The Eye Of The MMO Hurricane

Eye of the Hurricane

I can't be the only one who sees a nipple here

I’ve probably been a little out of touch with the intricate goings on of MMO affairs this last week or two but, from what I can tell, everything (and by that I mean fanboi excitement) seems to have quietened down a bit. Is it just my imagination or have we suddenly entered a bit of a fallow period for the MMO industry? We had the big explosion of RIFT (again with the caps) back in February/March and now that the magic seems to have worn off we’re back to the same old drudgery of daily life waiting for the cycle to continue again.

Make no mistake about it there are a huge number of exciting things on the horizon starting with, let me think, oh I don’t know, Star Wars: The Old Republic (squeal). Equally so there are exciting prospects in Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, Warhammer 40K and World of Darkness along with several others. However they are all a few months, if not years, away so it’s definitely a case of having to bide ones time right now. We truly are existing in the eye of the metaphorical hurricane, waiting for the storm of fun to continue.

Taking advantage of this fallow period is probably a wise move but I can’t help but wonder what’s happening to games like RIFT that only a month or two ago was the most talked about thing on the blogosphere. Have the players returned to their primary MMO of choice (thus proving the WoW Tourist theory) or have they stuck with RIFT? Is it still holding everyone’s attention with excitement and anticipation or is it dropping off our radars like so many games before it?

I guess in many ways I’m just feeling on a bit of a come down after the initial hype of RIFT. It’s hard to not feel deflated after such monumental build-ups that tend to be MMORPG launches. They are grand affairs that last for weeks and months on end until the entire gaming community is foaming at the mouth in excitement and trepidation. And then, two or three months later, when the normality of it has sunk in we are left with nothing more than the faintest hint of melancholy.

Still, it’s what I love about the MMO genre. The highs and lows are all part of the ebb and flow of the grand gaming cycle so right now, even as I’m starting to feel a little despondent with RIFT on one hand, I’m also starting to look forward and anticipate games like SW:TOR with the other.

The cycle of (virtual gaming) life continues.

-Gordon

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27 Comments

  1. Docholiday says:

    This is going to be an interesting few months as late last year many of the names you mentioned were thought to hit in 2011, however I’m quite skeptical that any of these names will hit in 2011. Of all of them, TOR has the most uncertainty with its timing and I also think has the biggest swing potential for the size of the splash it makes.This could be quite a boon for existing games as they’ll be without major competition.

  2. Longasc says:

    Well, I’m playing Star Trek Online and LOTRO. Only played RIFT in Beta, felt no desire to play the full version. I don’t know if I will play LOTRO for longer, the US migration is imminent and myLOTRO only offers fake privacy (you thought unchecking the boxes made your data private? Not really, it just removes the public links).

    I won’t play SWTOR. I know this kind of MMO by now and don’t want more of it. I wonder if GW2 will be the salvation, but maybe I am just done with the entire genre.

    Regarding RIFT and player numbers, http://simple-n-complex.blogspot.com/ shows that the game is thriving. I think the “fallow” period is a feeling you get because the next big releases are all scheduled for late 2011 or even later.

  3. Stubborn says:

    I returned to WoW, left again, considered going back to DDO or Fallen Earth (but not LotRO), decided against it, tried to play Civ 5, got a little bored but at least it kept my attention for a 12 hours game, and the bought Borderlands with a friend and am playing that. WoW touristry doesn’t make much sense for my situation, more like game ADHD.

  4. bhagpuss says:

    I’m playing Rift still. Servers I play on are still very busy.

    Planning on diversifying a little soon and adding some Guild Wars, EQ2(X), LotRO and EQ to the mix. And maybe try Forsaken World. And have another look at Sage of Ryzom. Was even thinking of re-subbing to Fallen Earth.

    Looking forward to Glitch not too long from now, andGW2 and ArchAge, but not expecting either of those this year.

    SW:toR, The Secret World, World of Darkness and Warhammer40K I have no interest in. Ditto Tera, which you didn’t mention.

  5. Stabs says:

    I think Rift’s doing well at keeping people. I’m getting loads of new people joining my guild and the server feels vibrant.

    I think it’s a little unreasonable to want too many launches. We have 3 pretty major ones this year (Rift, Gw2, Swtor) after not a lot in 2009 and 2010. If these 3 games can all launch and not fail it will be a sign the industry is very healthy.

    But if they crowded a lot more launches in then we’d see great games fail (as perhaps happened with Fallen Earth). People who are interested don’t play it simply because there’s so much else to play. And that’s not really healthy.

  6. Paul says:

    Rift seems to be doing ok, and has some improvements coming for weak spots. For example, I understand crafting is being beefed up, and a LFD tool is coming (yes, WoW’s has been blamed for destroying server communities, but this one should be server-local.)

  7. vortal says:

    Basically I am still riding the WoW train, seeing as I am comfortable there, and too lazy to migrate anywhere else. Once the dust settles I will reconsider moving to some other MMO or maybe not, seeing as I have stuck there for quite sometime, I can probably continue.

    If you are wondering how I survive playing WoW all this time, I have a bunch of Warhammer boxes waiting to be completed. So far I have around 3/4 of it done. (Tells you a lot about the state of WoW right now)

  8. Ardua says:

    I’m still happily playing both Rift and City of Heroes with herself.

    As for the quietening down? Well… Portal 2… I was busy.

    • Gordon says:

      Hehe yeah maybe I just need to find some good single player games to keep me interested right now? :)

      • Kami says:

        I didn`t get excited about Rift and honestly there doesn`t seem to be any MMO on the market that can offer me a long time gaming-affair. I was quite impressed by Aion but the total fail in community management ended up in disappointment for me. Who knows maybe there is some awesome game I didn`t try yet and that would make me say “That`s it!”

        So I ended up playing single player games. I found some really nice adventures and strategy games and I actually had more fun playing this way.

        Still hoping for the “perfect mmo” though! ^-^

  9. Epiny says:

    I’m still playing Rift. I honestly feel TOR will launch this year but I don’t really care about it. I’m sure as the hype train picks up I will get more interested, but I’m going to try and skip it. I’ve also recently decided to not play any game with the title World of XXXX. It’s one thing to copy WoW’s game, it’s another to go so far as to even mimic their title.

    I’m looking forward to SC2 expansion and Diablo 3, other than that I’m not interested in anything.

  10. Meh, been too busy playing Minecraft to notice anything. Portal 2 and Game of Thrones has seen more conversation in my gaming groups than RIFT. Not to say RIFT was a bad game, but I think so many of us just came to the realization we really weren’t looking for another WoW even if we thought we were.

  11. Dril says:

    After more than a year out, I’m back on my home server in my home game: WoW. Dallied with RIFT, unsubbed, dallied with it a month later. I still maintain that it’s a solid technical exercise, but it’s utterly lifeless and devoid of any character, emotion or simply the feeling that it was a labour of love; rather, it feels as if it was a test to see if Trion could build an MMO. So, might as well go back to the world and lore that I love in WoW.

    Will I stay for a great length of time? We’ll see. TOR and TSW will definitely pull me away, as will WoD when it rolls along. GW2 I’ll pick up and dabble in because a RL friend is playing it, and ArcheAge could be amazing or tripe. If the gear treadmill in WoW pisses me off again, then I’ll be staying away, but if I can rekindle my love for the game and raiding I’s be hoping to last until the other games come out, so I’m not hopelessly bored.

  12. Samus says:

    I’m sorry, I reject the expectation that if you like an MMORPG, you will dedicate the rest of your gaming life to it. Players get tired of every type of game, regardless of how much they like it. And after your first big MMORPG, I think that genre is no different for most people.

    There are sometimes a few very, very rare games that keep a playerbase for a long time, like WoW, Counterstrike, Fallout 3, Left4Dead, etc. But for the vast majority of games in every genre, players are eventually done with it and stop playing. This is normal.

    I also reject the assumption that you have some pool of MMORPG players who play nothing but that genre 365 days a year. Just because people stop playing WoW or RIFT doesn’t automatically mean they are playing another MMORPG. MMORPG are a more dedicated kind of game that I can only put up with for at most 6 months out of each year. Even Tobold isn’t playing any MMORPG right now, and he writes an MMORPG blog.

    • Gordon says:

      Although I know people – such as myself – do take breaks from MMOs I always got the impression that the majority of players picked a game and stuck with it for a long, long period of time. Of course that could be my old school assumptions and things may be changing now.

  13. Patti says:

    RIFT failed to hold my interest. The events went from fun to annoying as people moved out of the leveling areas, making questing a bit tedious. Yeah, I’m a slow leveler. I’d never go back to WoW, as it stopped being fun for me when Cataclysm was released. It really feels like it jumped the shark this time.

    For now, I’ve decided to give EVE a try, and also play LOTRO off and on.

    As excited as everyone is about Guild Wars 2 and the new Star Wars MMO, I can’t help feeling that all the hype won’t match the actual games upon release. I hope I’m wrong about that.

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