Wednesday, June 23, 2010

DAOC - The Day The Guilds Died

Things just don't seem to be going well over at Mythic. They had that billing snafu where subscribers were majorly overcharged. The past couple months they've let go of several major devs; some have been part of DAOC since nearly the beginning.

And today was a patch. While there were some nice loot updates to old dungeons as well as some mysterious content in which the world is now covered in darkness, everyone on Gaheris server logged in to find all guilds had been disbanded. All the guild homes are without owners and homes have been randomly assigned various guild emblem designs. I can't imagine this can be fixed without a roll-back.

I have to be honest that while there's so much that I like about DAOC, the game in its current state is a bit depressing. I was one of the few players that didn't have an army of bots following me. When you see ten people online in guild, it usually means there's really only three players on. And there's no communication at all from anyone at Mythic except for the occasional "here's the patch notes". Players never know what they're working on, if anything at all. While they caved on their stance of not having official forums for Warhammer, the DAOC community has had to rely on VN boards which isn't always a friendly place to be. I guess the reality is that they're done with this one as EA continues in their pursuit of million+ subscriber MMO's. And what a shame that is.

I've let my subscription go, and it runs out in a couple weeks. Looks like I may be without an MMO home for awhile. *gasp*


Pai said...

I think this is why F2P will be the future. Smaller budget 'niche' games with smaller communities (which most old school MMOers prefer anyway), and the 'hardcore' will fund most of the expenses via cash shop purchases while the majority pays a lesser amount more casually. This is how most F2Ps work, and there are many more 'innovative' F2Ps that I've tried compared to 'AAA' who can't afford to take too many risks because they HAVE to appeal to the broadest demographic or else they're toast.

The modern 'standard' where a 'AAA' MMO needs ridiculous amounts of money to be made and huge numbers of players consistantly paying every month in order to stay afloat is just not survivable. It's stifling innovation and it's diluting the very aspects that made people originally love MMORPGs in the first place.

Aspendawn said...

Well, I'm still generally not a fan of FtP, but if it would help DAOC I'd be all for it. I just don't think it will. There's so much they'd need to do to make it more user friendly and intuitive. While I was willing to spend weeks googling information for what should have been simple tasks, most players won't do that even if it's free.

But if they could update things a bit, being one of the few games that has housing, I could see there being a cash market for furniture, appearance armor, and mounts, along with content like they've done in DDO.

Since they don't seem interested in it anymore, maybe Mythic should turn it over to Turbine to revitalize.

Pai said...

Well, F2P or P2P is just a billing style, despite the common misconception. In general, I mean that F2Ps are smaller budget games that don't 'require' millions of people paying every month in order to be financially viable. That's the key here, I think, especially since MMORPGs are a niche genre.

It's the current trend towards budget-bloat that's killing AAA MMORPGs, in other words. The F2P model allows for smaller scale games with niche appeal, and that alone is why I think that if it can catch on in the West and be built around games that appeal to Western playstyles we could get some very nice results. I think the fact that most F2Ps on the market today are Asian ports, built to cater to a different market and different culture of play is what puts off most Western gamers, more than anything else. I think that's the source of many people's dislike of them.