[MUD-Dev] Changing Midstream (SWG's New Look)

Joe Ludwig joel at flyinglab.com
Tue Feb 21 11:00:07 New Zealand Daylight Time 2006


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Caliban Darklock
> Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 6:44 PM
> Is the MMO market today like the RPG market of the 80s?

These two types of products are very different.  With an RPG system
there is a tremendous investment in both money and time that makes you
want to stick with a system once you have a bunch of the books and have
familiarized all your friends with how to play it.  By putting out a
huge number of compatible products TSR was effectively locking everyone
in to AD&D.  WotC did the same thing in the early 90s with Magic: The
Gathering, and for the same reasons there are really no other CCGs that
anyone plays for long.  It's really hard to get everyone to spend
hundreds of dollars on new books or cards and then spend many hours
fighting the learning curve.

The financial cost of getting into an MMO is very small.  You usually
have to pay $40-50 for a box, followed by $15/month.  Some games are
even cheaper and have no up front cost at all.  There _is_ a big time
investment in MMO games, but it seems to be dropping.  It takes a lot
less time to max out a character in WoW or CoH than it did in AC1, EQ1,
or DAoC. The time investment in MMO games is also tied to a specific
shard, not globally to the game. These games release expansions too, but
instead of the several-expansions-per-month rate that TSR was going at
in the 80s, they seem to max out at 2 paid expansions a year or 4-6 free
ones.  Learning how to play a new MMO is significantly easier than
learning how to play a new pen and paper RPG.  

Many gamers enjoy figuring out new games and exploring new settings.
For those gamers there is a tremendous drive to switch games.  They
couldn't convince all their friends to switch from AD&D (or M:tG)
because of the size of the investment, but seem to be able to convince
those same friends to try out new MMO games.  Eventually the people of
this sort who are playing WoW are going to leave, and they are going to
take their friends with them.  Maybe they'll all go to the same game,
since there are certainly benefits to playing with your friends, but it
seems just as likely that they will spread out and go to a bunch of
different games the way they did when the same thing happened to EQ1.


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