Tobold's Blog
Monday, November 05, 2007
Spoilt rotten by World of Warcraft?

I've been looking through many MMORPG blogs recently, and I get the impression that quite a number of bloggers, me included, are in a gaming slump. Many stopped playing WoW, and are now jumping in and out of various games. But they rarely stick to one game, and some even went back to World of Warcraft. The deluge of bad news and postponements of the next wave of games has deflated much of the hype that surrounded them earlier. Of course it is hard to say how many people are affected by this gaming slump, but even on this blog (borrowing a measurement technique from = # # =) a post about Gilmore Girls gets far more comments than the latest news from Warhammer Online. Have we all been spoilt rotten by World of Warcraft and are now unable to have the same enthusiasm for other games?

World of Warcraft is an excellent game, with thousands of hours of content, and an unprecedented level of execution and polish. And for many people WoW was their first MMORPG, and that usually leaves an even rosier impression in people's memories. Nevertheless a huge amount of content isn't the same as endless content, and after 3 years many players are getting a bit bored of WoW. But there is nothing better on the market. WoW already borrowed heavily from previous games like Everquest, and the gameplay of most post-WoW games is even less innovative. New ideas seem to be limited to "lets make MMORPGs more twitchy" and "lets add more PvP", but neither of these ideas has lead to any truely outstanding new games. And while some games, like Lord of the Rings Online, are quite decent, they are neither radically different nor as polished as World of Warcraft, so people who try them after WoW burn out quickly.

Many, many blog posts ask whether World of Warcraft can be beaten, and what the next big game will be. Do we have to wait for the next Blizzard MMORPG, which will presumably be World of Starcraft? And will World of Starcraft actually be innovative and better than WoW? Blizzard has a great track record of taking existing game concepts and polishing them to perfection, but they are neither the most innovative nor the fastest game company.

My prediction is that we are looking at at least one more year in which the the MMORPG market and blogosphere is becoming increasingly splintered. People will play more different games, but for shorter periods of time. Some games will be more niche, some a bit more mass market, but even Warhammer Online will not be successful enough to get us back into the previous situation of one game so heavily dominating the discussion. And maybe that isn't such a bad thing.
Although I am not really into the game, I wonder what kind of subscription numbers Garriots latest game are gonna pull in.

I am putting my money on 150k, any takers? I think it may spike a little higher and settle a little lower.
Personally, I can't stand WoW. But my first MMO was EQ, and I now play EQ2. I think EQ2 and WoW are very similar, in that the game is played pretty much the same, the only real difference is the graphics and the world.

But I was a much bigger fan of Starcraft over Warcraft, so if WoS is the next MMO from Blizzard, I will definitely give that one a shot.
I am sure that any game which can hold on even 100,000 subscribers can turn a profit and in general I would prefer to have a choice of many games rather than one uber-dominant game. However one advantage of WOW being so popular is the enormous community. Bloggers / help sites and faqs abound. There are lots of user generated add ons. You can always find someone to talk about WOW if you want.

I am still playing LOTRO and enjoying it but it is very noticeable that the community is smaller. Help sites are not as complete as they should be. Sometimes it can be hard to find out basic information (for example numerical data on what exactly each stat does).

Even if MMOS are having a weak year this seems to be a good year for single player games on all platforms. A lot of these games are first person sadly for you but I for one am delighted to see that single player gaming on a PC is not dead yet.
This is a normal trend for me. I typically play an MMOG until I burn out and then have a period of 1-3 years until I get in another one.

Right now I'm enjoying my time away from WoW but I cannot keep myself from reading about it. I have been tempted to start up again but then I realize there is nothing for me to accomplish as I don't want to give my life back over to Raid times & I also have no desire to Arena as it is just a Rock Paper Scissor game and rogues are pretty broken in that game at the moment.

Therefore, I'm enjoying my time away from the MMOG market raising faction with wife so in mid to late 2008 I can tackle the new MMOGs. I will probably go back to wow just to raise up to 80 depending on when it comes out.
I think Turbine has shown with LOTRO that they can develop a highly polished mmorpg. AC2 was such a huge bust that I'm not sure they have the stomach to develop AC3, but I think that's what they need to do. It's their IP and that gives them total freedom to do what they want with it.

As for SOE, what a strange beast. Smed seems obsessed with the velvet rope system, which I am very dubious about, but that's beside the point. EQ3 will make or break SOE. It's their last hope at relevancy, and my bet is that they get it right.

Star Trek Online is being developed
by the same folks who just flushed Rome Rising down the toilet, so whatever hopes I had for that IP are slowly fading away.

I think Guild Wars 2 will kick up some dust, as it's supposedly more of a traditional mmorpg than GW 1 is.

I think a second Star Wars mmorpg will flop, and I could care less who the publisher is - I don't even think Blizzard could make it work.

Tabula Rasa = VG in space

I'll add more later, but I think Tobold (who's essentially coming around to my way of thinking) is right; no mmorpg is going to capture the same buzz that WoW had three years ago; probably not even Blizzard's next mmorpg.

Lich King = 5/08
Age of Conan = 6/08
Warhammer Online = 8/08

Nothing "important" in 2009

WoW expansion 3# = 2010
GW2 = 2010
Marvel mmo = 2010

STO = 2011
Bioware's mmo = 2011

Blizzard's next mmo = 2012 (unless they are lying)

Atriarch = 2025 )
Oh, and add AC3 for 2012 )
Thanks for the link, Tobold! :D
I was pretty enthusiastic about BioShock, but it's a completely different game genre.

I think gamers are spoiled period. Some games provide just amazing quality and the rest has to measure up. I certainly have seen a few games that just a few years ago would have ranged as perfectly fine games, but just aren't cutting it by current standards.

LotRO may even be an example. It's perfectly fine, except that if you compare it side to side to WoW, WoW still shows more polish and more design depth.
After WoW, and several good MMO's before that, I definately have the feeling of "been there, done that" when it comes to MMORPG's. I don't know if that's a matter of being spoiled, rather its just a feeling that I've experienced that part of the world and now I want to experience other parts of the world. I kinda feel like there were a lot of things in life I missed out on while gaming and no its time to move on.

WoW was a perfect storm that was able to capture a huge amount of gamers that had not tried an MMORPG before. I don't think any other MMO will capture that many people as there just isn't enough 'new gamers' coming on the scene as there are 'old gamers' like myself moving on to other life experiences (for me its family and kids).
I went through this phase back in June/July and there is really nothing out there but EQ2 other than WoW, at least that I considered staying in. Its brutal out there kiddies, make sure to bring your mittens and wear a coat if you go searchin'
I agree Tobold. I am in a raiding guild in the middle of a uni-exam/real life induced slump, and I have tried my hand at some other MMO's to keep the addiction fed.

EvE - Doesn't do it for me, having no real avatar just seems very mechanical. Not to mention that the 'anything goes' attitude by some people leave you frustrated as your expensive ship goes up in smoke.

LotRO - If you've played WoW, you look for WoW features in this game. Finding subtle differences, you get annoyed and go back to WoW.

Hellgate - I installed this and although I am enjoying it a lot, I don't see where the multiplayer comes into it. Lots of underground rail stations with people just walking around doing not much. Click, click, click, loot, rinse and repeat. Quests have no real discernable story either. Fun though...very Diablo!

Basically, in light of WAR now being put back to god knows when, I think it's safe to say that I should roll an alt on WoW.

- Ironhalo
This is nothing new. Most people in their first MMO, whatever one it is, stay in it a few years, get bored, look for something new, and can't help comparing all the new stuff with their first one.

Happened with EQ, AC, DAoC, UO... it's happening with WoW now. It's such a big game, though, that nothing happens in a small way with it.

It's natural, inevitable, and nothing to be concerned about. After a few years of trying to replace WoW and failing, they'll find something new.

EQ2 finally weaned me from EQ1 (and I went through DAoC, FFXI Online and WoW along the way). Everyone will have their own story. In three years, when WoW is down to a mere million subscribers or so, then we may finally be able to get an idea for what the future of MMOs might look like.

We're way too close to the beast now to see anything outside its shadow.
WoW doesn't introduce new flaws fast enough to even keep the blogosphere entertained. When the game started having a blog was still niche and almost bleeding edge. This changed. Too many blogs bragging about the same old stuff, this lowers the overall quality of the content. When everyone was level 40 in WoW wiping to the Scarlet Commander, you reached a pretty big similar audience. Now that the playerbase is so fractured Joe Casual won't have fun reading about Jim Hardcores loot whines.

Besides all this, the genre as a whole looks stunned, especially, since other genres now move a lot. We have the Wii phenomenom, the lackluster that is console next-gen, the ever so dying PC gaming, the violence debatte, the rise of casual gaming - everything more interesting to read about than the lastest class nerfs of WoW.

Get over your FPS-angst and conquer the 3D-trauma Tobold. Orange Box and Portal in particular are so worth it, i watched FPS-haters even playing Portal like crazy. It's the new "Lemmings" of this generation, a game with depth and mass appeal, executed without any flaw.
I suppose if you are insistent on playing MMOs, then you are likely correct. WoW is certainly the best and most polished MMO out there.

But there are so many terrific games out there right now that it would be a shame to miss them just because you want to play only MMOs. Nothing particularly wrong with this (and it is more economically sound I suppose), but I'm having an absolute blast with all the great single player experiences out there right now.
Get over your FPS-angst and conquer the 3D-trauma Tobold.

But there are so many terrific games out there right now that it would be a shame to miss them just because you want to play only MMOs.

Not easy if FPS games with mouselook make you nauseous and give you a headache. But I'd love to hear recommendations of good games that aren't first-person view. I'm in no way stuck to MMOs. The only problem I have with single-player games is that they tend to be several orders of magnitude shorter than MMOs. I played WoW for 3000 hours, many single-player games I can finish in less than 30.
Seeing the 5/8 release date of Lich King scheduled for before AoC's 6/8 release saddens me. Of all the MMO's currently in the oven, this one excited me the most as an "excuse" to stop paying the subscription (now month to month) to WoW and start hacking off heads in AoC. With Lich happening first, I see a low number of WoW defectors, creating unpopulated, non-dynamic AoC starting experiences. I just don't see myself having the same excitement for the next WoW expansion (Lich) that I did with TBC. The draw is just not there.
Uh, those are my predictions - not official release dates )
As far as I can find, there is no official release date for Wrath of the Lich King just yet.
Though you can get in line to buy it at:
(They're guessing at a Nov. 08 release date.)

I couldn't find anything on the web about a release date, or even a beta date, that I would consider reliable.
IMO, there is no way that May 08 is realistic. I could agree with a Nov. 08 guess, but right now with not even a beta out to measure progress by, any wild guess is as good as another...
Sorry, I think blogger ate my comment.

Some single player games:
Computer - Armageddon Empires (this game is killing me time-wise), Heroes of Might and Magic V (can probably get this for bargain price), Dwarf Fortress (still one of the best games I've ever played, the new version is awesome and best of all it's all still free), Football Manager (called Worldwide Soccer Manager in the US, I've been playing this for months now)

Wii - Resident Evil 4 (I've had a lot of fun with this, even though I suck at it)
PS2 - Guitar Hero 3 (I love the GH games), MLB Power Pros (first non Japan release of the Jikkyo Power Pro Yakyu baseball series, got something for everybody, even folks who have never watched/played a baseball game before. Includes an RPG mode for developing your player through college, including dating/part time job/studying etc. and deep season/franchise modes for stat heads and the like)

I don't know if you would like any of these because I honestly have a hard time figuring out your tastes from the blog... but you and both like Puzzle Quest so maybe one or two of these will tickle your fancy.
By the way, that "hard time figuring out your tastes" isn't a criticism. Nothing wrong with being mysterious and eclectic.

I agree with chrismue, Orange Box is an awesome deal too, especially with Portals.
I beat WoW several months ago when I killed a soul link lock as a fire mage.

Actually, I consider 'winning' to be achieving everything you desire to achieve. I've done all the PvE/Raiding I care to do, and I've progressed as far as I wanted to in Arenas. With every S2 gladiator piece and a decent title coming to me with S3, I'm pretty much done with the game.

These days I'm only playing for Arenas a couple times a week to help out my partners who are trying to gear up various alts.
I tried to quit wow... seriously... but the stuff that's out there just doesn't compare so I decided to go back... the market atm is so bad, or at least that's what it seems like... Pirates of the Burning Sea will be the next title I'll be visiting... until that gets out though, it'll be leveling up my blood elf and then the expansion.

Maybe PotBS will be the wow killer for me, maybe not... only time will tell.
OK Tobold - Just between ourselves I will let you in on a never to be repeated secret. Back in the days Doom played at 20 frames per second on 300*200 EGA used to give me crippling nauseous headaches that lasted for up to 24 hours after a bout of gaming. I knew it was bad for me but I still wanted to play. Eventually I figured out how to beat it - I wore an eye patch over one eye and bingo the nausea went away. My wife will forever look back to the time she discovered me sitting at a keyboard complete with pirate eye patch as the moment she realised just how addicted I was to computer gaming.
What slump?

I do not feel that I am in any gaming slump or that there is nothing out there worth playing - playing City of Villains/Heroes since 17 months, a game which have had two good content updates so far this year with a 3rd soon coming. Also now started playing Tabula Rasa for real and do quite like it. Thus two quite good games for me at the moment.

If ones preference is fantasy themed MMORPGs and have played WoW for a long time I can understand that gaming life might not be that exciting right now.
Left WoW myself about 2 years ago and cannot say that I have harbored any real desire to go back.
pirates with chainsaws FTW.

Ya there is definately a gaming slump atm when it comes to MMO's. One thing I find interesting is trying to jump into a game that has for the most part "matured" players who know the content omniciently and have varying perspectives towards "newbs".

EQ2, tried this out had really no idea what exactly endgame or most of the content would be... as much as the new area was polished and catered towards new players it wasnt worth getting into.. specially after reading about all the twinking and lvl locking in the game... hardly worth a new player learning the content to get a viable pvp char.

A couple games I suggest keeping an eye out for that are pretty secretive about what exactly they will be are Darkfall online and Project Offset and Lineage 3. All of these are expected beyond 2010...

In the nearer future I look forward to guildwars 2, Aeon, WAR. Hopefully they can put together a game worth sticking to for a few years..
I've been playing Warlords II Deluxe with my boys. I run it using DosBox (a free Dos emulator).

We're currently making our own map and characters based off the Avatar cartoon.

My WoW account is still active, but I just log in every few days to make spellcloth, check mail and buy/sell in the Auction house.

I did run Kara last week (first time in a month), but my guild is breaking up, and I don't know if I'm going to go through the process of looking/joining another.

On another note, I read a really good time travel book recently called "Replay". I'm reading "The Time Traveller's Wife" right now, but its not keeping my attention as much as "Replay".

I checked out 5 other books fromt he library which gives me something to look forward to.
I don't want to hear this!!!!

LOL but I do agree with you. I've been actively looking for something fun and new and mythos is about the only thing that hasn't put me to sleep. And that's only good for an hour or so.

I really have no interest in going back to wow but after 6 months I find myself considering it just so I can play games with my friends again.

There is just nothing out there except EQ2 and starting out in an old established game sucks unless you can get an entire group to start with you.

I'm begining to wonder if wow set the bar so high in terms of polish and resources required for a successful launch( successful being a million or more subscribers the first year), that we will see game companys going under and merging a lot more before we see any MMO's of that quality launch.
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