Such a tragedy to work as a game designer. Striving for years only to watch your work and everything you built your art around change mere months before launch. This is the curse of the maker of digital worlds. If you are attuned to the way of the MMORPG genre then you have heard the whispers in the wind, according to their own developer updates New World has recently taken its name literally. As all games in development do, it has rebuilt itself a few times now. Ideally, each time what came before was incinerated and from the ashes was born a newer, better game. That process works well in all art forms, games are no exception.
But this last time…the last time it was born then it lived, it acquired knowledge built upon the souls it took, and then it died but something special happened! Something unexpected that had not occurred prior! When the last version of the New World was turned a cinder, it took something with it… The word “sandbox” faded from its marketing and an opt-in PVP system replaced what was a free for all. What requires a scalpel was done with an ax and from that wound, a wave of great anger emerged and cast its shadow over this new birth.
From the ashes of a game designed from the beginning for PVP an opt-in PVP toggle option now existed. As a player of my beloved Star Wars Galaxies, this concept was not foreign to me. In fact, I quite liked it in that game but what a strange occurrence this was. In all of my years covering MMORPG’s two things have proven consistent, they never launch on time and over the course of development they take many forms right up until that launch they don’t land. There have always been whispers post-launch of things we never got to see. Often those things are reintroduced later. But never before do I recall such fervent affection for a skin once it had been shed. The cries made me posit the question, can we not have the best of both New…Worlds?
I am not here to lend my voice to the hundreds already screaming, that is not my way. I hail from the realm of Rogerian argumentation. I do not come to complain or shill, I have come to offer a compromise! AGS why close your game off to a niche? Is the purpose of a launched game not to make as much money by appealing to as many people as possible? Why not embrace that appeal and increase your player base? What if I told you AGS, that you can have your friendly New World and your PVP niche players can be happy too? Why not release two versions of your New World?!?!
Hear me out! The branding is set, this latest incarnation can be the New World that you now advertise to the masses. But why not release your Old World too? By the timing of your developer accounts, it was close to launching. This latest change came a few months from release, perhaps it was near enough a complete game that is, in fact, could be just that? It’s our own complete PVP Sandbox game!
Let us assume you saved a back up before replacing the old with the new or, at the very least, left enough of the old and built-in some tools to adjust your current game. Why not flip a few switches and release the Old World as the PVP sandbox so many are left begging for? Ok, you are shaking your head, but do not despair!
Maybe that is too much to ask, too much to spend. I can understand that. We can understand that, but it isn’t our only compromise! We have a simpler, more cost-effective, one yet! One you AGS may not be aware of. One that only students of the MMORPG genre are familiar with. It is called a “PVP server”. Or, at the very least, a faction vs faction server. You turned the PVP switch off, why not just throw us a bone and flip it back on for old times sake? Give this Ole’ wayward PVP niche a home rather than sending us back to competitor’s games? But don’t stop there! Contrary to popular myth we of the PVP are benevolent people! Role-play servers, faction vs faction servers, no PVP servers, heck – drop that old building tech back in, lower the headcount and give Ark a run for its money! The potential is limitless!
Even mass appealing World of Warcraft launched with PVP servers, surely they were not wrong. Surely if they did it then for you, with your (based on the developer blogs) PVE oriented new New World should at least entertain doing what has proven to work for the giant of our industry! What I propose to you is not revolutionary as it appears you do not prefer such things, it is proven to work, to draw, and to retain but it has never been done to such an effect! You can be the first by doing something that has been done but doing it best, isn’t that what your game is trying to do now? You know you like that concept, we know it too AGS, you can’t fool us. You have at least considered it, haven’t you?
Let me put this in bezoian terms for you AGS. You are walking away from a table full of money if you launch your New World as it is now. Not because it is not good enough, but because under each stack of money is a different MMORPG niche begging for a studio to appeal to them. I offer you this idea for free AGS, if you build it…no, you already built it, but if you offer it on a variety of servers with their own rule sets, they will come. Why try selling one brand of your game and hoping it appeals to the masses when, with a few rule tweaks per server, you can sell your game directly to the audiences begging for a company to notice them?
You have the keys to every niche in all of gaming a few toggles away! Combined they are no longer a niche, they are the millions of players you can’t appeal to with one form of your game, so why not give them several? Why not offer up a variety of server types and ensure the future of your art by giving players a reason to say AGS made this server for ME and my people! My loyalty and my dollars now go to them because we of the niches are a loyal people, now open the doors to your cash shop and stand back while we shower you with affection the only way gamers know how; with our wallets! I thank you for your time. #gamestrong
ABOUT TIM EISEN
Embedded reporter relaying news from the front lines of the MMORPG development wars, Tim and is passenger offer YOU eye witness accounts of what it is like to be a fan in the never-ending chaos that is MMORPG game development.