I have stated my points in previous post that the absent of female players is a non-negligible issue for MMORPG, and a balanced gender ratio creates a healthier community within (1). For MMORPG with only male players or dominated by male players, most likely, the game would become a highly competitive environment. Though there might be teamwork within individual teams, you can barely see cooperation generally. While there are gamers like that gaming environment, but it would only be hard core gamers or some mid core one.
Male-player dominated game community
With a well-designed gender ratio, gameplay and social activities are enriched. Just like in the real world, it could be boring when there is only one gender in an event. Inherently, female gamers would be more engaged to the story line and relationship-building activities. Statistic from Tencent shows that, for some MMORPG in which female population occupies over 50%, there will be more than 40% of those female players are dedicated to stories and casual activities (2). Therefore, when there is a well ratio of female gamers in the MMORPG, we can see more meaningful conversation on the chat channels: more conversation related to the details of the story of the game, more teamwork, more friendship, more relationships; in short, more positive energy. While a highly competitive MMORPG could be successful, a game full of positive energy can build up a healthy community which could be truly sustainable. Think about when you finish your highly stressful work day with a tired mind, would you want to get into a game that keep fighting and killing or you would like to get into one that you can relax with your virtual friends that you can just have some fun through working together?
A harmony gender-balanced game community leads to better game experience
Compared to basic PVP and PVE, a refined story line, casual gameplay and quests, and relationship-building elements are more attractive to female players. Don’t make me wrong, these elements also important to some traditional male-dominated player population: because when we talk about fascinating stories, relaxing game environment, and opportunity to build relationship online or even offline, there is no bias on who you are. However, when an MMORPG has a higher ratio of female players, it could attract male players naturally. Yes, it’s just nature.
Diversified interaction and relationship among players
In order to create a sustainable MMORPG, developers should also pay attention to the design of casual gameplay and quest. Traditionally, free-to-play game always has waiting period and CD to keep the game balance. Generally, CD and waiting are designed mainly to slow down the content consumption; however, game designer could provide more casual gameplay or side quests for players to burn time during waiting period or CD, such as trading system, learning and quiz, achievements, etc. Thus, rather than to wait and drop, the players can fulfill the time gap and enjoy the game “seamlessly.”
Take care of your mount while in waiting period
When an MMORPG has a healthy gender ratio, the communication channel becomes more important. The MMORPG might not be an everyday activity for the players, but most people are likely to check their SNS more than once per day. To reinforce the connection between online and offline, the communication channel is recommended to be accessible, various, and convenient. Players should be supported to receive and share all kinds of in-game messages on their SNS, and be able to be connected to their game community offline. With that communication channel setup, it could help marketing of the game as well. Think about marketing team can advertise special events through that kind of communication channels to bring inactive players back into the game.
Holiday events brings more fun to existing players and attracts potential players
While talking about special events in an MMORPG, it’s critical to provide localized, tailor-made events for the gamers in the publishing district. Such as seasonal, and holiday events. These events don’t need to be huge, it could be a little gift for a special day; a simple quest that players have to do it together, etc. These events are not only an opportunity to surprise the players during the year, but also a good marketing channel to remind inactive or old players to revisit the game to just have a look.
Time spent in the game by the player is limited and predictable, but the real-life actively of a person has infinite possibility. To achieve the ultimate, a game should become an ecology. I have talked so much about how to create a sustainable MMORPG, yet the core of it is how to create a culture. MMORPG should not be only something that makes people sitting in front of a PC and wearing a headset, but something that also makes people going out to explore the world and life. Successful MMORPG has various derivatives such as merchandise, novels, even comics and TV series. A very successful MMORPG with a right established culture not only be able to launch different by-products, the fans could be engaged enough to create fan arts, novels, comics, and do cosplay in different events. All those can reinforce the culture in the MMORPG, and strengthen the brand of the game, which in turns, create a stranger game culture. The ecology that covers both online and offline life is not a simple monetary strategy; it is a gateway to the high reputation of a brand in the long run. This is, of course, not easy. Not many MMORPG can achieve that kind of success. In order to achieve that, a company not only need an excellent MMORPG, it has to have a fantastic marketing team and game operation team as well.
Above with my previous articles (3,1) are all I want to share about creating a sustainable MMORPG. Hopefully, this series will bring some insight in the current fierce competition in the MMORPG market.
- How to Create a Sustainable MMORPG – Part 2
- How to Create a Sustainable MMORPG – Part 1
Seasun is a leading Chinese online games publisher focused on creating high quality games/game engines that push the boundaries of player experience in action entertainment. The company is also involved in small-medium sized investments for game studios worldwide. We have recently started up our U.S. studio in Redwood City, CA to create top quality content for the western market.
Seasun has shipped many successful titles, including the popular MMORPG series JX (http://jx3.xoyo.com/), the MMOARPG titles First Myth (http://fs.xoyo.com/index1) and CQ (http://cq.xoyo.com/), along with our FPS MAT (http://xd.xoyo.com/). The “JX” series has grossed more than $250 million and has achieved a daily active user count of 3.3 million. Our first game for the western market is Relics of Gods (http://rog.seasungames.com/). We are currently building a special team of highly talented people to create the technology for our next-generation MMOARPG at this studio.
Kingsoft, Seasun’s parent company, is publicly traded in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (SEHK: 3888) with market value of 3.8 billion USD. Kingsoft has created 3 other subsidiaries alongside Seasun: Cheetah Mobile (NYSE: CMCM), WPS Office, and Kingsoft Cloud Service. Kingsoft has over 4,000 employees worldwide.