Recent discussion of WoW tourists brings to mind the problem of all tourists: “let’s go somewhere different and whine about how things are not like they were back home. The food here is funny. The toilets are weird. They act like they don’t even speak English.”
The tourists go looking for virgin wilderness, something pristine and untouched. Then they leave tire tracks, litter, and poo; they call for modern conveniences, ideally heated cabins with indoor plumbing and room service; they mock the locals as yokels and wonder why they are not friendlier.
Immigrants are worse. “California has become unlivable, what with the high taxes, intrusive government, high cost of living, and weird neighbors. Let’s move to Montana, where costs are lower, then vote for laws to make it more civilized like California.” Of course, California has its own immigrants who are fleeing the corrupt Mexican government and the economy it has despoiled; they can vote too.
Not that I know western politics, but I do know whiners. There are millions of WoW players who are looking for the next WoW. It will be just like WoW, only better. There will be new and exciting things to discover, but do not make them learn something new or harder. The game should be completely soloable with no downtime, with great group content and opportunities to form bonds in your guild, where guilds are vitally important to the world but in no way required for advancement, where all eleven million players can have a meaningful impact on the world but no one can negatively affect my experience. And it should be free to play.
They infest the forums during beta. They complain that they are not all in the beta, that too many people are let in, that any later tourists are not real fans. The game is a ripoff of WoW, the game is not enough like WoW, the game is missing the One Thing that made WoW a big success. Then they do not buy it.
Some do buy it. They play for a month and mostly complain. There are not enough servers for the game, everything is laggy, add more. Then they all quit, leaving half-empty servers. They mock the dying game, server merges lol. Every improvement shows how horrible the game was at release. Every problem shows how horrible the game still is.
In some ways, they bring the lowest common denominator. The game must satisfy all eleven million of us. If you do not get more than a million players, you are a failure. Make sure the game is fun for everyone, and if that middle mush is fun for no one, l2develop noob.
In some ways, they bring higher standards. You are being compared to Blizzard. Say what you want about how WoW was at release, you are being compared to how WoW is right now, because they could spend their $15 there right now. Let someone else pay for beta. You need a polished product with a large amount of fun content. If you fail to bring your A game, the flash in the pan will try to consume you.
That might not be bad. If A Tale in the Desert had 100,000 players subscribe for a month, that could pay for the rest of the game’s lifespan, assuming Teppy did not blow all the money on fine cigars. I do not think the game would be playable that month, but maybe they have really good server architecture. They could afford to rebuild afterwards.
Locusts and lemmings. They exhaust their food sources and swarm. They devour everything in their path and keep moving. Even if they wanted to stop and smell the roses, they would be trampled to death by the mass behind them. Press on, press on, in search of virgin lands to despoil. If they come to a cliff, the back of the swarm does not know it (press on!): you in the front, leap or get out of the way! Lemmings can swim, so they press on through the waters, hoping for better lands ahead.
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.