mmo inertia

spacecowboy2071 has thrown his hat into the blogging ring over at Book of Grudges, and he’s started with a potentially controversial one – why people should play WAR rather than “that other game”.

It does beg the question the other way around… why do people play “that other game” when WAR is clearly a superior product? Or more to the point – why do they go back?
(that was a little bit of trolling there… being an altogether far too reasonable person I have no malice towards WoW. I just don’t play it. I made level 10 on a zombie thingie on a free trial and never bothered to subscribe. Was quite happily smiting away in DAoC back then…)

Anyway, where were we…

I read an article once on how people overestimate the ease of use of their current application by three times and they underestimate the ease of use of any new, unknown applications by three times again. Meaning for people to switch to your application voluntarily it has to be nine times easier to use.

Unfortunately the half of my brain I had replaced with a Google OneBox is unable to find this article so I can’t link you to it, but it had a convincing argument…

I expect there’s something similar involved in MMOs – a player who’s been playing an MMO for a number of years (especially if it’s their first) has a lot of investment in their characters there. It’s comfortable, they know what they’re doing.400px-one-ton_weightsvg

In contrast the new MMO is a strange new place and by playing it they’re leaving behind a lot of work in their old characters.

Someone leaving WoW to come and play WAR might not realise they’re no longer grinding rep or running around on the treadmill of raid groups. To them that’s improving their character. They’ll come to WAR and see the Public Quests and enjoy them, they’ll have some fun in the scenarios, they might go ORvR and take some battle objectives. But their new character plays slightly differently – they might do X, Y and Z which are supercool but they don’t have that one ability that they relied on (it’s on a different class in WAR). There’s little niggles – they can’t mail more than one item at once! (on the fix list for 1.2 btw :p) There’s no flying mounts! They can’t /dance! They found a couple of bugs… they couldn’t finish a quest! argh!

This all contributes to a feeling of unease – and assuming the player hasn’t completely had it with WoW they’re likely to take some of that unease on board, dust off their old WoW char and go “home” rationalising it as “WoW is just better”. This is not to mention the pull of guildmates/friends – if all your friends are still back on the other game it’s hard to stick at the new game for so long (the new GF is hot but she doesn’t get on with your mates so well ;))

I did exactly the same thing with WoW – I went back home to DAoC. I liked the interface, the quest system was fun (something involving pumpkins in a farm I recall – old hat these days but it was different) but it didn’t have the RvR, the combat was a bit funny, the cast bars were weird… so back home to my Smite Cleric and my guild and all my friends…

If you’re one of these people suffering from MMO inertia – take heart – those little niggles you might have found back at launch are fixed… two new classes have been introduced and two more on the way – not to sound too much like a fanboi but looking at the 1.2 patch notes it’s clear Mythic mean business – they’re not just adding two new classes and an event in this patch they’ve fixed a truckload of little bugs too – that attention to detail and polish that some people thought was missing is most definitely there.

So, if you find yourself getting a bit tired and bored of the same old raids come back over and try WAR (again, if you were here before) next month. If you feel the MMO inertia tugging you back, see it for what it is and fight! Bring your guild-mates and give it your best shot. You might find yourself living in a new, better, home…


7 Responses to “mmo inertia”

  1. 1 spinks
    February 18, 2009 at 05:26

    Truth is, they do PvE fantastically well. Their game will run on a toaster. Their new expansion was well received because it raised the bar for them in a way that no one was really expecting.

    I hope lots of new people do decide to come and try WAR, I know I’ll be back come 1.2 (although with some misgivings about what the scenarios will be like when they are full of melee dps). And it’ll be nice to be back in a game where you don’t have to get special sets of gear in order to experience the fortress and city sieges! And you don’t have to hope that the RNG favours you when the gold bags drop and do the same thing again and again for that piece you need.

    Yeah. If WAR had actually ditched those things, I’d be keener, dunno about you.

  2. February 18, 2009 at 09:24

    I think rolling a tank will be a good plan in 1.2…

    Supposedly they’re changing the RvR loot (about time) – if they turn it into a token based system (or just use influence even…) that lets you get the annihilator/conqueror gear it would be much better. Wards are probably the second worst feature of WAR – it’s not like they need them either given the armour sets are noticeably better than the normal stuff. I can see why they’re there though for the dungeons (why go to Bilerot/Bloodwrought when you can get better gear from Lost Vale if not for the wards…) but they could have just designed it so there’s good gear in all the dungeons? no?

    The worst feature is that really annoying no-ress rubbish (taken straight from WoW) on the boss fights. Bring back dragon raids with mass chain ressing…

  3. 3 forjador
    February 18, 2009 at 13:37

    Some of my friends went back to WoW because:
    1- Keep taking was unplayable for them in T4
    2- Felt there was not much to do in T4

    I personally think there is more into this. People that have been playing WoW for few years feel they have invested a lot of time and energy and they don’t want to lose what they have achieved.

    Some players tried WAR as a break from WoW till the expansion. Once the grinding season in WoW finish they will be looking where to go next. They might try WAR again and hopefully they’ll find a more polished game this time around.

    If you really like RvR over PvE there is not reason why to stay in WoW in my opinion.

  4. 4 Roo Stercogburn
    February 20, 2009 at 01:26

    WoW has better and more polished PvE than WAR. Of course it does, its been focusing on that for several years now with millions of users worth of feedback. WAR PvE is ok. But only ok. There are some nice touches but generally its a poor cousin to WoW’s PvE. WAR PvE is not helped by utterly rotten Elf zones. Thats 1/3 of the gameworld with uninspiring quest lines, mobs and scenery. Hey! Lets spend 40 levels fighting mobs that look…JUST LIKE YOU, BUT IN DIFFERENT CLOTHES! Mythic would have done better to throw in some of the other races for the elves to fight such as the Skaven, rather than parcelling them, probably keeping things for a future expansion. A missed opportunity. If the same care and attention went into the elf zones that has clearly been lavished on the greenskin/dwarf zones WAR would be a much better game overall.

    When it comes to PvP, Blizzard failed to deliver nearly every promise from pre-launch WoW. WoW PvP is about as epic as two wasps in a jam jar. Blizzard have made several forays into open field PvP in WoW and each has fallen flat on its face, with few people interested in it because Blizzard are afraid to make their PvP game-world affecting and also because they don’t reward the community, they only reward individuals with shiny itamz. Their latest attempt, Wintergrasp, lags everyone in Northrend when a battle is in progress, which will be nearly the entirety of the WoW population since its the new end game. Mythic at least grasped that epic PvP is engendered by making the goals and benefits community focused. Generally speaking, any problems in a zone won’t take out everyone else on the server.

    Regardless, WAR is haemorraging players because Mythic still have a lot they need to deliver in terms of stability and content and there is a lot of choice now on the market compared to when DAoC was around. We have a lot of crashes and lag on Karak-Hirn making for much grumpiness amongst the players. Not all of it is down to GOA/Mythic, but enough of it is clearly MMO-provider side that WAR could use a fat techie with the right size of spanner and fast. Client interface has always been a weakness on Mythic’s part and WAR is no exception, its a real clunker. Blizzard’s interface programming is relatively seamless and smooth.

    Even with the gripes I’ve mentioned above, WAR still shines as the best epic PvP MMO around to my mind.

    As said in other comments, inertia can come from time invested and attachment to the toons we make and its very easy to just pop back to a game for a month to pick up where you left off. I myself played WoW alongside WAR up until last month and finally closed the account due to lack of content in WoW (ironic as that may seem) because I believe the WotLK expansion has really cocked WoW up, despite having some funky new things and some nice content. Once you’ve got to 80 there’s raiding and…raiding and many people have long since completed all that content. PvE focused games need a regular influx of new stuff because there’s only so many times you can repeat killing scripted mobs before your brain melts. At least with a PvP focused endgame the variation comes from other players arrayed against you.

  5. 5 Psyklone
    December 7, 2009 at 02:30

    I agree that WAR is the better game. But WoW is the more fluid. Often I find myself thinking of SWG when playing PvE WAR.
    This is one of the key reasons I keep playing WoW. I mean I hate a great deal of it (pvp and resil are WAY up there. So Arthas can’t crit you, but I can with my caster dagger lawl! (srsly wtf?)), but it is more playable.
    I’m not against PvP, in fact I spend 90% of my time doing it in WAR. Whether youre good at it or not, its just more enjoyable in WAR.
    Make WAR less clunky, and id be hard pushed to look back at WoW.

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