We always here the terms “niche game” and “WoW clone”, without understanding what do they mean. They are often cursewords or badges of honor, instead of descriptions. So let’s see first what WoW is: “WoW is an interactive media that the subscriber can fully consume regardless of his input (besides open trolling)”. WoW is like movies: if you pay the movie ticket, you are entitled to fully watch the movie, unless you make a scandal inside the theater. Both WoW and a movie exist without the input of the consumer. The movie is the same, even if no one watches it and an individual consumer gets the same experience regardless the existence of other consumers. Same for WoW, Deathwing is dead in a server where no player killed him.
Unlike the movie, WoW retains some illusion of interaction between the consumer and the World, but its results are limited to the avatar of the consumer. If you never killed Deathwing, you don’t have the achievement or other rewards from it, if you killed him multiple times, you may have all the rewards. But you (or anyone else) killing Deathwing has no effect on Deathwing. Similarly, if you never engaged in Battleground PvP, you don’t have the achievements or rewards. If you did, you have. However while you claim (and have rewards to prove) that you were victorious over other players, so do they claim and point to the very same proofs. The characters of both of you have improved and have the same rewards to show off your illusionary victory. So in WoW the consumer is not a player as his experience is uncorrelated with his input (besides extreme inputs).
Niche games are different from WoW because they are games. The outcome can be favorable (winning) or unfavorable (losing) depending on the input of the player and the inputs of teammates and opponents. The “niche” is defined by the ruleset. EVE is different from Counterstrike, each harboring different type of players who enjoy different kind of challenges.
WoW is an enjoyable one-time consumption for everyone (besides extremes). WoW clones wish to emulate its success, but fail, because they lack the funding to do so. Since – unlike movies – consuming such product takes lot of time, it’s unlikely for a customer to consume more than one in the same time. They are also competing for the total consumer base. Therefore they are in direct competition and only the best-made can survive and it’s currently WoW. WoW-clones cannot succeed, except for the yet-to-be-seen WoW-killer, that will take its place. Also, constant content updates are needed to upkeep with the consumers, in absence of these, they would leave. If WoW would receive no more content, it would die in a year.
Niche games only need to compete with games within the same niche. So EVE is competing with Darkfall, but not with Counterstrike, Heartstone or Starcraft. A successful niche game can (and often do) survive without further content. Counterstrike is being played without serious new content in the last decade.
- Gevlon Goblin
If you would like to read more Gevlon Goblin articles, we invite you to visits his Greedy Goblin blog.
P.S.: Daily evil propaganda bashing. The head of evil is busy spreading lies. Not by mistake the punchline of his recent one is the usual “nerf supers because I have less”. His article blames supers for being the reason for the two-block cold war nullsec. He is 90% right: the only counter of the “apex force” of supercarrier blob is a larger another supercarrier blob, forcing everyone to join blocks to be part of the “larger supercarrier blob”. What he doesn’t mention is the “apex force” logic doesn’t need supercarriers. Something will always be the apex force (a fleet that can only be defeated by a larger version of itself), so groups will always be motivated to join a block. He doesn’t want to nerf the apex-projection (which probably can’t be done anyway), he just wants to keep nerfing the actual apex until the new apex is his own. When Drakes were the apex force, he didn’t complain.
Power projection can be nerfed by … nerfing it: greatly decreasing the jump range of all jump methods and/or putting timer on re-jumping. But the real solution to the power projection problem is what I’m proposing: asymmetric warfare. Small, mobile groups terrorizing the backyard of the undefeatable block until it is forced to negotiate peace or weakened to the point where the other bloc can safely go war with it.
P.S.: how can someone be this stupid?