First, an extremely good post about why Fixing MMOs is Hard, by Scott Jennings. I loved this bit:
9) Listen to, and engage with, players
The players are often WRONG.
Whatís more, they will lie to you.
TO YOUR FACE.
No, really, their class is horribly underpowered, any fool would know that if they only played the game and that bug youíre talking about is really a feature and anyway you shouldnít remove it because our entire side is underpopulated so itís only fair.
The players are not the ones at financial risk if your game fails. They simply move on after consuming all you have to offer.
I’ve been lackadasically playing LotRO a bit, but it’s been…boring. Oh, sure, it’s a gorgeous world, and they really brought the IP to life. But it’s not as fun as a less polished game, Warhammer. Ardwulf’s Lair put it very well here: “The problem is that there are actually other games on the market. In comparison to at least a few of them, LotRO offers a more polished and full-featured experience. But what you have in LotRO today is pretty much what you will have next year, or the year after. Youíll just have more of it. Stability appeals to some people, including myself. But I want to be surprised now and then, or even impressed, and I have a very strong feeling that any subsequent content release for LotRO will be good but not surprising or impressive.” For me, it’s polished, it’s lovely, but just not different enough to be fun.† Another grind, another escort quest? Yawn.
It’s the same problem that I’ve been having with Runes of Magic. For a free to play game, it’s very well done. If I wasn’t playing a “proper” MMO, I’d quite like it. But free-to-play game experience is (of course) much different than a well-polished, multi-million dollar AAA title…as one would expect it to be. In the end, I think I’m that stereotypical WoW player who tries other games (and sorry, I can’t remember who originally said this): I want a WoW experience, with new content.† Sad but true.
So, what I think I shall do is sign up for EVE as soon as my Warhammer subscription ends this month. I’ve already cancelled one of my WoW accounts, and consolidated some of the characters. EVE would be a totally new gaming experience, which would sidestep a lot of the MMO burnout that I’m currently feeling – I just need to stick with it for a while, without succumbing to the initial feeling of being overwhelmed that I normally feel when resubscribing to EVE.
And Lord of the Rings? I have the same feeling that I had when I first tried it…I really, really wanted to like it. But it just wasn’t different enough, fun enough, exciting enough. :(