I was listening to the ever-splendid VanHemlockAndJonCast last night, and they were talking about SirBruce’s MMOGCharts. I like a good graph, me, so I grabbed the Excel version for some hot spreadsheet action (with the added bonus that columns of numbers look a bit like work).
As suggested in the podcast, the “rising tide lifts all boats” theory doesn’t quite seem to have panned out for games launched since WoW. It’s more like the rising tide caused a TIDAL WAVE of TERROR, SWAMPING small boats in a FEARSOME WALL of DESTRUCTION, leaving behind only the DREADNOUGHT of HMS WARCRAFT. Since 2005 the charts show The Matrix Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Auto Assault and Vanguard launching, then dropping off rapidly to half the early peak number of subscribers, and unless I’m more vastly mistaken than a man who thinks Hillaire Belloc is still alive, they’ve all gone through server merges, The Matrix and Vanguard were sold off to SOE, and Auto Assault sadly shut down. Tabula Rasa and Pirates of the Burning Sea have few points of data since their recent launches, but the recent Pirates news doesn’t sound terribly positive. Then there’s stuff that didn’t even make it to launch, like Gods & Heroes. The biggest post-WoW success is Lord of the Rings Online, and the most similar game to World of Warcraft out of that lot is… Lord of the Rings Online. Hrm. Coincidence? Not sure it’s just the IP, with Dungeons and Dragons and The Matrix not faring nearly as well.
Ever marvelled at how NPCs don’t seem to get confused by player character names?
Spirit: “Welcome wizard, come in, you have been expected.”
Wizard: “I have? Ok.”
Spirit: “I, the great spirit nexus of Umbwanwei, will now bestow upon you the Continual Staff of Magram the Curiously Hairy, as has been told in the volumes of the ancients since beyond memory.”
Wizard: “Oh. Right. Well, thanks.”
Spirit: “Here you are, Gandalf the Wizened, take the staff and lead the forces of light to victory-eternal against the black spiral of the world eater.”
Spirit: “I’m sorry?”
Wizard: “My name is Gondalf the Wizened.”
Spirit: “Is it? Hmm, a minor mistranslation of the ancient texts then, for are you not a great wizard? And you have come to me on the only day in ten thousand thousand years when the three suns of Mianos perfectly align. The staff is yours.”
Wizard: “Wow, thanks!”
Spirit: “No go. Go swiftly and fight the invading horde, make them pay for their crimes against our world!”
<Two hours later>
Wizard: “Puff Pant Great spirit nexus of Umbwanwei, I kneel before you your humble servant and offer my praise to you, mightiest of the spirit lords. I have travelled through fire and brimstone, smote the ruins of mine enemies across all the continents of the world in my quest to find you on this great day. I am Gandalf the Wizened, and I come to you now at the turning of the tide, for I claim the destiny that is mine by divine right: I claim the Continual Staff of Magram the Curiously Hairy!”
Spirit: “Oh buggery fuck.”
Shortly afterwards the wizards Gundolf the Woosey, Gondulf the Womaniser and Gandolf Wooler of Wabbits all arrived and the whole situation just got out of control.
The arrival of IamGandalf1347 wasn’t fooling anybody, though.
If I read one more post about how forthcoming game X is going to be more amazing than Jesus jumping a shopping trolley over the Grand Canyon and landing on Elvis, I think I might just climb the proverbial clocktower.
Marketing departments deal out snippets of pure, distilled hype like baggies of crack cocaine, and it would be nice if we could develop some sort of rehabilitation clinic for all the addicts out there.