[MUD-Dev] Star Wars Galaxies: 1 character per server

Koster Koster
Wed Jan 1 18:35:18 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


From: Michael Tresca

> I've argued this point before, but to put it briefly: there are
> large scale dynamics used to govern populations in existence now.
> I work for a Fortune 5 company.  I know how it works.  It's worked
> for years.  MMORPGs are refusing to embrace the peoplepower and
> expense necessary to govern their populations.  Thus, anarchy and
> chaos ensues.

No, no, no. You can't just make uch a statement, you have to
EXPLAIN.  Describe the methods. :)

> You CAN scale that intimate experience.  It just takes a lot of
> investment to do it and right now, it's not cost effective because
> everyone was caught up in the gold rush.  That's coming to an end
> and more personalized, "mature" MMORPGs are on the horizon.

We're a little bit away. We're getting very close to defining the
"minimum feature set" for an MMORPG. Sadly, it's largish and
expensive and nobody has actually built one yet. But I can see it
happening within five to ten years.  What will end up having to give
is probably profit margins (most commodities have razor thin
margins). As the minimum feature set becomes commodified, there will
be real danger of excessive market consolidation. The key things
that will then set apart the MMORPGs are setting and theme and minor
innovations.

Consider the cop show. Many argue that the minimum feature set for
the standard police procedural drama was not developed until "Hill
Street Blues." Everything since has been variations on a theme. The
differences between Homicide, NYPD Blue, CSI, and Boomtown are
instructive, because they all share the same core common elements,
and vary using setting, theme, presentation, and other such
relatively minor details. I think this is what people mean when they
say we're heading for niches.

MMORPGs aren't there yet. Part of the problem is that the budgets
and profit margins haven't balanced out yet. That minimum feature
set game probably costs around $50 million, but nobody wants to
swallow that yet.

-Raph

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