Brad McQuaid posted something he wrote about instancing over at GamerGod and it kicked of a pretty good debate on the forums there. I decided to put down some thoughts I have and I hope they make some sense.
There is a group of customers for just about any type of MMOG. World of Warcraft (WoW) has tapped into what I would call the “main stream” MMOG market. Just like a blockbuster movie that cost a lot to make and is making a lot more back, WoW cost a lot to make and is making a lot more back. Blockbusters get people excited about the genre and opens more doors. Blizzard did a service to the MMOG industry by being the success they are. Who can deny this?
Sure, they could have failed and it would have hurt the industry, for a while anyway. But they didn’t.
Now, there are also people out there with a lot of spare time and they are willing to play a video game for most of that spare time. For them, Vanguard should fit them nicely. Ain’t nothing wrong with it either. Does that mean there are no catassers playing WoW? I can state for a fact that they are. I know some of them. They play WoW almost every day for 6+ hours. How? Why? Don’t ask me as I’m not one of them. They have been level 60 for a long, long time and still find something fun to do. I didn’t make it past level 32. When will a game come along for me? I think the grind in WoW is too long. Laugh at that one.
For me personally, I like instancing. I don’t have a lot of spare time so being able to enjoy content is important. Fighting other players just to get to my content is not rewarding for me. It does not make me think back fondly on my quest. I am one of those who feel entitled to the content. I bought some entertainment, so entertain me dammit. PvP is not for me. Am I a majority or a minority? I first encountered instancing in Anarchy Online and it is part of what kept me playing that game so long. I didn’t think about it, I just played. I didn’t have to wonder if someone would be camping my mission, I knew nobody would be.
I don’t need or want some super-involved deep rich experience. Others do. That is the glory of diversity. Vanguard will have it’s audience and that is good. I won’t be one of them, but should I care? No. I wish there were more people making different types of games. WoW has it’s audience and that is good. I think WoW did a fantastic job. They set their goal and reached it. I think it will be around for a long time and I don’t think the majority of their players will abandon it any time soon. Still, they will probably pick up new players as fast as old ones leave.
No matter what, the MMOG industry is still small (yes it’s a niche market, cry me a river) in comparison. The only games that failed in my opinion so far are Earth & Beyond and Asheron’s Call 2. The rest are still going. Many of them, while small, are still growing. Look at EVE Online for example. The Dominating World of Warcraft came along and what happened to EVE? It got more players. In fact, they have set record after record for their number of users playing.
So all this is just to say, nobody is 100% right and nobody is 100% wrong. It’s all opinions and likes and dislikes. WoW is and will continue to be a success by the goals they have for it. Many people will play it and be happy. Vanguard will likely be successful by it’s goals. Many people will play it and be happy.
I’m just one of those people that won’t put up with a lot of crap in a game to have some fun. Fun is defined by the player, not by the dev. If I do not have fun in your game I will leave. Simple as that.
I’m thankful that Brad and Raph are so upfront with what their goals are. It allows me to know that I won’t enjoy anything they are currently working on. If I cannot get anything fun and meaningful done in 4-6 hours a week, I don’t want to give you my money. I’m a gamer that grew up and got married and has kids and found out that gaming is not my life like I once thought it was. I look back at some of the stupid things I did in order to play in the past with regret. If only I could have seen what I was missing.