Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bill of Player Rights: Travel Time Edition

1) If players use suicide and graveyards to move through a zone then chances are the average run speed might need to be adjusted.

2) The shortest route between two points is always a straight line by flight. Blizzard seems confused on this issue.

3) Quests should not force you to travel multiple times over the same path. Especially if you are moving across multiple zones.

4) A maximum travel time limit of five-ten minutes needs to be established for all automatic travel methods like flight paths. If your characters arrive AFK after using a travel method then the developers have FAILED.

5) Economic games need to use an automatic real time method of moving goods which don't require constant player attention. Players should be able to ship their goods without having to be at the helm doing nothing for twenty-five minutes.

6) Developers who make escort quests where the NPC moves slowly on a pre-set path need to be shot.

7) Methods of increasing run speed while out of combat should be available to all classes.

8) Player controlled mounts which increase movement speed should be cheap. The money sink should be the exotic and cool looking mounts.

9) Traveling back to your corpse more then once should never be mandatory after being ganked and corpse camped. Games should recognize level differences between players and offer the option of resurrecting you at a graveyard for free or deleting a item from that asshat's inventory.

10) Ships are cool but arriving at the docks right when the only ship leaves makes people want to kill kittens. Please consider having more then one ship at the docks so the wait time is less for everyone, think of the kittens.

*Serious discussion of Travel Time in my previous post here

The Threat of Travel Time

The inclusion of travel times in MMOs has always been an issue of keeping up appearances. Fantasy worlds seem less realistic to players if every location is only a few seconds from one another. As a result developers usually include some real world time cost when you try to move your character from point A to point B. One notable exception is of course the use of teleportation and portals but these almost always come with some sort of limitation. Games that don't put a limitation on instant travel usually run into problems of too many players entering into the same zone/area at the same time.

NCSoft gets around this issue by doing automatic instancing of common areas where players tend to congregate. While this gets rid of the lag problems related to instant travel it also has the unpopular side effect of forcing players to coordinate zone and instance numbers when trying to meet up. Most other MMOs instead elect to limit instant travel skills to major common areas where more processing power can be focused. This makes the game a little bit more sociable and allows players to use common areas as short cuts. A common criticism of some games like Guild Wars is that the over emphasis on instancing and instant travel makes it not a true MMO.

Even with the strategic location of portals players can still run into occasions where they are forced into insane travel times. Poorly developed quests are one of the leading cause of this problem. Especially, those quests which require you to deliver a item from point A to point B. Often after the delivery you have to go back to the original point A to get the reward for the quest. I noticed while recently leveling up my Horde druid in World of Warcraft that I kept completing quests that required me to go back to Ogrimmar to get the reward. At the time it wasn't worth the 15 minutes to fly there and back. By the time I did find myself close enough to Ogrimmar I had 3 completed quests all green which barely gave experience.

Lord of the Rings has a very good travel system which works a lot like the flight paths used in World of Warcraft. The main difference being that the travel time between major cities in Middle Earth is instant. Thus a player can travel quickly between any starting city and some of the major ranger outposts. Instant travel does cost more but its usually well worth the effort when the player is on a major quest line. Could you imagine how useful it would be to have an instant flight path to any of the goblin cities in World of Warcraft? Nothing is worse then some of the back and forth flying that players are forced to do before they can bind themselves in Shattrath.

Another new trend in MMOs causing increased travel times are economic based games which give a local value to goods. These games basically say that goods sell for less in areas where they are produced but can be moved in the game to other areas where they might sell higher. This actually is a more realistic design for a virtual economy and it better uses the law of supply and demand. Unfortunately, games like EVE and PotBS only allow players to move goods by manually piloting ships through mostly empty space or water. While this is realistic it also is quite boring and prevents a lot of players from enjoying the best game economies out there.

Looking at all the games on the market its easy to see where travel times have grown out of control and taken over our gaming experience. While maintaining the appearance of a true virtual world is important developers also need to realize that MMOs have moved into the next generation. There needs to be a travel time limit which makes it so players don't have to spend 20 minutes doing nothing to reach their goal. Unless of course the developers are preparing the next generation of Alterac Valley participants.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Does WotLK have a trick up its sleeve?

Last year when Tobold wrote a parody article that made fun of what features Blizzard would put into its next expansion it was treated as a joke by most players. Sure, a couple people thought he was serious and started arguing about his claims on the comment thread but most people got it. Later on in the year though Blizzcon shocked most of us when the feature list for Wraith of the Lich King looked very similar to what Tobold had jokingly posted. While this is old news it starting to have more importance as the unofficial deadline for another WoW expansion gets closer.

You see back in the beginning of Febuary last year we had less of an idea of what kind of competition World of Warcraft would be facing. But since then we have gotten a much better picture of Age of Conan and Warhammer. While Age of Conan was originally supposed to be a push over they have made some smart decisions lately. One they reduced their class base which I think is a smart move looking at how much trouble Blizzard has just balancing 9 classes. Secondly, they have moved their release date back several times to avoid releasing with an unfinished game. While this drives some people crazy I think its a good decision especially considering Tabula Rasa and Pirates of the Burning Sea which both would have benefited from a month or two extra development.

The major competition for Wraith of the Lich King is of course the marketing giant Warhammer Online. While some people think they are a little too full of hype they do have the talent and funding to release a great game. There is also something just exciting about the concept of Vivendi/Activision fighting EA through our favorite form of media. While Warhammer is promising some raiding and PvE content the real upper hand is their PvP content. Recent trends in World of Warcraft have suggested that raiding was mostly supported by having a exclusive lock on epic items. As soon as decent rewards for PvP were introduced it became apparent that a lot of people didn't like hanging out with twenty-five people and having some guy named Bob telling them what to do.

That's not to say raiding is dead or even that its a bad game mechanic. Its just that fantasy based MMOs are starting to look at alternative forms of end game content. That's really where Warhammer thinks they can dominate World of Warcraft. When people hit max level in their game they can fight people for castles, territory, and better items instead of just killing raid AI #318. Blizzard has realized that Warhammer might have a point here and that's why they introduced the open PvP zone in Wraith of the Lich King. Details are sketchy but it looks like the threat of competition finally got Blizzard off their asses and put siege weapons into the game.

Still while Blizzard is probably patting itself on its back for Lake Wintergrasp you have to wonder about Warhammer. They are going to have several zones like the one World of Warcraft is making and they have had longer to make them. Also Blizzard doesn't exactly have the best record on making World PvP rewarding and fun. Anyone remember the open world Silithus quests? Nothing like a zone people avoid like the plague to highlight a weakness in your game design prowess. Still Blizzard isn't stupid and they do have a tremendous amount of talent.

That's why I simply don't think Lake Wintergrasp, one hero class, and ten more levels is all that Blizzard has up its sleeve. The feature list is too small and we haven't heard anything for too long for Blizzard not to be holding onto one or more aces. Either they are waiting a bit closer to release date to announce something big or else the development of Starcraft 2 and their new MMO really ate up all their personnel. While a hero class is a major feature it can't hold the expansion up by itself. No matter how good you are at polish you can't make the same old stone look like a diamond.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Progressive Questing: What LOTR does well

Lord of the Rings has fallen out of the spotlight since its release last year though its probably still in the running for second most popular MMORPG on the market right now. Turbine was lucky that it impressed so many people with its newbie zones since it helped garnered lots of extra revenue in the form of lifetime subscriptions. I think this has allowed the game to weather the huge exodus of players that occurred when the quality level was found to dip sharply in the middle to late levels. Players have said this is slowly changing in patches but I think its a little late since most people have returned to either Everquest 2 or World of Warcraft.

Its a shame really since Lord of the Rings does one thing better then either one of those games. It really has the best storytelling I've run across in a MMO. The series of quests organized into "Books" are exactly like playing through your favorite fantasy story. While early quests in the books are your standard kill ten rats most of them branch out into really unique dungeon crawls. The rewards are well balanced and include titles for completion which are often irresistible carrots to some players.

Its funny in a way since most modern MMOs seem to be moving away from RPG elements. Quest text is routinely ignored by players for being poorly written and overly obtuse. Players have gotten in the habit of simply looking at a quest title and checking for rewards at the end. If the rewards are good enough then they go to an online site to actually look up how to do the darn thing. While older gamers are aghast at how much easier we have it nowadays versus when Everquest ruled the market, it doesn't really matter. Today, a good portion of the MMO player base is on a casual gamer time frame which often translates into little time to waste.

When I first started playing Lord of the Rings I found myself actually reading the quest text for the first time in years. In World of Warcraft I had stopped around the time I got to the Barrens which probably accounted for why I was stuck on the sempholange quest for two days. While I like to say it was something unique that made me follow the quest storyline in LOTR but the truth was that I simply wanted to find out what happen next. Each quest in a Book was a small part of the overall story and they lead into one another which is probably why they are called chapters. doh!

Now that I think about it even in earlier games like World of Warcraft the best quests tended to be the chain quests which told a story. Things haven't changed much with Shadowmoon Valley and Netherstorm both receiving praise for their quest lines when the Burning Crusade came out. I mean who didn't want to accidentally free Teron Gorefiend and get that spiffy helm of second sight? Lord of the Rings does questing and progressive storytelling on that scale much more often and only a couple of things detracted from the experience.

One was the lack of classes able to heal a group through the harder quest lines. At the time of my quiting LOTR in October 2007 only the minstrel was really able to heal a party through most quests. The other thing was that progressive quest lines have the same problem that raid backflaging has in most games. People are almost never on the same part of the quest at the same time and people quickly get tired of helping people catch up.

Those issues were minor in the earlier levels where the quest lines didn't step up the difficulty too much. But at the later levels I'm sure it started to become a problem and contributed to the exodus. If only quest instances had a cross server queue or something so people could join parties more easily. I think Warhammer has a good idea with the public quests where everyone in an area is contributing to a common goal. In the future I think ideas like this combined with better LFG tools might bring back more RPG elements into our MMO. Until then I think LOTR is the role player's best friend at the moment.

Friday, January 18, 2008

How many MMO types are there, anyways?

If you look at the MMO market from a high level perspective all you really see are two categories of games: Fantasy and Other. If you ignore the subscription numbers and look at all the titles equally then you can see some differentiation but its not very healthy. Most games are not only locked into one genre but also have very little innovation in their combat or advancement systems. Most of the time innovation in the market is only done on small scale games. Publishers then expect to be able to charge the same subscription price as the most popular games even though their ideas haven't proven their merit yet.

In my mind their are three big categories when describing what type of MMO you are going to make.

Options: Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Historical
As you can see there aren't that many choices for each area. Genre especially has had little variation with fantasy and science fiction being the only choices for a long time. Pirates of the Burning Sea will be the first commercially viable MMO with a history background though ATITD and WW2 Online are both in the same category.

Options: Melee and Special Powers, First Person Shooter, Vehicles
Combat has had probably the most tinkering done to it but mostly because developers have just ripped elements from others types of video games and stuck them into a MMO. Most of the time while this greatly changes the game from its competitors it doesn't integrate very well with the persistence of a online world.

Character Advancement
Options: Skill Based, Level Based
Advancement has had the least change over the years with games based on levels being easier to implement and more popular because of their reward curve. However, over the years fans of player vs. player combat have express a desire for skill based systems that reward better planning and research instead of blind grinding.

List of Realistic Current MMO Categories

1) Fantasy + Melee/SPower + Level: EQ, WoW, LOTR, FFXI, Lineage, GW
2) Sci-Fi + FPS + Level: Star Wars Galaxies, Tabula Rasa, Planetside
3) Sci-Fi + Melee/SPower + Level: City of Heroes
4) Sci-Fi + Vehicle + Skill: EVE Online
5) History + Vehicle + Level: Pirates of the Burning Sea

There is really no next most popular category after the number one option. Developer's trying to be different usually go for a science fiction setting in hopes of gathering those who don't want yet another elf based MMO. A recent popular trend is making science fiction based MMOs that use first person shooters elements for their combat. These games then make use of a level system which controls what type of weapons/vehicles players can use. While it makes for interesting game play none of them have been a success even by pre WoW standards.

The big alternative success story really has been EVE Online though its reputation has been marred by several developer scandals. Still its the most different from the popular fantasy games which is probably why its attracted so many players to itself. All combat is ship to ship fighting and it uses a interesting real time skill training system for advancement. Its mostly focused on realistic PvP combat (aka unfair ambushes) and people argue whether this is a positive or minus for the game. Whatever the case the game has slowly been increasing is subscription base since release which usually signifies the developers are doing something right.

I think this hints at the future of the MMO market in the years to come. Most of the games slated to be released in 2008 are yet more fantasy games but with a higher emphasis on PvP combat. After the upcoming PvP storm I think players and developers will be looking for something different. Since science fiction has started to prove itself viable in the market I think we can look forward to many releases in 2009-2010 being in that genre. Off the top of my head there's Stargate, Starcraft, and Knights of the Old Republic all being rumoured to be released in the next few years. While Stargate is the only one confirmed most people are pretty sure about the other two. In the end I have a feeling that while true innovation will be slow, the stranglehold of the fantasy genre on MMO's will start to weaken.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Blizzard's Unintended Consequences

Blizzard is the undisputed king of polish in the MMO landscape but they sure seem to suffer from short sightedness in their game mechanics sometimes. Maybe this is not because of any fault of their own but rather the size of the game they manage. Its hard to predict the effects of a patch on a virtual world when it has over 8 millions random variables running around. A high amount of players definitely seems to increase the odds of someone finding a way to exploit any new changes. Human nature and competition makes sure knowledge of the exploit spreads quickly. Lets look at some recent unintended consequences Blizzard created and ignore the classics like Hakkar's Curse of Blood incident.

AFK Reporting Feature

The Why?
Alterac Valley was suppose to be the ultimate PvP experience in World of Warcraft but has never quite lived up to its imagined glory. After two zone revamps Blizzard decided that it was impossible to balance since so many players were using methods to stay AFK in the starting caves. This was more a problem on the Horde side then the Alliance though make no doubts but sides had plenty of slackers.

The Unintended Consequence
The reporting feature was suppose to prevent players from being able to farm honor by sitting around AFK in the battlegrounds. In Alterac Valley it initially made the odds more fair but within a few weeks people had figured out places on the map where they could go AFK and still look like they were in battle. Even worse the newest form of Alterac Valley gave little honor to the loosing side. Originally thought to discourage being AFK all it did was force them into all the other battlegrounds.

The Causes
1) Blizzard should have know that making Arena Season 1 rewards available for honor would make people looking for easy ways to earn honor. 2) They might have guess that the reporting tool was only effective in long games because the amount of time it took the tool to flag someone AFK. 3) And they definitely should have known that victories in Alterac Valley were usually very one sided and it might not be the best thing in the world to make it so the losing side gained little honor. Add all three factors together and you now have the situation today with even more AFKers spread across all battlegrounds.

Required Arena Ratings and Smurfing

The Why?
Blizzard noticed the trend of raiders only participating in arena games so they could save up points for epic quality weapons. It was much easier to get weapons from arenas then raiding because of the lack of a weapon token system in PvE content. To prevent this trend Blizzard put a rating requirement on season 3 weapons when they came out.

The Unintended Consequence
People Starting selling spots on high rated arena teams. Blizzard created a personal arena rating in season 3 to prevent this practice but it soon became apparent there was already another exploit in use. This exploit was called Smurfing and involved players using multiple dummy teams to feed a single team easy victories late at night. A lot of the top winners of Arena Season 2 were caught using this method which of course meant that most of Blizzard's development on the rating requirement was negated.

The Causes
The arena rating problem has been caused by a single factor and its one the developers seem unwilling to recognize. Buying arena spots, creating a million smurf teams, and moving characters around to each of them is still easier then winning a roll on a good epic weapon. If a token system was introduced for weapons or perhaps the raid loot adjusted to drop more weapons it could have fix this problem. But instead the developers choose to focus only on the PvP side of the equation to achieve a balance.


Now why I may have been a little harsh on Blizzard, I was purposefully highlighting features where they had made mistakes. Traditionally, the company's commitment to class balance and dungeon design has been very high with a lot less mistakes then their competitors. Their good record on the raiding and combat side is in part due to their talent pool from classic Everquest. However, if there is one thing Blizzard needs to work on its reacting to symptoms of a problem instead of tracking down the source.

The introduction of daily quests and the revamp of elixirs was a great example of Blizzard attacking the source of why people bought gold instead of going after the symptoms. However, it took them quite awhile to figure it out since it wasn't in their area of expertise. World of Warcraft's PvP systems are in a similar situation where they have been tinkered with for years but have yet to provide that perfect experience. Still they keep getting better and this has had the unintended consequence of taking people away from raiding. Now blunders on the PvP side are very dangerous since they could make it too easy to get rewards or too hard. If its too easy then WoW risks losing more raiders and if its too hard they risk feeding Warhammer.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Finding a MMO Diversion

I've been experimenting with several other games since my friends started signing into World of Warcraft less often. We've simply run out of content and as a result we probably log in about half as much as we did before the summer. We have the most nowadays by competing in the arenas. We like experimenting with different class combinations and trying to see which bracket we can score the highest in. We almost never get out of the 1600 rang so we know we mostly suck but its still a lot of fun. Doing the same old dungeons in an attempt to save up heroic badges just doesn't hold the appeal it used to.

Lord of the Rings - June to September 2007

This game has one of the best starting zones I've ever seen and it made me roll several hobbit characters. The leveling curve was nice and the amount of quests made World of Warcraft look like Everquest. I played several characters to the thirties before I ran into the dreaded "problem" with Lord of the Rings. For some reason the fun just seems to vanish in the game in the late thirties. Its a combination of several things and unfortunately it didn't look like Turbine could fix them quickly enough in patches.

-Started to be less and less quests you could solo
-Dearth of new Character abilities in the late levels
-Only 4 real dungeons though lots of quest instances
-Few zone options for leveling after 40.

I heard they've fixed a couple of these issues in the following patches but the lack of new character abilities still really hurts the game and seems to make it so that the classes have less depth to them then their World of Warcraft counterparts. I think this is a result of their option not to use magic in the game which really restricted the normal leeching from D&D that most fantasy MMO games do. I quit playing around September-October and starting leveling up a shaman in World of Warcraft, which was a new class for me.

Everquest 2: October - December 2007

I only played this game for the free month but I would recommend it over Lord of the Rings for the experienced MMO player. If you are new to the genre or you think World of Warcraft is hard then I wouldn't recommend Everquest 2. In general its a more complex game then either WoW or LOTR and includes a lot of stuff you just kind of got to figure out on your own. The user interface in particular pissed me off until I finally figured out how to put another hotbar on the screen. Its still a lot of fun with combat being very similar to the other games I've mentioned

I picked up Rise of Kunark to upgrade my trial account and I considered it well worth the money though I only played this game for about 2 months. The new starting zone for the Sarnaks was very nice and the quest rewards were much better then other starting areas. I enjoyed trying to figure out things on my own in the game and not having everything spoon fed to me. In particular I enjoyed completing Collection quests and learning the lower end Crafting skills. The only reason I didn't stick with this game longer was that I was unfortunately unable to convince any friends to go back to a SOE game. Some people still have Omens of War issues.

Tabula Rasa: January 2008

With it being a new year I figured it was time to try something besides a fantasy based MMO. While Pirates of the Burning Sea looked interesting I unfortunately was getting too much of a EVE Online vibe from the game. Tabula Rasa was generally agreed to be much improved since its last round of Beta testing despite the mediocre reviews it got when the NDA was lifted. So far I'm having a blast though I'm only level 7 and still forget that guns take bullets. In general its refreshing to learn different play mechanics then the classic ones I've used since Everquest.

Each gun in Tabula Rasa has a optimal range at which you get the best damage. In most fantasy MMO games you simply go for max range if your a caster or min range if your a melee. Tabula Rasa throws a curve ball since each type of gun has a different range. The logos system is a little weird but does give you something useful to collect as you move through each area. Basically as you gain advanced class abilities they require you to know certain logos symbols. There might be other benefits to collecting them also but I'm still a newbie to the game.

I do know that so far the game plays like Halo but with a huge collection of weapon and armor to choose from. I had a great laugh when I found an upgrade for my chest slot and noticed it gave me a +2 resist vs lasers. It seems it pays to collect the right type of resist gear and weapons since enemies are immune to some types of damage and can use devastating special attacks. You laugh but I kept getting one shot by some sort of flying giant squid because I had no ice resistance. Eventually I learn the squid only had melee attacks so kiting with a rifle worked just fine. This game requires quick thinking on your feet when leveling that seems to be missing in most modern games. I can't wait until I start getting missions that require squads.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

2008: The Upcoming PvP Storm

After reviewing the games released last year it became apparent that new entries into the MMO market were going to have to bring more to the table then just "polish" if they wanted to compete with the current market leaders. This was proved true as Lord of the Rings lost a large amount of subscribers after its initial content was consumed by players. The polish attracted people to the game but it wasn't enough by itself to keep them there in the face of the current market leaders. Future games coming out are going to have focus on either a new genre or a new game mechanic if they want to make a name for themselves.

Whether by accident or by purposely copying each other it looks like the three big releases of 2008 are focusing on bringing a better PvP experience to the table. In the past most players agreed that the best avatar PvP combat has been in Dark Age of Camelot. Other games may have had a more innovative combat systems or a wider selection of skills but they suffered from elitist design flaws that made them unfriendly to new players. Dark Age of Camelot was the first game to come up with a cooperative PvP system that put less emphasis on individual gankage.

Its sort of surprising to see that games released after Dark Age of Camelot have mostly ignored the demand for cooperative PvP systems. World of Warcraft initially launched with very little "War" in their game but they have slowly filled it out by adding battlegrounds, arenas, and world objectives. This has given World of Warcraft a slight edge over other games that stuck mostly to raids for high level content. Unfortunately since these PvP systems were added into the game at a later date they aren't well integrated into the core game. This has made the PvP mechanic a tempting target for new games which are coming out this year.

Warhammer has the best advantage in 2008 to put a solid claim on the PvP market. A lot of developers in EA Mythic worked on the original Dark Age of Camelot and its almost guaranteed that the game will have several large scale PvP systems in place that are both fun and fair. Even better for Warhammer is that they have had time to analyze the major problems with the class system in World of Warcraft and how it prevents players from being good in combat against both computer and human controlled opponents.

Basic information from the game suggests long time PvE abilities such as taunt will also have applications in PvP combat. Another bone of contention that Warhammer is trying to fix is the classical usage of healers which keeps them from being in the middle of the action. Historically speaking the healing classes have suffered from the most burnout and been the least played class. Warhammer claims that their healing classes will have to be in the middle of the fray to be effective which if true would probably make it the first fantasy MMO without a healer shortage.

Age of Conan
The underdog of the major releases this year is definitely Age of Conan. Its being put together by a company with little MMO experience and has alienated some players with their overly machismo approach to advertising. However, despite these drawbacks the game has some really good ideas they are planning on implementing. Already I'm impressed with the descriptions of how they are doing player housing, mounted combat, and more realistic combat. While Warhammer and World of Warcraft are eventually planning on doing some of these you can tell they haven't put as much thought into it as the Age of Conan team.

The problem of course is that good ideas in game design are a dime a dozen. Since this MMO is coming from a new developer you never really know how much is brainstorming and how much will actually be in the core game. Most bloggers have written Age of Conan off because of this and their pursuit of the older male demographic. However, despite the number of articles claiming younger players are stereotyped there is still a huge perception that they are the ones responsible for horrible pugs, gross spam message, and a majority the asshat behavior in World of Warcraft. While this is probably not true its still going to make a more mature PvP game look enticing to some people.

Wraith of the Lich King
Ahh, the game that has probably gone through the most changes in its lifespan and its approaching its second expansion. While World of Warcraft has had some moderate sucess in their PvP additions they have been plagued by balance issues. PvP either gave really crappy rewards not worth the time investment or else very good rewards which made dungeons and low level raiding obsolete. Also over time to try to achieve class balance they started introducing crowd control abilities to every class. Now a lot of times people die without getting to use a single attack or ability.

What Wraith of the Lich King does have going for it is the introduction of a entire PvP zone that will have siege warfare. While they did steal the idea from Warhammer I have feeling they are going to better polish the experience then EA Mythic. Then again I expect Warhammer to have three or four of these zones all of which will be decent at the very least. Also you can expect Blizzard to reset the gear quality with the expansion which should take care of the balance problems between the raiding and arena rewards for a little bit.

Release Schedule
I expect Warhammer to release first around early summer which would give it a decent amount of time to make improvements from their latest round of beta testing. World of Warcraft knows its in the weaker position here and will move up on developing Wraith of the Lich King. I expect them to release about a month after Warhammer with maybe a couple dungeons to be patched in at a later date. I expect Funcom to release Age of Conan competitively which means letting Warhammer and WoW duke it out. I think an early spring release would give Age of Conan the best chance of building up support but Funcom will probably wait for the others to release first.

Subscriber Predictions for end of 2008
aka: Why no one is giving players a release date.

WotLK will shoot the numbers up to 10 million the first month of release.
WotLK will be down to 5 million three months after release.
Warhammer will match WotLK numbers if they release afterwards
Warhammer will only have 2/3 of WotLK numbers if they release first.
Age of Conan won't pull in 50,000 if they release within 1 month of War or WoW.
Age of Conan could pull in much higher numbers if they release early before Wow or War

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Escape from Orgrimmar

I just got back from a very extended vacation but wanted to post about the new Illegal Danish movie that finally made it onto the Myndflame website. It had been hit heavily by fans and some trouble makers which apparently caused the site to be down for most of yesterday. The website should now be back up with the movie available on the front page at Go ahead and check it out and see if it was worth the 2 year wait.