My doubts about a worthy project
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 May 2012, 2:57 am
Syp from Bio Break is announcing a worthy project: The Newbie Blogger Initiative. Quote: "The goal of the NBI is simple: To get prospective writers to come out of the woodwork and try their hand at an MMO blog of their own." I do recognize both the good intentions, and the good parts of the idea. Nevertheless I have my doubts that overall 2012 would be a good time to start a new MMO blog.

This blog started in 2003. MMORPGs were relatively new, there were only a handful of them. They were fresh and exciting, and mainstream media barely even covered them. Today there are hundreds of them, you'll get reviews of them in every PC games print magazine and website, and their design has been discussed to death. Worse than that: Out of the huge probability space of game design options for what all could be a MMORPG, the genre has crystallized into a tiny corner where all games more or less work the same way. Even minor variations of the theme, like Guild Wars 2, stand out as a beacon of innovation, in spite of being 95% the same as most of the other games out there. The games that do things differently, like A Tale in the Desert, are ignored.

I would love to talk about new and exciting game designs for MMORPGs. For example I am still waiting for a MMORPG where combat is based on a "deck" of abilities, working a bit like a trading card game instead of having fixed abilities on hotkeys like every other game. Or how I believe that less static, more random design could somewhat revive the genre. But I can't get that discussion going. Whenever I write about a new idea I get flooded with comments why new ideas will never work in this genre. And with no actual games on the horizon likely to implement any new ideas, the discussion is futile from the start.

With the genre itself stagnating, what is there to write about on a new MMO blog which hasn't been written about hundreds of times on other MMO blogs over the last decade? Does anybody really still want to read about the adventures of your Jedi consular, or Charr warrior? About the guild drama which ensued when the guild leader favored his girlfriend over the most loyal guild member in loot distribution? About the endless hardcore vs. casual debate? If I wanted I could design a "MMO blog Bingo" card which would have a guaranteed hit on 95% of the MMO blog entries still to be written for 2012. If I knew the release date of Guild Wars 2 I could mark on your calendar the date on which the discussion of that game will switch from hype mode into disappointment mode.

My advice: Find a topic that is somewhat hotter than MMOs to blog about! Or be prepared to write a niche blog with not much traffic (which is where I am heading with my D&D writing).
Tobold's Blog



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