MMOG Gold Rush

MMOG Gold Rush

"When 'Starman' started World of Warcast, he had a very specific model to build on: 'I wanted to do a [The] Screen Savers for [World of Warcraft]. That was essentially it. I wanted it to be fun, I wanted it to be informative, I wanted to bring a bunch of things to the table. I basically wanted it to be the place people would go to, to learn about the game, just like I would watch The Screen Savers every day at 7:00 to learn about technology. ... I think, over the last two years, it's really become exactly what I wanted it to be.'"

Michael Zenke speaks to the industry's podcasting pioneers.

MMOG Gold Rush

"You had to actively watch where you were going and constantly adjust your course to avoid deadly groups of monsters, lest you be draw into an epic struggle with no hope for survival.
In other MMOGs, one need only run away to the nearest zone border; players pass through, monsters do not. This is called "training"; fleeing aggressive monsters, who then follow behind you, forming what looks like a train. A train of death."
Shawn Williams looks back at Asheron's Call and the birth of massive.

MMOG Gold Rush

"The expected WoW refugee trickle-down has stubbornly refused to materialize. As a conservative estimate, it is safe to assume that in any given month, 5 percent of WoW's player base cancels their accounts. Where do these people go? Some undoubtedly dive back into the MMOG pool and spread out among the infinite titles floating around, but at 5 percent, that means there are roughly 425,000 WoW refugees milling about every month. But 425,000 people aren't playing new games each month. WoW just doesn't grow the genre."

Dana Massey explores why, although WoW may be a genre killer, it's not a genre grower.

MMOG Gold Rush

"Korean publishers also struggled, early on, to introduce their business model into a hostile American environment. Virtual asset purchase (that is, in-game item selling) makes up at least half of Korean MMOG revenue. People pay for them on their phone bills. These games rack up millions, $0.25 at a time. Micropayments are still new here, and many payment systems either aren't set up for it or seem perversely user-hostile. Target's MapleStory game cards foreshadow a breakthrough that may transform the entire MMOG industry."

Allen Varney charts the course of the "Korean Invasion."

MMOG Gold Rush

"An MMOG is an amazingly complex entity. You might believe a gold farmer could easily hide among the millions of other characters on a server, like a needle in a haystack. But farmers behave fundamentally differently than a normal player. The farmer isn't trying to have fun. In fact, if you look at the act of farming, it's probably the most boring thing you can imagine. But it's efficient, and efficiency is what the farmers are optimizing for. That efficient boredom sticks out like a sore thumb. We can see this stuff happen. So it's like finding a needle in a haystack where the needle is colored bright orange and we happen to know the density of each cubic centimeter of the haystack."

It was a dark and stormy night, and Darius Kazemi was on the trail of a gold farmer.