1. I’m not sure where you got your numbers, but ignoring that, two of the three sequels you list in your example are still open and making money. That’s success in the business world eh? :)

  2. I’m not convinced that MMO sequels cannot succeed. I’ve touched a little on this myself recently http://stroppsworld.com/2008/04/18/reviving-a-legend/ regarding Ultima Online and what I think is EAs mistake in not producing a sequel.

    For one thing, out of the games that you mentioned Asheron’s Call 2 and Everquest 2 — I’m not all that familiar with the Lineage series — Asheron’s Call 2 is the only one that really failed.

    EQ2 is going strong with lots of subscribers and a lot of additional content added over the years. I hesitate to call it a failure. Sure, it hasn’t done as well as the original, but the market it was released in was hugely different to the market the original EQ was released in. Given the same conditions, would EQ have done as well?

    The other question that needs to be asked: Did AC2 fail because sequels don’t succeed, or was the game design at fault?

    The developers changed a lot of things in AC2. For one thing the world was a lot smaller that the original game. That was a complaint I heard often. Personally, I think AC2 didn’t capture the feel of the original. The game just wasnt as good as the AC. And once again it was released in a vastly changed MMO landscape.

    As I said, I don’t really know much about Lineage 2, but I’ve recently read about a new expansion. It seems healthy enough.

    You do have some good points though. I guess the success of sequel would depend a lot more on timing than the release of an original game. I also think that developers of sequels should provide player and guild continuity between the games too.

  3. Correct me if I’m wrong Mike, but I think that the point you’re trying to convey, and the numbers tend to show that, is that the introduction of a sequel not only doesn’t help an MMO, but tends to push it towards a slow death.

    Yes, EQ2 still has subscribers, and all (except AC2) have revenue coming in (though we don’t know if they’re actually making money), but ALL are in decline. None of them are growing their client base.

    Usually, that is not a good sign in business.

    If you’re a public company, with share holders, you’re usually in deep trouble if, quarter after quarter, your numbers are down, your revenues are down, and you’re not showing growth.

    So I tend to agree with Mike. An MMO#2 is generally a very bad idea. Better to stick to the current game and improve upon it. As said, CCP did just that, and have been doing it since the Castor expansion. Look at their numbers. Now that’s success!

    CrazyKinux’s Musing

  4. Just one little nitpicky correction – Dark Age of Camelot has completely revamped their game several times through the use of expansions through the use of new graphics engines, etc., in order to keep the game current and avoid making sequels. EVE is not the first to do this, and as Dark Age of Camelot can attest, it’s no more viable in the long run than making a sequel. All MMOs enter convalescence eventually, and EVE will be no different, sequels or not.

  5. This will be interesting to watch when Guild Wars 2 comes out…because they will get to take “some” stuff with them…but, not their levels or their characters…

    i.e: They start over..but, with notoriety? something along that line

    Also…VOIG’s data is sometimes suspect, as they seemed to follow trends…for example LOTRO and their 4 million characters debacle turned into 800k scrips on VOIG’s site…which was later proven incorrect…
    Maybe check mmogchart.com


  6. @Openedge1
    Well, also Guild Wars in general is a completely different situation. The game isn’t like EQ2 or WoW in that you have spent literally days just reaching the highest levels. Nor do you have to subscribe to the game. I think with Guold Wars 2 we will probably see a trend similar to that of Diablo > Diablo 2, as opposed to Everquest > Everquest 2… Just an observation anyways.

  7. I don’t buy it for one minute that a sequel can’t be successful. I’ll taking two of your examples, Asheron’s Call 2 and EverQuest 2. Both of those games were basically garbage when they were first released, which skews the data from the get-go. No one can predict or guess as to how popular they would or could have been had they been quality products when they were first released.

    As for the bit about the same game with updated graphics? Look at the combat differences alone in those two games, and you’ll realize that there are FAR more changes than just the graphics.

    As for the games being on their way out? If that were true, Asheron’s Call and EverQuest would not be running right now, but they both are.

    I can’t speak for EverQuest2, but the biggest problem (in my opinion) was not that it was too similar to AC, but that it was too DIFFERENT (not to mention incredibly buggy.) Very few players (that I knew) switched to AC2, but it had nothing to do with starting over. It had to do with the quality of the product (or lack thereof.)

    I think your topic is generally an interesting one, but I think you went at it from the wrong perspective. Because you’re dealing with games that were poorly executed upon release (at least AC2 and EQ2) and everyone knows that release is everything with an MMO. Once we get a quality product that is a sequel, we will have much more relevant data to work with. Until then, it’s all speculation. I think this would have been a much more interesting read if it would have focused on the potential for a successful sequel more than the failings of previous ones.

    As for Lineage 2, it’s difficult to say because it’s geared more toward the asian market, so we can’t know exactly how they percieved it.

  8. I don’t know where the numbers for that website came from, but I am suspicious of them. Anyone that won’t cite sources is immediately suspect, imho.

    I also know that various companies count subscriptions differently. I suspect that these graphs are meaningless.

  9. I’m with Terqelton on this one.

    The source says: “Almost all of the data I use comes from actual sources, although often those sources are insiders who only give the information on the condition of anonymity. ”

    Without naming the sources it amounts to the same thing as saying you’ve found a solution to a paradox in mathematics without ever submitting your equations for verification to other scientists. Even though I’m willing to give that guy the benefit of doubt, the fact is without indicating your source your numbers have little value as proof.

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