The Daily Grind: Which MMO is less popular than you expected?

    
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I’m not sure why Allods Online barely registers with western gamers. It’s pretty, it’s a well-made themepark MMO, and it has a couple of unique features, chief among them nifty aerial exploration gameplay.

Maybe it was the gaudy cash shop prices way back in 2010, before free-to-play and exploitative business models became the norm. Maybe it was the fact that deep down, it’s another MMO cut from World of Warcraft’s cloth. Whatever the reasons, I’m surprised that Allods isn’t more popular because frankly, it’s a decent game.

What about you, MOP readers? Which MMO is less popular than you expected?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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josefreaksalem
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josefreaksalem

It’s not so much that they’re niche, it’s more about the genre being stagnant. This genre has barely evolved in over 10 years. It’s at the point now where you get the feeling “if you’ve played one, you’ve played them all”. I guarantee if some developer took the genre to a new level (to a level where it could actually be named a new genre), you’d see very big sales numbers. Kind of the same way that devs took first/third person shooters out of the corridor/on rails type gameplay, and put in into a large open world. Look how well open world games sell. That’s because they took an old yet popular concept and applied a fresh new experience. They need to do the same with mmorpgs. They need to give a player of this genre a very new experience.

josefreaksalem
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josefreaksalem

Definitely ESO. Sure, most gamers were expecting Skyrim Online, but what they got was a fairly standard fantasy mmorpg with some pretty decent features. There are a few more popular games that have pretty much the same game mechanics. But I think what hurts the game the most, is that they tried to retain the single player feel of the series instead of making it muliplayer friendly. It is such a lonely game if you don’t have friends playing it. I think that’s their biggest mistake. I don’t know about you guys, but I want multiplayer action in a “massively” multiplayer game. Too many mmos these days are focused on the solo experience. That’s definitely one of the reasons the genre has been struggling. In a world of social networking, a socially connected game would be perfect. I haven’t seen an mmo since City Of Heroes that made it easy to connect with other players.

ZenDadaist
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ZenDadaist

It’s that ‘than you expected’ part. 
WildStar was overhyped cognitive dissonance in a box (cartoony yet hardcore? 40man raids in an environment when known raiding games struggle to fill 20man raids?). I suppose I am alittle surprised at just how hard and fast it flopped and how long it took them to admit it and revise their strategy and eventually business model.

TSW – well I played the beta and realised it would be niche. People want change but they don’t want anything to actually be different. That and it has it’s own flaws.

LOTRO vaguely surprised me I guess but I thought that was because the studio slowly lost their vision and started turning it into a standard sort of nickle-and-dime-shop affair.

Firefall seems to have a positive rep with people I know that play it, but the drastic changes that it underwent annoyed many. I suppose it falls into the niche cloud because its not a traditional sort of MMO at all.
STO is a b-movie game now flooded with lockboxes and no integrity, so I’m not surprised it doesn’t have a much bigger following.

Finally, Rift although having played it for several years since launch off and on I can see why it fell from grace. They tried to homogenise it too much.

josefreaksalem
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josefreaksalem

I think the minecraft/anime art direction is horrible. I look at one gameplay video and my first thought is “no thanks”.

syberghost
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syberghost

Sutter Cane I should add, this is not to say it’s a bad game. If you get the un-fun puzzles out of the way, it’s got a lot of fun other things in it, and it’s one of my main games currently. The problem is how often you have to stop and get the un-fun out of the way. The interface has gotten better, so there’s a lot less of the “I clicked on foo and it didn’t work, because I actually clicked on bar and never knew it” going on. But there’s still some.

Feros
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Feros

Firefall.  It’s got great combat mechanics, a fair amount of content, jump boots, and the ability to change your class at any time.  In addition, you can change the way you look at any time, which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but for a Free to Play game with a very relaxed cash shop, you’d think they would capitalize on cosmetic changes like changing your sex or voice.

It’s definitely gone through it’s share of development woes and CEO shuffles, but the current itertation is a lot of fun, and definitely worth a few hours, especially being free!

I definitely don’t understand why people play Destiny over Firefall.

syberghost
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syberghost

Sutter Cane one issue TSW had was that some of the puzzles require the engine to be more precise than it is. When you ask somebody to solve a logic puzzle, and then the solution doesn’t work because you’re not hitting what your mouse looks like it’s on, that takes the frustration way beyond the fun point.  I guarantee you there’s a ton of people whose last moments playing the game were sitting in front of the exact same place, after having tried clicking on what they knew to be the solution and having it fail due to the imprecision of the interface.

I personally gave up on even attempting to solve the puzzles when I ran into one that relied on misspelled Latin words. You know the one. :)

After that I just pulled up a walkthrough every time if the puzzle couldn’t be easily solved from in-game clues. Kudos to the people who solved them, I hope they had a blast; but most people just found them annoying barriers to fun.

spoilofthelamb
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spoilofthelamb

Armsbend BKone Yeah….Turbine experimented with DDO, and made bank out of a dying MMO (it’s still profitable ten years later). Then they made it a standard when they pulled it off a second time with LOTRO.

Both are still doing really well for their age, but I really want to see Turbine come up with a new MMO someday. And if/when they do, what the sub model would be at launch.

blackcat7k
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blackcat7k

I’m actually, I’m surprised that many of them are still hanging on. Especially when I can break down their content releases to being more of the same that may keep their current user base, but never trying to bring in new players. Many of them seem to be in a holding pattern. Bringing more creativity to their cash shops than their actual gameplay. 

The problem with these holding patterns is that their business models threaten to have them drop out of the air when their primary source of fuel (whales) take a break. They’re not pulling in new players, and they’re slowly walling off their gameplay from new adherents. It’s not even a factor of the content in some cases. The progression model puts the game way out of reach of new players, even with things like instant characters because there’s so many nuances in the gameplay that it will become a slog for players even if they have a stat capable character.

Sutter Cane
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Sutter Cane

dirtyklingon Sutter Cane Well…

Could be, my beta testing experience was telling friends about all of the exciting lore and puzzles.  Oh, I forgot the part in which they just wanted a text box to click at and go about killing more X mobs.  The one guy in my crew that would have enjoyed the experience didn’t have a computer with the chops to handle the game at launch.  

Can understand the pain issue for yourself, I just feel it is some sort of vanity issue for most.  As if that 4 button Mage rotation is stimulating.  Oh my friends.  Love them all.  The ones that are left…  LOL