Now, I can dive deeper into the truly "multiplayer" content and start doing 25-man raids (which is still a pretty small number in the MMO world). But the interesting thing is that in order to do that, I need to ignore the personally focussed aspects of the game. After all, if I'm the legendary hero that Thrall called upon to infiltrate Icecrown Citadel and slay the Lich King himself, why is my raid leader calling the shots? Why am I hiding behind 20-some other people, tossing healing spells, when I should be up there slaying? Why is it that in order to do the really difficult content in the game, I must relinquish my "hero" status and become just another soldier? And perhaps more importantly...why doesn't this seem to bother me when I'm actually playing?That's the part most people, and probably Blizzard, sort of thought was going to be hard to do. How would you like going from the hero that everybody knows and loves, to somebody that follows under the order of someone you don't even know (unless your in a guild-run, etc.) It just doesn't make sense. It wouldn't happen if WoW was a "real" MMO (whatever a "real" MMO is).
I... have nothing much to say to this. Great post, it really made me think back on all those experiences I had where this kind of things happened.
I... have nothing much to say to this.Yah, took me like 10 minutes to write that little paragraph of mine... couldn't really say anything about this Blog =P
also one must remember, companies dont care if they have the best game ever, they just want the best selling game ever. Alot of people complain about how the game isnt "hardcore" but thats why WoW is so popular. Blizz wont care if a hardcore gamer leaves as long as 2 casual gamers join to take his place. No smart company will change such a succeful formula. Blizz will head in the same direction of making content easier so new players can have more fun, in the hope that they keep getting new players, until more people start quiting than are joining.sry for my ramble, but thats how the business works, every1 from metallica to blizzard will sell out to make more money. (especially metallica)
Excellent post. It should be pointed out that Eve's learning curve is quiet extensive. And by extensive it can take months to really understand the big picture, if not much longer. Not to mention the space genre is not for everyone. I don't want to fall in to apples vs oranges here, but Eve's collective input would be fantastic for WoW -- as you said to feel that you are a part of the game, that you have made an impact.The AQ gates opening was sort of in the right direction, aside from the terrible implementation. Sadly it was really only rewarding to those who raided at the time, so the lowly level 25 running around Ironforge wouldn't necessarily feel like s/he had done something significant to impact the AQ war efforts.Personally, I can't see Blizzard being able to resolve this with WoW. The more subscribers you have only makes it that much harder to implement changes. My lowly two cents. :)
I think the key to feeling accomplished in MMOs is to forget that there are 11+ billion people out there, doing the same thing you are - or have done the same thing. Just for a few minutes consider that Marshal Dughan is really desperate and you are the only person who saw his Wanted Poster: Wanted: "Hogger". Or, to go on a greater scale, there may be many heroes out there, but A'dal asks you to gather a group of 25 and execute The Fall of the Betrayer. You, and nobody else, is the one who leads the group to get Outland rid of the mad half-demon, half-elf.i agree with that and i have always done it heheWell written post actually another well written post thanks for these threads you make
EVE really is a great game, but it's very easy to get sucked into it harder than WoW...no matter how people might complain that WoW is simply a second job, they've never been in a corporation in EVE. EVERYTHING is player-run, including wars, politics, boundaries, and markets, which means somebody...most likely you, if you're just joining up...has to take out the trash.But everything here still stands very true. Besides requiring an internet connection, WoW is simply a glorified Diablo II waiting for you to group up so some of its mechanics can be put to work with other characters. It doesn't force you to interact (as in EVE and FFXI among other games), neither does it force you to solo. All of its lore content is present in text logs that can be skipped over entirely, and bosses are always there for anyone to take down; the only way one can appreciate a character's death lore-wise is to look at the bigger picture of that particular expansion. And you're not even forced to do that; go ahead and kill both Kaels 20 times each for that phat new T5 chest or that uber-rare Phoenix hatchling.It's as personal as you want it to be, and perceptions and duties aren't forced upon you. You will upon yourself the understanding. And that's why WoW is so successful.
Great post, and it really makes a lot of sense. Perhaps THIS is the reason why all of the other MMOs that are trying to compete with WoW are failing so badly: because they're trying to be MMOs, when people really don't like MMOs as much as they say they do.I know I play WoW because it's largely a single-player game. I played console RPGs for most of my childhood, and the main reason I like WoW so much now is NOT for the Multiplayer Online part of MMO, but for the Massive. Single-player RPGs quickly run out of content after 30-40 hours of play, whereas WoW has kept me entertained pretty reliably for over a hundred times that long over a number of years.Sure I have a couple of friends I run 5-mans with, and I'll go run a raid or two every now and then, but the single-player content is the reason I keep playing.
I can see what you mean. And given that blizzard went from a RPG to a MMORPG its not really a shock. But I have to disagree about the charm being in a single player experience. I stopped playing my main not long after WoTLK came out because all my friends power leveled to 80. I enjoy questing with friends and running instances more than doing things on my own. Its not that I don't appreciate the lore its really great having just done the wraithgate questline its fantastic in some cases but its not why I play the game. I play it because a lot of the harder things require teamwork. 5 mans, raids, PvP all need some degree of teamwork.To be honest the only way I have got through doing all that soloing is having scrubs on the other monitor when I quest now. And I'm only up to about half way through 74 so it may still fall down. I personally enjoying being max level more than leveling up. That may just be me though.
Great post! Striking analysis and I'm sure it matches the perception of many players.However, I can give you another angle on explaining the success of Wow: Convenience.You see, I played at Eve Online and I loved it. Still do. I think it's the best MMO to ever set foot in the virtual worlds. Certainly, it's the most aesthetic and stunning graphic-wise so far. I'd still be playing it if I had the time. And that pretty much sums up my point. Wow is a second choice to me but I play it instead of Eve Online because, in Wow, I can get something done in a hour.And that's impossible in Eve Online when you get past a certain point. Just cruising in space to your target system can take the better part of that hour. Let alone setting up a mining operation in it.Game mechanics are putting Eve out of reach for my available playing time. It might be related to the fact that these mechanics are dedicated to a "massive multiplayers experience" but I doubt it.I guess that because the majority of players have a real job to go to in the day, that logic would apply to a huge part of the market for online games. The success of Wow could be a result of designing it so that it fits in the schedule of as much people as possible and still give you a feeling of going somewhere.my 2 coppers,Barns.
I know I play WoW because it's largely a single-player game. I played console RPGs for most of my childhood, and the main reason I like WoW so much now is NOT for the Multiplayer Online part of MMO, but for the Massive.This x10.I would so pay a monthly subscription for a Final Fantasy Tactics game where new classes were being added, new dungeons/scenarios and different monsters/items were being added, where class balance was constantly being adjusted... that would be epic IMO. Toss some competitive and PvP scenarios in there and that would be the epic sauce.
EVE and WoW can't really be compared.In WoW,you choose to participate (mostly) in PvP.If you want it all the time you go to a PvP realm.EVE PvP is on all the time.No where is safe.Even in the highest sec,suicide gankers can grief and destroy your freighter that cost around a billion credits (yes a billion) that took you years to save up for.And don't mention the "insurance" to me! It usually won't even cover the full cost of your ship,let alone your modules.Also you will be pod killed in those situations,which depending on your implants may have cost you as much as your ship.And there is no "insurance" on those.There is a reason EVE has 250,000 compared to WoW's 11.5 million.EVE is a niche game,frequented by those who enjoy that certain niche.They have one of the nastiest player turnovers of any game.The average EVE player quits after six months.I've played it for years.I've been to 0.0 sec and back.I've never been podded.And the only way I've managed that is to be completely paranoid.EVE is just too stressful to continuously play,at least for me.
Is World of Warcraft an online game? YesIs it Multiplayer? Yes (I'm not sure what a single-player online game would look like, but never mind)Is it Massive (ie, not limited to 16, 32, 64, a more "typical" multiplayer number)? YesIs it a Role-Playing game? I'm sure you could argue this point if you want, but the answer is almost certainly YesSo what exactly is it about WoW that makes it not a "real" MMORPG? Because it doesn't have user-generated/driven content like EVE? Since when did that become a requirement for "reality." I'm not denying the similarities between WoW and Diablo II with a chatroom, but so what? I'm sure you could make a similar claim for EQ, FFXI, SWG and most other MMOs if you really wanted to. I agree with most of the points in your post, but I don't know why you're hung up on how "real" it is.
Congratulations on such a well thought out and expressed post. You hit the nail right on the head. As Beefkitten pointed out:I can't see Blizzard being able to resolve this with WoW. The more subscribers you have only makes it that much harder to implement changes.There just may be a threshold to the MMO scene. It simply becomes TOO massive and collapses in on itself sacrificing the multi-player for individual scene. The key is the level of inter-dependence. The higher the level(edit: # of players active), the greater responsibility each player has to making the "dream" work. In order to enter into the greater common market (i.e. America's youth), you must lower the responsibility each player carries. Because, as all of us who PuG know, there always those one or two who don't give a care, besides themselves. This sort of anarchy, which keeps the item restoration crews and GM's trying to reset raids busy, would destroy the world. In order to mitigate the reckless irresponsibility this "happy medium" is reached with the interdependence reduced to nearly nothing in order to preserve the "illusion."
In fact, one could make a convincing argument that not being a "real" MMO is the secret to WoW's success. But then what does that mean? Are MMOs doomed to forever be a niche genre? Will the only massively successful MMOs be ones, like WoW, that subvert and disguise the "Massively Multiplayer" in their name?In my opinion, an emphatic yes.If the business point of a game is to make money (which I think we all agree is true), what makes an MMO stand out is the subscription model. If you think about it, though, nothing about subscription requires an MMO. Companies could just as easily charge us a subscription to single-player games. It wouldn't be any different than putting everybody in WoW in their own instance ... only the instance would be the size of the entire game world.People actually tried this with non-massive multiplayer games; remember online matching services you had to subscribe to? That didn't go so hot, so it stands to reason that trying to charge a subscription for non-massive, non-multiplayer games would work even less well. That goes double for the early days of the modern MMO (let's define the "modern MMO" era as starting, roughly, around the time Everquest was released). The real genius of the "massively multiplayer" terminology, in my opinion, was to convince people that this type of game was fundamentally different from other types of games that had come before, and therefore might be worth paying a subscription for.In a lot of ways, early modern MMOs were different from what had come before, or at least they were trying to be. EVE is a good example of a game that succeeded unusually well in realizing the people in the early modern MMO era thought the point of an MMO was: persistent player-generated content. The original idea, if you can remember back that far, was for players to generate storylines, and for players to be able to permanently change the world map in particular ways (by conquering territory, etc.) - in short, for you to play out an entire history online. I'll define "real MMOs" as ones that depend in substantial part on this persistent player-generated content model.And the result? Well, apparently there are roughly half a million gamers in the world at any one time who are interested in that sort of thing (EVE specifically only has about half that, but we all agree EVE is unusually hardcore even for an MMORPG).Half a million sounded like a lot back in the Everquest days, but it's nowhere close to the level of success that WoW has achieved. I think you have exactly identified why: WoW has realized that there simply are not that many people interested in a game based on persistent player-generated content, and they've designed accordingly. They have kept the "massively multiplayer" terminology; that's still obligatory for a subscription-based game. But it's not "massively multiplayer" in the traditional sense at all. Blizzard has increasingly realized that to draw people into the game, they need to be the ones telling the story, not the players.*Which means, as you say, and as I've said, WoW is really just a really, really pretty battle.net. A battle.net that we pay $13 to $15 a month for. That's particularly shocking when you remember that the actual battle.net almost single-handedly killed the subscription-based online matching services by proving that it was feasible to provide that service for free. Are videogame companies foolish to be spending so much money investing in MMOs, when the only really successful MMOs are the ones that aren't really "MMOs" at all?Depends on how much they cost, which isn't something I can speak to. But my suspicion is yes. I'm not sure that WoW's success is replicable. The real business genius of it is that we pay a subscription fee for a game that is really just a single player game with optional multiplayer (but not massively multiplayer) content. Like you said, it's not really that different from Diablo, just a lot less manic.And why were we convinced to pay a subscripion fee for Diablo: The Long Version? Oh, WoW is a great game, sure - but I play lots of great games I wouldn't pay a subscription fee for, and some of them are better than WoW (yes, I said it). I think a large part of the story is just that WoW happened to come along at a time when people were still convinced, based on the promise of persistent player-generated content, that MMOs were different and therefore okay to pay a subscription for. In a sense, WoW promised us one thing and gave us something different (albeit better, in my opinion), and it was that bait-and-switch that allowed them to package a fundamentally non-massively multiplayer online RPG, a traditionally non-subscription game genre, with a subscription model. WoW was the first such bait-and-switch that I know of, and I'm not sure if that magical market ignorance can be recreated.If I could play WoW without a subscription, connecting to battle.net (for free) to play it online, I totally would. The only reason I don't is because, well, I can't. I pay the subscription fee because it's the only way I can get access to WoW. WoW specifically, not my MMO fix. The importance of the periodic content expansions is to push my completionist button - I actually do quit, periodically, which I expect is true of most of the eleven million players out there. But every time there's new content, I need to see what Aya Silkrose will make of it.And why am I invested in Aya (and Jasica)? Because WoW is a great game, true. Because I love WarCraft and wanted another WarCraft title, even if it was grossly overpriced. But I don't think either of those factors would have been enough if Blizzard hadn't been able to pull that magical bait-and-switch on me back in 2004. I have a strong suspicion that that is the magic ingredient, and I'm not sure anybody else is going to be able to take advantage of it.
I think you've hit the nail on the head, Mal. As a single player game with an attached chat room, we all love the mechanics and the character development system. We only really get into the multiplayer aspect when we trade wares and team up to tackle instances and group quests. The two opposing factions just adds an element of interest to the game, as we can't communicate except for simple emotes (or stabbings, or fryings, etc).I like it this way. It seems Blizzard has hit on the unique combination of features that we didn't know we dreamed about as we were growing up with 2-button controllers in our hands. I'll probably play WoW for years to come; WoW is everything I never knew I wanted.
Interesting post and interesting replies! WoW is my first online game, but I have been with buddies playing various online games before WoW appeared, and I was appalled at all the time they have to put into those games, for what seemed to me to be very little over-all gain. And they had to put that time into those games, as (at least to me), nothing really happened unless they did do something with others online to make things happen.One of the criticisms I read about WoW before I ever started playing it was that no matter what you are or do in the game, you ultimately never make any difference, either to the content or the overall plot of the game. Hogger was mentioned, so I know anyone who's ever played Alliance in Elwyn Forest has likely gone out to find him, and sometimes found his corpse laying on the ground, while at the same time, spying him marching around those gnoll camps. I go to the spider cave northwest of Deathnell and find lots of dead spider corpes littering the entrance, and not being worried, because in a few moments, there will be plenty more to kill. No matter how many times you and everyone else has killed Kael'thas, he's a quick instance reset away from killing again. He never really dies, it seems.None of that really matters to me. I play WoW mostly as a very large set of ever changing puzzles that I, through my (mostly casual solo) toon, have to solve. The puzzles change due to many situations, such as character class, gear, the mobs never being in the same place twice, other players being there before me, game bugs, my own experience, good/bad luck, etc. Everything you do in WoW is some kind of puzzle, even the professions. I like trying to solve the puzzles, to make all the small puzzles add up to the larger puzzle of leveling. Some of the puzzles contribute to one another, some contridict, some are boring, some I look forward to when the time comes. Even when faced with the same quest I've done a dozen times before, somehow there is always a different path I have to take to the same conclusion I've seen those dozen times before. Other than knowing there are probably a great number of other things I could be doing that would be considered a wiser use of my time, not a moment I've had in WoW I would consider a waste. Well, maybe except when that damn lvl 80 ret pally just had to gank me for the third time, for another two minute corpse run...
also one must remember, companies dont care if they have the best game ever, they just want the best selling game ever. Alot of people complain about how the game isnt "hardcore" but thats why WoW is so popular. Blizz wont care if a hardcore gamer leaves as long as 2 casual gamers join to take his place. No smart company will change such a succeful formula. Blizz will head in the same direction of making content easier so new players can have more fun, in the hope that they keep getting new players, until more people start quiting than are joining.sry for my ramble, but thats how the business works, every1 from metallica to blizzard will sell out to make more money. (especially metallica)I don't believe Blizzard hires people that will not take pride in what they do. WoW is the best MMO ever, and this is proven by the subscription rate. Millions of people can't be wrong. It sounds to me like you're a hardcore raider that whizzed through WotLK without taking a nature break, intent on reaching 80 before anyone else.As for Metallica, you phail. Metallica has always been pure win. May the Gods of Metal smite thee.
I don't believe Blizzard hires people that will not take pride in what they do. WoW is the best MMO ever, and this is proven by the subscription rate. Millions of people can't be wrong. It sounds to me like you're a hardcore raider that whizzed through WotLK without taking a nature break, intent on reaching 80 before anyone else.By that yardstick McDonalds must make the best food you'll ever taste, all those customers can't be wrong....or maybe McDonalds just serves a nice and convenient product that goes down easy without being too exciting or extreme.
The real genius of the "massively multiplayer" terminology, in my opinion, was to convince people that this type of game was fundamentally different from other types of games that had come before, and therefore might be worth paying a subscription for.Well, there is one key difference that MMOs have with single-player games and even most non-massive multiplayer game (e.g. Call of Duty): The need for an incredible amount of 24/7 hardware and bandwidth to run the game. Sure you COULD charge a subscription for single-player game, where each person is "instanced" on a server somewhere individually, but why exactly would you do that when you can run it just as well on a PC or console without the need for internet at all? Not only do MMOs have to keep their servers running, but they have to keep ALL the realms running basically all the time. I'm not an expert on how Call of Duty servers are set up, but I would assume they are in some anonymous cluster, where if one or two go down, they can seamlessly compensate with the rest of the servers without the users being any wiser. (again, these are based on my assumptions).I'll define "real MMOs" as ones that depend in substantial part on this persistent player-generated content model.Why exactly are you making this distinction? Is there a historical reason? I haven't been the biggest MMO fan by any means, but I've been paying attention to them for a long time, and did play the original Asheron's Call for a little while, and I never had any reason to think that user-generated content distinguished "real" MMOs from "fake" ones (or whatever the opposite is).Granted, I did just start playing WoW a year ago, but I never felt baited-and-switched in any way. If some people don't feel like paying a subscription to keep all the servers up and the customer support in business, that's their choice, but I've never fooled myself into what I thought I was paying for.