Tobold's Blog
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Do players choose MMORPGs rationally?

In my ongoing blog-to-blog discussion with Nils on what constitutes quality in a MMORPG, Nils argues that:
"Using entertainment value as a definition still has the same problem that sales numbers have. I.e. sales numbers can change without the game changing. Sales numbers are influenced by advertisement, prices, network effects, etc.
Sales numbers, as well as popularity are influenced by a lot of factors that are not inherent properties of the game. Now, in my opinion one property a good definition of “good game” should have is that it is not significantly influenced by factors that are outside of the game."
So lets look at these other factors influencing sales numbers. I totally agree on the strong influence of pricing. Free2Play games will inherently have more players than monthly subscription games. But if you look really, really careful, you'll notice that Nils performed a clever bait-and-switch trick here: In my post I specifically state that I am talking only about SUBSCRIBER numbers, not sales, and that I'm only considering games with a monthly subscriptions. I'd say the differences in subscription prices of most existing monthly subscription games are small enough not to hugely skew the measure. And with the most popular game being one of the most expensive, one can't really argue that people were drawn to this game by pricing.

The second factor is advertising. It has been repeatedly argued that World of Warcraft is more successful than other MMORPGs due to Mr. T Mohawk TV spots and other advertising. Now advertising certainly works in getting people to buy things, or in the case of MMORPGs with free trials to try those games. But that is all advertising can do. Once the player steps into the virtual world, the effect of advertising ends, and only the quality of the MMORPG determines whether the player stays or leaves. When Blizzard revealed that only 30 percent of players who do the free trial get past level 10, industry insiders admitted that 30% was actually a rather high number, and for other MMORPGs that number might well be below 10%. This is why I didn't argue with sales numbers, but with subscription numbers: If a players plays World of Warcraft for thousands of hours, and pays his subscription fee every month, we can be rather certain that advertising did not play a role in his decision to keep playing. Other games, e.g. WAR, had huge advertising budgets as well, and that only resulted in huge initial sales, and two thirds of players leaving after the first month.

The final item on Nils' list is network effects. That is a rather nebulous term which is used too often on the internet. For example it would be easy to claim that WoW has *less* network effect than EVE, because there are only 20k players on any given WoW server, while there are 350k players on the EVE server. Many MMORPGs have a large number of servers, and those are localized. I know a lot of people in the US via my blog, but I rarely meet them in a major game, because most games have completely separate US and EU servers. Apparently people rather have a few milliseconds lower ping than playing with their international friends. So do we really believe that "network effects" can make people play a game they hate for years, just because their friends play it? Furthermore I do not subscribe to the theory that network effects are not inherent to a game. Games can be good *because* they foster good networks.

This whole discussion would not be there if World of Warcraft wasn't such a huge success. Some people do not like World of Warcraft, and that is totally normal. An even larger number of people played World of Warcraft for several thousands of hours, and burned out, and that is totally normal too. What isn't normal is that many of these people are unable to talk in terms of personal choice: For some strange and twisted reason they feel the need to claim that World of Warcraft is a bad game, "dumbed down for morons", etc., to justify that they don't play WoW any more. As they can't admit that they quit WoW for personal reasons, they are constantly arguing against the fact that World of Warcraft is a very good MMORPG, and invent millions of reasons trying to disconnect it's evident success from it's quality.

I think that is quite disingeneous and unhelpful. What it leads to is a rather stupid tribal mentality in which fanbois of different games shout at each other and claim their game is "good", while the game of the other is "bad". It actually prevents us from helpful constructive criticism. It is only AFTER you admit that World of Warcraft is doing many things right that you gain credibility in discussing where WoW's flaws are. And World of Warcraft has many flaws, which are well worth discussing, in the hope that either WoW improves or a future MMORPG does better than that. The people who claim that World of Warcraft is nothing but "the lowest common denominator / dumbed down game for idiots / same as Farmville / only successful due to Mr. T Mohawk advertising / etc." are not any better than the other extreme of developers making bad WoW clones in the hope to make a quick buck. Praising or dismissing a successful game as a whole simply doesn't advance our understanding of what makes a good game. Anybody who believes that a game could earn a billion dollars a year without actually being a good game ultimately only supports those who are trying to make money with bad games.
Frankly the way I love Aion may not be rational. It just has super amazing looking male toons who totally fit a character I would want to be if I were in the land of Aion. That superficial character customization gives depth to the immersion level for me and keeps me involved in the game even when some find PVP to be unbalanced or the endgame to be boring.

Reminds me somewhat of my mom talking about how wine companies put big bucks on label design because they know their target audience is women who will be looking at the appearance of the bottle and brand.
Irrationality is just another fact that - in sufficient numbers - can be rationalized. :)

...Just look at psychiatry.
I understood Nils' reference to "network effects" as meaning extraneous network effects, i.e. word of mouth. More players leads to more people talking about the game leads to more players, like.

So big good games get bigger while small good games are still equally good but don't grow equally quickly in spite of this.

I'm not challenging the point you make though. That's well put, and well taken.
While I mostly agree with this, I'm curious how you account for games which have drastically different popularity in different areas.

Surely a game like Lineage isn't awesome in Asia but terrible in North America.
You guys are talking about the economic and/or social succes of a game, not at all about quality.

As I said before making a quality product for a minority still is quality but might not be as succesfull and thus not 'good' in your terminology.

Quality is about gameplay, fluff, polish, story, replayability, delivering what promised, support/service, without bugs, not to demanding for your system, longetivity, etc. etc.
Three points:

1) The absence of marketing is what worries me most. I can tell my dad that I play WoW and he says “Ah – that game…”. But if I told him about EVE, he’d be thinking that I talk about the Hebrew Bible. I agree that marketing is weak at keeping players subscribed.

2) I never intended to make a strawman. If you only want to use subscriber numbers instead of sales figures, let’s concentrate on that. I, still, think that “revenue from subscribers” would be more appropriate.

3) Oscar is right and word of mouth worries me more than other kinds of network effects.

4) In yesterdays posts comments section Vinda found another problem with sub numbers: Sub numbers can raise and fall very quickly – look at Warhammer or Age of Conan. Perhaps you would like to make your definition more precise and change it to something like “average annual revenue from sub numbers”.

Finally, I think we have found some major source of misunderstanding due to your comment on my blog. A definition does not necessarily need to describe a practical experiment.

Therefore, ease of measurability is not a requirement for a definition. It is a requirement for an experiment. I commented more extensively on that on my blog.
How to quantify quality? I know economists hate the answer, but in some cases it is practically impossible. How much does a story satisfy your personal psychological needs? How well can you relate to it? How many interconnections do you recognize between the story and other things you know or feel? There are thousands of parameters playing into this equation.

People practically always act rationally, i.e. minmaxing effort and result. But only on their own scale. As long as we don't know their goals and needs well enough to measure them, they'll seem irrational to us.

Take the example of positive network externalities: If a player knows that he'll be able to play game (a) with many of his friends, whereas no one of them even knows game (b), choosing game (a) is a completely rational behavior.

To wrap it up, yes, it's about quality, but quality is hard to measure .
This post seems to be predicated on WoW being bad, i.e. how could it possibly have a massive number of players if it were truly bad? Well, it wouldn't, obviously, because Wow -isn't- bad.

"For some strange and twisted reason they feel the need to claim that World of Warcraft is a bad game, "dumbed down for morons", etc."

I've read this implication a few times on your blog, the implication that this imaginary 'they' automatically think WoW is bad because it's popular. I don't think many people really believe WoW is a terribly bad unfun game, and especially not worse than competitors for the same demographic, and certainly not if(game is popular) game = bad. Likewise, I don't think many people think the inverse either (that a small indy game is automatically good), because that would be equally folly. Give us some credit :)

In the end, I believe WoW is at the very least, pretty good. However, I do not think WoW is the epitome of game design, that nothing will ever top it (or has topped it), and that every gameplay component is solid gold. Indeed, I think Wow has some very good elements and some quite bad elements, but when you consider them together it's pretty good really.

This, to me, is the core of the disagreement regarding your posts about game quality Tobold. Nearly everyone will acknowledge massively popular (long term) games are at least pretty good, but asserting they constitute a total order relation of quality determined purely (or even largely) based on subscriber numbers is where most people seem to disagree.

Again invoking britney spears, I am not afraid to admit some of the songs are at least ok. I listen on the radio and don't plug my ears, I even quite like a remix of one particular song. Same with lady gaga and etc. These massively popular songs are often 'ok' in my book, but rarely will I count them among my absolute all time favourites. Likewise, is the best game ever? Possibly, but not assuredly.
Correction to my last sentence, seems my use of angle brackets didn't mix well with the html filter: Is "insert popular game here" the best game of all time? Possibly, but not assuredly.
Defining 'good game' as 'has high subscription numbers' does seems to have some particularly obvious problems.

Say Blizzard gives you exclusive early access to their new Starcraft MMORPG. You get to play for three weeks, and have more fun than you ever had in your gaming life before. Every second you spend in the game you see visible polish, innovation, depth and balance.

Someone asks you (in circumstances not covered by the NDA) 'is it a good game?'

You look at your definition, and feel compelled to answer 'no, it is an utterly terrible one, much worse than Vanguard or Shadowbane'.
I would like to think that players choose to play a game(MMORPG in this case) based on a number of reasons. Marketing(or hype if you prefer the term), brand loyalty(past experiences with said game developer), word of mouth, reviews and price.

I purposefully listed price last, because for me if a game gets my attention due to the aforementioned marketing, brand loyalty and word of mouth, then price is basically out the window, because at that point it doesnt matter if the game is F2P or costs $60, I'm still there and will buy and/or play it.

Even if the game then goes live and only lasts for a couple of months before shutting down and failing miserably, I have still employed sound and rational methodology in chosing to play said game. One thing both Tobold and Nils are forgetting here is that my enjoyment of the game is affected by factors that go well beyond the use of the above mentioned selection criteria after purchase and/or payment plan, and MMO developers basically owe you -NOTHING- beyond the price of admission outside of a relatively bug free and sound cutomer support experience.

This will always be a case of "buyer beware", and not a case of sitting on a white horse pointing fingers and judging people for choosing to buy/play a game that you may or may not have chosen yourself.
I chose to play WoW through word of mouth, but I will admit that price would have been a factor if it had cost over £50.

Of course it has cost me much more than that since I started playing, but if the initial outlay is unreasonably high, then I would not buy it.

The monthly sub fee is less than £8 per month and certainly nothing worth worrying about.

So I would say that price is a factor to those of us with limited (and financial limiting!) resources, such as mortgages, loans and children!
I also took Nils to mean "word of mouth" when he said "networking effects". I started playing because my husband played. A friend started playing to monitor the game his 14yr old son was playing and he now plays more than his son.

" What it leads to is a rather stupid tribal mentality in which fanbois of different games shout at each other and claim their game is "good", while the game of the other is "bad".

And regardless of which side is doing it, it is still unhelpful. I have to be honest though and say I see this more in WoW than I do in others I play (and I mean in-game, not in blogs etc). Last night in EQ2, a player was doing this and another replied "why do you have to pick one and say it is 'better'? Why can't you just enjoy both? Is this a contest?"
And while it may be a contest for the industry, I don't see why it should be for us.

"Praising or dismissing a successful game as a whole simply doesn't advance our understanding of what makes a good game."

My fear of talk like this is that if what makes a "good" game is ever understood by a corporation, then all the games will soon be the same. The thought is depressing.

But yes, just as people have to degrade the game to make themselves feel better for no longer playing, there are those who constantly have to say WoW is the best. They haven't really put a lot of effort into trying any other game and so honestly have no real point of comparison, but they feel the need to justify what they enjoy as well.

And I guess that's why I like your blog, you may heap praise on WoW, but you have many points of comparison. Your enjoyment of WoW may be an opinion, but it is at least a well-informed opinion.
Quality is subjective, so attempting to define what constitutes a 'quality' game is surely impossible? Based on your thinking Tobold, you're proving WoW's popularity/fashionability, not quality and there's no correlation between the two.
'I purposefully listed price last'

One aspect of price that is very likely highly influential is the cost of the hardware the game runs on.

WoW, being a several year old (and efficiently-written) game, almost certainly runs on the PC (or Mac) you already have. Other recent games, which assume a brand new PC with this years graphics card, can have an effective sticker price with 3 or even 4 digits.
Lots of people choose their game, to a greater or lesser extent, based on personal preferences rather than a cold, hard, rational evaluation of the quality and entertainment value of the game. Some people play aion because they love angels or love the graphic style. Some people play LotRO because they loved LotR. Some people played WAR because they had played the Warhammer tabletop game for decades. And I distinctly remember many of my own friends who switched in 2004 from SWG to some new blizzard game simply on the basis of having played warcraft 1-3. They are turning warcraft into an mmo? how on earth is that going to work? But it did. And the rest is history. And of course, there will be no shortage of Star Wars fans who will play SWTOR because they are die hard Star Wars fans and have wanted to be a Jedi since they were 10 years old. A lot of the choice is not rational, it is preference and nostalgia.
On this quest for an objective 'good' may I suggest, that like other art-form who had to deal with the same question of definition, the only good tool for measurement is never a number but a canon.

Piggybacking on Vindi's point, there is no number by which one could measure how 'good' Britney Spears is, but if we compare her with 'canonic' pop artists, such as Madonna and Michael Jackson, then I think most of us get a decent assessment that while she's good by no mean is she great.

Similarly, for video games, a canon must be establish, otherwise the conversation will look like the new york stock exchange floor of the 80s.

I'm doing my tidbit to that purpose here:

just adding my two cents....
"Once the player steps into the virtual world, the effect of advertising ends, and only the quality of the MMORPG determines whether the player stays or leaves."

This is not at all true. The purpose of the advertising is to get you in the door so that the effects of inertia can take effect. Once the advertising gets you into the game, after you have spent $50 on a box, well, you might now have a personal investment in the game. If you stop playing it right away then you were obviously stupid to buy the box. Every month you are in the game you are not only more invested in terms of monthly fees but you are also more invested in terms of the amount of time you have spent on it. I can't take my "Hand of A'dal" Priest with me to another game.

The effect of the initial advertising is ongoing specifically because of consumer inertial and addiction factor. Get them over the hump and into the game and you have a much, much higher chance of keeping them.

The effect of inertia is not just limited to the game itself but also to the friends you make in the game. Once you have a group of people that you hang out with it becomes more difficult to move on to something else. This has nothing to do with the quality of the game. It has everything to do with what game you happen to be playing at the time that you form your friendships which could have had a lot to do with the advertising that perhaps convinced you to try the game in the first place.

Even though further advertising may not convince you to stay in the game. The effect of the original advertising to convince you to give it a try is definitely on going.
Nice try, Gareth. But both Madonna and Michael Jackson suck. ;)
So a Rolls Royce is no higher quality than a Kia? Because it sells nowhere near as much.

I think its very, very safe to say that quality has absolutely nothing to do with sales, volume, etc - anything to do with quantity.

I can't understand how people can get them confused.

The economic value of a game, or more specifically the profit generated for its investors is something else entirely.

As players, the economic value of a game has little to no impact on quality for us. Why they are even discussed together is mind boggling. If a game goes under then it wasn't high enough quality to attract enough subscribers to make it valuable enough to investors/etc.
If a Rolls Royce and a Kia would sell for the same price, you can be sure that people would buy the better of the two more.
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yes, there are people who would stop playing WOW and proudly say: "Oh, i don't play that bucket of bull anymore, it's too dumb", when what they should be saying is "It has got too dumb *for me*". People do grow up sometimes, get/change a job, get a girl/fiance/wife/kids and simply get involved in life in which levelling up seems to abstract or not important anymore. But people tend not to admit that the lost interest in what was the centre of their life before, because RL is too hard t play, so they instead say these ridiculous things about a game being *bad*

And EVE compared to WOW is not such a good game. You can see it on the subscriber's scale that Tobold uses - there are insanely wonderful things about the game but there are some that make you want to bleed. And in total it is failrly good, but ot as good as as WoW.

Subscriber volume itself or an avarage subscriber volume are not really measures I'd trust. Observing the trends of these however is the best way to see the game proof itself, and I agree with Tobold that you can guess a lot about how good a game is if you know where to look. WAR subs dropped rapidly but that info itself does not sa anything. The fact that it dropped right after the first months says much more - how Tobold deducted - about the effect of advertisment and the game quality.

a game that was not published and has no subscribers for that sole reason can't be compared with other games- the game needs to proof itself and the best way to see how it does that is to observe the player pool. The subscribers number is a powerful tool but only if you use it taking all the factors that affect it, listed by Nils. Then you can have a pretty good idea of what the game really is in general. But this has nothing to do with the chances that you will actually like the game, see ATitD for example.

@Barrista: My fear of talk like this is that if what makes a "good" game is ever understood by a corporation, then all the games will soon be the same. The thought is depressing.

Well, some try to learn from players - CCP and the Coucil of Stellar Management being the example. Maybe this will make a difference. Maybe not.
While reading these three posts and the comments I actually begin to understand what Tobold meant and how much most of the arguments are actually what he meant...

1. Good game is a game you enjoy playing. Subjective as it is it is the only definition that matters in the end, so
2. A proper and objective definition should use something else than 'liking' (entertainment) as base criteria, so you need to think - what are games made for? And the answer is there - money. People make game to entertain and for money. And while entertainment is a unmeasurable subjective criteria the income a game has is a compareable measure of the game's success, so
3. An objectively Good (well made) game is the one that earns the most. But while you can easily count the income for a game with monthly subs, it's not as clear to determine the same for a F2P game, so
4. An objectively Good Game is a game that has the most subs (while comparing games with subs only, having no measure for others)

Pure logic, no place for discussion here.
Nice post, but I think you're underestimating the importance of network effects. There are all sorts of ways in which they come into play:
-People might want to play the same game their friends/family/guildmates play;
-They may want to play the game "everyone else" is playing;
-Achievements may feel more valuable in a game with lots of players;
-A game with millions of subscribers is unlikely to suddenly go out of business;
-There are more wikis, add-ons, and other useful tools for WoW than for any other MMO;

Note that paying attention to things like this isn't irrational, because they are real benefits to the player.

On the definitional debate, I think a definition of a "good" game ought to be one that developers can use when they're designing a game. Equating popularity with quality leads to the sort of "game design" that Zynga and casinos do. Is that really what you want?
@Oscar - That's not quite network effects. A lamp is the same value to you whether one or a billion people have one. But a telephone, fax machine, email/twitter account is worthless if you are the only owner, worth something to you when the early adopters have it and worth even more when they are ubiquitous in the first world. Similarly, if you could choose New Game K or WoW and you know that dozens of your classmates/peers/acquaintances play WoW and dozens in your country play K, there is value in choosing WoW even if you won't play with those people now. Leveling is getting quicker all the time and $20ish will get you a realm/faction change so you know you could if you wanted to.

@Thorsalen "You guys are talking about the economic and/or social success of a game, not at all about quality. " But MMOs are subscriptions. Assume you created what you, Tobold and Nils felt was a great, high quality game but it loses money. It will go out of business. I think that is a very bad thing for a MMO (not a 6-week console cartridge.) Economics is a necessary but not sufficient condition: a very profitable game might not be "high quality" but no subscription game can be "high quality" if it can't stay in business.

@J. Dangerous "I think its very, very safe to say that quality has absolutely nothing to do with sales" - Wrong. This is software. And many real money subscriptions does tell you something. It means that certain basic mechanics are working well enough. How many new games do yo read about that are way too buggy? or Tobold's recent FF billing? scalability? For a potential customer, a large number of subscribers is like a passed health inspection at the restaurant: it does not say anything about whether you will enjoy the food, but it says that certain reasons why you would not enjoy the game will not be there.
Soru said:

One aspect of price that is very likely highly influential is the cost of the hardware the game runs on.

Most gamers I know accept the hardware requirements of gaming to be part of the deal when being a gamer. Does a specific game cause me to upgrade? Sometimes it does, but I can count those games on one hand. It's part of the price I pay for being a gamer in a constantly ever changing landscape of games.

The impetus is still on me as the gamer to buy the games I play from a well informed standpoint. That burden rests squarely on my shoulders, and no one elses.
For some strange and twisted reason they feel the need to claim that World of Warcraft is a bad game, "dumbed down for morons", etc., to justify that they don't play WoW any more. As they can't admit that they quit WoW for personal reasons, they are constantly arguing against the fact that World of Warcraft is a very good MMORPG, and invent millions of reasons trying to disconnect it's evident success from it's quality.

Whilst I agree with you in the most part, the above I simply don't.

My hate of the game now isn't based on burnout.

It is simply based on the simplification (dumbing down) of the game in general.

To clarify, I am not a raider and simply do not enjoy PvP. Thus the game I enjoyed was the immersive solo and 5 man driven content, with sidelines in crafting and fishing for example.

The game is now tailored at driving players to level 80 as fast as possible, as you recently agreed bypassing so much 5-man content.

I really despise joining a random run and am expected to skip bosses and act like I am on speed. I despise that so much that I will not renew or buy cataclysm.

Crafting is dumbed down to a point that it serves no purpose in what you would assume to be important professions. BS or LW for example. Compare to Lotro where your profession is a more integral part of the game and has a higher value in terms of playing.

Dungeons were dumbed down in wrath, no cc or need for real team work. And it is now an obscenely dumbed down pointless waste of time when grouped via the dungeon finder and want to expect a challenge, even a small one.

I take issue with what seems to be the most trivial of examples of dumbing down...

The first aid and fishing quests. They were hardly challenging... so what gives? IMHO, the nerf was symptomatic of the overall trend to dumb the game down as far as they possibly can in every single aspect.

My other bug bear is zero content in patches. If you don't raid or PvP... where do my subs go in terms of dev? Or do I have to wait every 18 months for an expansion? Oh those dumbed down dailies.

Bliz would do well to take a leaf out of Lotro's book, and patch in world content with each patch.

I loved the game through vanilla, enjoyed tBC to an extent and wrath was brain numbing once you reached 80.

Longish post, sorry... but to sum up: I believe the game has been dumbed down and also believe I have valid reasons to support that.
re "Rolls Royce and a Kia":

/language digression

Alas, English gets in the way here where the popular meaning of "quality" differs from the more technical.

In my operations class, for manufactured goods, the definition of quality was conformance to specifications. A $2 light bulb that is rated to last 9000 hours and lasts 8998 is lower "quality" than a bulb that costs $1.95 and is rated for 1000 hours and lasts 1000 hours. Similarly, if average initial dealer defects (a common metric I see quoted) of a RR is 3.0 and it is 1.4 for a KIA then yes an operations person would say the KIA is higher quality. The RR is better designed.

The quality of a wine or a painting is subjective. For manufactured goods, of which software is, the purpose of a specification or ISO/DIN/IEEE standard is to take a lot of the personal bias from the evaluation. Alas, software "engineering" is currently an oxymoron: would you fly in the Microsoft Vista or Internet Explorer of airplanes?

You see this in software where "bad" things are described by the programmer as "not a bug." Say your early MSDOS operating system immediately started formatting your harddisk when you typed "format c:". This is not a bug; it did what it was supposed to. It is also a horrible design and a confirmation was added. But it matters in that bugs and feature changes may be handled by different people and processes.

tl;dr summary is that a game is part "art" (aesthetics & personal pleasure) and part manufactured product (crashes, lag, not running on my network/machine...). And to be successful it has to deal with both aspects of "quality"
this post has nothing to do with what makes WoW or any game good or bad. You should argue about what makes a game good (the graphics? the story? playability? all your friends use it? raiding? PVP? pet collecting?), what the heck do market forces or networking have to do with game enjoyment.
I think Ben has a point, I too am a bit sick of this discussion. How about we debate gameplay elements instead, in terms of fun or not fun, and why?
Statistically all games suffer from the same amount of network effects. What makes the difference is how, where and when the game is published. It all depends on the game, on how it is designed.

Like weather, network effects are chaotic (sensitive dependence on initial conditions) but as buildngs are built to withstand or even use the blows of the wind, a game campaign can be designed to generate and use positive network effect.

So the subscriber number is a derivative of the game design quality, and by quality I mean the whole product, the game itself with the merchandise, economic mode, ads and all forms of advertisment. If the corp does all this well they get high subscribers volumes, he corelation is very strong.

thus, two definition of a good game hold - the more powerful subjective definition based on the single player entertainment value and the objective one based on subscriptions, and indirectly revenue.
If you do not get the above:

Network effect si the same for all games. It can as well be ignored as a generator of additional subscribers, beacause it can cause the same positive and negative effect there.

Subs reflect how well the company did their job, because you can ignore player preferences as well if you want to make the deifnition objective.

So what you get is a corelation:
More subs = better game.

@Ben (the graphics? the story? playability? all your friends use it? raiding? PVP? pet collecting?)

These are all personal preferences. These are the key for entertainment if you judge it subjectively.
These have nothing to do with an objective measure of how good a game is.
Keeping in mind that there are two measures, one subjective and one objective, the post question is which is used by the players.

And the answer is that players use the subjective criteria when choosing games, even though they sometimes mask it.

Rational solutions work only if they can be applied instatnly and be forgotten about. But choosing a game means you need to play afterwards, so only a subjectively based choice can be satisfying (unless you are an alien, psychopath or a robot from the future)
If you want to make the definition of a good game objective and easily quantifiable, then count the number of Gb of disk space it takes up.

This is much easier and less ambiguous than collecting accurate and uncontested subscription or revenue figures. And it probably has soem kind of correlation with quality, as better games have more stuff.

Alternatively, if you are interested in the ultimately subjective question of whether something is actually a good game or not, then you could try to answer the question asked.

Not a different question that happens to be easier to answer.
I would say that for me personally, I am fickle about MMOs. I love/hate most at the same time. For wow, I love the art design, music, and epic feel and smooth animations but hate scripted raids and the gear-only focus. For Lotro, I loved the crafting and traits but hated the character animations and combat feel. For many other games that don't hold my interest past level 20 (AoC, Aion, War, Guild Wars) it always boils down to something that I just can't put my finger on -- either "it doesn't feel right" or not enough "spreadsheetworthiness." Both of the qualities are deal-breakers for me, yet I am sure no developer or designer on the planet really thinks about building a game with those qualities.
@Bezier These are all personal preferences. These are the key for entertainment if you judge it subjectively.
These have nothing to do with an objective measure of how good a game is.

you can not objectively define what makes a game good. You can however demonstrate/argue/pontificate/display _why_ you think a game is good, and thus convince others of your opinion.
@Toblod man, you just opened a can of worms with this one, forget semiotics, we're talking ethics and economics now, ha.

@Ben That's usually the intend behind using numbers, to have an objective tool by which we can achieve an accurate measurement. I don't think there's such a number when it comes to video games though.
I've played WoW on and off since the first year it was available. Right now I'm burned out ... I've got five level 80 toons and I find the level 80 life boring.

What I have enjoyed most is leveling up a new toon through the early content. In order to keep it fresh I've got both Horde and Alliance toons of quite a range of races and classes.

This past summer my son and I finally got so bored that we turned off both of our accounts. I still love the game and I'm sure that I will play again, certainly when Cataclysm comes out.

On the subscription and player numbers - it's really hard to have meaningful discussions of these topics because the numbers are not really verifiable, so I take them all with a large grain of salt.
Post a Comment

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool