Longevity – the Topic that Refuses to Die

More random brainstorming about MMORPG longevity.  I’ve been considering the setting and the role it plays in keeping someone interested in the game.

You can have dynamic, simple and yet eloquent controls, an efficient and appealing game engine, and knockout visual and audio effect, but without a good setting, it all fizzles.  As a matter of fact, a good setting can keep a game around for a long time on its own.  Take Ultima Online as an example.  Even with updated graphics, the game engine is an old clunker based on tiles.  However, the setting of Britannia from the DOS-based Ultima games is compelling enough to keep subscribers coming back for more.

In what may seem like a paradox, though, games set in what appears to be a hot IP (Star Wars Galaxies and the Matrix Online come to mind) are not generally well received.  A lot of that may come down to slipshod development, and trying to get by on the strength of the IP alone.  However, I think that more is expected out of a game that tries to present itself using a hot IP.

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