Brand Loyalty (was Re: [MUD-Dev] Requirements for MM(wasComplexities of MMOG Servers))

Damion Schubert damion at ninjaneering.com
Tue Jan 7 02:13:27 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


Matthew Dobervich
> Amanda Walker wrote:
 
>> Based knowing a number of people who went from
>> MUD->EQ->AC1->DAOC->AO->AC2->Neocron->?, I'm beginning to think
>> that "bolting to the next alternative" has become a game in and
>> of itself.  If you do well enough in game N, you get invited to
>> the beta for game N+1 ("the next level"), where you can be first
>> to do any number of things and race to the "end" before the taxi
>> meter starts...
 
>> In short, they are playing a growing MM LARP called "gank gaming
>> companies for free play" :-).
 
> I get a kick out of this point of view, that it's some great
> privilege to provide a company producing a persistent world free
> quality assurance work.

I get a kick out of it because it reminds me so much of the
'Dimension Hoppers' (i.e. Demons) in the Asprin myth universe.  Sue
me, I loved 'em when I was a kid.
 
> What I see in the number of people who "game hop" (I'm in this
> number BTW) is a commentary on the state of these worlds and how
> FAR they have to go to provide an alternative existence, because
> in the end, that's what they really have to offer.

And the ironic thing is that, if you hop and only see the beta
period of all the games, you will forever be disappointed.  Ultima
Online's feature set is probably three times today what it was when
it shipped.  Anarchy Online today is a world of different than it
was six months ago.  The Sims Online devs are right now learning a
ton of lessons about the really cool things about their game and
their audience, and those lessons will bear fruit in six months.
But the players who dimension-hop just the betas will never see the
fruit of these labors, just the slightly green-and-hard fruit that's
still clinging to the tree.

When we were working on UO2, I didn't worry at all about competing
with EverQuest 2.  They were an unknown.  No way to know what they'd
_really_ ship with after they went through schedule crunches, and no
way to know when they'd be pushed out the door.  I was much more
worried about competing with EverQuest and its mission packs.  Now,
judging from the sales of the Planes of Power compared to all the
new market entries, this was a good concern: EQ is now a stable,
mature product with a ton of content.  But the betahoppers are only
seeing unstable, immature worlds with a fraction of the content.
It's no wonder they are never satisfied.

--d

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