Take off you nostalgia-tinted glasses!
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 February 2013, 10:40 am
MMORPG discussions on the blogosphere this week included such highlights like an argument whether vanilla WoW was really the best version of World of Warcraft ever and the Blizzard developers spent 8 years and countless patches just to make the game worse, and the news that Mark Jacobs is planning to make Camelot Unchained. Obviously people believe that Dark Age of Camelot also got worse with every patch, because they greeted Camelot Unchained like the promised land in spite of the fact that DAoC is still up and running.

There is some serious distortion of reality by nostalgia going on here. If today a game released and got 250,000 players, it would be considered a failure. There were "WoW is dying" posts in response to the news that WoW was down to 9.6 million players. But Dark Age of Camelot, which only ever got 250,000 players at its peak, and is now well below 50,000, is by some still considered to be the holy grail. And that was for a mixed PvE / PvP game, while Camelot Unchained will only have the PvP part. Does anybody really believe this is going to be a huge success? Especially since Mark Jacobs previous attempt to make a new DAoC-successor, Warhammer Online, was such a big success ...

Ask anybody who played MMORPGs over the last decade or more what the best MMO is, and the answer will invariably be one of the first games they played. For the real veterans of the genre that might be UO or EQ or AC or DAoC. For millions of people it was World of Warcraft, often the vanilla version. Everybody thinks that at the time where he started MMORPGs the genre was producing its absolutely best games, and from there on it went downwards. But as everybody started at different times, the timing of this mythical peak is different depending on who you ask.

To me that is pretty convincing proof that there never was a time when MMORPGs were "best". There has been continuous improvement, because every new game built on previous games, and every patch fixed bugs, added content, and made things better. But this continuous improvement is a rather slow process, the perception of which is tainted by the fact that MMORPGs get more boring the longer you play them. Your first virtual world is a wondrous experience, and from there you burn out over time. And people burn out a lot faster than games improve, so the overall impression is one of decline.

Waiting for the game that brings back that wondrous first-time experience is a fool's game. You can't get that first-time feeling back. And the developers know that, although they might be willing to relieve you of some of your cash via Kickstarter by playing to your nostalgia. Throw in a few catch-phrases like player housing and player-owned economy, and you can be sure to get a couple of millions in crowdfunding from nostalgic players who don't know better.There's a sucker born every minute, and Kickstarter is the ideal way to find those suckers.
Tobold's Blog



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