Aion Shooting For 2nd Place To WoW

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Aion Shooting For 2nd Place To WoW

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Aion may be burning up the charts in Korea, but the real test will be its upcoming launch in the US and Europe, where Blizzard's World of Warcraft reigns king - and NCSoft CFO Jae Ho Lee will be happy settling for second.

NCSoft has high expectations for Aion, its first true MMORPG since the rather successful Lineage and Lineage 2. So far, the game is off to a good start in Asia, with it earning 40.6 billion won ($32.7 million) in revenues across 225 servers throughout South Korea, Taiwan, China, and Japan since its launch in late 2008.

Still, there's another test to come - its Western launch. Aion will hit the West at the end of September: North America September 22nd, Australia and New Zealand on the 23rd, and the EU on the 25th. There are two major hurdles for NCSoft's MMOG to overcome: Firstly, Western gamers traditionally don't give Eastern MMOGs more than a second look, and secondly, there's WoW. Blizzard's megapopular MMOG is the reigning heavyweight champion of the MMORPG world, and toppling it is a nigh-impossible task.

Well, Jae Ho Lee, NCSoft's Chief Financial Officer, doesn't think that you have to topple WoW instead. Hell, speaking in an earnings call, Lee said he'd be just fine settling for second place in the Western MMOG market:

"I believe the performance of Aion in the US and European markets will be very successful. ... We are guessing that Aion will be -- could be -- the second [most] successful MMO in the US market next to [I]World of Warcraft."

Lee noted that trying to match WoW's dominance would be "very hard," but that the company was confident that Aion would be a success in the West.

On the other hand, he'd rather not think about Richard Gariott's Tabula Rasa, a game with millions of dollars in development costs that was shut down for good earlier this year after it failed to catch on with investors. "Ok, um, it's very unfortunate to hear the name of Tabula Rasa at this conference call," admitted Lee. "And we all want to forget and erase that memory from our performance."

Shooting for second place was the strategy of potential MMOG blockbuster Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning last fall, and after a prominent start, subscriptions dipped sharply. Will Aion be able to succeed where games like WAR and Age of Conan failed?

(Check out our preview and video supplement of Aion here!)

(Gamasutra)

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I was gonna say, I remember seeing an article here with the Warhammer folk saying hte exact same thing. That's pretty much any companies only thing to shoot for, to be honest. If they wanna be realistic anyway.

Well why not be best when you can get second? And even if they fail, they'll think "At least we didn't put our expectations up too high."

I predict it'll go the way of Warhammer. A good start with a lot of subscribers, but then rapidly decrease in numbers.

That said, I like the style of it. Haven't played it (the beta that's supposed to be out) myself, but from what I've read and seen, it looks pretty solid. Considering it has been out in Asia for a while, it should also be relatively bug free.

It'll be interesting to see. I doubt it'll manage to topple WoW, but it might just get a solid playerbase.

After quitting Wow, Ive been missing a good MMO and this could be it after the terrible Alganon Beta

NoMoreSanity:
Well why not be best when you can get second? And even if they fail, they'll think "At least we didn't put our expectations up too high."

Yes, but I still think I'd rather play this than World of Warcraft, it looks much more put together. But if it isn't I suppose I could always just not buy it.

I guess I'm expecting great things because they made Guild Wars as well.

Applause for captain ambitious over here!

Try finding out how WoW got so big then apply it anew and beat WoW. Nothing is insurmountable. The giant always seems invulnerable before he dies. I bet they're just aping WoW as much as possible anyway so they're of course not going to surpass it, they've got to do what WoW doesn't but players want.

What type of company settles for second place? What type of person doesn't want to be first? Plus, this is sort of saying: "Yeah, it probably isn't as good as WoW but we're okay with that." And that's the wrong message to send to customers.

That's why Valve rock so much; if anything they do isn't the best they've ever done, they go back and do it again.

If anyone was to beat Blizzard, it'd be Valve. Not that they'd ever make an MMORPG, but still. MMORPG developers should be trying to beat WoW, because everything out there can be beaten in some way, and saying that they're happy with 2nd place is, in a way, saying that you have no idea how good your game is. And a true game developer wants to make his/her game the biggest and most badass game to reign over the gaming community. Whether that's by market research or by trying brand-new things, it doesn't matter.

That's how Blizzard did it.

WAR and AoC didn't fail. They stagnated at a certain level point.

The problem with both of these games is that at some point during your playing career you're left wondering "Whats next?" and that point isn't the end game. Developers often miss the incredibly crucial middle ground that makes a game amazing. In fact, I would easily say that the middle is the most important part of a game.

You can only make the beginning of a game so interesting. No story, no dynamic content, no gripping cinematic can make the beginning of an MMO fun more than once. The characters are not developed enough to make for anything interesting.

The end game is important, but that's often the place where most content tends to be any way. WAR was like this, and AoC, to an extent, was as well.

However, the major failing point of every MMO that has failed has always been the middle game. That time in the game where your character is starting to bloom. In EQ, this was often level 9 to 40. In WAR it was 10-30. In AoC it was 20-65ish.

You'll probably note that the content in EQ in the 9-40 range was, and continues to be amazing while the content in AoC and WAR in comparable ranges just aren't. This is because of the complete focus on beginning and end game.

Blizzard has been the only developer since Verant and non-EA Mythic to make a compelling mid range game. The problem with WoW, for me, is that it's too little work for insane rewards. I never felt like I accomplished anything in that game other than a trio my cousins and I made that went from 1-50 doing nothing but instances. Priest, rogue, hunter. That was pretty fun. The problem was that we had to create challenges for ourselves, something that EQ and DAoC never did.

One thing AoC has going for it is the incredibly rich combat system. It's dynamic and interesting in PVE but sadly broken and imbalanced in PVP.

WAR just sort of sucks. It's not a bad game, but it's not good. The content wasn't centralized enough, the end game was all sorts of imbalanced, poorly made, and bleh and the mid game was just boring. I can really say that WAR is a bigger disappointment than Vanguard upon recollection.

Grayl:
What type of company settles for second place? What type of person doesn't want to be first? Plus, this is sort of saying: "Yeah, it probably isn't as good as WoW but we're okay with that." And that's the wrong message to send to customers.

No, they're not saying that and that's not the message they're sending.

They realize that WoW isn't killable. This realization is a mature and reasonable one that allows them to set realistic goals that will keep the player base happy instead of being misguided like WAR was.

That's why Valve rock so much; if anything they do isn't the best they've ever done, they go back and do it again.

I smiled at this because of L4D2. You're absolutely right.

And a true game developer wants to make his/her game the biggest and most badass game to reign over the gaming community. Whether that's by market research or by trying brand-new things, it doesn't matter.

That's how Blizzard did it.

No, that's not how Blizzard did it.

Blizzard made WoW a success by several things:

1. An insane marketing campaign.

2. Being an amazing figure head in gaming.

3. Making it casual enough for your mother to play while sprinkling loot and character development for the more 'hardcore'.

You can't say the same thing about any other MMO that has come out since then. No major gaming company has released an MMO since that time (Sony released EQ2 at about the same time and that didn't do that bad actually).

The only gaming company with a resume in games that are MMO like that can compete with Blizzard and WoW is Bethesda.

However, the thing you have to realize is that MMO's have always been niche. They fit for a certain niche and that's pretty much it.

Rhayn:
I predict it'll go the way of Warhammer. A good start with a lot of subscribers, but then rapidly decrease in numbers.

That said, I like the style of it. Haven't played it (the beta that's supposed to be out) myself, but from what I've read and seen, it looks pretty solid. Considering it has been out in Asia for a while, it should also be relatively bug free.

It'll be interesting to see. I doubt it'll manage to topple WoW, but it might just get a solid playerbase.

It's not groundbreaking, but it is entertaining. I plan to play it for a month or two. Maybe until the next wow expansion even (MAYBE...that's a huge maybe).

Like someone else said. Wow has stuff for hardcore and casual players. Since I'm casually hardcore it gets me goat pretty good. When I just want to fuck around I can when I want to raid and laugh with people as we get our assess pounded by a 60 foot tall stone giant I can do that too.

It's something missing from competition. I loved the concept of EVE but if you didn't masturbate to that game you weren't serious enough to enjoy it.

My problem with Tabula Rasa was that it throws too much shit at a new player. How many different kinds of AMMO were their from the moment you start? I was too confused to enjoy what looked like a nice game.

Credge:

No, that's not how Blizzard did it.

Blizzard made WoW a success by several things:

1. An insane marketing campaign.

2. Being an amazing figure head in gaming.

3. Making it casual enough for your mother to play while sprinkling loot and character development for the more 'hardcore'.

You can't say the same thing about any other MMO that has come out since then. No major gaming company has released an MMO since that time (Sony released EQ2 at about the same time and that didn't do that bad actually).

The only gaming company with a resume in games that are MMO like that can compete with Blizzard and WoW is Bethesda.

However, the thing you have to realize is that MMO's have always been niche. They fit for a certain niche and that's pretty much it.

That, and pretty much everything Shamus says here.

Rhayn:
I predict it'll go the way of Warhammer. A good start with a lot of subscribers, but then rapidly decrease in numbers.

That said, I like the style of it. Haven't played it (the beta that's supposed to be out) myself, but from what I've read and seen, it looks pretty solid. Considering it has been out in Asia for a while, it should also be relatively bug free.

It'll be interesting to see. I doubt it'll manage to topple WoW, but it might just get a solid playerbase.

Of course you would because you fail at MMORPGs. WAR was a bad game. No other way to put it, people had faith in it because it was Mythic + Warhammer IP, yet Mythic couldn't fail more. I could post links, etc, but meh.

Grayl:
What type of company settles for second place? What type of person doesn't want to be first? Plus, this is sort of saying: "Yeah, it probably isn't as good as WoW but we're okay with that." And that's the wrong message to send to customers.

That's why Valve rock so much; if anything they do isn't the best they've ever done, they go back and do it again.

If anyone was to beat Blizzard, it'd be Valve. Not that they'd ever make an MMORPG, but still. MMORPG developers should be trying to beat WoW, because everything out there can be beaten in some way, and saying that they're happy with 2nd place is, in a way, saying that you have no idea how good your game is. And a true game developer wants to make his/her game the biggest and most badass game to reign over the gaming community. Whether that's by market research or by trying brand-new things, it doesn't matter.

That's how Blizzard did it.

Oh yes because all other good MMORPGs could only come from big-arse companies.

How do you think Blizzard got started out? They were small once moron, the world doesn't work 'lol only big companies that I trust in can ever win'.

GTFO with your useless stupid posts that are beyond any logic.

Credge:

That's how Blizzard did it.

No, that's not how Blizzard did it.

Blizzard made WoW a success by several things:

1. An insane marketing campaign.

2. Being an amazing figure head in gaming.

3. Making it casual enough for your mother to play while sprinkling loot and character development for the more 'hardcore'.

You can't say the same thing about any other MMO that has come out since then. No major gaming company has released an MMO since that time (Sony released EQ2 at about the same time and that didn't do that bad actually).

The only gaming company with a resume in games that are MMO like that can compete with Blizzard and WoW is Bethesda.

However, the thing you have to realize is that MMO's have always been niche. They fit for a certain niche and that's pretty much it.[/quote]

I agree with much of what you stated, but you forgot the obvious factor.

The players.

I don't know if you ever played early WoW, but even now you can see how it got popular. E.G. Youtube. So many funny WoW clips from years ago.

Created by fans.

Not only that, but WoW was created at an extremely unique time.
* there was no other major MMORPG on the market, Everquest 2 was a complete failure, stuff like the original looked like blocks and wasn't playable by a main 2003-2004 audience. UO had changed far to much, and DAOC also look old.
* It attracted others like WC3 fans.

Yes Blizzard making WoW much easier then say EQ was a major factor.

Of course by now they have gone too far with that difficulty level as we all know.

But stating that no one can compete with Blizzard (and Bethesda) is beyond moronic (like the last guy). Because we all know something like Subway could NEVER make it successful like Mcdonalds or Burgerking could.

Blizzard has change LOTS over these last years, if anything it is the opposite, Blizzard is the company that will not ever be as successful as they were before.

Seriously where do morons get this 'things will never change' ideology?

EDIT: btw, nintendo will fail this gen, their wii will do poorly in sales and they will have to go third party

Wingmna:

EDIT: btw, nintendo will fail this gen, their wii will do poorly in sales and they will have to go third party

I can't tell if this bit is sarcastic or genuine belief. I'm hoping it's the former.

So if WAR and Conan failed to become 2nd place, who is?

CantFaketheFunk:

Aion may be burning up the charts in Korea, but the real test will be its upcoming launch in the US and Europe, where Blizzard's World of Warcraft reigns king...

I call FAIL now.

The games success is primarily dependent on Korea? Forget about World of Warcraft...whats gonna happen when Blizzard releases Starcraft 2? Screw the MMO's, they are all gonna jump on that!

They have televised Starcraft competitions over there!!!!

another game thinks it can beat WoW
just wait a few months after their launch and we'll be wondering what happened to their game.

Dramus:
So if WAR and Conan failed to become 2nd place, who is?

I wonder too.

Depends on what game is actually the second best MMORPG, I think Aion actually has a chance to push into that 2nd place spot. While it has some similar features and ideas as WoW, it has many things that are totally different. Aion may be that game that catches people's attention simply because it has those different features.

Plus, who wouldn't play a game that gave you wings and made /cheer make you look like a total idiot ^.~

It's eye grabbing [so perty], and a change of pace from WoW. I like it already.

It's possible. I played WoW for a couple years, then WAR for a few months, then I just got tired of MMORPGs. Maybe something in the near future will grab my attention and make it worth while.

WoW will inevitably approach EQ2's level, of diehards only playing, because something better will come out and tons of people will flock to it. Probably Blizzard's new IP MMO they've been working on since before WoW started to suck.

Regardless, I'll be playing Aion and having some fun for a while.

I've already pre-ordered it. Personally don't give a frak if it "beats" WoW. If it's a good game, that's all I care about.

We'll see.

hansari:
I call FAIL now.

The games success is primarily dependent on Korea? Forget about World of Warcraft...whats gonna happen when Blizzard releases Starcraft 2? Screw the MMO's, they are all gonna jump on that!

They have televised Starcraft competitions over there!!!!

I fail to see how the two are related. They are entirely different markets. If your point is true, then no one in Korea is playing anything other than Starcraft. The other assumption you are making is that Starcraft II will live up to its predecessor enough to have the entire Starcraft-playing demographic to switch over to the sequel. Clearly, if Aion is doing well in Asia (Asia including countries other than Korea), it is doing well. We'll see how well it continues to do, but I don't believe that Starcraft II is going to be a force that will have any bearing on the sales of an MMOG.

On topic, second place is not bad, but somehow I don't see this happening. This game lacks the hype, it lacks the history and it lacks the accessibility. Take WAR for example. The Warhammer universe is backing that game up with fans and people interested in the mythos, its sales figures would reflect its pre-existing fan-base. Its fan-base provides hype, creating more hype in non-fans and so on. But accessibility is the main thing that detracts from the "second place" games. WoW doesn't require a stellar computer to play. Hell, it doesn't even really require a good computer. Its accessible to almost anyone and lets people into this big epic world full of people without so much as a second glance at your system requirements.

I think it's actually pretty likely that it'll take second.

Until The Old Republic, that is.

Fightgarr:
I fail to see how the two are related. They are entirely different markets.

Time spent gaming, is time spent gaming. Regardless of the genre, whether it be RTS or FPS. When balancing your entertainment needs with the rest of your life, there is gonna be "give and take".

The success of Starcraft 2 might be a big assumption, but this is Blizzard we are talking about... and using your Warhammer example, there is a huge fan following for this game.

But even if Starcraft 2 fails, it still (just like every new game release) carries the threat of drawing members of another games audience. Even if it is temporary, it still has the potential to hurt the developers behind MMO's. After all, many of these MMO's based in Asia use a different payment system that is dependent not on a monthly subscription, but rather hours played.
~~~~
Now being serious, the idea that these guys are gonna reach 2nd place sounds like an even more reckless boast then what Mark Jacobs said about Warhammer.

Look at this list.

http://gigaom.com/2009/02/01/top-10-money-making-mmos-2008/

Their current profits might just get them into the top ten... (barely)

Do people honestly think WAR is that bad? The engine is kind of shitty and the questing sucks but PQs, RvR Lakes and Scenarios have kept me very interested thus far. I'm only level 16 but I'm PvPing 90% of the time and having a lot of fun doing it. Does PvP get old after a while? Why do people think WAR is so bad?

warhammer online was full of glitches, FULL, when i bought it on launch day. i played to the start of november, but the quests wasnt very fun, you would most likely come 3-4 lvls underneath your average mob when you switched zones. everything else was really good, but the glitches were oh gawd awful. screen turned low quality whenever you went into the capital, when you walked around you could suddenly be walking in the air or walking into the ground (your legs dissapeared into the ground).

i had so high expectations for this game, i was so excited for it for 1.5 year, and then EA shoots out their ordinary piece of shit.

I must admit, the graphics look fantastic on Aion. Owing to the fact that the visuals were made with the CryTek engine.

It doesn't matter, all MMO's will be blown away by TOR. /blatant speculation and fanboyism.

sharks9:
another game thinks it can beat WoW
just wait a few months after their launch and we'll be wondering what happened to their game.

Now to be honest, when I first heard about Aion, I'll admit, I didn't think much of it either. I think I ended up saying something about like that as well. However, over the past couple of weeks, I've started to warm up to it, and I"m beginning to see the potential for it.

To begin, the Warhammer comparisons are little more than moot points, after all it had a WoW expansion to compete with. You also have to consider the fact that WoW and WAR are too terribly similar in terms of setting [the original Warcraft was a renamed WarHammer game after Blizzard lost the rights to it]. This go around Aion only has the BlizzCon hype to contend with, and even then, Blizzard won't be throwing a new expansion at us for at least a year. This is probably the best time to launch, as WoW players are getting bored with the current content, and won't have alot of new content for at least a couple pay periods. Also, it isn't about orcs and humans trying to annihilate each other all over again either.

ActionDan:
I must admit, the graphics look fantastic on Aion. Owing to the fact that the visuals were made with the CryTek engine.

In essence, this is the second reason I think it could stand a chance. WoW is a five year old game. Certain places in WoW (Northrend in particular) look fantastic, but most of WoW is starting to show it's age. I would anticipate that Blizzard would try to change that in an expansion, but as I said before, that won't be for a year or more. Most people (indeed most gamers) aren't going to wait for Blizzard to play catch up, they'll just jump ship to Aion for awhile and enjoy the scenery. If nothing else, this gives Aion a chance to hook some of WoW's primary audience before it can fire a shot back.

But then there is the argument that a new WoW expansion will just drag everyone back. That could be true, but then Aion isn't the only new contender on the block. With Dungeons and Dragons Online going with it's free-to-play system, and StarWars: the Old Republic shooting for Sept/Oct of next year, and Final Fantasy 14 threatening to swoop in and reinvent the entire genre all together, WoW's got a lot stiffer competition mounting up this go around.

I would not be surprised if we have just passed WoW's ultimate peak. That's not to say it will suddenly die out, but just as WoW was in someways the successor to the first 800 pound gorilla of the MMO world Everquest, I believe one of the upcoming games this year will be WoW's sucessor as well.

2nd? They will be lucky to be 10th because Blizzard currently holds the top 20 slots if you did it by battlegroups/reigions. You could split Blizzard's MMO based on different regions it would still beat the competition in each one.

I will DEFINITELY buy this, it looks really fun, but if it is too much like Guild Wars I won't renew.

Also, if you shoot for second, you will fail. This game will probably soak up the portion of the market that hasn't been consumed by WoW, even people loyal to a certain MMOG will at least try it out. <- overconfident "fanboy(?)"

Bored Tomatoe:
It doesn't matter, all MMO's will be blown away by TOR. /blatant speculation and fanboyism.

TOR is going to be another jedi/sith orgy.

EDIT: removed "dude" because I sound like a douche bag frat boy.

I seriously think it has a chance, but I doubt it will beat WoW in the western market. Even if it doesn't make it in the western market, it does have a solid foundation in Aisa. I guess they could brag about that.

Isn't City of Heroes/Villains the 1st runner up to WoW, in the States?

SirSchmoopy:
2nd? They will be lucky to be 10th because Blizzard currently holds the top 20 slots if you did it by battlegroups/reigions. You could split Blizzard's MMO based on different regions it would still beat the competition in each one.

China.

HOHOHO.

60k from WoW vs 3,5mln from Aion... I think you tried to prove WoW's superiority too hard, my good sir.

Jbird:
Isn't City of Heroes/Villains the 1st runner up to WoW, in the States?

Heavens no. It not only has community as crappy as WoW, it also is a LOT weaker than Champions Online coming out in 2 weeks.

I doubt anyone who has seen CO and likes superheroes is still playing CoH/V. That's like playing EQ after EQ2 came out, or playing Warcraft 2/Diablo on Battle Net while Warcraft 3/Diablo 2 came out.

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