An interesting announcement the other day saw the news that Trion, of RIFT fame, are developing a new shooter MMO. Call me nostalgic/cynical/unimaginative but immediately after reading a little bit about it my mind jumped to visions of Tabula Rasa 2, not just because it’s a futuristic third person twitch based shooter about a war, or set shortly after one, between humans and aliens (why is it we can just never got along with those bloody aliens?!) but also due my visions of its impending doom. MMO shooters plain don’t work… will this one buck the trend?
Archive for 2011
A couple of weeks ago I received a nice email from a chap called Jon-Paul looking for some help to gain exposure for an online survey he’s carrying out. He’s studying clinical psychology at Deakin University in Melbourne and is conducting a study on body image in the virtual world to see how the physical properties of our avatars correlate to our own real life perceptions. Having a keen (amateur) interest in psychology, especially in online environments, it was right up my alley.
So you may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging as much the past couple of months as I used to in the past which, I agree, is shamefully abysmal and something I hope to rectify soon. I haven’t lost interest in the MMORPG world or blogging (actually it’s quite the opposite – I’m more keen than ever), I just haven’t had a whole lot of free time lately. In fact, I haven’t had any. Because well, as the title of the post probably gave away, I’ve started my own business.
There’s been a lot of negative articles in the news lately about WoW and, although I’m not talking about the BBC here, I do mean big, well-known sites like Yahoo over smaller dedicated MMO gaming sites and blogs. Indeed, as much as the saying any publicity is good publicity (arguably) goes, getting the headline of “Is Warcraft in trouble?” or “Chinese prisoners forced to play World of Warcraft, make money for guards” splashed over the homepage of Yahoo can’t exactly be what Activision Blizzard were hoping for.
Although I highly doubt WoW is in any kind of serious trouble or going anywhere anytime soon, all of this high profile negativity did get me wondering – if WoW did die, would it be good for the MMO industry? I mean, let’s just imagine that for some freak reason Activision decided Warcraft wasn’t profitable enough any more, either due to lack of subscribers or increasing overheads or whatever, and pulled the plug on it completely in a servers offline, game over dude, end of days scenario. Would the MMO community as a whole be happy or sad? And, more importantly, would it have a positive or negative effect on the industry?
I’ve been playing MMOs for over a decade and, as the years pass, I’ve starting to notice an uncomfortable trend of monetizing every aspect of our gaming. Bloggers have widely debated the pros and cons of subscription models versus free-to-play (aka micro payments) and that’s all fair and well yet, unfortunately, what we seem to be seeing now is the horrendous amalgamation of them both. More and more MMOs are now looking to offer a rather unpleasant combination of not only monthly subscriptions and additional purchasable one-off “extras” but also enhanced premium services. How come everything is all about money now?
I don’t often invoke the language of French but sometimes those lovely croissant monkeys have the perfect phrase to sum things up, in this particular case my feelings towards World of Warcraft. I commented today on Twitter how I hadn’t played RIFT in a while and yet, instead of feeling compelled to get back into it, I had the urge to return to WoW instead. Just what is it about that game that keeps luring me back like a sultry siren to a bad relationship? I quite officially a couple of months ago and stopped playing several weeks before that, so irritated and despondent with its community and achievement porn culture that I couldn’t take it any longer. But here I am again, contemplating resubscribing.
Although my time in the MMO world has been limited as of late (I’ll let you all know why in about three weeks… ominous I know!) I’ve been following the news about Sony’s hacker problems quite closely. Surprisingly I’m feeling quite calm about the whole thing given that I have a PS3 hooked up the PSN with all of my (fortunately outdated) details and a stagnant SOE account. Sony sure does have a fair amount of information about me and the idea of it falling into the hands of Russian/Chinese/North Korean/Belgian hackers doesn’t exactly fill me with joy to say the least. Still, I’m pretty chilled about it all and, if anything, I’m actually feeling rather sympathetic towards Sony.