Almost a single game player

Kill Ten Rats has a nice post on the happiness of single game players. Good enough for me to transcribe & expand my comment, and worth a bit of your eyeball time.

In a nut shell: are people happy with wow because they know no other options for game play exist, or is the choice to play a single game only actually a valid cognitive decision?

Zubon writes:

What was revelatory for me at one point was that there were people who thought of themselves not as gamers, not as MMO gamers, but as WoW players. They are not interested in the genre, in seeing competing implementations, in the next MMO coming out… They just play WoW. Hardcore or casual, this is their game, done, the way some people are baseball or football fans (a perspective that had not occurred to me until I typed it, which suddenly makes “one game” make a lot more sense, although most seem to be “sports fans” who need a group of sports to make it through the other seasons).

I’m an almost single game player. I’ve tried eve, ran screaming from DDO and LoTR, and looked enough at Rift, Conan, and Warhammer to know that WoW was a better game for my taste and therefore not worth changing from. That is the key for me, my current taste is well served by wow and while I’ll happily look at other games; there is little in the market which is enticing a change. My taste may change too, but for now wow is ok enough.

This was not always the case though. Before I played wow I played a wide range of games, and was always buying new ones. Not because I was keen to experiment, but because I like a narrow band of games and wow is in that band. There is no reason to pay for a new game when the current subscription is doing the job. I dread to consider the amount of money I wasted on games in the past, where the play time was around 15-30 hours and then it was done.

A game has to be worth the sticker price. Apart from World of Warcraft my favourite game is Master of Orion 2. It is now ancient, but still had the right balance of management and action for a turn based game. The updated version 3 was horrid and seemed to miss the “game” that was delivered with the v2.

Add to this the investment of time in terms of what has been achieved for me in WoW, and it is hard to argue with wow as a fundamentally good offer; for me. I know that this statement is somewhat recursive, as the more time spent, the more investment you have; but it is true to my ape brain. The subscription cost per month is the equivalent of two drinks. Even if I only play for 10 hours a month, the cost is almost inconsequential.

But WoW has its flaws too. Like I said, they do the things I like well, and I tend to stay away from the aspects of wow that I dislike (pvp, pet and mount collecting to name two). Blizzard has created many features that I’d rather not have, or moved in directions that I dislike – and you cannot have everything.

I doubt I’ll find a game that meets all my perfect criteria, and if I did it would probably have such a small player base as to be not economically viable for long.

In terms of getting all the features, I actually think it is better to do less features very well, than do every feature in an average way. A narrow and loyal market segment can be widened, but it is very hard to grow wide when you’re not already doing something to retain customers. Simple games also can be powerful in the market. Do one thing well and have the opportunity to show your expertise.

Happy gaming – TyphoonAndrew

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5 thoughts on “Almost a single game player

  1. I hadn’t really thought about this much. Nice post.
    I remember when Myst came out and it was the first real computer game a lot of people had played. The new players were Mums and Dads and had never touched a ‘video game’ except to wrap it for Xmas. I suppose the same thing is possible for WoW. I’d love to know how the barrier is crossed.
    I’m not a game monogamist. I tend to have a main game, like WoW, and a bunch of side games. My side games at the moment are: Solomon’s Keep, Pirates Love Daisies, SpaceChem, and an old MUD that’s been around for 20 years or so. On occasion I will play two at the same time.
    It is possible I will become a single game player. Star Wars: The Old Republic presents as a game that might suck me in. I won’t jump in as soon as it’s released, as I like to give the masses a chance to discover bugs and smooth things out for me. But if it checks all my boxes, I can see it becoming a mini obsession for while.

  2. Excellent post. I was just reminiscing about some of the old single-player games I used to play, and MOO2 came up, as did Syndicate (the grandfather of squad based games like Dawn of War II), X-Com, and Master of Magic. Each one brought something new and interesting to the table and taught me (I would have been in my mid-teens at the time) about how games can be played.
    That leads me to counter your question, though, with this one: Are people unhappy with WoW because they know other (and perchance better) gameplay options are out there, and is playing WoW a valid cognitive decision?

    Great post!

  3. Thank you guys – To be fair, KillTenRats had the idea, I just ran away with it to this corner of the web.
    @Fatty – SW:ToR has a lot to live up to. Sony have just announced that the other SW game will be dying at the year’s end, and if you believe the hype then this is the StarWars game to end all games, and also a MMORPG changing experience. From what I’ve seen there will be a staggering number of disappointing people after the first week.

    Its good by all accounts so far, but its not “new”. And this is my issue with the communications from the owners of the developers, they’re touting a new experience. I’ll wait and see…I have in mind to play a Sith Inquisitor or Vader-ish type (forgotten the class name). Like you, I’ll let the early adopters beta test it properly for me.

    @Stubborn – I think your question is right on the money in terms of the implied answer. Some folks are not happy in wow because they see other features, or other experiences, and expect these in the wow game. I’ve written the odd blog post about good features elsewhere, or improvements to the game (eg. the loot system is farked in WoW), and many people find that a missing feature, or a feature styled not to their taste is the final straw.

    Those players make the choice to pay or not, and its a fair thing. Good on them, that is market pressure that will help shape the feature sets.

  4. I am of the firm belief that I am not alone in my view that WoW is very accommodating to the solo player, of course I can not do any end game content but I live with that. The WoW community is the games biggest handicap for me so I am still paying for and playing (across 2 accounts) and getting sufficient enjoyment for the game to continue. I play most races and classes and enjoy the lore content from both sides, I have nerve been in ICC nor do I expect to, I have been in some parts of Ulduar and loved every bit of what I did sadly I cannot solo Kara but I have done many lower level places with solo play. If I had henchies as in Guild Wars I would surely try the harder parts of the game(not holding my breath).
    Arenas, Battlegrounds PVP mean nothing to me I do not crave the latest tier this or whatever it is, gear score and dps monitors bahhhh keep them I play solo and can not see it changing.

  5. Pingback: No more casual vs hardcore? | TyphoonAndrew's – Eye of the Storm

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