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Reloading... A Look Back at gamescom

Posted Mon, Aug 22, 2011 by Boomjack

Finding out if there's really a market for non-fantasy based MMOGs.
Welcome to the 61st Edition of Reloading…

“That’s the second biggest monkey head I’ve ever seen!” – Guybrush Threepwood
 
Everyone can use a feel good moment to start the day. Let’s try this…
 

 
Thanks as always for taking some time to read this column.   I appreciate it.  

Jeff and Ben did some great work in Germany at gamescom.   My favourite game related trip ever was to Leipzig when the event was held there.  Great times.

One of the big announcements  was from one of my favourite companies to deal with, Funcom. Starting August 26th, you will be able to register for the beta testing phase of The Secret World. I’m not sure how the dark, gritty backdrop of The Secret World will be received by gamers, but let’s hope that enough are willing to tryout something different that it becomes a success.

Is there a market for games that use a non-traditional fantasy setting? To answer that question, let’s take a look at one of my favourite tools, Pulse.   We don’t make it easy for you to find Pulse, it’s a top secret kind of thing, but I’m going to share with you just how to get into this pretty cool MMOG tool.

1.    Point your browser to www.tentonhammer.com
2.    Scroll down… keep going… don’t stop… past all that… now …. Go farther.  
3.    It’s there in the bottom left of your screen, all graphical and such.

TenTonHammer members can see the full stats and non-registered members can see the top 5 games, etc.

Currently, of the top 10 games for the month, eight of them are based on a traditional fantasy setting. The only non-fantasy games are EVE Online which sits at the #2 spot and DC Universe Online which sits at #10.  

Obviously non-fantasy games can be a success, but they are most certainly in the minority and given that World of Warcraft has 11ish million players they are in the extreme minority. Is it because we grew up wanting to be wizards and warriors rather than astronauts? I doubt it and besides, if that was the case then every MMOG would involve cowboys and in the case of men, Hugh Hefner. No, there has to be a better reason.  

Could it be that fantasy MMOGs are simply easier to develop?  There are far fewer tethers to reality in a fantasy setting which means that the player’s willing suspension of disbelief threshold is much lower. Players expect certain things to happen, no matter the setting; for instance we assume gravity will pull us down in a game, just like it does in real life. Fantasy allows all that to be thrown out the window, at least for short periods of time.

Another theory is that many of us were weaned on EverQuest and Ultima Online, which were fantasy games.   The next big rush of players was weaned on World of Warcraft.  We play what we are comfortable with and boy are we comfortable with fantasy titles.

Those are my theories.  Let’s hear some of yours!

As always, you can contact me a number of ways:
  • Email
  • Twitter
  • Website
  • Telepathy (Just make sure it’s during business hours.  I hate to be woken by this stuff)
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TenTonHammer.com
 

I'm currently playing my first non-fantasy MMO. (If you can consider World of Tanks an MMO - I do.) I'll say this for it - I've tried for years to get a certain friend to play MMOs with me, with no success. But he's hooked on World of Tanks. And I really think it is because it is a more "manly" game, with bombs and armor and such, instead of a game where people pretended to be pointy-eared somethings-or-other.

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