Tuesday, May 27, 2014

MMOs: Variety or Niche

Into the Maelstrom
As I was playing World of Warcraft yesterday, I was thinking about why I am still playing it after 10 years, when there hasn't been any new content for several months, and I am uninterested in any of the normal end game content (PvP or Raids).  Part of it is the people I know who play, but the game has only some control of that.  The other things that keeps me coming back is the variety of casual things I can do and enjoy.

As mentioned in my last post (and several before that), my focus now besides daily farming and cool downs for gold and crafting, is to get the Vial of the Sands.  This is just a cool toy (a mount that allows you to carry a friend) that is behind requires two specific profession (Alchemy and Archaeology), several random number generators, 836 gathered components and quite a bit of gold (29,000 assuming you don't buy any of the gathered components).

The random number generators mentioned comes from how you obtain the recipe.  The recipe is a Canopic jar that will only contain the recipe about 10% of the time (RNG 1).  The Canopic jar only randomly appears as the Tol'vir artifact (RNG 2).  Originally, the Tol'vir sites where the fragments for the artifacts were found only randomly appeared in set of Kalimdor sites (RNG 3) (this can be avoided now since you can use Pandoran artifacts to create the Tol'vir components, but 40-60 Pandoran fragments only lead to 6-10 Tol'vir fragments).

Not that many people have it because it either takes a lot of time or a lot of gold if you want to buy it off the auction house.  Like a lot of things in life, the value doesn't so much come from what it is but from how difficult it is to obtain.

There are a lot of different ways to fill your time that a casual player can do (e.g. Pet battles, Achievements, Alts, Crafting, Gold-making, Mount collecting).  I think this is Blizzards answer to keeping players around.  It won't keep those that just want to push end content, but they are likely to want to try other games anyway.

People have posted that games need to be sandboxes, that the players need to create their own content and I agree this is another alternative, but I don't think they will ever appeal to as many players as the casual themepark style MMO.  Eve is a great example of a successful game where the players create the content but I see it as a niche game.  The Secret World is another game that doesn't try to appeal to everyone but some people really enjoy it.

I'd love to see more niche MMOs and if we see enough I'll probably find one that appeals to me and will lure me away from a game designed to appeal to the largest possible audience.

P.S. My other MMO goal right now is to level my mage to 90 and she reached 94 finishing the Mount Hyjal quests along with the intro quests for Deepholm and Uldum, including the flight with Aggra from the picture above.

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