So right now there is an interesting debate going on between Tobold and syncaine, on whether the next Blizzard MMO has a shot at getting over one million subscriptions. Syncaine thinks it doesn't, because WoW's success is largely down to timing and the sheer amount of work put into it over the years. Tobold does, and blames the failure of more recent MMORPGs on failing to have the same attention to detail and craftsmanship as WoW.
I like the premise of the discussion, and I think there are some very valid points being made, but I wouldn't quite agree with either of them. I'm a firm believer that the age of traditional MMORPGs is coming to an end. (By 'traditional' I mean the standard quest systems, crafting systems, economy, leveling, shoddy PvP... and so on.) I'm not going to go out on a limb and say the next Blizzard MMO will fail, because we don't know enough about it yet, but it's possible it might if they stubbornly stick to the same formula.
Just a quick note to let you (yes, all two of you) know why my blog hasn't seen much love recently.
I'm a huge fan of Guild Wars, having played since beta, racked up 6000+ hours over multiple accounts, and so on... (yes, I am trying to improve my image after the last entry). Over the past few years I've also helped out a number of Guild Wars fansites, one in particular being Guild Wars Guru.
Guild Wars 2 Guru has been planned ever since the sequel was announced, and over the last few months has finally come together. Just in time, too! ArenaNet opened the gates on Guild Wars 2 at PAX this year, unveiling an awesome trailer and holding developer panels you can view here. They haven't slowed down since then either, with interviews, Q&As and more concept art coming out every week.
The community at GW2Guru is already quite large (3,000 members and 50,000 posts since it opened about a month ago), and helping to set the right tone and oversee moderation has been no small task - not to mention keeping up with news on the front page. It's fantastic to be in the position to help grow a community from the ground up again, with new opportunities and fresh challenges. It also helps to have such a great team to work with, having all weathered their fair share of trials and tribulations on the original site.
Things have calmed down a little, for now, and I'm hoping to spend some more time writing here over the next few weeks. In the meanwhile, if you are interested in Guild Wars 2 (and you really should be) head over to GuildWars2Guru.com and see what we are doing.
I finally finished Plants Vs Zombies a couple of days ago. Thoroughly enjoyable game, and perfect for playing on a laptop whilst travelling. It's nothing particularly ground breaking, just a nice twist on the classic tower defense format with some great humor and creativity.
With PvZ finished I found myself staring blankly into the distance, tending to my Zen Garden during occasional periods of cognizance. Thankfully (120 bug sprays and 200 bags of fertilizer later) I snapped out of it, and set forth once more into the Steam store, looking for what to pick up next...
My mouse hovered over Aion for a good few minutes, feeling the temptation to try the 'latest and greatest' MMO. I've heard so many positive comments about the game, and many friends from previous MMOs have picked it up... but I just can't bring myself to get into it. Why? Fed-Ex quests and grindy leveling. I'm so tired of both of them. Is killing ten rats in Aion really that different to killing ten rats in WoW? It just reeks of lazy game design, padding out the experience for the less judgmental masses. I'm sure Aion is a great game, but it's not for me.
So instead, I picked up Trine! Trine is a wonderful little side scroller, with some very interesting physics puzzles to work your way through. You can switch on the fly between three characters (Thief, Mage, Knight), each with very distinct abilities. Gameplay is fluid and fast paced, and feels well polished. The only downside is the lack of online co-op, which apparently was cut from the release version of the game to meet deadlines (damn publishers). Here's hoping that gets patched in soon to complete this fantastic game.