For all that I criticize MMO’s (at least I think I do…), they definitely do at least one thing right. The good ones, at least. But first, a little background.
Although I previously cited New Game+ as one of the greatest gaming innovations of all time, I’m not much for immediately replaying through a game just to see additional endings, or for other
obsessive completionist goals. Oddly enough, however, I have a severe case of Altoholism that I’ve only been able to manage by going cold turkey.
Let’s ignore all the other various factors that contribute to my Altoholism for the sake of this discussion, and focus on what MMO’s do that other games don’t: consistent content updates.
As always, let’s use WoW as an example, just cuz it’s easy. The original content has gone through multiple face lifts, even before Cataclysm literally changed the, uh, face of the world. Every patch changes things, be they abilities, mobs, talents, or, my favorite, quests, just enough so that subsequent play throughs are always a little bit different. Or, if you’ve waited long enough between leveling, those differences can suddenly appear to be rather significant.
This, of course, is the “secret,” so to speak, behind the success of the MMO. And even though no other MMO has approached the subscription and revenue numbers of WoW, I would wager that dozens of them have had more players log more hours played than even some of the most successful non-MMO titles.
All due to those relatively small, yet consistent, updates. Food for thought.