Keys to MMO Success: Stuff To Do
In what looks like a dumb move on the surface, Square Enix wants to support Dragon Quest X for at least 10 years by releasing new content every ten weeks. By my maths that means 50 or so updates between now and their projected end date of 2022. If they are able to pull it off then the company shows terrific insight that most western developers of MMO’s do not. That the key to an MMO’s longevity is not a brilliant setting or more classes of characters. No what makes an MMO last a long time is plenty of things to do.
All sorts of gamers will be interested in this, everyone from Casual Gamers to Social gamers and of course, the Dedicated gamers.
The most successful MMOS out there, World of Warcraft, Rift, and Guild Wars, provide gamers of the entire spectrum enough content to keep them satisfied. Every city you go to in WoW gives you several quests, the chances to develop many skills, and the basic ability to explore a vast and diverse world. In addition it provides several dungeons that you can adventure solo or as part of a team.
This sort of gaming works best when it allows players to decide their own level of interaction with the game, and how far they want to go with it. If they want to play on occasion, or just power through the content as much as they want to, well the game does not care because it will give the player even more to do (and keep that money rolling in). When it’s time for more then expansion packs are released, players now get more to do and can develop characters in a different way or even complete different quests.
Compare this to The Old Republic and DC universe online. Both games were made with the casual gamer in mind, the ones that were going to play for only a few hours a week. The designers of both expected gamers would be casual in their approach to this game and to give the company time to make more content. They did not take into account the gamers who would steam through the game and get it done in less than two weeks. After the core gamers got through the game they stopped playing and went onto something else.
Here’s the thing that to remember. You have to give enough content right from the start to satisfy all kinds of gamers. The dedicated gamers will be the lifeblood of your game and you need to give them more to do. This is why Square Enix is making the right move. By providing a ton of content they ensure longevity for their game.