this was originally a comment on mark’s new blog. it was getting a bit verbose, so i just thought i’d turn it into a full post. hate when that happens.
if war is to succeed, you have a few real issues to overcome:
1) people (any substantial number anyway) have room for one monthly sub. plain pure fact. that means you don’t get to be “second choice” for anyone. you have to be the only choice for your subscriber base.
2) because of the network effect, war will not only have to be better than wow, but much, much, much better with lots more content — right outta the gate. and, it will need to sustain the “lots more content” continuously and forever.
the one and only one instance off the top of my head where someone has successfully done that is facebook to myspace. the features and quality bar difference between the two were not iterative. they were not evolutionary. they were revolutionary. because of facebook, we now have game developers targeting facebook as a platform.
3) yes. you have to “beat wow.” see #1. if you have a monthly sub and aren’t trying to beat wow, you are simply setting yourself up for failure. if you were serious about not caring about beating wow, you’d be releasing a free game. the reason being because people (again, in any substantial numbers) won’t have two paid subs. that means you either need to allow for people to play your game in addition to wow (meaning it’s free) or you have to take wow’s subscribers — aka beating wow.
4) you’re not just competing with wow. you’re also competing with free. you have to convince people beyond the first free month bump that your game is not only better (see #2) than wow, but it’s several orders of magnitude better (not simply better) than something like requiem — which is free and high quality. not to mention something like runescape which is both free AND has over a million subs.
i wish you luck, sir.