There’s a bit of a theme developing in the blogosphere over commitment to MMOs.
Spinks posted about “solving the content problem” asking about where long-term commitment to MMOs has gone:
The oldschool guild/community which does emphasise commitment to a game, and the newer social group which assumes that most players will not settle in a game for more than few months at most.
Massively has an opinion piece about wanderlust among MMO players and the commitment factor:
Getting immersed doesn’t make you commit; being committed is key to finding immersion.
In a sense this gets to the heart of why I’m busy writing a series of posts about how to choose between MMOs. Quite simply I find it too hard to settle on one game anymore. I disagree that simply being more ‘committed’ is the answer though. There are good and bad things about all the MMOs I play, sadly no one game offers the majority of what I suspect I’m looking for. I could just settle back with WoW as the game I’ve been committed to the longest but then where is the housing and where is even a vague sign that Blizzard wants to get people back into the open world and not stuck chain-queueing LFD/R? Equally I could get on with leveling my full stable of alts in LOTRO but then the combat is so lacklustre in that game.
I think this current debate is a continuation or an intensification of the problem. The more MMOs that are released the harder it becomes to remain ‘committed’ in this way unless you are willing to ignore the flaws of a game and ignore the potential benefits of the newcomer.
Keen takes a different angle today, looking at MMO reward programmes as a way to encourage a longer-term commitment from players.
I’m a fan of loyalty programs. They give players something extra, and decrease buyer power (make it harder to switch to another game).
Personally I’m ambivalent to such schemes. No amount of discounts or free in-game items will keep me playing if the game has too many flaws.