When a new online role-playing game is released, it is almost inevitably compared to World of Warcraft – by gamers and the industry press alike. Why? For one thing, many MMO fans have played Blizzard games for some time, and often for many years. It is simply human nature to compare new things with familiar things to identify strengths and weaknesses or simply differences or similarities. On the other hand, because WoW has dominated the genre for almost a decade. At its most successful, nearly 13 million people from around the world have visited the fantasy world of Azeroth, and the current 7.5 million subscribers is a house number that no other competing game can even come close to.
Indibet apk download success story has had a significant impact on the MMORPG genre over the past decade, while competition in the shadow of the Indibet giant has made it possible to compete for player stakes. But what does the future of online role-playing games look like?
The right game at the right time
WoW was by no means the first game of its kind, nor did it completely reinvent the MMO wheel. But the Californian developers have managed to take the genre from its niche to the mainstream. Today, online role-playing games have a reputation for being a cumbersome waste of time, played only by IT enthusiasts, students and nerds. The lack of accessibility has particularly put off many newcomers, and that’s where Blizzard started over a decade ago, as Rob Pardo, chief creative officer of Blizzard Entertainment says: “If you look at the fanbase of the genre, you’ll always find it. there was also a small core of hardcore players – in the MMO field at the time, it could have been Everquest – or players of Ultima Online .
Of course we want to appeal to that group as well, but we also always see an opportunity to open up the game to a much wider audience for whom the genre used to be too complex and unwieldy. and it wasn’t as mature as it is today – we’re even sure: if 2005 WoW had appeared today, those responsible for Blizzard would have to write red numbers instead of black in their annual reports. But at the time, it was simply in the market for no more user-friendly and beginner-friendly online role-playing game.
But there is a second reason why WoW could usher in a new era a decade ago: Previously released games tended to have a small number of players in the western part of the world, because the now common fixed stakes were still a luxury for many households at the turn of the millennium. Many punters had a 56k modem and used software such as Smartsurfer to access the internet to keep costs under control. This only changed on a large scale about a decade ago, which played perfectly into the hands of those responsible for Blizzard.
When something succeeds, there is always someone who wants to replicate the success. Not surprisingly, since the release of World of Warcraft there have been countless other online role-playing games, many of which have since ended up in the rich graveyard of failed MMORPGs . Some games, such as Star Wars Galaxies or Warhammer Online, thrived for years until the servers were finally shut down. Others, such as Tabula Rasa or Lego Universe, never even made it out of the starting blocks. Various blockbusters such as Lord of the Rings Online or Star Wars: The Old Republic have finally moved to Free2Play, because subscriptions alone were no longer profitable enough. One has to look long and hard to find online role-playing games that are not immediately associated with the keywords “disappointment” or “failure”: Eve Online , for example, Guild Wars or – if we soften the genre boundaries a bit – an MMO shooter like Planetside. For many of these MMOs WoW has been a template of sorts.
Of course, there have always been a few differences, such as a more dynamic combat system or a greater focus on the campaign experience. However, many online role-playing games of recent years are still very similar in nature. The problem with this: while new MMORPGs almost inevitably come online with bugs, bugs and immature game balance due to their size, behind WoW is almost a decade of tweaking and the content of four additions to date.
Of course, every new competitor game can only lose out in direct comparison – which is all the more important when the game is based on the king of the genre in many areas and thus addresses the same target group. But why would anyone play a copy when the original is in many ways more mature and offers more content for the money?
Problem area: subscriptions
If you look back over the past few years, you’ll immediately notice something that runs red through the history of MMORPGs: a monthly subscription of around €13. It’s as if the developer got a commandment from God years ago to “Ask no less for your MMORPG” and now everyone obeys it. But these days, when an online role-playing game wants to charge a monthly fee, many people expect (almost) error-free gameplay that will also entertain for quite a long time .
Only no subscription MMOG in recent years has managed to reconcile both. On the contrary, many representatives of the genre seem to want to jump on every misstep. The most recent example of this is The Elder Scrolls Online, which provoked the ire of the masses because, despite the mandatory free month, buyers had to pay for a second month in advance with some payment methods. Such trouble is doubly bad because the subscription itself is a major obstacle for many players. Many people don’t want to mess with the game for an extended period of time, let alone pay for two or three subscriptions.