My Late Night WoW Theory

I believe: The majority of the players in World of Warcraft are first-time MMO players. We all know how hard it is to leave that first MMO, and the popularity of WoW makes it even harder because it’s not about the game as much as it is about the people you have met.

I believe: The majority of those first-time WoW players will eventually realize how much time they have “lost” playing WoW and will not move on to another MMO when they do finally decide to quit WoW.

I believe: New MMOs will not have a lot of success targeting the first-time WoW players and will have to rely mostly on people new to the MMO genre as well as the old-school MMO players that try them all hoping to find “The One”.

I believe: The first-time MMO players that do leave WoW for another MMO will have a very hard time finding another MMO to equal their first and will not give new MMOs much of a chance unless they dramatically improve on the WoW gameplay experience.

– Ethic

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Ethic

I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

11 thoughts on “My Late Night WoW Theory”

  1. Nice theory. I think you’re totally correct. I remember how hard it was for me to leave my first MMO. I was like but.. but.. I put so much time in… I can’t just leave… all that effort will be for nothing. Unfortunately learning that it’s never a late to quit is a lesson that doesn’t just effect first time MMO players. You can’t teach someone that lesson either, they have to learn it on their own. It’s all about willpower ;)

    But yeah, MMOG companies should target new MMO players and not the WoW audience.

  2. >> I believe: The majority of the players in World of Warcraft are first-time MMO players. We all know how hard it is to leave that first MMO, and the popularity of WoW makes it even harder because it’s not about the game as much as it is about the people you have met. <> I believe: The majority of those first-time WoW players will eventually realize how much time they have “lost” playing WoW and will not move on to another MMO when they do finally decide to quit WoW. <> I believe: New MMOs will not have a lot of success targeting the first-time WoW players and will have to rely mostly on people new to the MMO genre as well as the old-school MMO players that try them all hoping to find “The One”. <> I believe: The first-time MMO players that do leave WoW for another MMO will have a very hard time finding another MMO to equal their first and will not give new MMOs much of a chance unless they dramatically improve on the WoW gameplay experience. <<

    Got to agree with you on this because it seems completely reasonable to me. WoW set a high bar for wide appeal, solid gameplay and overall polish. Why should we expect WoW players to move to new MMOs if the new games don’t “dramatically improve on the WoW gameplay experience”?

    I call BS on the idea that WoW players are too finicky and inexperienced to appreciate anything other than WoW. In fact, I think there’s a significant segment of WoW and ex-WoW players ready for a change. We saw lots of WoW players jump on AoC and now Warhammer as soon as they came out. Yes, I think some percentage of these players returned to WoW because they missed their “home.” But I also think a bunch went back to WoW because they had legitimate issues with one or more aspects of new products’ gameplay.

    I don’t think WoW is perfect or invulnerable to competition at all. They have a wide appeal, but that leaves a lot of room for smaller games with more of a niche focus — those games just have to accept they’re not going to have 11 million customers. And while WoW has deep pockets that allow them to add and polish their content, its also an aging known quantity. Eventually, someone is going to beat WoW at it’s own game too, but only by coming out with a game that is better than WoW. As it should be.

  3. Epic fail on me posting my reply :)

    I’ll try this again.

    ————–

    I believe: The majority of the players in World of Warcraft are first-time MMO players. We all know how hard it is to leave that first MMO, and the popularity of WoW makes it even harder because it’s not about the game as much as it is about the people you have met.

    ————–

    Your first statement makes sense given how much WOW expanded the MMO player population. But your second one glosses over the fact that the quality of an MMO also has a major impact on player subscriptions and retention. Competitors can’t blame everything on players being too inexperienced or infatuated with WoW to give them a a fair shake.

    —————–

    I believe: The majority of those first-time WoW players will eventually realize how much time they have “lost” playing WoW and will not move on to another MMO when they do finally decide to quit WoW.
    —————-

    Why do you want to believe this? Why would WoW players be any more remorseful about “wasting” time than any other kind of MMO player? Isn’t it equally likely that eventually something else will dominate the market and most of the WoW players will move to it (just like EQ players moved to WoW)?

    ———————

    I believe: New MMOs will not have a lot of success targeting the first-time WoW players and will have to rely mostly on people new to the MMO genre as well as the old-school MMO players that try them all hoping to find “The One”.

    I believe: The first-time MMO players that do leave WoW for another MMO will have a very hard time finding another MMO to equal their first and will not give new MMOs much of a chance unless they dramatically improve on the WoW gameplay experience.

    ————————

    WoW set a high bar for wide appeal, solid gameplay and overall polish.

    Why should we expect WoW players to move to new MMOs if the new games don’t “dramatically improve on the WoW gameplay experience”?

    I call BS on the idea that WoW players are too finicky and inexperienced to appreciate anything other than WoW. In fact, I think there’s a significant segment of WoW and ex-WoW players ready for a change. We saw lots of WoW players jump on AoC and now Warhammer as soon as they came out. Yes, I think some percentage of these players returned to WoW because they missed their “home.” But I also think a bunch went back to WoW because they had legitimate issues with one or more aspects of new products’ gameplay.

    I don’t think WoW is perfect or invulnerable to competition at all. They have a wide appeal, but that leaves a lot of room for smaller games with more of a niche focus — those games just have to accept they’re not going to have 11 million customers.

    And while WoW has deep pockets that allow them to add and polish their content, its also an aging known quantity. Eventually, someone is going to beat WoW at it’s own game too, but only by coming out with a game that is better than WoW. As it should be.

  4. For me WoW is quite good, but the best MMO ever was UO.
    Well, but after playing UO for 6 years, it gets old, as there’s not really new content available – and the grafics are horrible ;o)

    Well at first I disliked WoW and it’s gfx, but after a time of getting used to I like it, and I think that’s the main factor.

    People in general are lazy and don’t like to change things too much (specially guys are). Shure, not everyone is like that, but it’s a fact that most people are. So they won’t quit WoW for XYZ unless it offers “more value” in whatever way.
    Or, until Blizzard really screws up…
    However, there are still people who play UO today, after like 11 years? With WoW this might be the same proces – even tho they will loose people along the way, maybe the peak is not yet reached, but the day will come when sales go down for whatever reason (unless Blizzard releases WoW 2 before.) but that’s a natural process – that can only be prolonged with expansions for a certain time.

  5. I hear ya 100% on this theory.

    Personally, I hold EVE’s standards to every MMO, which is an impossible standard. Asking any mainstream MMO to have a single server and no level caps is crazy, but it is my #1 draw to EVE.

    I also know a vast number of my WoW friends who refuse to play any other MMO. Not even Jesus Christ himself will convince them otherwise.

    The rest fall into the “search for the perfect MMO”. My problem with them is they keep trying to ride the bleeding edge rather than waiting 6 months for a sink-or-swim verdict.

    My 2 cents
    ~Locke

  6. I think you hit the nail on the head. DAOC was my first MMO. It was very hard to leave, but WoW came out right when I was suffering healer burnout. WAR came out right when I was getting burned out on WoW, but I still have one foot in WoW. It is a good game, and an expansion is coming out. I will be checking it out.

  7. @Thallian
    Me either. I’d hate to think what would have become of me if WoW had of been my first MMO… I think I would still be playing, and not blogging. I’d also have no girlfriend or mates outside of work… Glad it never happened ;)

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