MMO Woes: Have MMOs Already Peaked?

World of Warcraft

Everybody’s scrambling to get aboard the SS MMO these days, abandoning ship from traditional single player titles. Even franchises that are considered hallmarks of single player gaming such as Final Fantasy, KOTOR and Elder Scrolls have dropped their former identities, opting instead to join the seemingly lucrative temptations of the MMO genre. After the success of WoW in the mid-2000s, everybody’s been trying to recreate that same money-producing machine, with mostly mediocre results. Most end up going free to play eventually, which is something that even TOR is having to consider.

So here’s the burning question, then: why has nobody been able to follow in WoW’s footsteps? Because, GameSpy’s Leif Johnson argues, we’ve simply outgrown MMORPGs. In this article, Johnson does a nice job of laying out the state of the industry and digital connectivity in the past and now, and shows why trying to copy the WoW formula for modern games is just developers trying to turn the clock back on gamers. He believes that in an age of instant gratification, social media, mobile and more, it’s just going to take something more casual to be a runaway hit.

This is a question I’ve actually been wondering about myself. I think it’s so interesting that developers consider MMOs to be such a surefire hit that they’ll invest millions and millions into production, when so few have even done well to begin with. Yet new IPs are considered inherent risks? If only one MMO has had the kind of longevity that developers really want, then why does everyone keep trying to do this? What convinced everyone that the WoW formula was the way to go, even almost 10 years later? One glance at the paltry Elder Scrolls MMO shows that it’s just another WoW clone, even when that seems like a surefire way to fail. I guess dollar signs are hard to ignore.

What do you guys think about this? Have we simply outgrown the MMO? Do developers need to find a new way to make MMOs work for a new generation? What’s the new way to do MMOs right? Go!

Source – Gamespy

Eclipsing the World (of Warcraft)

BlizzardIt’s hard to believe that anyone could try and out-do the mammoth MMO that is World of Warcraft, even Blizzard itself. But already Blizzard COO Paul Sams has been quoted, saying they are going to do just that with their new MMO codenamed “Titan”.

“I believe it’s the most ambitious thing we’ve ever attempted, and I feel like we have set our company up to succeed on that. We have some of our most talented and most experienced developers on that team. Many of the people that built World of Warcraft are full time on that other team.”

While this doesn’t spell the death of World of Warcraft it does lead to some questions as the highly experienced and talented staff that created the most successful MMO gears forwards on its new project. Sam’s also said that World of Warcraft still has an experienced staff watching over the game, just key members were moving on to the new project. The quote that really interests me is this next one… Continue reading Eclipsing the World (of Warcraft)

What The Old Republic Needs to Do to Survive

As GamerSushi’s resident MMO player (that is to say, the person with the most experience), I believe it is my duty to try out BioWare’s upcoming Star Wars flavored offering, The Old Republic. While I don’t currently play any MMOs, I’ve made my history with that genre well known on this site, starting with Sony’s Star Wars Galaxies, then moving to World of Warcraft and trying City of Heroes and Champions Online in between.

Since I have such a breadth of knowledge about MMOs and what makes them tick, that means I’m well positioned to know that there are certain check-boxes that The Old Republic needs to cross off to be considered a “success” in this most competitive of arenas. While it isn’t going to unseat World of Warcraft, there are some very important features it needs to launch with in order to ensure that it lives past its first year. What are those things, you might be asking? Read on, and you’ll find out just what The Old Republic needs to do to stay afloat.
Continue reading What The Old Republic Needs to Do to Survive

Raising The Bar: Games That Ruin All Others

Optimus PrimeDespite the better than expected reviews, there’s something about Transformers: War For Cybertron that just isn’t clicking for me. I enjoy transforming, especially into a jet and flying around the map, but it still isn’t enough. The weapons are decent, but weapon selection has never bothered me before or even been a major factor in the amount of fun I have, with the notable exception of the Ratchet and Clank series. So what gives? I should having a blast, but all I can muster up is one great big “Meh”.

Then it hits me like Megatron backhanding Starscream: I’ve played Uncharted 2. And Uncharted 2 was, to me, the definitive 3rd-person shooter, one that set such a high standard that few games can live up to it. It almost ruined the genre, really. This is not to say that other games, such as Gears of War, are not fantastic experiences themselves, as I enjoy that series also, but Uncharted 2 was able to grab me in a way that few games could. So playing an average 3rd-person shooter is likely to make me want to play Uncharted 2 more than anything else. Continue reading Raising The Bar: Games That Ruin All Others

Today’s WTF: Blizzard Divulges Your Secret Identity

forum rageAnonymity on the internet is an important tool, even if it allows every single user on YouTube to type out the stupidest crap known to man without fear of repercussion. While we all get upset from time to time at the vitriol spouted from the internet, it’s mostly harmless and said by those who don’t really know better. However, most of us are rational people who can shrug off a random troll’s abuse. As with all segments of the population, there are those who can’t be responsible with information and use the internet as a vessel to play out their sadistic tendencies.

This is why protecting your identity is vital, because we live in an age of information where everything from your favorite band to your bank account can be accessed by someone with the inclination and the right know-how. Since we’re all pretty guarded against identity theft and stalking, Blizzard’s latest move has caused quite a furor on their forums. Just to bring you up to speed, the renown MMO/RTS developer has stated that, come StarCraft 2, forum posts will require users to submit their real name via the “RealID” system. Naturally, Blizzard’s users crawled out of the woodwork to protest this change, and some of the points they make are valid. Several female users expressed their concern for cyber stalking, and a lot of people voiced their opinion on the stigma associated with playing World of Warcraft and what would happen if their employers found out.

To placate the masses, Blizzard employee Bashiok decided to tell people his real name and within minutes all his personal information spilled onto the internet like tauntaun guts. While this act is mostly out of ire, it shows just what people are capable of with such little information. What do you guys think of this move by Blizzard? I’m sure it was put forward with the best of intentions but it seems to have backfired. Should you force users to give up their real names if they’re already paying you for your services?

Update: Looks like this idea got scrapped. Chalk up a win for for the forum goers. I guess Blizz should get some kudos for actually listening to fan feedback. Now, if we could only get LAN support.

Source: Kotaku

GameCrush: Giving Play Dates a New Meaning

GameCrush facepalmWe all know how it goes. Lonely nights at home eating cheese puffs. Drinking our Halo Mountain Dew. Thinking about the next Dungeons and Dragons night while we putter away at World of Warcraft or Modern Warfare 2. Wishing that we had a lovely lady to talk to. Actually, I’m not too familiar with that, but I know some sad dudes are. They could probably use GameCrush, a new service that allows gamers to pay girls to play video games with them.

Honestly, I would like to say that I’m surprised that a service like this exists, but really I’m not. In fact, I wish I’d thought of it first because I’m sure they will find an audience for it. Whatever pays the bills, right?

Basically, you pay GameCrush $6.60 every ten minutes to have a girl play on either XBox Live or flash based Web browser games. Apparently, the options range from “flirty” to “dirty”. Yikes. Anyway, I’d link you over to their actual site, but it seems that GameCrush itself is currently getting slammed (pun kind of intended) with traffic right now, so instead you can check out the press release. I hope for your sake that it is for purely lol-cational reasons.

Source- PressLift

Gaming Christmas Carols

odst santa
We’re really getting into the holiday spirit here at GamerSushi, but there’s always been one thing that we’ve found to be deficient in this most favorite of seasons: uber-leet carols! Sure, we all know the classics, like Frosty the Snowman or Silent Night, but are they really relevant anymore?

Well, fear not, as we’ve taking the liberty of updating some old dusty songs into something new and modern! The only things they’re missing are motion controls and HD graphics!
Continue reading Gaming Christmas Carols

World of Warcraft Patch Trailer Announces the Beginning of the End

Say what you will about World of Warcraft and what it’s doing to PC gaming, there’s just no denying that Blizzard knows how to promote their product. This latest trailer is similar in style to the one that Blizzard released for the Ulduar patch a while back in that it sets the stage for the upcoming (and final) dungeon of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

Since the Lich King has been a big character in Warcraft lore for years, you can bet that there’s going to be some epic showdowns with the titular baddie. There’s also some pretty neat UI and game-play improvements, but I’m still most impressed with Blizzard’s ability to make a game this old look so good.

What else can we expect from this patch? Justice.

Blizzard Dispenses Advice for Failing MMOs

If you’re setting out to make a successful MMO, I imagine that there’s one undercurrent of thought running throughout the entire design phase: be like World of Warcraft. It seems like a sound plan, seeing as how that game pumps out more golden Ferraris than a Twilight movie release, but it may backfire on you sooner than you think.

According to Blizzard Lead Producer Shane Dabiri, more WoW clones are not what MMORPG fans want right now. While he says that Blizzard finds it flattering that so many companies want to emulate their success with World of Warcraft (imitation is the most sincere form of adulation, after all), trying to pull the same maneuvers may not lead to the big hit that most developers hope for.

He goes on to say that people who have invested a lot of time in Warcraft don’t want to do the same things in a different game. As a Warcraft player myself, I couldn’t agree more. Before I moved over to Blizzard’s digital demolisher I used to play Star Wars Galaxies, which, while it had its problems, was a fairly unique and engaging game. All that changed when the development team took a look at Warcraft and said “we need to do that!”

Soon after that all the hybrid classes were gone, the economy got thrown out the window and Jedi ran all over the place like a herd of ill-disciplined children. Star Wars Galaxies tried so hard to be World of Warcraft but fell so far short it was almost embarrassing. Game after game has bowed to the mighty MMO, but there are few titles on the horizon that may challenge the market by being different. The upcoming Star Wars MMO by BioWare is my current favorite to at least show some decent competition, but I can’t pretend that DC Online isn’t making a strong bid either.

What do you guys think? Has World of Warcraft ruined the MMO scene, or will future MMOs learn a lesson and try something new?

Source: CVG

Keeping It In The Family

sopranos_lMore and more it seems that gaming is becoming a pasttime for the entire family. Thanks to the Wii, we can even get the grandparents involved, although my grandma did play Top Gun, Contra and Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers with me when I was sick one day. It was cute to see her play Top Gun. She even shot me down once or twice!

In my family, gaming has been around since I was born. My mom and dad both played on the Atari and Intellivision. My mom used to reset the game if she died anywhere on the first 3 levels of Pac-Man! She also loved Burger Time, a game where a chef runs over lettuce, tomatoes and other parts of a sandwich in order to drop them to a platform below the level and complete the sandwich, all the while being chased by a couple of hot dogs and a pissed off egg. That egg always was the hardest to avoid.

My dad also had a Commodore 64, which was very big in gaming. He was one of the first people I ever heard of who invited his friends over just to play games. My uncle and him would play this horrible football game, with lousy graphics and control, and sit there and talk trash and argue and have a great time. It was fun just to watch them. He has a PS2 and still plays PC games, to this very day.

My older brother was once a loyal console gamer. We discovered Final Fantasy together and had a great time playing Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance on the PS2. Now that he has kids, his console days are over, as they play the Wii and he sits all alone in the corner, playing World of Warcraft non-stop. It’s kind of sick. My little brother just got a PS3, so we play online against each other all the time. I hooked him on Final Fantasy and he introduced me to Suikoden, a PS1 rpg that is amazing. Go download it on the PSN, it’s like 5 bucks. Before all that, he mainly played Pokemon, which I gave an honest try and just could not get into it. Not after having played epics like Final Fantasy and the Legend of Zelda. My older sister just plays the Wii, although she had a GameCube and Nintendo 64 and always played any Mario games that came out, like Tennis or Golf. She ignores most other games, which is kind of typical of a girl gamer.

So you see, gaming has been a part of my life since I could ever remember. I have played every system from the Atari to the Wii and my family has been there to for me to leech off and try new things. I am the only one now who is really into gaming, but I prefer to think of myself as the last man standing, rather than the last one who refuses to grow up.

What about your families gaming history? Do you still play together?

Rumor: Subscription Based Gaming?

The writing has been on the wall for quite some time, but it looks like some developers are finally going after the bait that WoW has been dangling in front of them: subscription based gaming.

At a recent event, Take-Two (Bioshock, GTA IV) dude-in-chief Zelnick was heard to be talking up Blizzard’s business model, and how appealing it is for other developers. He even went as far as to talk about subscription based triple AAA titles with on-going transactions between the customer and the gaming studio. Basically, paying a monthly fee to play every game you own.

Well, that would just about ruin gaming. Ready to pay every month to play your copy of GTA IV or Bioshock? Because that’s probably where this discussion ends.

Continue reading Rumor: Subscription Based Gaming?


I must admit that I have always been tempted to jump in to the MMO genre. But over the years, having lost my friends (and even some in my family) to the big hungry MMO lords like World of Warcraft, Dark Age of Camelot and Everquest, I decided to keep my distance.

Also, I never wanted to be these guys, who hooked up a treadmill in an attempt to simulate running across the plains of Azeroth in search of grand adventure.