Managing Expectations for the Big New MMO. (Also video game music and Escape Goat 2!)

WildStar has opened pre-orders and just had a big beta weekend, which means my guild is all excited about the game.

And that’s a good thing! MMO launches are fun, and they are even more fun with a group of friends! But already my (retired) guild leader senses are tingling, and I’m worrying about making sure that expectations are managed.

“Everyone will start playing again and it’ll just be like the old days!”

Oh my dear sweet summer child. It is almost impossible to recreate the old days, whatever game they may have been in. Yes, historically a few people we haven’t seen in a while will show up for the launch of a big new title but just as well-documented is the fact that these people also wander off again shortly thereafter.

Which is fine! But it’s easiest to kind of anticipate that.

“Let’s just have everyone rush to level cap and then we can start raiding right away!”

This tactic has come up with every game since SWTOR. I sort of understand the impetus — other people have the “3 month MMO” mindset, so if we just go really really fast then we’ll be raiding before they know what’s happening and they’ll have to stick with it!

In my experience, though, this has the exact opposite of the intended result. The folks who rush to level cap quickly get bored of waiting for others to catch up and are a little burnt out in general after spending like 4 hours a day playing. I vastly prefer taking my time in a new game and enjoying being an uninformed scrub in a strange world.

“It’s okay, I’ll lead the raid stuff.”

This is always said in the utmost of good faith, and I have never, ever seen it actually work out. Enthusiasm is grand, but running a raid team is hard work. There’s recruiting (and on-boarding new folks), rostering, and occasionally dishing out stern talks when needed. There’s making sure you have enough tanks and healers, and having a Plan B when one of them doesn’t show up.

There is a reason that MMOs are littered with ex-guild leaders like me who refuse to do any of that stuff any more.

And again, my fellow MMO players in general, be the change you want to see. I cannot emphasize that enough. Want to be part of a stable team that does group content? Log on regularly. Participate in group content. Stick with it. If you wander off, why wouldn’t everyone else?

That is how good guilds and communities and raid teams are made.

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Do you like videos about games? OF COURSE YOU DO! Last week was a busy one on the Totally Legit Publishing YouTube channel, which is a collection of nerds, myself included, who like to make videos. Behold! And subscribe if you like what you see!

The fabulous Syl is contributing a weekly Video Game Music spotlight, and this week it’s all about World of Warcraft:

The also fabulous Ellyndrial made a video review of cute new indie puzzler Escape Goat 2. I played this game at PAX Prime and talked to the developers a bit, and it’s a lot of fun. Highly recommended!

Author: Jessica Cook

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4 Comments

  1. When I was sagely getting ready for my second MMO launch, I posted all kinds of comments about how things were going to be a mess on launch day, how it made sense to wait for polish and server stability, etc etc. With probably a dozen various MMO “launches” under my belt, these days I don’t talk about sitting out the first six months – it just happens naturally because that’s when I get around to it.

    Expectations managed properly? I think I heard something about a Neverwinter MMO/ARPG/something coming out…. :)
    Green Armadillo´s last post: Is a MOBA Crash Coming?

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  2. “Oh my dear sweet summer child. It is almost impossible to recreate the old days, whatever game they may have been in.”

    That’s a hard truth to learn, especially when games seem like reproducible experiences. MMOs aren’t. People make all the difference, and entire MMOs can be broken or fixed by specific people.

    But, they also aren’t always fixed in the same way. Running with the same crowd, from one game to another, is not an easy way to guarantee a good game. Sometimes stars just need to align.

    Sadly, I live in a cloudy area, and I can’t see the stars with any new MMO game anymore!
    Murf´s last post: I still don’t understand Diablo …

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  3. “And again, my fellow MMO players in general, be the change you want to see. I cannot emphasize that enough. Want to be part of a stable team that does group content? Log on regularly. Participate in group content. Stick with it. If you wander off, why wouldn’t everyone else?”

    Or the MMOs can adapt to a changing and aging playerbase that can no longer log on regularly for group content.

    By, for example, not having such insistent vertical progression that too many raids are required in a week, or more reasonable drop rates/token systems, or multiple guild chats/alliances so that folks interested in raiding have a larger pool to draw from and a few people not making a time slot due to real life doesn’t screw up the entire group’s progression, or a parallel solo/small group progression system that can provide alternatives, etc. etc.
    Jeromai´s last post: GW2: Wardrobe

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