How many times have you heard someone say or read a comment from someone saying something like this: “Don’t worry, X game coming out will solve that” or “This next game coming out has exactly what you’re talking about and it will be awesome” or “In this game coming out you can do all of that and more!”
It’s the idea that the next game coming out is the solution to every current problem–the next big thing. This syndrome is huge across the MMO player community. We see comments here all the time with people saying things like, “Oh man Keen you want a sandbox with all those features? Have you tried ArcheAge it’s the game for you!” I’ve had comments from people saying WildStar, ESO, the next WoW expansion, FFXIV, and every MMO for the last decade would be the game that has all those great things I want.
Sometimes those MMOs do have one or two of the good qualities I’m seeking, but let’s be real here. We all know deep down that any themepark will never be that game. Even the most devout themepark lovers who hype every new themepark like it’s the next Disneyland can’t look me in the eye and say they play past 3 months.
The next MMO to have what I want is either going to surprise everyone or I’m going to make it myself. It’s not going to be a game people spread around as the next big thing. It’s not going to have a huge marketing budget. It won’t rely on gimmicky dev videos full of buzzwords or trying to capture market share from various player demographics.
MMOs from the golden age were almost never anticipated. EQ came out of nowhere. I was literally playing The Realm Online walking around and then saw mention in general chat about it. Later that week my friend invited me over to his house to play the beta. DAoC was out of nowhere and I got the game on launch day thanks to Graev who just randomly said, “Hey this looks neat we should get it.” SWG only got on my radar because Graev payed $20 for the beta CDs (They charged you to send you CDs or something). More on this idea of anticipation killing games in a blog post tomorrow.
Before any of us run around thinking that the next game is going to be the one or get excited that some game is going to have everything Keen is asking for in MMOs, take a serious look at the big picture. We have a tendency to find the 5% of what we want, get comfortable in that idea, and ignore the other 95%.