Success! (a subset of accessibility)

An extension to a post:

It’s been my experience that the history of the industry is money hats in spite of countless awe inspiringly stupid decisions.

If a decision is stupid it’s not awe inspiring. Or, at least, it was badly executed.

If there’s hype about something that goes wrong it’s just because the hype was coming from a superficial public.

Right now Vanguard is hyped, but this doesn’t mean that it will be great. In fact I’m between those who believe it’s not.

Vanguard could have some awe inspiring ideas. But they are ideas that I’m ready to criticize. If one day Vanguard fails because its ideas are bad I won’t accept someone saying that the game was awe inspiring but, still, failed. It was just superficial.

It’s all about the difference between following the hype and be ‘yet another goon’, or try to dig a bit more and figure out NOT JUST what worked and what didn’t.

But figure out WHY.

The success of a mmorpg depends on reasons and not just on a lucky dice roll.

Let’s take WoW’s success. We should reverse engineering the design of the game, the quests, the loot system, the distribution of the zones, the classes, the interface, the controls, the PvP, the talents and so on.

The more you dig and the more you discover that there *are* reason why WoW is so popular beside the brand behind it. You’ll see where there are the strengths of the game, why they work, why they appeal so many players and why the game can now be considered mass market. You’ll also see that many of those “brag points” are points that our communities point out and discuss from many years. In fact WoW is successful *over* other games because it treasured their mistakes and proposed better solutions. While the other companies just sat on their asses doing nothing and with an arrogant attitude toward those trying to search a dialogue.

In fact I believe that our communities existed with that goal. Trying to “force game companies to engage the player base in a real dialog” (GBob). And not just create catch phrases and commonplaces.

WoW is successful beacuse its quest system is far superior to the grind we have before, despite it then become a way to hide a grind itself. It’s not perfect but it was a step forward. It is successful because it is accessible. I often underlined as those pointing out its success on the “polish” (Lum first, and after), are instead pointing to its accessibility, because I consider the polish a subset of accessibility (see my comment on Dave Rickey’s blog). The low hardware requirements play again a strong role in its success and are often understimated or not considered at all. Haemish is one of the few who underlined this aspect in various occasions. It matters and it’s still part of the accessibility.

Then, at some point, you’ll see how all these considerations aren’t anything new. And they were all already there.

WoW made the parents play the game with their kids, made a game that appeals so many different players (see Psyae’s comment) and now it can be considered a cultural phenomenon that broke the barriers of the geekdom (or made it truly mainstream).

There ARE reasons. The successful games of tomorrow are those who will explore new directions and offer intelligent solutions to the many problems that WoW and other games are presenting. Because WoW is FAR from being perfect and because most of the potential in these games is still there waiting to get tapped.

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