Reading Syp’s post on BioBreak and at Eric’s at Elder Game about the Pro’s and Con’s of an existing IP for a starting MMO and the design things you have to keep in mind when using an IP, made me think a little bit..
Sure.. an IP e.g. Warhammer will draw many players towards the game, expecting a Warhammer world (same goes for other IPs like Lord of the Rings, Star wars..etc..). They are more forgiving at problems with technical stuff (e.g. lag) as long the IP is handled nicely, but the IP or the lack of it is not a guarantee for failure/success of an MMO.
Both views were restricted in terms of lore and fanbase of that IP. I want to add a little bit. It’s the dev of the MMO.
In talking about this, there are two names which really pop up when I think about it. Bioware and Mythic.
I will start with Bioware (and their MMO in the Star Wars Universe). Star Wars is an existing and good IP with several games and even an existing MMO. Why get people so psyched about a new MMO in the Star Wars world? It’s clearly because Bioware is making it. They have created great RPG’s in the Star Wars Universe. Most people I know really enjoyed Knights of the Old Republic. Great Game! So people expect the same thing to get when Bioware is making a Star Wars based MMO and this makes me…I can’t really phrase it. Creating an MMO and a single player Game are two pairs of shoes and I’m not sure how well the concepts transfer, e.g. the interaction with companions is great for a single-player game, but for an MMO I think of it as defying the purpose of online gaming. It’s not about running around with a couple of NPCs, though funnily in other MMOs people really like pet-classes in MMOs and those classes are always well received and wanted. This is maybe too pessimistic, but I don’t hop on that hype-train without further information or testing. It’s no good game just because Bioware does it, though I think that they are able to bring up something really good. They know the IP and they know how to tell stories, but they are restricted in terms of design by the IP and their history in computer games (bound to that IP).
Next part…Mythic. Well I don’t want to go into too much detail about Warhammer (Online), but one thing that is striking to me is that people often refer to DAoC when wanting “improvements” in WAR. Mythic at first tried to avoid at the gaming design features they’ve used in DAoC, but are forced to re-use stuff e.g. like Keeps because people demanded them. Reading now in forums what should be done to improve WAR you often hear DAoC-style stuff like 3rd realm and you’ve heard demands for something like Darkness Falls, etc.. Well.. The call for Darkness Falls has been heard. So Mythic seems to be expected just to improve DAoC ..make WAR to something like DAoC 2.0 and that’s it. Many out there seem to got dissapointed because it was not just a more polished version of DAoC (and DAoC mechanics/careers/design). So Mythic stumbled upon their own reputation on another RvR-based game. I didn’t play DAoC and just started to get into the IP from Warhammer just a little bit before I started to play WAR and I can enjoy the game because of what it is and now what DaoC was.
The problem with IP and developer of the game is that some gamers out there aren’t able to view a game on a neutral level. You start new MMOs with much information (due to leaks, dev-interviews, blogs, etc..) and imagined how cool several features will be. It’s a common phenomenon nowadays for MMOs to get a real hype because of IP or Dev and then getting a huge drop after the initial month, just because things were different than expected. Is there any chance that a game might live up to that hype? Do MMOs get a fair chance to proof that the game mechanic works or just needs a little bit of time and confidence? Do MMOs deserve this confidence when they seem too unready for launch? (Maybe 3 free month aka beta-testing might help) How far can you as a dev go in getting a different MMO/Game out there than you did previously without getting beaten for doing something different?
Many questions… I’m not sure how willing most the current MMO community is to “learn new tricks” and test out stuff on a neutral/objective level. Every game gets compared to a different game even when there is no real justification for it.
I want to end this post with an “I’m curious”-sentence… So I’m curious about Start Wars The old Republic in two ways..
First: The game by itself.. I like the Star Wars IP and Bioware did some really good RPGs and are good in story telling.
Second: How loud the complains will get, if it is different to KotoR or the same like MMO X or the same like KotoR ;)