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Current State of the MMO Market

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The discussion here is not to hate/bash/criticize one particular game or mmo! DO NOT use this as a means to spread hate!

Lately I've been seeing something strange in not just myself but other friends when it comes to MMO games. Some of them (like me) enjoy playing more than one MMO even if they are Sub games. But as of late, it's becoming far too stagnate and 'stale'. Friends I've talked to either play the following games...


Final Fantasy 14

World of Warcraft

Elder Scrolls Online (Since the update happened)


and...well that's really it. I've been thinking about this since Pangya closed down for good. (Why! It was a good game! D: )




[align=center]IS THE MMO MARKET AT A STANDSTILL?[/align]



From a business point of view, it's way more risky to make an MMO of a video game considering the humongous cost, development time and active updates that have to be added along with server upkeep and to ensure there is a steady income to break the minimum of what you spent on an MMO. So many Pay model MMOs have failed in our time....


Age of Conan[/align]

[align=left]Star Wars The Old Republic

Black Desert[/align]

Wildstar (New IP didn't help it either)

[align=left]And that's to name a few. Even Final Fantasy 14 back when it was 1.0 didn't fair well with critics at launch and they took a big risk no company ever did for an MMO, which was remake the game. It worked, yes but i doubt something of that caliber could be done again.


So right now our MMO selection my be vast but a lot of them are either Copy Paste of the same game style or even the same game (Looking at Aura Kingdom and the 4 other copies...) and some game that never even make it out of beta (*COUGHWARFRAMECOUGH*)


I want to know what you all think? Is the MMO market at a standstill until the next big amazing game? Do you think we will ever get another big hit like Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn? What do you think would need to happen if we are to get another hit? 


Share your thoughts and voice your concerns :3[/align]


[align=left]- Parth Makeo


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"MMO" as a genre has been filtered through the years to become "copy of WoW, except different because _______."


That's not a bad thing, it just means that jumping from game to game isn't going to deliver that different of an experience. Compare, say, platformer games: A Mario game is similar but different enough from a Sonic game, or a Kirby game, or whatever else. Most genres have that, actually.


The market as a whole is shying away from trying to make a "WoW Killer" and I think "living experiences" will be the future. Look at how The Division tried to make their Dark Zone a thing. ARK. Worldly survival games that depend on a client base that can't possibly survive their base moving on, but will make enough money in the short term without requiring MMO-level investment. I expect hub-world-with-multiplayer-pvp-whatever to be the new hotness going forward, with the focus being the living world you get to be a part of.

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I wish GW2 was GW2 and not "we used the GW skin" and then forgot everything what made GW1 amazing. They backpeddled so hard on their loyal old fanbase. So many of us were and still are massively disappointed in Arenanet/NCsoft as a whole.


Never will I touch a MMO made by them again. They shut off City of Heroes, refuse to sell the licence to the game to people who want to continue their game. They fucked over GW1 and made false empty promises to their loyal fanbase regarding GW2.


I'm done with them.


- Salty r12 HA PvPer who wanted her PvP back


But yes, a lot of MMO devs come up with a lot of promises and what not they cannot hold up onto. MMO devs like WoW are arrogant beyond words (the famous 'you do not want that' remark). They try to fix something what ain't broken. I don't give a fuck for innovation. Like GW2, it ended up in a clusterfuck of beyond words compared to GW1.


There's an issue with the MMO market becoming more and more casual in that sense, and leaving us older generation MMO players somewhat bitter and annoyed because we are not catered towards any more in specific. What isn't exactly a bad thing mind you. The more casual it gets, the more open it gets, the more development a game gets ect. But things such as a sense of a community do die out. I miss that, but I also realise I don't want to shout around for hours any more to find a dungeon group.


Anyhow. Player base doesn't know what they want. Devs don't know what they want. It's just chaos.

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I was excited when I heard about Camelot Unchained. But everything I've seen about it just makes me more and more disappointed. I don't think there will ever be a "next big MMO" again. It'll be Free to Play games that have different aspects that attract smaller groups, but like Warren said, the WoW-killer state of mind is gone.


The time of the MMO being the hotness has passed us.

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I think that what folks want has changed through the years. Initially we were all just awed by the chance to play with many many others in a game that supported social interactions as well as game-play (guilds, parties, trading etc..). Such things are now part of the baseline, along with looks, feel, lore, storytelling etc..


With more games to choose from it becomes easy to shift and follow the easy gratifying content, and even with RP to engage in the newness of a new game. So what was a rather static captured market for a game became more nomadic.


What this does is disrupt the communities, and it is the community that is at the heart of an MMO. For roleplay it is even more important, if not the most important.


I have recently been away from FFXIV, and played a few other MMORPGs looking for something that is not out there. Essentially what I experienced was small RP communities clinging onto a game, which works at a guild level but is very thin at a world level. I am sure there are other out there but I didn't find em.


This is also why FFXIV/balmung I think is unique at present (or at leasts viable). It has a large possibly sustainable RP community. That size alows many folks to find a suitable fit for their RP as well as there being just enough content to keep you engaged (maybe).


As for the next big thing, I am sure something will come along. Maybe with VR and such to change the dynamic of the way folks play. But for RP we don't need all that I expect and it comes more down to how they handle the community.


FFXIV is not perfect.

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MMOs are really expensive to make and maintain, and I personally feel without any evidence whatsoever that they've been waning in popularity, at least compared to 5 or so years ago. Eventually, they get the message that WoW lightning won't strike twice by throwing money at overworked developers and are looking towards other ventures.

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Biggest problem for MMOs right now is that there are too many of them, all competing for the same players. They also face competition from various other sorts of multiplayer online games (MOBAs, First Person Shooters, etc., etc.)


This makes it hard for any of them to get enough players to be profitable, and player communities will also often be a bit too small to be really self-sustaining.

This leads to the games and playing experience not being as good as it could have been, with the result that when something new comes around a bunch of players will jump at the newest shiniest thing hoping that this time things will be better. It won't be better, and now the older games have even fewer players.

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My personal issue with the MMO market right now is...


I can tell you exactly what I hate and what I think doesn't work. And there's a LOT of things that qualify. I can sit here all day and list off games that almost got it right, but screwed up on a handful of things.


But if you'd ask me to tell you how to fix all of it and revitalize the market, you'd be met with silence. I don't know what the next big thing is or even should be. I can't even make a prediction for where I think technology is or should be going.


And that frustrates me to no end!


I think the one thing I have learned from everything is that I need to stop getting hyped for MMORPGs that're coming out. Wildstar and Black Desert burned me bad from the start, and what happened to both EQNext and Revival just broke my damned heart. I'm tired of putting so much of my faith into things only for them to either crash and burn, or never even see the light of day.

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As far as I see it?


WoW was created by developers who were incredibly passionate and enthusiastic about the Warcraft games. They dropped the ball after WOTLK - in my humble opinion - but up until then it was an incredible MMO.


It's still fairly decent, all things considered. Years of investment by loyal players encourages quite a lot of people to continue subscribing and it's fairly easy to get into/has reached 'cult' levels of popularity so a lot of new people swoop in to give it a try.


FFXIV dropped the ball with 1.0 but as of 2.0 it became clear that the development team happens to be very passionate about the game and it's future. Things aren't perfect but there's consistent content updates and they're rather polished and meaty at that.


I am no longer interested in WoW - though breaking away was, admittedly, rather difficult. Until FFXIV nothing else managed to encourage me to invest for the long term. GW2, Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar had their redeeming qualities but there were just too many broken promises and glaring flaws.


ESO and GW2, for instance, ignored much of the charm and grit that existed in the rest of their respective franchises and watered down a lot of elements for dubious reasons. As a huge fan of the Altmer of Elder Scrolls I was bitterly disappointed that their core racial traits and flaws were ignored in favour of making the 'real' Altmer generic, stereotypical villains. 


FFXIV, however, manages to hit all the right notes when it comes to fanservice for those familiar with the rest of the franchise.

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EVE Online is still a thing. Will probably still be a thing for years to come.


"MMO" is a pretty loose genre. As mentioned earlier, it's only when viewed as "copy of WoW but not" that the market looks like it's dwindling.

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EVE Online is still a thing. Will probably still be a thing for years to come.


"MMO" is a pretty loose genre. As mentioned earlier, it's only when viewed as "copy of WoW but not" that the market looks like it's dwindling.


EVE is the best "sandbox" game there is, if thats what you like, EVE is the game to get it. I just don't dig spaceships much. Any of the non space MMOs that have tried to do something similar have all failed HUGE.

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EVE, for all of its faults and virtues, is also not a growing game. The people playing it continue to play it, and the people who don't, don't.


As an spreadsheet enthusiast, do you enjoy EVE?


Nope. I do enjoy the "MMO genre" as I mentioned earlier: Talent/skill trees are my shit in any RPG and I like honing in on how to best deploy skills to Make Number Go Up. It's what I was referring to in the other post about the games all being similar: You're playing a semi-realtime RPG based around a global cooldown and your skills have a defined progression. Reaching the top of those trees appeals to me, and to a lot of people, but I think holding players' interests is the hardest part. Leveling is an inherently enjoyable activity as far as video game mechanics go, but there's a reason we semi-jokingly refer to glamour as the true endgame: It's all that's left once you get a class' buttons down.

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A lot of 'good' games I've played have converted from the Pay to Play to the Free to Play model. Some good examples are RIFT, Lord of the Rings Online, etc. I've seen a number of games and have been in a number of games that have shifted subscription models and I think it's becoming less reflective of the MMO genre itself than it is differing priorities from the fanbase. There's nothing inherently wrong with the F2P model, and I've seen a few games I really enjoy that started out with that model and are still doing moderately well. And then we have some rotten 'Freemium' models, like TOR. That game feels like rubbish without a sub, or an awful large amount of money sunken into it.


I do still play Star Wars The Old Republic, and even (though it wasn't listed in the first post), The Secret World. A lot of games are very 'niche' games which cater to and draw in from a small market. Star Wars fans are more likely to play TOR, and horror genre fans are more likely to play TSW. Tolkien fans will probably end up spending at least some time in LOTRO, and you have a large number of XIV players who were Final Fantasy fans before anything else. And there are only 'some' games that cater to a wide audience without attempting to hit a specific niche besides the broad genre that it belongs to (Rift and WoW being in the fantasy genre, for example).


Players seem to think they want some great "next game", when primarily what seem to want is customization and the freedom to build and create in an almost sandboxy way, at least when it comes to features like housing. Devs seem to think that they want to release the next greatest game, when primarily what they seem to want is to release a game that is cutting edge and really draws in attention at the start, but they often end up falling flat after some initial patches and maybe the first expansion. What ends up happening is that you get several niche games that each fulfill one or two functions that players really want, but end up falling short on other ends. Or you get game devs that are very dedicated to trying to release good content, like the XIV devs, but who are struggling under corporate or system limitations (I'm looking at you, soon to be gone PS3 support).


I don't think any one MMO will hit the right niche in the market, because you either end up catering to too much on one or another end of the spectrum, or the player base consumes all of the content quickly, then moves on. People also seem very reluctant to split their time consistently between games because they have greater obligations, and there's no real point to spending money on a game that you actually won't be able to dedicate time to playing, especially if that game, as all MMO's seem to, have some kind of scaling gear or progression grind.


It's also very hard for any one game to 'take the market' when people are split by their interests. I have friends in TOR who would never play XIV because the genre doesn't interest them, and similarly, friends who would never touch TOR because they prefer fantasy over sci-fi, even though they like Star Wars itself. The MMO market is always going to have a largely divisive split in it, and that's part of the MMO market itself seeming to flounder. You have a continually expanding but ultimately limited cluster of people who have to choose the right game for them based on things like computer specifications, personal interest, friend group location, monetary spending and time budgeting. I feel like no one MMO, regardless of how 'good' it is, is ever going to be able to completely down any other game.


And I can't comment on games that aren't the tradition RPG style MMO, because I haven't really played them, as they're not my preference.

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My issue with MMO's have absolutely nothing to do with F2P, B2P, whatever. My main issue with pretty much all MMO's in general is, while fun, what's the point?


Most monsters are the same, just visually tweaked a bit, classes are they same, same skills but different names. Same overall concept etc etc etc.


So while I may think that say uhhh, Bland & Soul, or Black Desert is fun, why hash through the same type of game/content when I could just play FFXIV and not have to level all over again?

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Another thing too, briefly mentioned, is that nearly every big game is an mmo now: racing games, definitely all the shooting games, sports games, etc. As far as mmorpgs in the traditional sense... I would guess no really big ones. They may have gone the way of turn-based rpgs (still bitter). I would imagine that F2P ones with flashy gatcha stuff will still be churned out by the bucketload. But who knows, maybe there will be a successful game in the future that uses technology and ideas we haven't even seen yet that builds off of the idea of an mmorpg.

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Given the current clusterfuck that is the latest RIFT Expansion, I'mma say that going F2Play hasn't really improved anything. I mean, they started out really, really well, but over time they have eroded more and more of the good things about their model. Currently, the game is more Pay to Win than Free to Play.

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Given the current clusterfuck that is the latest RIFT Expansion, I'mma say that going F2Play hasn't really improved anything.  I mean, they started out really, really well, but over time they have eroded more and more of the good things about their model.  Currently, the game is more Pay to Win than Free to Play.


That's usually the fate of any F2P game if it has a cash shop. ...or it has to subsist entirely off "useless" glamour items so people can be pretty. ...but if glamour is the endgame...

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Given the current clusterfuck that is the latest RIFT Expansion, I'mma say that going F2Play hasn't really improved anything.  I mean, they started out really, really well, but over time they have eroded more and more of the good things about their model.  Currently, the game is more Pay to Win than Free to Play.


Yeah, I've been out of RIFT for a while now. After the RP community on Faeblight went belly up from one-or-two people basically "taking over", and open world stuff was relegated to Argent Glade in Silverwood or... you know, I can't even remember where people congregated on Defiant Side, I basically left. But at the time, the model wasn't that bad. Initial shift from Pay to Play to Free to Play wasn't bad. It just got worse and worse over time. I've heard the same thing from some of my friends who still play the game. And yeah, Trion is pretty awful. It wasn't as bad a few years ago when I was running RIFT as my main game, but as I understand it, the company has shifted priorities, and, well, let's just say that I don't hear much 'positive' about them anymore.

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