I read a quote on a MMO blog not too long ago that said something to the effect that “we haven’t seen a MMO success since World of Warcraft”. I wish I remembered the blog and could quote it accurately, because that sentiment stuck in my craw for days after as being one of the dumbest things I’ve heard in these parts.
We haven’t seen success since then? I guess that we should cross off Guild Wars, with 6+ million boxes sold and a sequel on the way… or the massive adaption of F2P titles like Runes of Magic, Wizard101 and Free Realms, each sporting a multi-million playerbase… or the enduring triumph of EverQuest 2 and LOTRO as they grow through expansion packs and are beloved up to a half decade after coming out… or EVE Online’s phenomenal rise in subscriptions, year after year. Heck, I’d be okay calling any MMO that managed to launch and continue to operate a “success”, in that it’s making money and has a dedicated community of players.
Dungeons & Dragons Online has become a success of a different nature, in that it was a perceived “failure” (small playerbase with little hopes of growing) that’s now experiencing a tremendous surge of popularity and love as it’s gone with a F2P/subscription hybrid model. Massively’s reporting that DDO has accrued one million new players since last September, which includes doubling the number of subscribers. They’re making money hand over fist, the game continues to suck people in, and all because they readjusted the monetary cost to access the game to something more palatable.
I’m all sorts of happy for DDO. It’s a great game that dared to do the genre a bit different with a major focus on dungeoneering, and it now seems that they knocked down the major barrier that was getting between players and the title. If DDO was a movie, it would be a plucky little underdog that few believed in until it finally hit a home run out of the park, got a date with the prom queen, and fought Big Tobacco in court, after which there’d be a rousing slow clap where everyone in the community would stand on their feet and cheer it on.