Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Migrating to a New MMO

I hate leaving a good MMO and once I find one I tend to stick around for a couple of years. However, all games eventually grow old or the developers start to get lazy and it becomes time to try out new things. This year with Age of Conan and Warhammer both coming out I have a feeling one of them will replace my current favorite. In fact I think quite a few people might migrate from an older MMO this year to one of the newer offerings. And I bet most of us will have a similar problem, "How do we get our friends to follow us?"

It's not that most of our friends have problems affording a new game but instead it’s that people have different speeds at which they get bored. Factor in the different amounts of play time your friends have available and some are just going to burn through content quicker. It's because of this that it's actually very hard to have a group of real life friends move from one game to another. The only time I think its possible is during the first few days when a new "big" MMO comes out. While we all claim to hate hype it does make it easier to convince people to try new things.

Even if you convince your friends to migrate to a new MMO with you there are still a ton of rookie mistakes that can be made. Almost no one wants to play a class which was similar to what they played in the last game. This of course means that your previous group make-up has to be redefined. Leave it up to chance and then laugh your butt off when all your friends login as rogues. You might also want to establish some ground rules for leveling, questing and joining guilds. No matter what happens your group will eventually split apart but with some good planning you might be able to make it so that it doesn't happen until the end game.

Successfully Migrating a Group of Friends to a New MMO

Don't force friends to play classes they don't like
This will just make them not want to play and they might actually start going outside and having a life. Or even worse going back to Everquest.

Make sure the new class types for your friends match their personality
Attention deficient friends should not be the main healer. Also people who really hate dying probably shouldn't be the main tank. aka "the no cowards in plate" rule.

Only try to move friends to a "new" MMO
I made the mistake of suggesting LOTR to my friends 4 months after it released only to have them pull every negative blog post about the game to describe why they didn't like it. Games that have been out awhile just don't have that "new" MMO smell anymore and someone always seems to have reason why they will never play it.

Migrating only works when friends are tired of the current game
Most MMO companies are terrible at releasing content and there's a natural tendency for them to slowly switch developers from patches to paid expansions. Eventually, this causes too long a time period with no new or original content and you'll hear the words "I'm bored". This is a sign that you might be able to suggest a new game to your friends.

Keep an eye out for those power levelers
Some friends just have this amazing ability to quickly finish quests and fall ass backwards into levels. It’s a good idea to introduce these people to alts or risk them hitting max level while the rest of you are still killing bats outside the city walls.

Guilds will break up your friends group
It’s a good idea just to make your own small guild in the beginning. You could also join a casual guild that doesn't mind taking everyone in. The idea is not to have another factor which could cause one of your friends to burn through content quicker.

Run Dungeons
The primary benefit of having a friends group is that your teamwork gets better and better the more you play. If you apply this to running dungeons then you can become very successful as everyone learns their role. This leaves more time for goofing off and generally makes the game a lot of fun.

Guard your Healer
Healers are always in demand especially in new games where most healers aren't that well equipped at the max level. If you've been running dungeons then chances are the friend who plays a healer is going to be a lot better equipped at the max level than most people. This is the kind of target that young hard core raiding guilds drool over.


Viet said...

Interesting tips for this coming summer. Many of my clan members have already left WoW, including me. I hope we are able to migrate to one of the newer games upon release. Always a good read.

Anonymous said...

I think the cowards in plate comment should be bold, highlighted and then 10 times font. You don't need certain individuals with tendencies to kill friends with Feign Death behind the wheel of the big scary monsters. Also make sure you tank is ballsy and willing to hit ae taunt at 20% life.

steve said...

At least we are only breaking one of the cardinal rules. You as the main tank from the beginning will be interesting. Luckily I am an experienced healer that promises not to outlevel you all (too much). You also forgot the most important rule of migrating with friends:
It is easy to get them to kill what you want them to kill. The "(random mob name) called you guys jerks. I would do something about it if I were you", strategy has always worked well. Because lets face it, if Van Cleef didn't call your friends jerks a lot, then there would have been a lot less Deadmines runs.

Heike said...


I definitely agree with the difficulty of getting friends to migrate.

Don't forget about the fun transitions when half the people want PVE and the other half PVP (on games with different servers.) Or, like WoW and upcoming Warhammer at least, when there are faction choices - when moving over from EQ to WoW, a group of us all ended up on the same server - but some are alliance and some are horde.

I don't necessarily agree that people won't want to play the same class, however. We have a couple people who are *always* warriors, and I myself always choose a healing main. A third person always goes for a magic-dps type. Even though we'll make various attempts to branch out along the way, we always go back to the class-types we love.

Hades said...

Over at www.lotd.org we have migrated to new MMO's for the 13 years of our existence. I've got a few articles on our site about building and maintaining guilds as well.

Many guilds fail when migrating, but we are not one of them.

Galoheart said...

I will be trying out both AoC and Warhammer. I have both on preorder. Hopefully I can find some WoW players on a same server. Will try new classes for the fun as well.

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