The Vicious Pattern of MMO Rise and Fall

I've used this in the past to describe the MMO hype cycle. I decided to include it for no particular reason.

It’s been eerily slow here for a few days while I finish up my last midterm exam.  This last exam is 100 multiple choice questions comprised of random facts from the textbook.  In a competitive university environment, every student is cramming their faces into their books to absorb every last ounce of detail they possibly can before going to the testing center where they will regurgitate and immediately forget all that they have crammed.  Unfortunately, that means I have to do the same thing to stay above the curve.  By tonight I should be all done.

I see that some of my posts have been linked all over the internet lately.  My reasons for quitting SWTOR has been passed around, Gamefaqs, several dozen guild sites with people saying “this random guy I found says it best”, the official SWTOR forums, official forums for other games sneering at SWTOR, and blogs dissecting what I saw to either praise or disprove it all.  As a blogger, I’m nothing but pleased at how something I said has been shared so many places despite some of the criticism.

My most recent post below this one, about wanting to choose excitement over cynicism, has drawn almost nothing but complete praise.  People have linked it almost as much as as topic mentioned above and I’ve certainly found a second wind to keep me wanting to be excited about games.  The biggest criticism I received was still those who want to latch onto ME personally as someone who follows a pattern (and also those wanting to drum up traffic by playing devil’s advocate or mocking me. It happens.).

Those thinking it’s purely me with this problem say “Keen follows a pattern” (or something like that).

Skepticism -> Excitement / Hype -> Decline -> (and some say I “hate” at this point)

Very, very true.  I do following that pattern.  Oh, and so do 99% of you.  (Note: This only applies to MMO’s.  Any other game and I’ll straight up like it or not.  There is a reason for that, and you already know about it.)

A new MMO is on the horizon.  I’m skeptical.  I find a few things that make me think “You know, maybe this is worth trying.”  I try it, I have some fun, but I reach the max level and quickly realize there is no future but a gear grind (SWTOR) or the game has huge design flaws (WAR) and I would rather go play a different game.

That isn’t unique to me; 99% of you are doing the exact same thing in MMO’s.  Why?  Because developers are making the same games over and over.  Maybe it’s my fault for getting on the same ride every time, and I’ll accept responsibility for that.  This is not a problem with me, or you, this is a problem with the games.  We don’t do this with games like Reckoning, Skyrim, or Call of Duty.  We’ll play those for 100 +hours and set them aside having had our fill.

MMO’s have this insidious way of hiding their true nature from players, providing two or even three different games within a game.  World of Warcraft has the leveling game, the BG/arena game, and the end-game raiding game.  If you bought WoW and thought that what you were playing when leveling up was the same game you’d have at level 85 then you’re in for a shock because it completely changes.  This is what happens to me every new game.  I think, surely it won’t happen again.  Then it does.

“Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”  You may criticize me for giving something a try, but that is my nature.  I want to experience every MMO because MMO gaming is a hobby and a passion.  I also want to write about as many games as possible.  If I don’t try them, I have absolutely no business writing about them.  If I write absolutely nothing pre-launch, I’m 1) Ignoring my own feelings and 2) denying potential readers access to those feelings.  That’s what this blog is about: Putting what Keen and Graev think and feel about games on virtual paper.

So I ask that before you criticize me for following the pattern of this roller coaster we call MMO gaming, you think about whether or not you yourself have stopped playing the same games I have stopped playing.  If you’re one of the few sitting back playing Darkfall (which actually I might start doing again… I’ll talk later on that… *nervously looks around*) and never stopped because that’s your game, then you have all the right to criticize ALL of us who are bouncing game to game.  If you’re trying everything like me, and experiencing failure after failure, then I ask you to identify with the problem, not stand back and pretend like you’re not in the middle of it with me.

I’m worried about those who DON’T follow the pattern at this point.  They are the weird ones. 😉

  • I think your point that companies keep regurgitating the same damn game is astute, if often spoken about less directly, and a vital point that needs to be repeated until it really sinks in. It’s also why I’ve just given up on the genre for the time being. this choice was made easier because my interests happened to move on to other things at the same time, but I think if there was more progress being made in the MMO genre, I’d at least make the time to try some of these free trials and betas out.

    On one hand, people constantly talk about how the next big MMO is just more of the same. Yet I don’t think they really understand just how identical these games really are until they’ve played them for a while, and gotten past the shiny veneer of newness. Even GW2, for all I support a lot of what it’s doing, is at heart an extremely conservative game, and I’m already starting to get the feeling of “been here, done that” from it. I’m sure I’ll buy it, but I have this creeping feeling I’ll really only play the PvP and WvW parts, and given Arena Net’s history with GW1, I’ve accepted that neither of those are likely to live up to their potential, and will be plagued with balance issues and poor design choices.

    At this point The Secret World and Salem are my only hopes for seeing something truly unique in the MMO genre. I’m excited by “retro” homages like Dominus, too, but I’m concerned by the danger of “more of the same” syndrome with such a backwards looking idea. I’m also following EvE’s new direction, and would like to pick that up at some point again, but who knows if I’ll have time…

  • Well said again and glad to hear our feedback to your previous post has re-invigorated you.

    Bring on Planetside 2, Mechwarrior Online and GW2: desipite a huge catalogue of failed and broken MMOs in my wake I still reckon I will get good mileage out of at least two of these three.

  • After all this time trying to find a game to call home, I wonder if that really exist anymore. I wonder to myself if I’m suffering the effects of nostalgia thinking back to the early days of MMO’s. When I would immerse my self for hours and hours and really get into the game and the community. I ask myself if that world even exist anymore post WoW, I don’t think it does. Which makes my endless pursuit of that next game that has all I’m looking for a vain pursuit.

    Maybe it’s sad to say that I’ve started to lower my expectations, but I would say that I’ve become more realistic about what to expect and to take off my rose tinted glasses of the past, because all those old MMO’s had their issues just as the current crop does. I think the old player bases were just more accepting of flaws in the games because there were not so many options back then. We are flooded for MMO’s choices now and sure as hell there will be a new vine to swing to if you even have one issue with the current game your playing now.

    I don’t know what the answer is to any of this. I just know that I do enjoy reading your blog and you are someone that I stay tuned into as you are someone that has his ear to the ground about the next game coming around the bend, be it good or bad. Keep it coming I say, be true to yourself and you can’t go wrong. Don’t let any one games hype machine sway you like Mythic did with Warhammer. People forget that these companies have to prove themselves to us to get our hard earned dollars and cautious optimism is a good thing.

    p.s. Sorry for the ramble, your last two post really hit on a topic that I don’t think is discussed enough.

  • MMO blogging would sound a lot different if the year was 2004, and we were thinking back on the last 7 years of the genre, rather than 2012 and the last 7. Hopefully the 2019 7 year review is a bit better.

  • My MMO behavior very closely resembles your own. I often try/play the same games you do and find your analysis is generally spot-on with how I feel about games.

    This weekend I fired-up EQ after not having played since Luclin. EQ was my first MMO and to this day I still compare games to it. I’ve reached the conclusion they just won’t make games like this anymore. Instead of wishing for the new to be like the old I’m going to go back and enjoy the old. It’s tough getting past the dated graphics and primitive UI but I enjoyed the time I spent in Norrath this weekend and look forward to playing more.

    I checked out Darkfall again recently. I think it’s a game I could enjoy but also strikes me as a game I would need a steady crew of people to enjoy it with. I’m also concerned about the difficulties a new player might face in catching-up to be competitive with the veterans. I played briefly during the initial European release but didn’t stick with it due to not having any friends to play it with and not being willing to bot my skills up to compete.

  • As usual I agree with your comments. I almost jumped into TERA and after CB2 I found it to be an “ok” game but nothing new enough that I could really say hadn’t been used already in plenty of other games. I guess with it I was looking for a open world Vindictus which I didn’t find. I am still holding some hope out for Guild Wars 2 but honestly at this point the whole MMO genre would be cottage cheese if it was milk in a glass so to speak. It has all but curled up. But unlike cottage cheese it hasn’t turned into another product that is aged and refined over the original product.

    Since the days of Ultima into those of vanilla WoW and beyond through RIFT and SWTOR I can not even begin to count the number of days /played in MMOs. Sure we had some good times but for all the good times I can recall I can recall twice as many P.O. minutes where I had spent $50 on a product that should have never left alpha stages, or was a repeat of another product.

    Honestly I am growing more and more happy with the Indie scene of late in regards to gaming in general. For $10-15 I am finding games that are just as good, if not better, than most of the $50-60 games I have bought lately. Of course Indie MMOs have a hard time making it. That being said I have started to turn my back on the big gaming companies that just recycle the same old stuff. Yes of course I will be getting ME3, and D3 but I am going to seriously reconsider investing in new games from companies like Activision/Blizzard and EA. If ME3 in some way ends up being the let down that Kingdoms of Amalur, SWTOR and DA2 were I may completely write off other games by Electronic Arts. I have already sworn that I will not be going back to WoW, even before MoP was announced and officially jumped the shark. I will most likely buy the Starcraft 2 expansions as well as Diablo 3, but honestly I already envision that I will get a lot more entertainment and value out of Torchlight 2 for $20 than I will out of D3 for 3 times as much.

    Sorry for the sidetrack, back to MMOs, I agree with you. Like I said I hold out some hope that ArenaNet/NCsoft will manage to pull out something new with Guild Wars 2. If nothing else at least it will be Buy to Play. But in regards to other upcoming MMOs and current ones, I am done with them. I have tried to go back to some of the classics like LOTRO, DDO, EQ2, etc but I just can’t. I am so sick of them. And as far as new MMOs coming out, I know that they never live up to what we are told. I had such high hopes for SWTOR only to find once the fourth pillar wore off that it was the same old / same old that I have been doing for years now.

    And as far as progression goes, the very thing that used to appeal to me about MMOs, fails these days. Everyone either has so called Welfare-Epics or Elitist gear. Personally I wish that MMOs would quite trying to cater to both casuals and hardcore gamers within the same game. It just isn’t going to work.

  • One other thing that I think was mentioned both by Keen as well as another person is how much blogs and forums play into opinions. Personally as I have stated before I rely heavily on Keen and Graev’s opinion as well as one or two other sites. I have started to forgo forums as a whole like MMORPGs because there is just too much fanboy replies and on the flip side too many hater replies. There isn’t the good balance like that I see from sites like this and Kill Ten Rats and so forth.

    I think a lot of people rely too much on blind reviews on message forums, instead of reading actual articles from people that really play the game. I feel a lot better by reading blogs like Keen And Graev when looking for actual information to make decisions on.

  • “This is not a problem with me, or you, this is a problem with the games. We don’t do this with games like Reckoning, Skyrim, or Call of Duty. We’ll play those for 100 +hours and set them aside having had our fill.”

    The problem actually is with you – it’s in what you expect. As you say, people play something like Skyrim for 80-100 hours and it’s considered massive and awesome. SWTOR holds 200 hours of content by the time you get a single character to 50, and it’s not enough – people get bored and ask “what else is there to do?”

    Unfortunately, it’s hard to build content that people can play for thousands of hours. Previous MMOs got by on social elements and obsessive-compulsive reward pursuit, but people are tired of that. They want that new joy back, and think that if only they’d make better games – but the games you remember really weren’t that good, they were just new. And you’re tired of the new. Unfortunately, nobody knows how to make better games to make you happy. Hence, the cycle.

  • I saw this post as soon as it came up and my immediate reaction was to shake my head. I thought about all day on how to comment on this intelligently without igniting the ire of everyone here, but I just couldn’t find a good way to articulate my feelings. But then just now I checked massively and they have an article that addresses a lot of the sentiment I see on this blog. It’s a brilliantly good read and IMO hits the nail right on the head.

    Go in it with an open mind and come out with something, even if you don’t agree.

  • I think people are partly to blame for games failing to meet their expectations.

    At the end of the day, MMO’s are an entertainment choice (“Will I watch TV tonight, go to the movies or play SWTOR?”), not a lifestyle choice (I’m looking for a new “home” MMO), but there are too may folks these days that see it as a lifestyle in and of its self, not a fun passtime (<-deliberate misspelling) for meeting fun folks.

    The games that I spend most time in, and generally have the most fun playing, are all multiplayer, MMO's and FPSers. A good multiplayer game lays the foundation for a community of people to do fun things together, and when a game doesn't do that, or when it makes people having fun together difficult (end game raiding, hard core gear grinds, et al), that's when people see it as failing them.

    Good MMO games have solo play, but that solo play should just be something for you to do while your waiting for friends to come online, or waiting for a group to form up (though sometimes you may just want to grind stuff as a way to switch off like when you go work in the garage on a "project"), but that solo play (in a MMO) should never be what the game is about.

    Where modern MMO's let folks down is they let you level quickly, but then don't offer fun new content on a month-by-month basis (like Asherons Call did). I played AC for 5 years because _every_ month they added something new/interesting to the game for folks to do, and many of those things oriented around the community working together (rebuilding a town or taking down an arch bad guy like Bael'Zharon).

    Until both Devs and players realise MMO's are an entertainment choice and not a lifestyle, we'll keep seeing this cycle.

    (A total aside: The pattern your describing/being attributed to applies to pretty well everything/everyone in life Keen. The "Gartner Hype Cycle" just shows basic human nature and can apply to a new house purchase, ipdas, and pretty well anything else where a human has a particular expectation :o)).

  • @mangus

    The massively article is a pretty common view. But, it’s just plain wrong:

    Many (of the older) people who play MMOs have a background in single player RPGs. There are many parallels in the hype –> disapointment cycle with that in MMOs. But, every so often, amidst the failures and ripoffs, standout games did appear, Such as Wizardry (many in the series), Eye of the Beholder, Ultima Underworld, Baldurs Gate 1&2 and others. These games were not perfect, but were head and shoulders above the norm; and they all stand out for originality, breaking the mold and most of all for making immersive fantasy worlds.

    The point is that many recent MMOs are based on the premise that there’s an essence of WoW that you can put in bottle. Maybe there is, but if so they haven’t found it. The main mistake, in my opinion, that gets mentioned, time and again is that these games feel “generic”. What that means in practice is that the designers, intent on copying the norm, just haven’t been able to breathe that spark of life into their worlds that makes for an immersive experience.

  • Its probably more and more bloggers and readers of these blogs are aging out of the target audience and getting burned out from playing mmo’s. I admit that what I enjoyed in an mmo when I started over 10 years ago is nothing even remotely what I enjoy now. Thus is true for all games but you see it more in mmo’s due to the greater time you spend playing. If you played every game like you do an mmo you’d be complaining similarly about all games. Fortunately non-mmos don’t have the content to last more than 50 hours total, I including games like skyrim.

  • I’m watching this post get referenced other places, and I’m flabbergasted by what I see.

    Tobold says on his blog quote: “Keen, who has a reputation for going through hype and disappointment cycles faster than the rest of us, is writing about hype and disappointment cycles.”

    Tobold then agrees with me and says he has stopped playing SWTOR. Does anyone else see the irony? I have a reputation for going through the cycle faster than everyone else but… everyone commenting has stopped playing too?

    I’m the vocal scapegoat, and my point is proven.

  • When I start paying 15$ a month for a single player game, then I can start complaining about content and length. You are in a contract with them to deliver something more than a chatroom. If you’re going to provide the same content/mechanics as 13 other games, then I need a darn good reason to give YOU the money instead of THEM.

    Harping specifically at TOR, it provides a single player experience unequaled in any other MMO. Once you hit 50, that gameplay is gone – so you need to roll alts. People defending the game say it all the time “roll and alt”. Well, I’m paying 15$ a month. I can put that money on a decent single player game instead.

    Players have so much choice nowdays, you really need to offer something special to keep people hooked. Building the same thing as the other guy is a near guaranteed way to kill any chance at success.

  • @Mangus

    I think the article misses the point of what people like Keen and many others are arguing (or hoping for). If I read the article, my first impression is that the author is a new age MMO player – one whose first MMO may have been WOW…but certainly not someone who has witnessed the development of MMOs.

    MMOs have been taking a very specific path over the last 15 years. There were some development “branches” but overall, if you have followed the MMO development over the last 15 years, it doesnt take a genius to figure out where they come from and where they are headed. It is not about finding the perfect MMO but rather about either (1) undoing or halting the path they are on (2) reversing the path, or branching off into another path. We arent looking for a brandnew innovative MMO that does it all, we just wish that modern MMOs would go back to some of the old concepts that worked. What we want, has already been invented – it just has been abandoned – not necessarily because it isnt fun but in order to make MMOs more accessible.

    That is one huge trend, making MMOs accessible to a wider audience (to make more profit) sacrifices a lot of fun. Just because more people play them, it isnt an indication of better quality or more fun. You can find a McDonalds at every corner of the world, but that doesnt mean they serve the best food. I like to compare this to boardgames. Everyone knows Monopoly, Risk, Clue…these arent the best boardgames out there. They are just accessible and have become popular. If you look a little bit into the boardgame scene, you will quickly find that Risk, Monopoly and Clue are considered absolute trash.

    However, the blogging and the complaining exists because people still have the believe that a fun MMO can be made that will be financially competitive even though it isnt designed for the mass market.

  • One thing i find funny about new age WoW clone design is how games like War and Rift add some good innovative idea and instead of building the game to support those ideas they just badly copy wow. Then they talk about how breaking the WoW mold is a failure. Things in WoW were built to work with WoW, they were not built to work with sieges and rifts.

  • I don’t think the Gartner hype cycle really describes what happens with MMOs too well. The first bit, yes, but when one reaches the trough of disillusionment, it tends to be down hill from there on.

    The Gartner cycle, makes more sense with technology where initial expectations are exagerated, but the technology does have some productive value that becomes apparent with closer aquaintance.

    I certainly never reached a “plateau of productivity” with the WoW clones I played, more a plateau of non subscription.

  • I prefer the term Diku-Variant over WoW Clone…it’s a much more informed one and though I know you all are informed MMO gamers, the latter is borne of ignorance and makes me fume every-time I see it.

    @Argorius: I can’t speak for the author, but I’ve been playing MMOs since Ultima. I’ve played just about every major release since then. A few have fallen under the cracks (LOTRO), but other than those, I’ve experienced it all. I even had a phase 10 years back where I delved into the realm of MUDs.

    I’ve been through the phase of hoping that this game is going to be better than the next and being sorely disappointed. It was really after WAR when it hit me. I’ll probably never find that perfect MMO to call home unless I make one. And if by some magical power I did make it, I’d get bored in a month. That’s the nature of the game.

    I also realize that a lot of my nostalgia for days lost is just that. I remember having a blast playing Everquest…I also remember @$*%ing hating it at times. Ultima was great fun, but I’d never spend as much time GMing multiple characters again. DAOC was great…until you went into class balance (Warlocks with chambered spells anyone?). Shadowbane? I remember yelling “SHADOWBANE ROX!” with all the disgruntled EQ players in Freeport while we waited another 2 years for it to release. And when it did? It was great…until we realized it had no depth.

    Basically what I’m saying here is this: There hasn’t been a single MMO that has lived up to any of the standards you guys are setting. And the future doesn’t show many on the horizon. My best bet for something you guys need is a virtual world ala Entropia, but with a much higher production value. Something where you can make your own modules easily. As far as Triple A goes, I doubt anyone’s going to be veering off the mold for a very long time. And as far as indie goes, I doubt anyone veering off the mold is going to have the financials/skill to pull it off. And even if they did, you probably still wouldn’t like it 😛

  • Honestly my favorite thing about TOR atm is it woke up something in the bloggers I love to read. KiaSA, Tobold and you guys are doing some of your best stuff now as the TOR experience I think has really shaken up the community. We are all asking ourselves “So this is my hobby?” and “What of it?”

    Fortunately 2012 is nothing like 2011. We already had TOR (which is really a 2012 title imho) next is Terra, The Secret World, GW2, MoP. Not to mention Rift continues to push the envelope and it’s not like Bioware is just going to sit around with a dead end game.

    If 2011-2012 is the season of questions, 2012-2013 will be the season of answers. And strangely I suspect the dev’s will figure out what we want next before we do, and that GW2 will continue where TR and Rift left off by providing a True multiplayer experience. And I think Blizz hits a home run with MoP…although we’ll all be too embarrassed to admit how much we love playing pokemon with our arse-kicking Panda monks 🙂

  • “There hasn’t been a single MMO that has lived up to any of the standards you guys are setting.”

    I’m sure that most people who like (are passionate about!) MMOs have enjoyed at least one of them. For my part I liked: Guild Wars, Vanilla Wow and LOTRO before F2P. It’s just that after playing those, I don’t want to play the same MMO over again, with some slightly different generic fantasy plot attached and one “innovative” feature tacked on…

    “And the future doesn’t show many on the horizon.”

    Just one or two would be plenty.

  • “I prefer the term Diku-Variant over WoW Clone…”

    It’s probably not optimal, for the purpose of clarity, to turn MMOology into something akin to a science with it’s own abstruse terminology. The term “WoW clone” is quite well understood; and it’s accurate in that games that are WoW clones are trying to emulate WoW’s success by being like WoW; they aren’t that interested in emulating the commercial success of DIKUmuds. The fact that WoW itself owes a debt to previous games is, at best, irrelevant.

  • @Mangus: Saying that none of them have lived up to our expectations doesn’t mean much when all of them have been practically the same. It’s not like we’re being given variety to choose from here.

  • I’ve been following your blog since the Allods Online era and have usually found myself in agreement. When you pronounced Rift a 3-monther I was still having fun with it and thought maybe you were becoming cynical. Turns out that once again, you were right.

    It’s difficult to spot a dead-end MMO since they front-load them so much. I’d probably save myself some money if I could just wait for you to get to endgame in whatever I’m considering buying. (still kicking myself for buying the collector’s edition of SWTOR)

    I guess your taste in games just coincides with mine, or at least I follow the same “pattern”. Whatever the case, thanks for the blog.

  • I’m not a regular reader of this blog (I indirectly got linked here), but since Keen is soliciting comments from the 1%, I can’t resist the opportunity to criticize all you guys (his words :).

    My 1% credentials: I played a MUD (singular) for the good part of a decadeuntil the mid of the 90s, and then stuck to single-player games. The MMOs at that time didn’t interest me because essentially they were MUDs-with-pictures. Only 2008 I started playing an MMO (singular again) because it wasn’t just a souped-up MUD (and I almost quit over the adjustment period), but it’s my only MMO. I tried LOTRO for one weekend because people told me about beautiful graphics, but the MUDdish gameplay turned me off.

    Argorious made good analogy with fast food: You Guys (1%, remember?) have been eating fast food for the last decade and are getting sick of it. Obviously, just changing the vendor (WoW vs. Rift vs. TERA vs. all the other MMOs I didn’t care to learn about) won’t solve the issue – you need to step back and look at what you expect to get out of MMO gaming. Are you chasing after the first-MMO-game experience you had those many years ago? A specific mechanic? The answer may even be that MMO gaming is no longer your hobby and passion, and that it’s time to pick up something new (my basement is filled with equipment of my former hobbies and passions – and I don’t regret any of them).

    Or more brutally, I never understood people jumping from MMO to MMO (or for that matter, from multi-player FPS to multi-player FPS), because essentially they were playing the same game over and over again, only with different paint jobs. Of course they’d get bored.

  • I’m chasing after the idea that I can find a game to provide me with years of dynamic gameplay and fun where I’m actually progressing the entire time rather than seeing the entire game in under three months.

    There are numerous examples of MMO’s that have accomplished that. I played almost all of them. I know it can be done again. I’d like to see a modern iteration.

  • @Keen: I am not sure if that was a direct reply, but I’ll treat it as such.

    There are multiple equally valid responses – you decide which one applies most:

    – You’re trying to recreate the feeling akin your very first loving kiss. Ain’t gonna happen.
    – You’re setting the bar very high, which automatically means that most games will disappoint you – you can’t go into new games with the mindset of “This is the one!” Just like dating.
    – The mere fact that you appear to jump on new games immediately if they are only a smidgen different from the current WoW paradigm encourages publishers to produce games which are nothing but a smidgen different. Maybe abstain for a while instead, or at least wait a few months to see first what others think?
    – Rose-colored glasses. Did those ‘examples of MMOs’ really provide you with “years” of dynamic gameplay? Seeing that you played almost all of them, it can’t have been that many years for each.

  • Once you realize for yourself what you are looking for in your game(s), things get easier. For me it’s entertainment. As long the current game is able to deliver, I’ll be playing it. If WOW delivers to me the leveling game, the arena game and the raiding game all in one bundle? Perfect. If I get bored by SWTOR or Rift after 6-12 weeks, so what, off to the next game.

    Many players problem with leaving a game behind is their resistance to change, not even the effort to learn the mechanics of a new game. They want their game to be like your old, most comfortable shoes and their beloved hoodie. You end up wearing them until you can feel the road with your toes or the last end of the sleeve falls off because the thumb hole has grown all around the wrist. The shoes, the hoodie and your MMO are your comfort zone, a place where you know the rules and where you can retreat to and feel safe, even while kicking that Blood Elf’s teeth out.

    BTW, you forgot to mention the meta game: Talking about the game, research a game and toying around with it. Blogging is part of the meta game. are part of the meta game. Spending hours, days or even weeks with the DDO, Neverwinter Nights or Rift character builder is the meta game. I am having lots of fun with the meta game.

  • That’s actually not my graph. It’s Gartner’s Hype Cycle. The X axis is time and the Y axis is expectations. One is released every year and it is really fascinating stuff.

    Here’s 2011’s

    Notice how Virtual worlds are in the trough?

  • I did a little interpretation of the hype cycle on my website as it concerns MMOs:

    Technology Trigger: “Game of Thrones MMO announced”
    Peak of Inflated Expectations: “Play GW2, meet hot chicks and win the nobel price”
    Trough of Disillusionment: “SWTOR has no endgame”
    Slope of Enlightenment: “Rift has cool features, is well implemented”
    Plateau of Productivity: “WOW, 13 mio subscribers”