Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Million-Dollar Question

For the last few weeks I have tried to look at the million Dollar question of MMOs: How can you replicate the success of World of Warcraft?

I have started to play MMOs with WoW at release and I spent a substantial amount of time testing Age of Conan and Warhammer online. So, I do have some knowledge about why people quit these games. I certainly know why I quit them. I wrote many, many pages about this topic in the respective forums.

My ansatz to answer the question is to look at 18 general properties of an MMORPG. I introduced them a few days ago with an extensive (but ultimately incomplete) list of brainstormed keywords. I will now bring order into the list. The top properties will easily break your game if you don't get them right and they are the most difficult to get right. Throwing money or even time at them may not always work.

I will explain every single item and its position inside the list in future blog posts.

01) Player Mentality
02) Core Gameplay
03) System requirements
04) General Polish
05) User Interface
06) Content
07) Features
08) Immersion
09) Accessibility
10) Community
11) Character progression
12) Setting
13) Challenge
14) Graphics style
15) Sound
16) Remaining Memories
17) Making Dollars
18) Developer data collection

1 comment:

  1. MMO are quite unique in the way that they form long term attachment (your characters, items, social connections). It would be actually extremely difficult to out-WoW WoW- because making a better wow is not enough. It has to be A LOT better to make existing players break their bond and attachment.

    Blizzard is king polish and design. They were set to make a specific game for a broad audience. And I believe they hit their mark

    But WoW is mass market product. It caters to lowest common denominator among MMO players. I believe a product aimed at specific niche could be a success, but it will be niche and never hits wow numbers. I think having ~100k subs (with best case scenario being 1m ill) could be profitable if targeting and designing specifically for that goal

    Hitting wow numbers?- Will see how Bioware SWTOR does, but I think it will be very hard and it will need to appeal to the audience wow does not appeal to already .I think at best SWTOR will be success, but it will not dethrone WoW and will be mostly a off side kind of experience (similar to what Guild Wars was to contemporary MMO market)