Speaking recently to videogamer.com, lead designer of SOE’s EverQuest, Ryan Barker, has a theory about the MMORPG that will finally knock out Acti-Blizzard’s 1000lb gorrilla off it’s gold plated tyre swing. Barker says this ‘WoW killer’ may be something “totally different that we havenâ€™t even thought of yet…”
Genius. Thanks for that insight Ryan… Oh, wait there’s more,
“At some point someone will dwarf those numbers with a game. If we can get passed some of the barriers that are keeping people from playing with their friends, just because their friends happened to start the game before they did, and maybe started on a different server or whatever, if we can start to get rid of some of those social blocks, I think it can get even better.
Things like that show us that there are a lot of people out there that are interested in being involved in an internet community, especially with all the apps on Facebook, in playing casual games. At some point someoneâ€™s going to do an MMO that really caters to that group, and is going to have a billion subscribers or whatever. Thereâ€™s another ceiling somewhere that we havenâ€™t hit yet.
There is still somewhat of a stigma with the fantasy genre. Itâ€™ll be some weird mix of something we havenâ€™t seen before. A lot of the standard video game genres I donâ€™t think will have the breadth of appeal that would be necessary for something like that. It might not even be a game world per se; it might be something totally different that we havenâ€™t even thought of yet.”
Okay… so, the WoW killer MMORPG is:
- Non-genre based
- Everyone in one place
- With no levels
- that you can drop in and out of
- And has social networking
Sooo… the WoW killer isn’t like Facebook, it is Facebook?… Or Facebook with some sort of 3D interface.. OMG! I have it! The WoW killer is Second Life!!.. …Okay, maybe not… ;)
The fundamental issue of this for me is when does an MMORPG stop being an MMORPG? What Ryan Barker seems to be suggesting is the David to WoWs Goliath is an entity that isn’t really an MMORPG as we know it. Ironically, the closest in existing MMO terms to what he’s talking about I’d say is Star Wars Galaxies… They game SOE destroyed to turn it from a relatively casual MMO which had less focus on leveling and more focus on social interaction, into a WoW clone…
Yes, obviously SWG was a genre game, but then, i’m not sure how you make the RPG part of an MMORPG fun without it fitting into some sort of genre.
- Role playing a talking cow-man that rides a rhino through distant magical lands, and can chop people up with a flaming sword = fun.
- Role playing, erm, myself = not so much fun…
So what do you guys think? Is SOE right, or are they talking a load of old tauren?