MMO Restaurants

I see this, and I cannot help but think of Anthony Bourdain’s view on restaurant changes.

By now, unsurprisingly, our restaurant was rapidly failing.  I began to see for the first time, what I would later recognize as Failing Restaurant Syndrome, an affliction that causes owners to flail about looking for a quick fix, a fast masterstroke that will “turn things around,” cure all their ills, reverse the already irreversible trend toward insolvency.  We tried New Orleans Brunch – complete with Dixiland band.  We tried a prix fixe menu, a Sunday night buffet; we advertised, we hired a publicist.  Each successive brainstorm was more counterproductive than the one before.  All of this floundering about and concept-tinkering only further demoralized an already demoralized staff.

I sincerely hope free-to-play Tier 1 in Warhammer Online brings an influx of new blood and success to Mythic.  My gut reaction, though, was not hopeful.

–Ravious
let’s call him Bigfoot

19 thoughts on “MMO Restaurants”

  1. Too bad the other 90% of this game blows major ass. God just give it up Mythic. Go free to play and save face while you can!

  2. It’s going to bring me in, for one. Tier 1 was pretty much completely entertaining. Tier 2 was fun. I unsubscribed in the middle of Tier 3.

    Unfortunately, Mythic giving me a handy free casual PvP game that I can play for a few hours in the late evening once or twice a week is very nice for me, but it’s not going to make them any money.

    Maybe they should hive Tier 1 off from the rest of the game, add an item shop and run it as a separate game altogether.

  3. One of my Marketing professors once told us a story about a fellow who opened a restaurant. The fellow did his homework & research, he knew his target demographic and he set up his menu to cater to the same, hired qualified staff, etc, then opened his restaurant…and watched sorrowfully as weeks went by, a few customers came & went, and his bank account grew ever smaller. His accountant strongly recommended that he sell the restaurant while he could still get some money for it and finally he did.

    The man felt so bad about seeing his life’s dream crash & burn that for months after the sale he deliberately avoided that part of town. Then, when he finally did pass by, he was amazed to see his former restaurant was not only still there but business was booming! The man went inside, found the owner, and asked him what he’d done, because as he looked around everything looked exactly the same as when he’d sold it. It had the same decor, the same staff, the same cooks were even preparing the same food.

    The new owner said he’d made just one change; he’d doubled the prices.

    That reminded me of another anecdote I read in the Reader’s Digest of a family whose dog had had puppies. For a week they had a sign out front “Puppies! Free to good home!” but nobody stopped by. Finally they changed the sign to read “Puppies! $100 each!” They sold the entire litter that day.

    Marketing is a fickle mistress. (And no, I don’t think doubling their subscription fee will save Warhammer ;)

    1. I make about $20.00 a month selling stuff on Second Life and this economic theory is pretty much a survival tactic in that arena. Sell it for X and you get a few sales a month, sell it for X++ and you get a few a week.

      Though, much like the MMO market, if your product is flawed, quickly produced or otherwise undesirable word spreads and not even “free!” will save it

      Irrelevant comment is irrelevant.

    2. it really depends, if you watch Kitchen Nightmares you see Gordon Ramsey has to contend with a lot of restaurant owners who tried that very tactic. His advice invariably is to lower prices and increase quality. (he also advises them to end any gimmicks such as above)

      Raising prices doesn’t give the illusion of class unless there is actually something there.

  4. I don’t think they are in the realm of “hey lookit me, lookit me” at all. Endless free trial is just another thing that was added in, not some panacea to fix the game’s problems.

    In fact, if you pay attention to the last couple of patches, they are “fix what’s fundamentally broken” instead of “zomg lookit the sexy stuff we’re doing”. The price paid is that WAR is essentially under the radar, written off by folks, but I’d rather have that than some crazy flailing around to try to attract attention.

    My guess is that they’re thinking WAR will spend a couple of months fixing fundamentals, and then make a grand announcement about something new and amazing designed to bring back players, just in time for the shine of new titles wearing off and with several core issues fixed – stability is greatly improved, class balance is much better in line, and the current issue is Tier 4 and endgame sieging, which is up next for future patches. WIll this strategy pan out? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s not one I can fault them for.

  5. When I have the time to download and play it again, I will. I think it’s an interesting move on their part. T1 and T2 were really fun. It’s basically a PVP twink model without the level locking mechanics in EQ2 and recently added to WOW. I’m assuming of course that you stop gaining XP or will you out level T1 and suddenly find yourself locked out of the Scenarios and ORVR? If you will get locked out then it sucks I won’t bother. I’ve already done T1 x 3, T2 x2, T3 and 50% T4 1 while paying.

  6. A permanent free trial area is brilliant. It lets people build social ties that keep them in the game, and lets casuals stay in touch with friends. It lowers the barrier to entry and reentry. More games should use this method. It’s not desperation, it’s late adoption of what should have been there from the very beginning.

    1. Then why don’t all AAA MMOs do this simple, yet brilliant thing? Because it costs more money than it would make them is the only Occam’s answer I can come up with.

      1. Why is the subscription rate pegged at $15? Why do AAA MMO games stick with DIKU Skinner mechanics? Why do they charge a box price and a subscription on top of that? Why do they require the end user to download several GB of data before even playing?

        Just because something has been done one way doesn’t mean it’s the best way. The market is changing. Not everyone can rely on inertia and habit of existing customers like WoW or EQ.

        This “simple, yet brilliant thing” has made money for DDO, W101 and Puzzle Pirates. Assuming it would cost others money isn’t so much an Occam’s answer as an implicit faith that the devs and business suits are omniscient. I simply say they are not, and that their obstinate adherence to old business models is unhealthy.

        1. I agree with the last part whole-heartedly. It’s just that I have kept up with Mythic’s updates, and it just seems like they are constantly tinkering (read: floundering). If, for example, LOTRO or WOW did something like this it would be significantly different. I don’t think you can take this business maneuver out of context.

  7. How is that everyone I ever spoke to thought DDO was not worth a dime for a monthly.

    Here it goes free and has some of the largest pops it has ever had yet. Oh, and increases subs 40%???

    Don’t under estimate the power of free. I keep telling Funcom that. Yet, Age of Conan is headed for a crash and burn like no ones business…

    Free would fix that.

    1. Yeah I didn’t extend my sub past the first month when it came out. But now that it’s free I have spent money in the DDO store,

      However it’s also true the game has vastly improved from when it first came out. I imagine this is a big part of it. If it were still the same game I wouldn’t bother playing even for free.

      Would I sub? No, but not because of the game but because I am never going to sub to another game again. After seeing free+store/microtransactions, it is perfect for the time I have and number of games I want to play.

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