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Age of Conan's "Kinda" Launch and Massive Pre-Orders 582

While some are already enjoying the joys of Age of Conan via the early launch, many more will soon be enjoying the fruits of Funcom's labor. An amazing 700,000 copies of the game are being shipped to retailers for day one sales and in some locations pre-orders will not be filled due to server limitations. Between this and the new Warhammer game on the way, should Blizzard be worried, or will Wrath of the Lich King continue to hold their competitive edge?
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Age of Conan's "Kinda" Launch and Massive Pre-Orders

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  • WoW's peaked. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Monday May 19, 2008 @01:50PM (#23464718) Journal
    I think there is definitely room for something new; a lot of people have been talking about WoW's mass market appeal and it's true that it has a great mass market appeal. It's definitely brought the cult of MMORPG to a much wider audience. I wonder how many people though, have really thought through the implications of that?

    The most common implication I've seen tossed about is the whole "WoW has dumbed down MMO's forever, and oh, how I long for the EQ/UO good old days." There is something to that; certainly WoW showed MMO publishers how to make a product that's friendly to the masses. In this case, it's "defer all the annoying repetitive grind until the endgame", rather than forcing you to do it during the leveling process.

    What it also did was pull a huge number of non-MMO players into the mix...Players who've picked up the basic skills, and maxed out a half dozen characters, and are now bored to tears with WoW's pointless and repetitive endgame grindfest. For all that it's different from what came before, it's still pretty typical, and lessons learned in WoW will transfer quickly to other MMOs.

    Basically, they created the ultimate MMO gateway drug. Now a lot of new products are hitting the market, and I think WoW will see a lot of defections as players who've hit the upper limit and gotten everything it's possible to get in the game, start looking for a new challenge and a less happy candy colored world.
  • PvP games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shawnmchorse ( 442605 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @01:52PM (#23464732) Homepage
    Just based on the fact that it's a PvP oriented game, I know I'm not really going to be interested in it. Same goes for Warhammer. As someone who has much more fun in PvE play, I appreciate games where I can expect that there won't be huge changes made based on PvP concerns.
  • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @01:58PM (#23464816)
    WoW fills an enormous niche. A game like Conan, no matter how great, will likely find it isn't even competing in the same market.

    WoW runs on crap hardware. When something like 95% of your customer base is a "casual" player, that's an important (of not the important) feature. The shitty $400 Laptop or $300 PC you bought from WalMart will probably give you a satisfactory experience playing WoW, and it's likely that the vast, vast majority of WoW's customer's are running on low-end machines. Conan doesn't even have a shot at those customers. They can't even run the game if they wanted to.

    If you want to de-throne WoW, you've got to build a well marketed, feature and content rich MMO that runs on today's low-end machines. Otherwise you are selling to a much smaller market than Blizzard.

    This is nothing new for Blizzard, either. All their games have always been targeted at low-end (mainstream) machines. And they always sell like crazy. This isn't a coincidence.
  • Re:REMEMBER BNETD! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:03PM (#23464890) Journal
    > Blizzard does not allow mods like Valve does.

    Refresh my memory, which MMO does Valve run?
  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:08PM (#23464964) Journal
    Too much leisure time is one thing, but most people blow some time on pursuits that are purely pleasure, and WoW is no better or worse than most of those. I used to play WoW; I played a lot during a period where I was freelancing and doing contract work. Played a lot less when I started in on a full time job. Less still when my first kid came along.

    If I can find time to play WoW, have a full time job, a kid, and a social life, what's the problem? People always treat it like there is some character flaw in playing an MMO, but they ignore the fact that the person'd be playing some other game, reading a trashy novel, or slacking in front of the TV.
  • Re:PvP games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KevMar ( 471257 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:09PM (#23464970) Homepage Journal
    People are looing for the next wow killer. The new products know they can not fight with Blizzard directly. But what they can do is make more targeted MMORPGs that can pick up where wow leaves off. WoW can be the gateway drug that gets people addicted.

    AoC and War focus on the PvP side and look to build a solid base that wants that. They will have PvE elements, but if you are a real PvE'r keep looking. AoC does have a good quest system and pulls you into the story. The shinning element is the seige PvP for AoC. If that fails, the game will die. If AoC fails at raid PvE content, few people will care and will be willing to wait for them to get it right.

    WoW does alot and it reaches alot of people. These other games can target a select group and shift the game to their needs. WoW has PvP, but it is forced and added on late in the game. Thats why AoC and War are targeting those parts of the game. WoW has a lot of players asking for more when it comes to PvP.
  • by bleh-of-the-huns ( 17740 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:18PM (#23465064)
    I know this was a factor for myself, atleast in the late 20's early 30's age category.

    I played EQ for 7+ years from early beta, I played EQ2 for abit too, but ended up playing DAoC for abit before moving to WoW. I spend years, thousands of hours, played in the lead horde guild for that time, and got completely burnt out just before the first expansion pack came along.. with multi characters all at level 60....

    Once I quit, I have not started a new game, and do not plan to, and I am sure I am not the only one... Those of us who started playing in our late teens early 20's, have probably had enough, especially those of us who finally have families or significant others who demand our attentions, and real life things like going out, playing sports (I mountain Bike) and hobbies (I woodwork), I would just not have time for a game, hell I barely play my Wii or Xbox (original) anymore, I just do not have the time.
  • What's the appeal? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drsquare ( 530038 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:18PM (#23465066)
    OK, I downloaded the trial of World of Warcraft a few days ago to see what all the fuss is about. The game seems to work as thus:

    1. You see a mob walking around.
    2. You right click on it, you fire a few arrows at it, it runs towards you, you automatically fight it.
    3. It dies, you get some xp.
    4. Do it a few more times and level.
    5. Goto 1.

    I got up to level 6, and that seems to be all the game really has. You get more powerful with each level, and better equipment, and can fight more dangerous things, but the game's still exactly the same. Instead of clicking on a level 1 boar, you click on a level 6 scorpion or something. Does it actually get more fun when you get to the really high levels? The combat system is awful, worse than Golden Axe which is like twenty years old. All this modern technology and it's like playing an old text-based MUD: "you hit the boar for 10 points of damage, the boar hits you for 5 points of damage etc."

    It's very slow walking around, and there isn't much of interest to look at. There are a couple of small villages, some dirt tracks, and not much else.

    Quests seem to be either:
    1. Kill ten things, bring its drops back.
    2. Carry something from one place to another.

    Apparently this is the greatest ever MMO, ten million players, bigger than Jesus etc. and I was completely underwhelmed. The graphics are pretty uninspiring, the world is a bland orange with no real features or vegetation: you sort of expect roadrunner to go past at any moment. NPCs just stand around doing nothing other than giving you quests, other players don't even talk to you, it's like playing a single player game.

    I tried Everquest 2, which is pretty much exactly the same game but with better graphics and a worse interface. Are all MMOs like this? If so I really don't see why they carry so much interest.
  • by mdm-adph ( 1030332 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:20PM (#23465090)
    ...I don't think Blizzard has anything to worry about (1.7Mhz P4, 512MB RAM, 32MB Geforce 2 -- 20-30 FPS). WoW plays wonderfully on integrated video -- it's one of the few games that does.
  • Re:Beat WoW? What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Endo13 ( 1000782 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:24PM (#23465140)
    You're absolutely right. I myself finally quit playing WoW, but it's a pretty safe bet they got 10 new subs at the same time to replace mine. Their number of subs is still increasing. Ten million and counting (if not 11 mil by now). I wish there were another better MMO coming soon to replace WoW, but there's not. Nothing anywhere on the radar will even make a dent. AoC and Warhammer will both have less than 500K subs at the end of this year, and WoW's number will still be going up as well.
  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:27PM (#23465168)
    Totally agree. People need to learn to let others live the way they want to. To too many people someone spending 3 hours bored out of their mind at a local bar is somehow fundamentally better than that same person having fun for 3 hours in an MMORPG. Sure YOU might prefer one or the other, but why worry about others who happen to take pleasure from different activities than yourself?
  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:32PM (#23465228)
    Why is it that 2 trips to the movies, lasting MAYBE 6 hours tops, is treated as worth $14.95, but a game needs to be played "several hours per day every day" to meet the same value? We'll assume 30 hours per week as a nice approximation of "several hours per day every day". What you're then saying is that an entertainment venue is too expensive to you until it gets below $0.50 per hour. Just how broke are you?

    Understand that I'm not questioning whether or not you want to play the game in the first place - that's a fine and legitimate reason. But you've taken a different stand that it's not worth it to people who DO want to play a limited amount of time.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:32PM (#23465232)

    I don't think it likely either of these will dethrone WoW. First, the system requirements for both seem to be missing the "midrange computer from two years ago" that is the normal target for mainstream games. As such, they're only hitting the relatively small "extreme gamer" market. Next, there is no support for the Mac, which cuts out 14% of the total US market and much more of the game buying market. Third, losing a small portion of the market because of requirements can lose you much bigger portions of the market because these are networked games. If just one person in a group of friends has a Mac or a lower end PC, the entire group may well decide to stick with WoW or some other game that they can all play (especially if that one player is the cute co-ed gamer in the dorm).

    Really, there is nothing wrong with either of these games, but they just aren't targeted at the same demographic as WoW, or if they are they are very poorly targeted. Some day someone will come out with a WoW-killer but I don't think either of these are even viable candidates.

  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ephemeriis ( 315124 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:39PM (#23465314)

    Unless you are playing quite often, it's simply not worth the subscription fee. That is assuming it's worth the price to begin with, which may be debatable given the continuous expansion packs that eventually become necessity. That's how I see it at least. If I had no life and could play it for several hours a day almost every single day, then the subscription price might be justified (assuming the combat wasn't of the boring click-n-wait variety). But since that isn't the case, it's essentially just a waste of money.
    Obviously, to the folks who do pay the subscription fee and do play the game, it is worth the fee. Regardless of how much/little they play.

    There are folks out there who pay multiple hundreds of dollars for a bottle of wine or a cigar. There are folks spending $100+ a month just for cable television. What's wrong with spending $15 a month on WoW, even if you only play for an hour or two?

    Worth is highly subjective.
  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fozzyuw ( 950608 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:41PM (#23465324)

    I think WoW will see a lot of defections as players who've hit the upper limit and gotten everything it's possible to get in the game, start looking for a new challenge and a less happy candy colored world.

    I think this really sums up WoW right now. It's not that AoC is "better" than WoW, it's that WoW is killing itself with a nearly 2-year release between expansions and game progression.

    MMOers want to continue to progress their character(s). 2 years is FAR too long to give people really something to progress with besides horizontal progression with a couple new dungeons thrown in once in a while.

    Having Beta tested AoC, I think it's an ok game, but I do not see anything in there that I think is "better" than WoW. Except that it's "new". That means new classes, new lands to explore, new quests to do, more levels to grind. That's what people are really going to be leaving WoW for. Progression. If WotLK came out today, AoC wouldn't be so "big" in the news right now, nor would people be "leaving in droves" to play something else.

    I'm sure most of the people who will leave for AoC will be back for WotLK. Until then, I think it's great to eat up the new stuff as well as it being particularly fun to be apart of an MMO launch. Given that a lot of new people start MMOing with WoW, this will be their first major chance to play an MMO from launch. I'm just waiting for the servers to crash at the stress and all the kiddies to come out in droves to forums and start flaming funcom for being worthless programmers. hehe It happens in ever MMO launch.

  • by Kildjean ( 871084 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:42PM (#23465332) Homepage
    The main appeal of a game like World of Warcraft is the story behind every nook, character or issue in the game. Back when wow was just "the old world" it was a different blend of graphics, an interesting story that by the time you get to lvl 70, you see why the alliance is fighting the horde and why the horde is not at all that much "evil". I play a game for the story and background it had. Vanguard had all the uuuuh ooooh ahhh a game can have... better graphics, a world so huge you would get lost... in the end it sucked. Not all games are made to satisfy everybody, and while wow is not perfect, its a damn good example of what to do in order to become #1 (or achieve 10 million subscribers). I bought AoC for my GF to play. For the hecvk of it... but i dont think its going to take our attention from wow. I dont knopw yet because we havent played it. But I doubt it. I think WAR is going to be more of a challenge for WoW than it is AoC. The other thing I like about Blizzard Games is that they all run natively on macs. Why can't other mmo companies develop their games in OpenGL like Blizzard does, and to have that tiny 10% nook of the mac market is anyways like 1 mill or 2 mill players in the pocket. I think if you only played till level 6, you missed about 99.9% of the world wow has to offer. When you get to lvl 65 or 68, lay out your critics, and it will be more balanced and objective, till then, you are just criticizing a book by its cover.
  • End Game... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SoylentRed ( 1246018 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:45PM (#23465370)
    There are a few things I find myself hoping for in AoC.

    1st - as I've gotten a bit older (Yay... 30 in a week... And yes I know - 30 isn't old... I said older...) I have far less time to play MMOs. From what I understand the leveling time in AoC (when compared to other MMOs) is far less to get to top level. (Last I heard from beta was about 3 days of /played time to get from first to last level... and this didn't change for release.)

    2nd - raiding for me isn't an end game solution. Yeah - I played WoW - did the grind to level 60 - went on a few raids to MC - then quickly realized the amount of time I would need to devote to sitting in the same dungeon OVER AND OVER AND OVER to get the gear I wanted. Only to find myself signing up for raid nights in the next tier dungeon to do that over and over and over. (And yes - I understand they system has changed now that BC is out and it is better - but what do you do...)

    That being said - raiding dungeons cannot be the only end game for an MMO... And if that is - all you get is a group of people who max out their gear then sit in the big cities doing /flex over and over for people to see how cool they are. I am waiting anxiously to see if AoC will pull through on the city siege aspects of the game.

    Having a player city you and your fellow players get to build up and have to defend against attacks is something I would love to rally around...
  • Re:PvP games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ephemeriis ( 315124 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:56PM (#23465528)

    People are looing for the next wow killer.
    People are always looking for the next -whatever- killer. Folks were waiting for the EQ killer, folks were waiting for the DAoC killer, and now folks are waiting for the WoW killer. It seems to me that a lot of people just don't really understand how MMOGs work...

    They're all very similar. They'll have different settings, different themes, different gameplay dynamics... But in the end it's all the same kind of stuff. Kill critters to get better gear and more experience, so you can kill bigger critters to get better gear and more experience, so you can kill the biggest critters to get better gear and more experience... It's all grinding, all of it. It doesn't matter what game or how they try to hide it - all MMOGs boil down to grinding eventually.

    What really makes or breaks a MMOG is the community. The setting/gameplay/quests/whatever will keep people interested for a while... But once you've hit the level cap with a character or two and you're at the point where you're raiding 'til your eyes bleed, what keeps you coming back is the people around you. Either friends that you enjoy playing with or competition to be the best. Take away the community and you just aren't going to have a game that is worth playing.

    There will certainly be some folks who leave WoW (and all the other MMOGs out there) to play these new games. And they'll race through the content to see everything that's there. And they'll raid and get some nice gear and level up some alts. But unless there's a reason to keep playing they'll quickly get bored and go play something newer and shinier as soon as it is available.
  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thrymm ( 662097 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:57PM (#23465544)
    I had played EQ a long time before skipping off that train for Dark Age of Camelot since I loved the Realm vs. Realm for a time. When WoW came out, I bought it, and it was fun, however eventhough the graphics were awesome, I didnt like the cartoonish look of the toons. That alone didnt turn me off, the fact it was rather easy to race to 60, and when questing people wanted to do green quests more than trying for the red quests for a challenge.

    I went back to EQ 2 years ago when they opened the progression server and outdated graphics aside I don't know how I ever left, gameplay and challenges still meet my needs there.

    But to be more on point, theres always room for a new comer, if they fail, they fail. How many have come and gone already? Many.
  • by Digital Vomit ( 891734 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @03:28PM (#23465942) Homepage Journal

    What will kill WoW, in the MMORPG market, is a game where much the content is generated three ways: carefully designed by the developers, randomly generated by the game, and created by the players themselves.

    Imagine a game where you can design you own swords and armor, or build your own houses. Players can build their own cities, running markets and shops (perhaps the shopkeep can be one of their 'alts', or their player when they are not online) -- even set up their own questgivers (perhaps you need some number of rare items to build your own magic device). Toss in the random spawning of troll villages in the boonies, or brigands on well travelled roads, and combine that with an epic main storyline created by the game designers with the usual castles and quests.

    Until we get a game with more dynamic content -- mainly, random and user generated -- I can't really see anything displacing WoW. That game just does to many things right, and not one of its competitors appears to be building on that.

  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mc900ftjesus ( 671151 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @03:29PM (#23465958)
    A bar? That would even be considered "doing something."

    People, somehow, will tell you you're wasting time playing video games and that it's dumb and childish or whatever. You've heard it before. That same person will sit down and watch 3-4 hours of TV every night of the week. Probably some riveting stuff like American Idol, House, CSI:Junk Science Theater, some manner of home makeover show even though they don't own a single power tool, or some other crap.

    Yet, if you sit and do something that requires some logic, reasoning, and reading, you're the one wasting time playing video games. I won't say games aren't a waste of time, but TV is a much bigger waste of time than pretty much anything you can legally do.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @03:40PM (#23466124) Homepage Journal

    Because the cult of Star Wars, which far far surpasses that of Conan, made SWG a huge success among the crowd in question right? The answer is no. Also, it is not a small fraction of 10 Million subscriptions, in fact Blizzard defines the term to avoid this confusion.

    well, actually the answer is YES, until soe screwed it over.

    swg was stellar in the first 3-4 months, when it was filled with many sw fans. the atmosphere was so good that, i could just log in and wander around for hours, enjoying star wars atmosphere, created by that many fans in the game. (and im coming from starcraft background, note that, its hard for me to stay around without hard action).

    then it started. in order to pull in people from other games, sony started to pour in crap. first, there was the creature handling horror. it was done so that, you HAD to have at least 1 pet behind you in order to be able to do missions. soon everyone had 1 or more pets running behind them, many had gruul maulers. it looked not like star wars, but some kind of f@cked up zoo.

    this eliminated the first wave of star wars fans.

    then came the horrible 'lets attract people from ad&d games' phase. to get gamers from other medieval and ad&d style games, soe boosted up the stupid SWORDSMAN, PIKEMAN, FENCER, TERAS KASI (this one is basically karate) classes they put into the game SO much that, entire game turned into a medieval fest rather than star wars. blasters meant nothing. some zygote with bare hands was able to knock you down from 30 m range, and kill you without you being able get up even once. people with PIKES, TWO HANDER swords were running everywhere.

    this has been the major blow. at this phase we lost SO many star wars fans that game didnt look like what it was 2-3 months before that time.

    then it all went downhill. then they alienated powergamers by changing the skill system, combat upgrade, then giving jedi thing to everyone, and lost the single segment of gamers they had left. soe did its crap, game went downhill and that.

    so its irrelevant. had soe been HALFway decent with the game, swg would still be running. now its a flying fart.

    So you seem to have you facts confused here. The cartoonish graphics didnt draw people to the game, instead like you said, peoples friends and colleagues got them playing. That is exactly why Wow is so successful, people can easily recommend the game to friends knowing how the game plays for new users themselves. Wow succeeds because of this line of thinking among its users: "Hey you should play this game I got a while ago, it is pretty cool. If you want to play I can start a new character with you and we can pay together if you want."
    thats exactly why im saying that 10 m userbase is hot air. many people come in, being dragged in by people like me, just cancel out in a few months. they dont stay. i'd wager paying numbers are 2 to 3 million.
  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Monday May 19, 2008 @03:48PM (#23466248) Journal
    Not compared to UO or EQ...You have all the same problems, but add to that the hefty death penalties, and the larger time sinks, and you understand the true meaning of futility.

    There were times when I played EQ where I was tired, logged on, and then got killed, and sat there staring at the screen while the realization that, if I just hadn't played, I'd have saved myself hours of extra meaningless work.

    The WoW endgame is amazingly tiresome. You have to have a guild, which means guild politics, guild drama. You have to run big instances, which is hours and hours of work for occasional payouts, and it's HUGELY repetitive; you'll run the same instances dozens and dozens of times.

    And all for what? Incremental equipment upgrades? Lot of people here are complaining about the long upgrade cycles in WoW...They'd lose all their hardcore players if their upgrade cycle was quicker, because you'd just get your full set of top-tier gear when the expansion would come out and it would all be replaced with crappy quest greens.
  • Re:PvP games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @03:54PM (#23466322)
    I find that people who claim to dislike PvP have very often not tried it for themselves. You say that you enjoy PvE play, but for me there is nothing like going head to head against other players in a free-for-all type world where anyone can attack anyone else at anytime, anywhere, and for whatever reason. It really brings out the realistic and dangerous aspect when there is completely open PvP and that is what makes the games fun and challenging in ways that no AI can presently match. Also, there are not nearly as many problems with item farmers or spawn campers in open PvP games (among other benefits) because you can attack them for being lame.
  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @03:58PM (#23466382)

    And if you go to a see a major rock band, you can expect to pay several hundred dollars for a couple hours of entertainment. Why these major price differences?

    How about: supply and demand? and cost of the product?
    Maybe I'm just seeing different bands, but I've been to quite a few concerts and NEVER paid more than $75 for a ticket. That's beside the point though except to establish an even higher upper limit of what entertainment can be worth.

    As to supply and demand, that only applies to physical goods. For services, particularly access services such as cable, satellite tv, or membership to a gym, you're looking simply at demand. We're talking about an access issue here. There is no "supply and demand" on a monthly access fee to a game. The price is simply set at what people are willing to pay.

    Lets compare WoW to other video games, because that actually makes sense.
    It only makes sense to compare it to video games in the same genre. IE, MMORPG's. All of those charge a monthly access fee because they have to facilitate running their servers to power the infrastructure. About the only similiar game that DOESN'T follow a similar pricing model is Guild Wars.

    For the price of WoW+expansions you could buy buy a new game every couple months. If you are only playing a few hours here and there this is probably better value. If nothing else, at the end of a year you've got half a dozen different games to play whenever you get the itch.
    Only if you're into those type of games instead. You have to think though: how much play time do you get out of those games? I get between 6 and 15 hours out of most games these days. 40 hours for some huge RPG. At $60 a pop, that's 4 months of WoW time in which one can play a lot longer if they wish.

    Plus, if you are only playing a game like WoW sporadically, its almost impossible to accomplish things, you are perpetually miles behind your friends, you are left out of the social element, its hard to get into a worthwhile guild or group when you do login... so now you are paying $15/month for a much poorer experience than the game has to offer.
    That's a personal opinion, and you are free to rationalize that WoW might not be worth playing if you don't play it a lot. Many people do play pretty sporadically though and are just fine. In my guild, pretty much hang out and have fun. Our raiding these days has been whittled down to 1 ZA run per week (that is sometimes canceled) on Tuesday nights, and various 5 mans/heroics whenever guildies feel like it. Sure we're not going to go whup up on anything in the Sunwell, but we have a lot of fun together playing.

    My basic point is not that "WoW is OMG teh awesomeness and every1 should play it!", it's that "it's too expensive" is a pretty poor excuse unless you're living in a straw hut. Saying "I don't like the game so I'm not willing to pay for it" is one thing. Saying that "I'm not playing it because it costs too much" is something else.

    On top of that, relativism kicks in. The people gettin the most out of the game, playing 60 hours a week, are paying 0.6 cents per hour. And sees FAR more of the game for that price. Me, on the other hand, averaging 10 hours a month, was paying 1.50 per hour for a much reduced experience... I was paying 25x times as much per hour as the hard core player to futz around in crappy neglected parts of the game struggling to find groups to go into crappy instances, while he explored the end game content that was actually interesting. That's a tough pill to swallow.
    That's the same with ANY unlimited access venue though. The guy who goes to the gym for 4 hours every day compared to you going twice per week is paying less per hour than you. The guy who eats 6 plates of food at the local buffet compared to your 1 is playing much less for his food than you. The guy who downloads 250gb of files per month compared to you downloading 15gb is paying much less for his bandwidth than you. It only makes a difference if you let it bother you. If you discount what other people are doing, and simply justify it to yourself whether or not you wish to partake in the service to begin with, then it works out much better.
  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Z34107 ( 925136 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @04:06PM (#23466492)

    Sigh. It's fine if it's not exactly your cup of thistle tea, but you don't have "no life" or "play it for several hours a day almost every single day" in order to enjoy World of Warcraft.

    $13 a month isn't all that expensive of a hobby. For someone with a healthy BMI, that's, what, 3 fast food meals you gave up to afford your WoW fix? And, it's easy to quit, because they'll keep your account and characters around nigh indefinitely should you ever return. (Of course that makes it easy to return, too, but that's the point.)

    Although WoW isn't exactly CounterStrike, it's more than just point and click - especially in Arena games, or any other kind of player versus player. You need some mastery of your class in order to be able to do well against other teams - you can't just right-click and wait for the player to die.

    Blizzard's also been good about keeping down the cost/value ratio. New dungeons? Quest chains? Islands? Neutral cities? World events? What EverQuest or The Sims would release as an expansion, they release as a free patch to all subscribers. To date (the game's been around 4 years, hasn't it?), they've released one expansion pack - and that added 2 races, 10 levels, easily a dozen new dungeons, and a planet.

    Now, what do you do with your spare time? Because I can guarantee you that that's a "waste of money," too.

  • Re:PvP games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bidule ( 173941 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @05:29PM (#23467624) Homepage
    OTOH, you have graveyard trolls who just sit on your body to deny you play time. Their only pleasure is to stop others from having a good time.

    I find that people who claim to enjoy PvP have not experienced that. They have enough play time that losing an hour doesn't bother them, they'll level fast enough that griefers can't catch them and/or they spend so much time in-game that their skills are too good to be an easy prey.

    I was on vent with someone trying the PvP realms in AoC, he couldn't even log off because some graveyard troll was ganking & camping him.

    In PvP, item farmers or spawn campers can deny you the resource even better by keeping you dead. I never had problems stealing what I needed off spawn campers, and even if my raiding gear is good enough to win PvP I'd much rather have fun playing *my* game than someone else's.

  • They rope you in (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Brain-Fu ( 1274756 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @05:44PM (#23467782) Homepage Journal
    MMO games are dangerous. At first they are fun, and if you don't have addiction problems you can balance your play time with your real life quite easily (though some may have the nagging feeling that they aren't getting their money's worth if they don't play very often).

    However, eventually, you join a guild (or equivalent). And they raid with you. And your availability becomes an issue for them. Suddenly, every time you don't play, nine or more of your friends can't run they dungeon they want to run, and it is YOUR fault.

    That is the real killer...the sense of importance you get from being so relied-upon, combined with the pride you get from towering over your peers due to your uber raid gear, make the end game destructively addictive.

    Sure, you can quit any time, so long as you don't mind disappointing and/or pissing off a whole bunch of friends who have been relying on you, and supporting you, and sacrificing for you, for quite a long time.

  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kagami001 ( 769862 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @07:10PM (#23468606)
    I like happy, candy-colored worlds.
  • by brkello ( 642429 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @07:33PM (#23468848)
    Yeah, if you read 10 pages a book and stop you probably won't get it either. The first part of the game starts very slow for casual people to get the hang of playing. Getting to level 6 takes about an hour so you really don't have much of an idea what is going on after playing so little. The higher level you get, the more skills your learn and the more interesting combat becomes. Some classes are more interesting than others and some suit different types of play styles.

    I don't think everyone has to like WoW but your analysis after barely playing it is a waste. But you know, all RPGs are going to be about killing, leveling, and doing it again. The people you meet and the combat make it fun (and you aren't qualified to talk about the combat since you haven't even scratched the surface). Essentially, people just modded you up because they dislike WoW, not because you said anything new or insightful. It's like reviewing a movie when you only saw the trailer...just silly. Or, you are a troll...if so, good job.
  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @11:00PM (#23470468)
    WoW simply did a few things right that went wrong in other MMORPGs. First, they already had a good franchise name, Warcraft. It's been an established name in the game world, already drawing in a lot of people just simply for the name. This created a sizable basic userbase that included old MMORPG players as well as people who played the Warcraft series so far and decided it's cool to try an MMORPG in that world.

    But what really let WoW take off was that it managed what other MMORPGs didn't get to: Pull your girlfriends in. Let's be blunt here, the number one reason why people stopped playing was their SOs being pissed off by it. Or their parents. Now guess what, WoW managed to get these people on board.

    That's what makes the success of this game. It convinced non players to play. Now, the question is why. How did it do that? My personal guess is that it has a VERY low learning curve and is VERY heavy on the reward buttons of the human brains. It gives you a fair lot in the beginning, makes you pretty powerful right from the start, and leveling is quite easy, while at the same time offering you the feeling you achived something. Most MMORPGs of the time when WoW started were grindfests from end to end, starting at lv 1 and ending long after you reached the max. It was one of the first MMORPGs, at least that I know of, that spoonfed you quests from beginning to end, you could literally level constantly with quests, and the quests led you from one to the next, slipping you easily into the next continent or "level area".

    Being also fairly single player friendly, it did certainly also appeal to people who were used to single player games, who often discovered the chance to play together with other players as a pleasant surprise rather than the necessity it was in earlier MMORPGs. Having a fairly easy to use trading and delivery system (i.e. auctioneers and ingame mail) only faciliated that. It made the transition from single play to group play very, very smooth for people who were new to the genre.

    That's what made WoWs success where others struggled to survive. It catered to the needs of "new" players. Whether repeating something like this also means instant success is debatable. I don't know a single "old hardcore" MMORPG player that deemed WoW worthwhile. Too carebear, too dumbed and watered down, not enough challenge. And yes, I include all those oh-so-challenging high level heroic instances.

    It is likely that those who started their MMORPG experience with WoW might want something with a bit more bite now, too.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll