Numbers   Leave a comment

Tobold wrote about the reasons he thinks won’t make WAR such a huge hit like WoW with 10mio. subscribers.

I wasn’t sure if I should reply to such a statement in any way. Thankfully melf_himself did it in Tobold’s comments section for me. So i just write down here what I think about it.

Actually those numbers don’t count anything other than for the people sitting in the marketing department or for any stockholders of some company. They don’t measure anything. To be in MMO language it’s like comparing kill-counters of rats-killed to dragons-killed. Sure, you’ll kill more rats than dragons but does it make you a uber-monster-slayer? ;)

It’s the same in measuring a quality/success of an MMO. It’s nothing you can put in an easy number. If you just take subscriptions as a base it’s really difficult to compare different payment models. On the other hand.. who gives something on those numbers? The stockholders just want to see the €/$ sign on the end of the year to be a big plus; that’s what make the value of the game to them. The gamers just want a good game, they want to have fun and the value comes from how the game delivers things they want and evades stuff they don’t like. I even heard some people on our /order channel complain that WAR is not enough grind! *coughs*

Tobold builds his reasoning around “grief” and inconvenience players feel in different ways. One is the zombie infestation in WoW and the other is the per-definition inconvenience in getting killed in PvP.

Those things are completely different aspects of “grief”.

Zombie event in WoW: I’m currently not playing Wow, so I must rely on some blogposts how exactly the mechanics goes there, but I think that I got the important parts (correct me if I’m wrong). This is something people just can’t avoid. You suffer from this event if you play this game, no matter if you want to participate or not. This is some bad point of inconvenience.

PvP (especially in WAR): You know what you are going to experience (somewhat). You flag yourself for RvR, join a scenario, enter the RvR lake and get a warning message from the system, … You know that you might get kicked in the butt. You know that there is no guarantee for winning in PvP (in contrast to PvE where encounters are build to get defeated).

Does this mean that WAR is more mass-appealing than WoW? No. People are badly trained to what they can expect from PvP (thank you WoW .. I just had to make this remark ;) ) and this perception/feeling heavily influences the degree of frustration/grief they expect/feel when playing PvP oriented games. The only reason I see why WAR is not going to make 893489348394 billions of subscribers is that it has strong points and doesn’t try to cover every single gamer’s choice of play out there. It’s all about RvR.. You could also argue that Lotro is never going to make 10 mio. of subscribers as it’s more PvE focused. Every new MMO will get more specialized on certain points of gameplay as they have to separate themselves from the rest so that they can draw away some players and get new ones.

So every new MMO will most likely get not as high subscriber numbers like WoW, but this doesn’t make a game a bad one. As long as they don’t make such a single-server structure like in EvE it doesn’t even affect you as a player. There are just a few hundred/thousand players on your server. You don’t see anyone of the other millions out there. For you as a player the only important thing is “Is this game fun for me?”. That is the only thing someone has to keep in mind. Not all MMO-players have to play the MMO you play/like. As long as you ahve enough like-minded persons around you (so that it’s no empty server) and enjoy the game it’s the MMO for you, let those marketing people and stockholders think about subscriber numbers ;)

Posted October 27, 2008 by Karic in General

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