My brother, part time gamer and full time noob, is only 35 years of age but to hear him talk you’d think he’s approaching pension age fast. “Those young whipper snappers”, he mutters under his breath whilst shaking his head at the folks in their late twenties who idly wander through his middle class suburban habitat. I’ve never know anyone to skip straight form sulky teenager to lecherous old man before (although admittedly it does come with some rather wonderful family related benefits). I, on other hand, feel pretty great being 31. I feel in my prime, a proper adult with enough milage behind me to give me confidence and enough road ahead to give me hope. No sir, I don’t feel old at all… except when I play MMOs.
Posts Tagged ‘mmorpg thoughts’
It’s almost the Christmas holidays and I can’t wait. I love running my own business but geez, does it keep me busy. Although I take some holidays throughout the year (I still have 12 days vacation time remaining which says a lot though), the festive period is the one time of year when most non-retail businesses either slow down or shut up completely meaning I should have a pretty long, uninterrupted break from Christmas Eve to the start of January. Bring on the MMO gaming.
Like a lot of people, I’ve been playing Mists of Pandaria pretty full on since Tuesday. Well, technically, Monday night since I was there for the in-game launch at 11pm British time but considering it took me 30 mins just to target the NPC (see above) and then the whole Jade Forest zone crashed before I finally gave up, I’m not going to count it. Nice to know that even the biggest MMOs still have launch woes even if everything has been running pretty smoothly since then.
I say “returning” but the fact is I never really left, not in the sense of unsubscribing at least (I wonder how much money subscription games make out of people not bothering to cancel their sub?). Although I still logged in to dabble on occasion, I haven’t seriously played WoW since Diablo 3 came out in May and have been busy since doing other things like playing other games, working and enjoying the summer. Truth be told though, there really hasn’t been much reason to log in to WoW for a long, long time – the new patch and imminent MoP release has changed that though.
I’ve never been a big fan of raiding in MMOs and it’s certainly something that I talk about fairly regularly. For me, raiding offers a pretty disjointed experience, counter intuiative to the whole leveling game in itself. Indeed, just like we now have games like League of Legends that offer what equates to essentially full-time PvP battlegrounds, maybe we should have completely separate games for raiding instead of trying to tack them onto a leveling game?
Perhaps I’m a ‘traditionalist’ in the way that I like my MMOs to be about leveling up and questing or fighting through static content. Not to say that I don’t appreciate the appeal of raiding, I do, and if it’s something you like then who I am to disagree. In fact, although it’s not for me, I can fully understand the thrill and enjoyment people get from activities such as competitive raiding and the like.
Or so some of the press would have us believe. I don’t know how much it’s being reported in the US but in Europe the media are having a field day reporting that Anders Brievik, currently on trial for the murder for 77 people in Norway last year, played World of Warcraft 16 hours a day for one year solid. It’s the old “video games are evil” debate all over again except this time the Internet is being thrown into the mix too.
Now I can’t say for certain that computer games don’t impact our mental state but I do find it rather depressing how the press leap all over them at every available opportunity, usually representing them with ill-informed facts. Case in point, the article by The Telegraph linked to above describes WoW as a “a virtual world where 10.3 million players attempt to achieve the position of ‘Justicar’”. Justiwah? Since when did a PvP Achievement title the main focus of the game?
There’s little doubting that the long-term financial success of MMOs is in player retention. Box sales alone don’t count for much and I could easily run off plenty of examples of games that sold well on release then took a nose dive after a month or two and now languish in low popularity limbo. However, when it comes to what matters most, few developers actually seem to have been able to unlock the secret player retention.
BioWare for one looks like it’s suffering and if their latest awful promotion is anything to go by, they seem to be having trouble holding on to players that have hit the level cap. Personally, I’m not surprised. SW:TOR is a lot of fun and the story mode stuff is interesting but ultimately it doesn’t have the long-term hook that other MMOs have (at least for me anyway). The similarity between classes, the limited storylines, the overall lack of things to do… eventually people are going to get bored.