A variety of concept art shots from The Secret World.
I hate you Tornquist, I hate you for baiting me like this!
Just a random question: is anyone still playing Champions Online?
What is it like these days? Better worse? More of the same (which really falls into the ‘worse’ category)? I have read about the kitchen sink patch and the woes surrounding the initial decision to charge for the expansion. But what about player’s perspective?
Starting Monday, effective immediately, Quest Online has decided to shift from a subscription-based to a free-to-play model.
For me, the most interesting statement is the following:
The reasoning has some rationale, but it’s still a little flimsy. A mere three months after launch, Alganon decides to switch to an F2P model. Perhaps the decision is more closely tied with the inability to retain a loyal customer base. You know, due to the fact that the playerbase may finally be in tune with the fact that this is, after all, a watered down, rehashed version of another MMO, the name of which I quite forget now. But that is mere conjecture.
This does spark a few interesting questions. Is this truly the future of MMO gaming? Is the MMO player-base turning increasingly casual? In a hyper-competitive market is the ever-expanding choice of multi-genre titles more of a curse, than it is a golden opportunity to tap into an existing market.
But then I think of the hype around titles like Star Wars: The Old Republic and wonder if the fault lies with the developers who to try to adhere strictly to tried and tested formulas instead of focusing on innovation, novelty and inventiveness. The fact of the matter is that contemporary MMOs suffer from a the rigors and pressures of surviving a market dominated by a few select titles that all follow the same base formula. Deviation from this formula not only implies challenging the norms that the playerbase is most used to, it also makes for a poor business decision, especially if the sustainability of the title is responsible for a series of continued paychecks.
Which brings us to paradoxical impasse. Should developers try and focus their energies on the pre-established conventions and try to milk the existing market through content and gameplay elements that feel ‘natural’ to a rapidly maturing MMO audience; or should they focus on challenging these conventions and take risks to ensure they stand out from the crowd and build a upon their edge through innovation.
If you play Alganon, and you throughly enjoy the experience, all the more power to you. But it does beg the question, does blatantly ripping off an ultra-successful franchise an advisable option, or one that will eventually lead to poor retention and only short-term gains?