What we might be playing after WoW

Larisa posts about the heart and soul of branding and the kind of work the WoW guys are doing to keep an old brand alive  (I never actually thought marketing people cared about anything but now I’m going to feel bad about every time I’ve passed up an aging brand in favour of something new).

I did momentarily feel a pang of sympathy, but I do struggle to see WoW as any kind of underdog in any sense at all. But for all that, I think future studies will centre on the amazing job that Blizzard have done to keep the game new and fresh and appealing. There are so many things to love about Wrath and despite the bum notes (like the whole of patch 3.2) Blizzard do know how to make fun games.

Sadly, my sympathetic side lasted all of about 5 minutes … which was the time it took me to go check out the Guild Wars 2 trailer. SHINY. Armoured bears and giant robots? Sign me up please. And again I stab Blizzard’s  poor marketing peons in the heart  with my shallow, fickle and feckless consumerist ways. (Sorry, Larisa.) If you weren’t excited yet, Ravious@Kill Ten Rats discusses some of the ways in which the Guild Wars 2 team plan to change questing and make it a more dynamic and involving experience. I do wonder why they’re so obsessed with using ships as bridges though, Isembard Kingdom Brunel might have had a word or two to say about that.

Here’s a more expansive Eurogamer article about the game and what lies in store for players.

And if that wasn’t enough, I then spotted the Final Fantasy XIV trailer. FFXIVcore.com snagged an interview with Square Enix at Gamescom this week to talk to them some more about their plans. Nothing really revolutionary here (other than running on a PS3) but they’re clear on their target market. It’s to be a PvE game, subscription based, with plenty of content for both casual and hardcore players that builds on what they learned with FFXI.

So that’s at least two games coming down the pipeline that might appeal to people who enjoy WoW at the moment. The Everquest team have also been dropping hints that they are working on a next generation version of Everquest, plus of course there’s whatever secret MMO project Blizzard are working on.

I can’t remember a time when I’ve been so upbeat about what the future holds for MMOs. And this is discounting all the free to play games in production, and the non-fantasy games, and the FPS or fighter type MMOs.

As far as other games go, Hudson has a collection of  gameplay trailers and videos debuted at Gamescom this week and it reads like a list of ‘Games Spinks might want to play’ so I’m hyped. (and not a single WW2 shooter among them.) How about you?

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13 thoughts on “What we might be playing after WoW

  1. Awww… Where GC&co just worth five minutes of sympathy? Couldn’t you at least have given them the BlizzCon Weekend? You’re so coldhearted! :)
    But yeah, I’m probably reading way to much into the situation. But then our relationship to brands is far from rational. It’s as much about emotions as about sensibility.
    Maybe there will come a new brand that I will swear my loyalty to one day. But we’re definitely not there yet.

    • 5 minutes of sympathy and about 3 years worth of subs :) And I’m not done with it yet.

      I also think you can swear loyalty to a new brand without totally abandoning an old one. (I know I’ve stopped playing WoW for months at a time to do something else and come back to it later, for example.) And in some ways, a lot of these new games are also relying on brand loyalty to their predecessors to get some buzz out there. WoW did that too, by appealing to fans of Warcraft. Final Fantasy is a great example of this — part of their selling point is going to be to people who like Final Fantasy games.

  2. If I’ll ever play another MMORPG it will be a game without the possibility to do any PvP.

    No stupid faction champions (downed after second try but still, fun is something else). No Wintergrasp to get an epic hat with hit on it. No PvP flagging to do a holiday event to get a reward which can only be used in PvE (the drake).

    Final Fantasy is PvE only?

  3. The thing is there’s been game after game that people have been convinced will break WoW and…

    nothing.

    They’ve all ended up the same way. Shattered and broken at WoW’s feet. Desperately begging for subscribers because in many respects, they miss the point.

    Now I do find Aion interesting but mainly in the sense it’s the first Asian Style MMO, which really are a distinct genre all their own, to come out in english with a modern WoW style set up as opposed to the EQ descendents of Lineage 2, for example. Also…it’s pretty.

    • I’m not saying that any of these will be WoW-killers, that would be silly.

      But for people who might be getting bored with WoW in the next year or so, there are some neat next gen fantasy MMOs on the way, from experienced teams, that will have something to offer.

  4. From this trailer you got more interested in FFXIV? o_O

    He’s fighting overweight chicken on a mainly boring green background..

    So yeah, while they might one day be interesting, that trailer did not do anything for me but say, “Uhm, no thanks”.

    • The cool thing about the trailer to my mind is that the thing is actually in an alpha type playable state (or at least enough to make a demo showing actual play).

  5. Admittedly, I am extrapolating from my own history here, but, I think, the continued growth of WoW happens, in no negligible parts, thanks to those very “WoW-killers”. Those games do a great job in plumbing new corners of potential audience, luring people into MMOs with some special feature (like being based on a specific IP).

    After a while, people may tire of that particular feature, or find other flaws impacting their experience. And then they hear of that big behemoth everyone and their pet is playing, give it a try, and, huh, it’s not that bad. And while zealots write rants about “WoW tourists” (it needs to be someone’s FAULT, after all, right? Someone needs to be GUILTY!), Blizzard adds another million to their subscription numbers, and another “killer” settles for mediocrity.

  6. Meh. FFXIV looks like it might be interesting and do some cool things for MMO game design, but I’m still not ponying up for any subscription game. I wish them well, and hope that what changes they bring to the table wind up profitable, and I would actually enjoy playing with their mechanics… but not at that price.

    I guess I’ll settle for being happy with innovation in game design. :)

    • I am not yet convinced that non-sub games will actually work out cheaper for someone who is interested in competitive endgame (I don’t mean hardcore players, just wanting to do it without large disadvantage).

      Guild Wars seems to be an outlier in that respect. And I haven’t seen any of the F2P games using their model.

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