MMO Gamers are getting smarter. Â That’s the thought I had while driving home from work today. Â Seven years ago when we started this blog, I realized that Graev and I had experience with games — particularly MMOs — not found among your typical “gamers.” Â People simply weren’t thinking about games. Â They played them. Â Some wrote about them. Â But most people were not formulating any additional thought around why they play a particular game, or whether or not a game would be successful based on the sum of its parts. Â All of that is changing.
Places like Reddit are full of niche communities (and some not so niche at all) with brilliant ideas and ways of looking at games. Â Although I often view Reddit as a hive mind, you can’t argue with their ability to see right the bs and get results. Â Reddit gives CEOs of big studios a reason to comment, influences game direction, and has created an unprecedented level of transparency. Â Blogs are incredibly common now. Â Even the occasional live stream has someone with a decent amount of insight.
The WoW generation is becoming jaded. Â This is a subject for another time, but I feel the WoW generation is over in the sense that people are no longer entering that group of people. Â It ended in 2012. Â Blizzard knows this. Â Their marketing strategy has changed to one of increasing current user consumption. Â Now that we have the old guard (1995-2003) and the WoW generation (2004-2012) each finding themselves removed from the current spotlight, there’s a power vacuum. Â I honestly believe any MMO releasing in 2014 is going to be shredded by a failure to appeal to the older generations, and having no idea how to appeal to the newer ones.
WildStar is attempting to be the class clown. Â They act ridiculous and zany to get attention and distract from the fact that nothing of real value is being introduced. Â WildStar releases on the last leg of the WoW generation, but luckily someone there had juuuuuust enough insight to know they needed to do a throwback to a few older mechanics. Â It won’t work in the long run. Â That generation is finally too smart to fall for it. Â I never thought I would say that. Â Then we have ESO which Â is simply being obliterated by common sense well in advance. Â I feel bad in a way; someone there clearly saw the shift but way too late to do anything. Â Now you have a game that won’t appeal to the MMO market it’s launching into, and won’t appeal to its namesake either. Â Don’t get me wrong. Â I’m sure both will benefit from the fact that there’s nothing else to play. Â That has 3-monther written all over it, though.
Marketing MMOs is going to become much harder now. Â Who are the big publishers marketing to now that a third generation of players is beginning to enter the market? Â Cinematic trailers and fancy graphics aren’t enough. Â Heck, screw marketing. Â What is going to be done about the DESIGN side of things? Â Â Indie game development and consumption is on the rise. Â Free to Play didn’t take off as a clear cut model for developing MMOs like many thought it would. Â There’s this void waiting to be filled. Â Who will have the next golden idea? Will it be EverQuest Next? Camelot Unchained?
This will be an interesting era for us to watch and write about. Â Clearly it won’t be easy for anyone. Â Many of our readers have already expressed to me that they haven’t touched their PC in a year, or stopped playing MMOs 6-12 months ago. Â They claim nothing looks good enough to bring them back. Â That’s both a problem and an opportunity. Â This should be interesting indeed.
I should close here by thanking our readers. Â I know you have many choices for your gaming commentary, and I thank you for choosing to include us. Â Gaming discussion is being taken to a higher, more intelligent level. Â I’ve noticed it from you in our comments, and I only hope to continue that in our writing.