The Daily Grind: Is there a specific point in an MMO’s development when you know it’s doomed?

There was something beautiful and wonderful and it destroyed itself.

I was tabbing back through one of my favorite Old Massively columns when I bumped into this quote and had to go look up the whole thing.

“There are several ways to set fire to a hundred-million dollars and lose it. Probably the best way is not spending time developing your endgame. Leveling is awesome, but it goes by quickly and then people leave. It’s even worse if your hardcore players report back to the general public that there is nothing to do and that the game sucks. It’s about what you get to as much as it is about getting there. Right now, 50 to 70% of our team is dedicated to elder content. We need a lot of it, and it has to be replayable. A huge chunk of the coolest stuff is happening in the elder content because that’s when it has to pay off. That’s why we have things like War Plots, 40v40 destructible fortress PvP with captured raid bosses that you can use to fight the enemy.”

That quote was from a top producer on WildStar, which at the time was about a year away from launch. And we all know how that ended.

That interview was probably my first big clue that the WildStar being developed in its last year before launch wasn’t really going to be much like the WildStar I had previewed or that had been talked up before that. I can’t say I knew it was doomed, but it was definitely a giant warning sign for me – that they had identified the problem with endgame rushing but hadn’t come up with a sustainable solution, in my mind anyway.

What are the big warning signs for you with troubled MMOs? Is there a specific point in an MMO’s development when you know it’s doomed?

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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