A couple of weeks ago, Justin reminded me of a Guild Wars 2 panel from many years back where ArenaNet addressed Charr armor clipping.
“A Charr player wanted to know when the team will fix the armor for the race. The devs said that because fewer people played Charr, fewer resources go to that race, but that they’ll ‘do you justice’ in the future.”
Now, to be clear, I am not in any way saying that Charr armor is leading to a death spiral of Guild Wars 2; that would be silly since it was said five years ago and the game is just fine. What I’m referring to here is the development cycle itself that seems to happen so often in MMOs: Here, Charr armor is broken, so fewer people play the race. This allows the studio to cut back dev resources on fixing it – why fix what nobody’s playing? This in turn leads to even fewer people playing it, and then even fewer resources on fixing it, and on and on in a death spiral, until only weirdos like me are still playing Charr (because Charr are the best).
I can think of lots of other examples that are a lot more impactful on the game than racial cosmetics, of course – I’m thinking of how some sandboxes will throw everyone overboard in pursuit of PvP players. Or how World of Warcraft perpetually chases endgame raiders with endgame raiding content while chasing off millions of former players who liked WoW for all its other things, thereby justifying the decision.
What’s the most important example of death spiral development in MMOs?