The 3 Month Cycle

January 29, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 11 Comments
Tags: , ,

There is an idea out there that when MMOs first come out, they manage to keep people around for about three months before people unsubscribe. The 3 month cycle.

I see a lot of people blogging about it, and I think the first time I really saw a surge of people talking about it was when Rift came out. Mostly arrogant MMO bloggers generalizing about their own experiences, sometimes motivated out of a sense of schadenfreude, sometimes taken from anecdotal evidence.

I guess the 3 month number itself comes from the 3 month subscription option most MMOs have. Aside from that, the thinking goes that it takes a month or two to reach level cap and people naturally get bored after that, after which the majority of people stop playing the game forever.

I suppose most of this is not unreasonable if somewhat overly simplistic and sophomoric.

The problem is if the 3 month cycle ever did exist (and I don’t agree that it does) the advent of free-to-play games suggests it won’t be around for much longer.

Which is why I find people suggesting Guild Wars 2 would be subject to such a cycle perplexing.

I’ve read this in a couple of recent MMO blogs and just don’t understand. Guild Wars 2 doesn’t have a subscription. I’m not saying people won’t get bored with it. I’m not saying people won’t discard the game when they find it isn’t for them. But the main thrust of the 3 month cycle must be that people unsubscribe and then never play it again because it will cost them more money than they’re willing to pay.

And that just doesn’t apply to Guild Wars 2, or any free-to-play game. People just want an easy way to predict the failure of a game or say ‘I told you so’ afterward. They can’t be proven wrong, it’s win/win.

Which is fine. I admit that if Guild Wars 2 is as good as it seems, I’ll be saying the same thing.

Advertisements

11 Comments

  1. I always find it funny thinking about the GW model in general, its like the whole joke is to buy the game and if thats all you do that seems just fine by A-Net, there’s no real buying power the consumer has like with sub-games but its worked with GW1 and I fully expect it to work for GW2.

    • I think it will work with gw2 only even better. The game is going to be that much better. And i’m sure the cash shop will only help but thats a whole other post.

  2. The reason I’ve been able to continue playing guild wars for so long is that I don’t feel the constant pressure to play to justify a subscription. It’s been a constant companion for 6 years now and I fully expect the next game to survive even longer.

    • By virtue of jumping alone guild wars 2 will probably crush whats left of the gw fanbase and last twice as long as gw.

  3. GW isn’t subject to the 3 month cycle; it was subject to ‘the next big thing’. People don’t feel attached to it and they go to GW when their paid stuff gets boring. That’s it’s niche, until recently where DDO has taken it’s spot.
    GW2 at the very least should get Anet back into “best alternative game”.
    I hope they’ll do better, for me at least it’ll get it back into “best game with content to play”, unlike GW.
    Anyway time for me to try out raiding for the first time in WOW; have fun.

    • Yeah some people will attack anything they think is popular which why WoW gets so much heat, especially from gw players, when many of them have never even tried it.

  4. I must admit I have never understood the concept of the 3 month cycle. It seems like a lot of people get caught up in the hype of MMOs rather then researching the game to see if it is one they will truly enjoy. I have played 2 multiplayer online games every. GW for 3+ years, and LOTRO for about 4 years.

    F2P games tend to have a much shorter cycle then paid games. I know that I have sampled a few of them for a couple of hours and then never got grabbed. DDO might have gotten an hour, Champions Online ( I think it is called) got about 6, and now I am trying to get into STO. Of course having a 2 year old at home might be keeping me from getting as much into STO as I might since I do like the game.

    From what I have seen the F2P games don’t do enough to grab customers at the beginning. If I pay for a game, I am going to try to get into it and play it no matter how slow it might start. If I have no investment in a game, I might try it and then roll on real quickly if I don’t find anything to interest me in a couple of hours.

    • Honestly I don’t think that MMO patterns differ that much from anything else. Generalizing about how long every single person will be interested in it is not going to win anyone any points.

  5. Some people feel other MMOs must fail their 3 month cycle test in order to justify/satisfy their opinion of how superior their chosen MMO is over the new one. In addition, it doesn’t even matter to them if the game is F2P.

    • That’s another thing, people disparaging competing products because they’re hooked on their brand. If you’re going to write a blog, admit your bias up front or try to be objective.

  6. […] Hunter’s Insight — The 3 Month Cycle. “There is an idea out there that when MMOs first come out, they manage to keep people around for about three months before people unsubscribe. The 3 month cycle. I see a lot of people blogging about it, and I think the first time I really saw a surge of people talking about it was when Rift came out. Mostly arrogant MMO bloggers generalizing about their own experiences, sometimes motivated out of a sense of schadenfreude, sometimes taken from anecdotal evidence.” […]


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: