Higher barrier to entry? was RE: [MUD-Dev] NEWS: Blizzard Entertainment announces World of Warcraft

Sean K sean at hoth.ffwd.cx
Mon Sep 10 12:59:35 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

On Fri, 7 Sep 2001, Brian Hook wrote:

> At 09:04 PM 9/5/01 -0400, Derek Licciardi wrote:
> Companies like Verant and Blizzard are going to have the cash to
> make bigger, better, louder, fancier, prettier, huger, more famous
> games than we can.  It would be flatly idiotic of us to, say,
> release a fantasy styled graphical MUD, even though we're very
> capable of doing so.  We have to aim for the cracks and niches, and
> there are many, many of these.

Verant's first product was EQ... admittedly before MMORPGs really took   
off.  And Turbine practically worked out of a garage to develop Asheron's
Call.  I wouldn't rule out all hope of a small company making waves in
this realm. 

> > believe they have the game talent, I do not believe that every
> > game company out there has the systems development talent to
> > develop large systems just because they can produce a single
> > player RPG/RTS.
> If ANY company has this, it's Blizzard.  They are probably the only
> company that has consistently demonstrated an ability to manage very
> large teams into delivering high quality products.

Those being the Warcrafts and Starcraft, I presume.  Even Diablo 1 was a
LAN-oriented game... Diablo 2 was as well, in many respects, and it took
Blizzard over 5 years to release it and it had massive problems when it
was released.  Blizzard is talented at making games that are considered
fun to play by a large segment of the gaming population, but I'd hesitate
to credit their vast MMOGaming experience.

> In addition,
> they're more familiar with on-line persistent gaming than just about
> any other company out there that isn't already involved in the
> field.

This is true.  Battle.Net has an incredible number of subscribers.  And
Diablo 2 could be considered persistent, though world-state is not

> > it will raise the barrier to entry, but as of right now it will
> > not reinvent the genre and will therefore struggle like the rest
> > of the EQ clones.
> Except it's from Blizzard -- which is a huge, huge point for.  If
> it's released next year, it will likely be a better EQ than EQ, but
> backed by a huge company with a track record of making incredibly
> successful and popular games.  If people are tired of EQ by then or
> just want something new, they may just migrate to it naturally.

I believe they will.  If Blizzard has one thing going for it it's
popularity.  People buy Blizzard games by the name alone.  It will be
interesting to see how they pull off a MMORPG.  They have a broad appeal
to what I'd consider the console gaming crowd.  I'll be interested to see
how Squaresoft's Final Fantasy MMORPG does as well.


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