Can Niche MMOGs Work?

raph koster made a comment on my post yesterday pondering the viability of an mmo sandbox. i’m not really so sure it could work on a large scale. technically possible, yes. (really, what isn’t these days?) profitable? that’s more of a question as to niche mmo’s are financially feasible.

me? i really think the niche mmo market will grow into being web based. more passive (not casual) play. and not, i repeat, not flash or java or anything else. the world you inhabit would be the entire website. login in periodically from any browser to make adjustments as necessary.

anyway. here’s the comment i wrote back on his site:

i think the narrative comes into play when you get large groups of people together. they need a purpose. narrative gives them that purpose.

i’m sure there’d be some sort of emergent gameplay that would bubble up in an mmo sandbox game, but, for every player wanting to build, there’d be 10 wanting to tear down.

goals work well to align everyone in a common direction, flipping the numbers the other way: 10 wanting to quest for every 1 wanting to disrupt.

oh. and i have a (non)fancy graphic that talks to the whole balacing game design in a mainstream mmog. hitting all 4 of richard bartle’s players evenly.

[digs around through stuff]

aha! here it is:



2 comments so far

  1. Voorshwa on

    I think we are about to find out with DDO. The game is so different from standard MMO fare that only the hardcore DnD players are going to enjoy it. My reasoning behind this is the lack of solo content, lack of phat lewtz, and really no way to grind out experience.

    So in the end, when the new-ness wears off you are going to be left with those “niche” DnD PnP players. I think we will see if this is going to fly or not.


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