Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Interview

Kikizo had the chance to grill Mythic Entertainment associate producer Josh Drescher about Warhammer Online, Ultima Online, and various other topics related to the MMO industry.
Kikizo: Where do you see the MMO going as a genre? What will be the situation 10 years from now?

Drescher: I think the things which have proven to be universal - because there are hundreds of MMOs on the market and they're all variable and different, they offer specific things - I think the social component of it will continue to be a really critical element. I think that's what players have really latched onto, it's what gives a lot of games longevity. We have another game that we oversee called Ultima Online, and it's ten years old...

Kikizo: Wasn't Ultima Online the original MMO?

Drescher: It depends on how far back you're willing to go. I mean technically we can go back into the seventies... and Dungeon, the old MUD, was probably the first one... but Ultima Online was one of the first commercial MMOs, and it's had a static population for over a decade. And that comes from the fact that players feel emotionally connected to that world, to that experience. It's familiar to them, and it represents - for the amount of money that they're actually spending -a lot of return on investment.

For the same amount of money you'd pay for a single ticket to a movie, you can get an entire month of unlimited play in the average MMO. So it's a high value-for-money, high quality experience, very social, it's organic, there's always something for you to do... and we have the ability - unlike with a lot of games - to change our game over time. We can keep adding things to it, we can make modifications to it, improvements - so, literally the game will grow with you over time. So those components are going to remain key. Every now and then you'll see somebody pop up and try to do something really weird and experimental that people get spooked by.

I think that the "amusement park" element of MMOs is also something that's attractive to players. There's a quality of service that they expect now. In the early days you could get away with shipping a half-complete game and saying 'Hey it's the only option, you have to play it', but now players expect Disneyland every time - they expect all the rides to work, they expect everything to be polished and look really great, and so you're going to continue I think to see really epic, high quality games that offer a really excellent quality of service for an extended period of time in a very social or competitive way.