this attachment in a game less popular than WoW can help explain phenomena within WoW itself.

Ob. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20579589)

"Warhammer might have a chance to top some of the other MMORPG's like EQ, Eve, AO, etc... But that is only because they copied a lot of the aspects of WoW and present a very similar style of game and universe. "

Oh dear.

I hope you like text...

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/04/10/ [penny-arcade.com]

Henry Jenkins? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20576031)

LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEROOOOOOOOOOOY JEEEEEEEEEEENKIIIINS

obligatory jenkins quote
lameness filter ftl
still not good enough for the freaking filter

Florence Chee had the best viewpoint (3, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576227)

The introduction of the Wii morphs the gamespace possibilities, as do all platform consoles.

I foresee a day when WoW is replaced by games where you yourself perform the actions of your character, using Wii-mote and nunchuck, to hack slash and parry your way through the world, or use the Wii-mote as a wand.

When? Probably next gen. So, I would say look for 2009, when the successor to the Wii comes out.

[caveat - I went to SFU at one point so I'm biased ...]

Re:Florence Chee had the best viewpoint (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576547)

Yeah well, let's wait for the Wii to have any more than a pittance of online features in their games and then we can talk about how they're gonna make the Mario-Zelda-Smash-Bros MMORPG (what, you think Nintendo is gonna make original content?).

Re:Florence Chee had the best viewpoint (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576861)

You need to play in a country with real broadband like S Korea or Japan - the game availability there is not quite the same.

Gigapop Internet is fairly common outside the backwards US.

Re:Florence Chee had the best viewpoint (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577433)

Not really what I meant. Nintendo hasn't been building out games with online content on them, whereas MS and Sony (to a lesser extent) are heavily utilizing online content and features in many games.

So, if anyone's gonna do a console MMO other than FFXI, odds are it'll be Microsoft.

And my point about Nintendo's unwillingness to make original content stands. Even if they did do an MMO, I'm not sure that Mario Party MMORPG is going to take the gaming community by storm (sure hold interest for this guy, the sequel to Legend of Zelda was enough reuse for me).

Re:Florence Chee had the best viewpoint (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#20578257)

no, my ex who works at MSFT would have heard about it, that's her division.

Re:Florence Chee had the best viewpoint (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#20578709)

I was not saying that there's definitely one in development or near release. I was saying that if anyone was in a position to do one, it'd be MS, rather than Sony or Nintendo.

Re:Florence Chee had the best viewpoint (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#20581073)

I think you're highly underestimating the number of us lazy fscks who would avoid hours of physical activity at any cost. But seriously, I play games to relax and unwind, not as exercise, and there's no way I would play that sort of game. Hacking and slashing? Waving your arms to cast a spell? Count me out.

Kind of seems like a stupid statement (3, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576391)

I dunno, it seems like a rather circular statement about the "emerging" field of games studies: "I don't think it is healthy for the field of games studies, which is still emerging, to be so fixated on a single game franchise -- no matter what the franchise. A few years ago, it might have been The Sims or GTA, now it's WoW"

Doesn't 'emerging' seem to suggest that there is going to be a rather narrow sample size, to begin with? And I don't really fault researchers focusing on WoW; I mean yes, they could grab whatever game is on the shelf, but you have no idea if it's going to be another WoW or if it's going to be Vangers (look it up). I would imagine that anyone in this 'emerging' field would want their results to be reasonably relevant, interesting, and applicable to as broad a field as possible.
Right now, there's really only one game that hits that mark, and that's WoW.

For those researchers who are looking for other interesting fields of study in this area, I would make some other suggestions.
Look at http://www.mmogchart.com/ [mmogchart.com] :
  - The Matrix Online, Asheron's Call, Anarchy Online all have very interesting player number curves. Why?
  - WW2OL has fewer subscribers than most of the 'big name' games and quite a few of the middling ones, yet it seems to be surviving where others are shutting down. Why?
  - Runescape - real MMOG or webgame? Is the distinction important?
  - These various games have a host of pay/play models, what's working, what isn't?
  - MMOGs are in a way the descendants of online mass flight sims - Warbirds, etc. How do flight sim pay/play models compare? User numbers and retention?

Re:Kind of seems like a stupid statement (1)

realthing02 (1084767) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576877)

The problem is, any study that doesn't involve WOW isn't very interesting to the outside world that has heard of wow (thanks, Southpark) but not something like DAoC.

I feel like there are so many interesting subjects to explore in the world of games and game development. A major one I'd be interested in is the development process compared to other (non-game) developers. If we had to guess, what CMMI level do you think game devs are? 0? 1? probably not a 4. I'm not saying they need to be, but how many games make deadlines nowadays?

The pay/play studies mentioned above would also be interesting. What about in game advertising for a free MMORPG? how about a study on that.

I agree tehre is too much attention on WOW, and i don't know what to do about it. perhaps I'll do my own study.

Re:Kind of seems like a stupid statement (1)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577427)

I have another question to add to your list above:

How fucking dumb can Sony and LucasArts be to completely ignore their existing fanbase and go ahead with not ONE but TWO game "redesigns" on Star Wars: Galaxies such that the end product was a completely new game? And thus, Star Wars: Galaxies - with a rabid fanbase* and new incoming fans - went from being in the top 3 MMORPGS to virtually non-existent. Which, I guess, actually answers the question I posed :-p

*I mean, come the frack on... I knew a LOT of people who had 2 or more accounts and from talking with them, they each had multiple friends with 2 or more accounts, and so on and so forth. After the first "Combat Upgrade" easily 1/3 of the accounts on EACH server vanished. When the news of the NGE "New Game Enhancement" (what a fucking joke that is) came out, I estimate _easily_ 1/2 of those remaining accounts left. My entire guild plus two allied guilds and some other friends all left which accounted for roughly 200+ accounts on one server. Most of us moved to WoW.

Re:Kind of seems like a stupid statement (1)

theelectron (973857) | more than 7 years ago | (#20578425)

It almost looks like they were trying to make the game more WoW like. We all saw how that went, so why do people keep insisting on making WoW clones?

Re:Kind of seems like a stupid statement (1)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 7 years ago | (#20578797)

That's exactly what they were doing. Many of the people I knew in SWG all said the same thing - they're dumbing down SWG to be like WoW. Copying the interface, making the "sandbox" style of play in SWG into the "pick this, you're that, go hit something" WoW play*, and several other things.

Basically, they saw World of Warcraft eating Star Wars: Galaxies' (and other Sony games) lunch _big_ time and they let GREED rule their game. Instead of refining existing gameplay and stressing the openness and versatility (you could, with time, play every "class" there was) of the game, the player run economy, and other nice aspects of SWG they decided to try and clone WoW. The only fantasy that was involved in Star Wars was that Sony and LucasArts thought the cloning would work.

*Disclaimer - I was an early beta tester of World of Warcraft and loved the game. Still do, to a point. Nothing in WoW belonged in SWG though. Not the interface, not the play style, not the single delineation of "class" (discarded the unique SWG sandbox mix-and-match), NOTHING. I wouldn't play the load of crap called Star Wars: Galaxies right now if they gave ME $5 per month. Except to pay for my WoW account :-p

Re:Kind of seems like a stupid statement (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20578767)

That is true only if we study MMOs which isn't necessarily the case. I study players of FPS games for example. There are also millions of casual gamers too as well as Madden fans and Japanese RPG fans and lots of other segments.

Even if we stick with MMOs I think a study of the people who have stuck with Star Wars Galaxies or Dark Age of Camelot would be interesting if only to find out why they still play those games (which I admit I have never played myself. I just know that they aren't all that popular in comparison to WOW or the popular Korean MMOs.).

Re:Kind of seems like a stupid statement (1)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 7 years ago | (#20580795)

WWIIOL has a 'grognard' community associated with it -- people who began playing SVGA Air Warrior on the GEnie online service, then the various subsequent incarnations of Air Warrior and its 'replacements' (Confirmed Kill, Aces High, etc.); the replacements were created by people who were unhappy with the slow improvement of Air Warrior and went off to make their own WWII online simulation (there were several iterations of "If you're not happy with how things are progressing, why don't you make your own sim?" "Okay, I will!"). What makes the online-simulation games more stable is the time investment; because these are simulations and not just games, your progress depends on the skill you acquire -- in Aces High and WWIIOL, you can't just do the "I'm level 60, you're level 1" drive-by ganking; unless you can fly better than your opponent, you're not going to be able to shoot them down; each plane has its own handling characteristics, and learning your plane is as important as learning the tactics of air combat. And that investment of time doesn't transfer except to a similar online simulation, so you won't often see a dedicated WWIIOL player deciding to switch to WoW, for example. It's a different mindset in how the players view the game; the increase in eye candy has been a relatively recent development, with the primary focus being on the modeling (i.e., 'how well does this simulation replicate the flight characteristics of a real A6M5 Zero compared to that simulation?') with eye-candy sacrificed to keep the modeling accurate and frame rates up, while WoW could abstract physics and real-time performance to make the game more attractive.

Then, too, the monetary investment in an online simulation like WWIIOL can quickly grow to where a player can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on peripherals -- several hundred dollars on a Thrustmaster HOTAS Cougar stick/throttle system and rudder pedals, and then go out and buy third-party upgrades -- custom-machined gimbal replacement to eliminate the slop and wear in the joystick, Hall sensors to eliminate spiking potentiometers, strain-gauge sensors to elminate the moving parts of the stick completely -- that can add hundreds more dollars to the cost of their gear. While you see the same expenditures by people who play non-MMO flight simulations, between the hardware and skill investments of online-sim gamers, it creates a largely self-perpetuating population.

As an interesting aside, real-world air-combat skills and online air-combat skills appear to transfer back and forth to some degree; the instructor-pilots at places like Air Combat USA, which offer people the chance to go up and 'dogfight' for real, have observed that people with extensive online air-combat sim experience do better than other non-pilots (already having learned the 'lose the sight, lose the fight' adage), and some years ago one of the online air-combat sims had an event where a number of members of the Tuskegee Airmen were brought into the game as a group (at an internet-gaming site, IIRC) and proceeded to clean almost everyone's clock, proving that doing it for real beats doing it online -- but also that the non-fatality of mistakes online makes it a lot easier to learn from them; some of the long-term sim players were able to take on the Airmen on an even basis.

What comes after WoW (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576445)

WoW: Afterlife

Re:What comes after WoW (1)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577663)

Or WoW: CorpseRun

WOW is simply good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20576573)

The reason wow is so popular is not because people see a friend joining a game and they rush out to join too. It's simply because wow is a pretty good mmorpg as far as mmorpgs go. Mmorpgs themselves are fairly addictive for some reason.

I hated WOW just cause it was WOW and everyone played it for a very long time. Then I got bored and said hey I'll give wow a chance. It's a more polished and more enjoyable grind fest to me than any of the other mmorpgs I've played.

The next big thing will simply be the game that's better. It may be made by blizzard or sony or a completely new company.

Blizzard is not a definite lock, look at what sony did with eq2. They were number one for so long but they managed to ruin their attempt to follow it up.

for just the briefest second... (3, Funny)

UID30 (176734) | more than 7 years ago | (#20576845)

...my eyes saw "MIT's Henry Jenkins", but my mind read "MIT's Leroy Jenkins".

Blizzard software ans WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20576995)

Just pointing out that Blizzard software has been around for some time - the Diablo (I and II), and the original "Warcraft" games (I, II, and III) illustrate the fact that "content" has always been "king"

WoW is simply Diablo and Warcraft combined and distributed over the Internet (but remember that "simple" doesn't mean easy or uncomplicated). Anyone else remember playing "Diablo" or "Warcraft III" online ...lol - cheating was rampant, but it was done

I don't know anyone associated with Blizzard, but it seems that they "get" the "gamer" and understand the marketplace ...lol

Re:Blizzard software ans WoW (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577321)

Just pointing out that Blizzard software has been around for some time - the Diablo (I and II), and the original "Warcraft" games (I, II, and III) illustrate the fact that "content" has always been "king"


Its a shame I already posted, so I can't mod this up. Blizzard's success is at least as much of an anomoly in the gaming industry as WoW's. Every game Blizz has released after their first has been a huge hit. Nobody else in the industry has a track record like that. Heck, nobody in the entertainment industry has a record like that. A couple of hits in a row could be luck, but not six! Why not look at what they are doing differently than everybody else?

"Game Studies" (1)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577001)

I don't mean to be a dick or anything, but, don't these people have better things to do with their 8-12 years of schooling? I mean, WoW and MMORPGs are a popular form of entertainment, but they're still just that - entertainment. There are so many more pressing matters in the world than whether or not WoW players are acting tribally.

That being said, is it really that much of a surprise that people on the internet, protected by the shield of semi-anonymity, become more impulsive and return to more primal forms of society?

Re:"Game Studies" (1)

Usekh (557680) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577169)

Yeah I mean one game that has 9 million players is clearly not worth studying at all.

Re:"Game Studies" (1)

pieaholicx (1148705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577283)

On the contrary, I believe that entertainment, especially in gaming, is a very good thing to be studying. If you haven't noticed, technology itself is driven by entertainment. The only accomplishment in technology that I'll give up as not being built for entertainment is the Internet. Even still, the internet has been pushed faster as the need for more bandwidth has increased. What uses the most bandwidth? Streaming audio, video, and games. Computers have been pushed to great limits yet your average user won't be buying the top of the line stuff. So who does buy it? Gamers. If we shouldn't be studying that which pushes technology(which in turn pushes the whole economy) then what should we be studying?

Re:"Game Studies" (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#20578945)

"On the contrary, I believe that entertainment, especially in gaming, is a very good thing to be studying."

Indeed. I think one things people forget is that GAMES MODEL WORLDS, either abstract or based on portions the real world. Games are SIMULATIONS, so saying we shouldn't study games is like saying we shouldn't investigate the natural world. Games and the real world have a lot in common, one is based on pure digital information, the other more solid 'physical' world.

self-defined ending (1)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577075)


I quit WoW after getting all the gladiator gear and being ranked in the top 10% of the first arena season. Basically, once you get to a certain point there is nothing left to accomplish. The only gear upgrades you can get after a certain point are marginal at best, and require a totally disproportionate amount of time to achieve.

The next big game will come up with a way to reduce the effect of gradual leveling, then very difficult end-game, then nothing left to accomplish. WoW will be easy to dethrone because the game itself isn't any fun. All the enjoyment comes from the sense of accomplishment.

PvP battlegrounds were a step in the right direction, but with three tiny maps it gets extremely tedious. If they made up 10-20 more maps with different themes and corresponding objectives, WoW would be an ideal game.

Re:self-defined ending (1)

smaddox (928261) | more than 7 years ago | (#20579471)

WoW will be easy to dethrone because the game itself isn't any fun. All the enjoyment comes from the sense of accomplishment.


My exacts thoughts on every MMORPG I have ever played.

Thats why the only games I play now are DOD:S (haven't for a couple months now), and Guitar Hero.

I will probably have to get the Orange box though... Portal looks amazing.

What next? (1)

rubberbandball (1076739) | more than 7 years ago | (#20577831)

The hardest part of life after a WoW addiction is finding another game to play that can keep your attention like WoW did. $15 a month for unlimited entertainment on all levels (depending on where you are in the game) is amazing.

I've been searching for over a year. Haven't found anything. Metroid Prime 3 is great, but staring at a screen has become more of a chore. I'm OBLIGATED to play MP3 because of my history with the series, it's not really something i looked forward to aside from the hopes that the controls were better than Redsteel.

WoW certainly beats spending $200 a month on console games that can't keep your attention. But leaving the house and getting laid are way better ways to use your time.

A life AFTER World of Warcraft? (1)

Karl0Erik (1138443) | more than 7 years ago | (#20578469)

You probably didn't have one before, you obviously didn't have one during it, so there's no reason to hope for a life after WoW.

"Chunky Change"?? (1)

Randym (25779) | more than 7 years ago | (#20579675)

What do you mean by chunky change?

EC: Rapid chaotic change, it'll be going smooth for awhile, with periods of stability, and then suddenly you'll see periods of bulky but large changes.

You mean: punctuated equilibria [cotch.net] ? Why invent a clunky neonym when you can just use a scientific term that already exists?

Why WOW succeeds (1)

TheGeneration (228855) | more than 7 years ago | (#20580935)

The reason WOW succeeded where DAoC failed is because WoW has cartoon like graphics that make it widely accessible. You don't have to take -anything- seriously in WoW unless you want to. It has a good story, with good characters, and it's a cartoon.

WoW wins for the same reason that the Wii wins, it has mass appeal (ie, it's not for Ren Faire tards.)
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