It’s interesting to me that, after only one MMO to really tackle the superhero/comic book genere, there’s been a rising voice of popular opinion saying that, hey, we tried the “hero” thing, it did okay, but we really can’t expect much more out of it. Even with three major superhero MMOs in the works — Champions, DCUO and Marvel’s newly announced title — there’s some that just assume they’re going to flop because City of Heroes didn’t break a million subs, because of growing malaise amongst jaded MMO vets, and because it’s just a silly kids’ genre.
Maybe this isn’t your observation, but it is mine, and I’m really wondering why folks aren’t being the exact opposite — excited beyond belief that this once-stingy genre is now opening up to multiple titles (competition and a break on monopolies generates higher quality, typically) and feeding a realm of fiction that the average person has more experience with than fantasy. Fantasy MMOs might dominate the scene now, but that goes pretty against the grain of most fiction in entertainment. Even with Lord of the Rings factored in, more superhero flicks have been released in the past ten years — by FAR — than fantasy, and raked in far more moolah. Not to mention that superhero fans haven’t had to fight the negative “uncool” stigma that fantasy fans have faced.
In my opinion, the time is quite ripe for superhero MMOs to make it big, pop culture big. It is, at its core, all about wish fulfillment — for us to become something “special”, to have unique powers that can be used for personal gain, glory and heroism. Public awareness of the genre is high, and if City of Heroes could still be doing quite decently for itself many years after launch — without a previously established IP, I might add — why can’t upcoming titles with a fixed IP and years’ of previous MMO development lessons do better? Anyway, I’m psyched.
Oh, and did I mention I’m in the Champions Online beta? (Woohoo!) Guess I can’t say more about that, other than to comment on what’s been released over the web lately:
- IGN’s got a dev interview with Jack Emmert, concerning the beta, loot, travel powers and other design decisions. I thought this quote was quite interesting: “I think that I felt that the players would eventually like the way we implemented it and that the complaints would eventually fade. City of Heroes did just fine, so I could have taken that approach to heart. I’ve talked to many designers who take an almost adversarial approach with their players. In Champions, I think I’ve learned to listen a lot more and I can say that we’ve made tons of changes based directly upon what the beta players have said.”
- The Champions site has a new critter article on the Bleak Ones — or as I shall now call them, Mr. Fish Face.
- Over on Massively, they snagged a developer blog with Randy Mosiondz who discusses how they can balance between good roleplaying and good gameplaying. Is gameplaying a word? It is now! Call Oxford!
- And my friend Werit has posted three things he wants and three things he doesn’t want to see in Champions. I agree about the PvP thing, but that’s a rant for another day.