Lifecycle of an MMORPG

Lifecycle of an MMORPG

Shortest horror story ever: The last man on earth is sitting in a cabin. There’s a knock at the door.

Developers react by attempting to make it easier for new players to join in. They offer extra equipment, incentives for subscribing to the game, and will decrease the difficulty of low-level zones so new players can level more quickly. This widens the gap between “noobs” and older players, who take pride in having “come up the hard way.” Regardless of their achievements, noobs are scorned.

As new players appear, old players become more truculent until the noob population begins to decrease in the face of significant abuse.

This is the beginning of the end. It heralds a decision that every developer eventually makes: They stop catering to old players and now focus on getting in as many new players as possible. They then introduce a cash-for-credit store. In this store, new equipment is available for real money. It increases game revenue and lets noobs buy their way to the top so there is no apparent difference between old and new players.

The immediate fallout of this decision is inchoate fury among old players, who feel that their countless hours of work getting to where they currently are have been rendered moot. Some stay on for nostalgia’s sake, or maybe because they’re in a good guild where they get to socialize, but at this point the long-term players are really just waiting for another MMORPG to be released that they can play to start the cycle all over again.

Lifecycle of an MMORPG

“I am not economically viable.”

The game itself will stay running, featuring disheartened old-timers and newcomers both overwhelmed by the size of the game and rendered lonely because no one else seems to be playing. To boost players, the very last straw is to waive the monthly subscription fee. Now utterly reliant on the cash-for-credit revenue, developers are not putting any work into the game, only keeping it up to maintain some modicum of interest among the public while developers are busy working on their next MMORPG. The game, though free for players, is dead. Passing players may give it a try out of curiosity (what do they have to lose now?) but it’s been largely abandoned by serious gamers and developers alike.

And so have died all the great MMORPGs of the past. Unless greater understanding between player and developer can be established, so will die all the great MMORPGs of the future.

Lifecycle of an MMORPG

They all end up there eventually.

 

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About The Author

John Richard "Chrysophase" Albers
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John Richard Albers, an author, armchair psychologist, amateur historian, freelance, peacemaker, dragonslayer, warmaster, and part-time herald of the apocalypse, hunts ghosts when he isn't hunting crazy people. He holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and English Literature, is working toward a degree in parapsychology, and is acting CEO of Prior to Print Proofreading LLC, where he gets to torture editors instead of them torturing him for once.

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