Friday, June 3, 2011

Open Request to MMO Developers

Hi, I'm a gamer.  More specifically, I'm a pretty invested MMORPG gamer.  I consider myself reasonably typical, or at least typical enough to be representative of a decent portion of the MMO gaming population.  Undoubtedly NOT a majority, but probably enough to support an MMO at a decent level.

Please, please, PLEASE stop making so many fantasy MMORPGs.  I think there are something like 376 either coming out this year or currently in beta.  They're all essentially the same.  The vast majority of them will never see a dime from me.  I'm sick to death of them.  If I want a fantasy MMO, guess what?  I can already get my fantasy MMO fix in almost any flavor I can imagine, and quite frequently for free.  All you developers announcing your hot new fantasy MMO are wasting your time.

Make something else.  Anything else.  Kudos to Funcom for the Secret World.  The game may end up sucking, but at least it sounds interesting.  At least it's different.  I'll at least give Bioware a golf clap for Star Wars: The Old Republic.  It may end up being a reskinned fantasy MMORPG, but at least it looks different and is trying a few new things.

I've already beaten the sci-fi thing to death, so I'll leave it be, but what about a modern warfare MMORPG?  An economic based world-wide sea trading MMO?  Steampunk?  Gothic horror?  Shadowrun?  Robotech? A football MMO where you play an individual player?  I mean, come on!  I could probably think of 20 games given half an hour, and yet the industry continues to churn out fantasy game after fantasy game after fantasy game.  The market is saturated.  Let it go already.  I understand all the most successful MMOs have been fantasy ones.  You're not going to steal that market from WoW.

Seriously, if you HAVE to do yet another fantasy MMO, can you at least do something different with it?  Make it a dragon wars setting where everyone rides around on dragons all the time.  Set the game in the realm of the fae and have players take on the roles of light and dark sidhe battling it out for supremacy.

Just . . just do something new.  Geez.


  1. I have the answer to all your prayers right below this comment.


  2. Bah, you're trolling my blog now!?

    Don't make me write to Bioware about how wonderful Dragon Age 2 was and that they should make 3 just like that only with more action and less story!

    I'll do it, just you watch!


  3. I still want a steampunk MechWarrior MMO. Perpetuum is decent, but just not the same.

  4. The truth is, there's been a wide variety of MMOs created in the past. But, they don't always get the attention they deserve, and thus make it harder to make a compelling business case to the people who write checks that making this type of game is a good idea.

    but what about a modern warfare MMORPG?

    World War 2 Online: Battleground Europe

    Battlefield Heroes

    Maybe not quite modern warfare, but lackluster support for this type of game makes it hard to make a case for going up against a big, popular single-player franchise like Modern Warfare 2. However, Activision did just announce a subscription system for Call of Duty, so maybe an MMO version isn't far off. But, Planetside showed that FPS fans were kinda vocal about not wanting to deal with subscriptions.

    An economic based world-wide sea trading MMO?

    I was lead designer on an MMO version of the Anno/A.D. series a few years ago. The project was canceled when the company that owned the property was sold to Ubisoft without keeping a license to actually do the MMO version. Obviously there wasn't enough motivation to keep the project going.



    Gothic horror?

    CCP/WhiteWolf is doing a World of Darkness MMO due sometime in the indeterminate future. There's also a few Facebook "MMO"s, but I suspect they're more of the sparky vampire than the tortured soul types.


    The Shadowrun has some interesting complications, not to mention it was the setting for a pretty terrible FPS back near the launch of Windows Vista that required DirectX 10 (and thus Vista) to play.

    If you like that type of setting, though, Neocron might be up your alley.


    There used to be a Multiplayer BattleTech that ran back before Kesmai got absorbed and dismantled by EA. Supposedly there was a sequel, but EA killed it before launch.

    A football MMO where you play an individual player?

    Football Superstars

    Okay, so that's European football (aka soccer here in the U.S.), but the game exists. Maybe you prefer a more American sport? Ultimate Baseball Online was around for a while.

    The point is a lot of games exist. Maybe you'll complain that the games I point out aren't exactly what you are looking for, or aren't quite polished enough for you. My point is that a new type of MMO game that requires tens if not millions of hundreds of millions of dollars to create isn't going to come out of nowhere. If there aren't enough fanatics about a type of game to blow the doors off of a small game, it's unlikely that there's going to be enough people to provide the millions of players that a triple-A MMO needs to survive in today's market. If you really want to see any of these types of games made, you have to look for them, support them, get your friends playing them. Then, and only then, will you see the major MMO developers create these games.

    Otherwise you have to wait for dreamers like me to convince an investor to take a chance and support a crazy idea like user-developed storytelling in an MMO setting. Wish us luck. :)

  5. Maybe they could add Engineers into a fantasy setting. Players would go wild for it! ;-)

  6. "An economic based world-wide sea trading MMO?"

    Uncharted Waters Online:

    A lengthy review posted on Scott Jennings' forum:

  7. Thanks for the feedback all. Just as an FYI, I'm not ignoring comments, I just don't access the blog all that much since I do it from work :P

    @Brian 'Psychochild' Green - I do wish you luck. And I have tried some of those, and am interested in some of the others that are coming. This post was labeled as a 'rant' and was not intended to be comprehensive :) Of course there have been games out there that didn't fit the mold, it just seems like 97% of upcoming games are standard fantasy MMOs.

    Oh, and for the record, I don't play sports games :P I was pulling examples out of my ass there.