[MUD-Dev] BIZ: MMP subscriber numbers

Rudy Fink rudyfink at rice.edu
Sun Apr 6 18:56:49 New Zealand Standard Time 2003


szii at sziisoft.com wrote:
> From: "Diamonds" <diamonds at unknownplayer.com>

> Anyway, back on topic.  I wouldn't look for a mass exodus, or huge
> drops in numbers.  The social types already have a comfortable
> slot in prior games and may log on to chat.  The achievers will
> keep their achievement chars at last for a while.  The Explorers
> will keep their history and travels alive until they're sure they
> can be fully immersed a new world for a long time.  The Killers
> will keep their accounts open for the history, reputation and
> variety if they tire of some new pvp system.  There will be people
> leaving EQ, but it's pretty well entrenched at this point in time
> and people are wary of new games after the last few "EQ killers"
> which have been released.

I largely agree with the conclusion, but I disagree to some level
about the reasoning.  The bulk of people I've seen quit/retire from
EQ have done so out of being tired/bored with the game.  When asked
their hesitation about starting a new game has largely been either
"I am burnt out; why would I do this again" or "nothing out there
holds my interest".  Some of these people won't come back for
anything, but my feeling is there is a sizable pool of current and
former players looking for the "next great thing".  I think that the
game that meets the high standards of former EQ players will benefit
greatly from the existing social networks between players.  The
biggest hold-back will be in persuading players to write off their
extensive EQ play and progress as a sunk cost.  I think this
restriction will be less compelling when something appetizing
presents itself and former/current friends make the shift.

As an aside, EQ does allow for basically unlimited player
advancement through AA, but that same open-endedness does a good
deal to kill the game imo.  I say this because it provides an
increasingly higher bar for people to participate.  Power gamers and
long time players pull away forever from those at the lower end.  A
quick look over http://www.eqrankings.com (rankings of EQ player
statistics, generally a self-selection of elite tier players)
illustrates how big a discrepancy there is in the hi and low of EQ.
In short I feel that there is a danger in setting unlimited
advancement as it seems to price participation out of reach for the
majority.  This problem is compounded with a design (like EQ's) that
is structured so that advancement and experience are far easier to
obtain the higher one rises.  I think the result of this system is
disinterest and boredom at the top and a basically untennable cost
to particpate at the lower end.  This advancement cost is still
present at the upper end, since a contiunally upward bar requires
players to consume exp even to stay at the same level of
participation.
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