Monday, January 18, 2010

Why WoW Tourists Don’t Exist

No such thing as a WoW Tourist
The defining characteristic of a Tourist is someone who visits a place for a brief time and then leaves. Most commonly, Tourism in this context is used to describe someone who tries a game for a month – doesn’t like it because it’s not WoW – and then returns to playing WoW.

The only problem with this logic is that it assumes that people are leaving WoW in the first place to try new MMOs.

That’s just not the case. In the weeks leading up to any new major MMO release, start asking around WoW servers about the new game. Not just if people plan to play it – but if they’ve even HEARD of it. You’ll find yourself hard pressed to find 1 in 10 people who have even heard of the game, let alone are willing to play it.

We get a different perspective in the blogosphere because we follow the development of these other games. Don’t assume that because YOU are in the know, that Joe Blow WoW player is either in the know or cares to be in the know. In this, we are in the minority.

The reality is that people playing WoW are not leaving WoW to go play something else. They just aren’t. No, the people getting called WoW Tourists are, in fact, former WoW players who are just looking for something else.

Home Buyers, not Tourists
And that’s the crux of this tourism myth. The intent is not to try another game and then return to WoW. As established above, the WoW player isn’t leaving WoW. The intent of the former WoW player is to find a new game or Home.

The fallacy is the belief that since they once played WoW – that they’ll simply go back. I would postulate that they aren’t going back – but moving on to the next major MMO release in an attempt to find that game to replace WoW as their new Home.

Thus, it’s the same transient group of players moving from MMO to MMO to MMO. Give them a nice enough Home to live in – and they’ll stay.

The intent is to settle at the destination. That’s markedly different than a Tourist who’s intent is to visit for pleasure before returning. Settling has more in common with someone looking to purchase a new House.

If they don’t like the neighborhood, that doesn’t make them a Tourist. It means the neighborhood sucks.

Tourism Myth shifts blame to Players, not Developers
My biggest issue with the Tourism Myth is that it shifts the blame for a failing MMO from the Developer to the Player.

It’s not our responsibility to “like” the game. It’s the devs responsibility to hold our attention.

Are there people with varying levels of interest in a game pre-launch? Sure. Do some people have a bigger stake or desire to see it succeed? Sure. But that doesn’t make everyone else a ‘tourist’ if they don’t like the game.

The fact of the matter is that the dev has an ‘opportunity’ to attract the player. If they miss or fail at that opportunity, that’s ultimately the devs problem. Not the individual player.

Anyone willing to try a different game has ALREADY taken a huge step. They are willing to try something new. That’s very markedly different than the majority of sheep who never try anything new at all.

Of course, some people don’t just take a step — they LEAP! Now obviously those people are going to be the most vested into a new game and the most willing to ‘give it some time’ to develop. But it’s ludicrous to blame the people who don’t take huge leaps for not finding value in a product. For crying out loud, they have already taken the BIGGEST step in TRYING the product!

It’s the developers responsibility to capitalize on that step.

Tourism Myth convenient argument for Bloggers who don’t like WoW
This is the real biggie in the blogosphere. If I can get you to buy in to the idea that Tourism exists, that WoW players don’t like anything that is not WoW, then I can completely discredit and ignore that group in my arguments for what I believe are good qualities in an MMO.

This is a logical fallacy called “Denying the correlative” in which an alternative is introduced when logically there are none. The basic idea here being that WoW Tourists only like WoW, so we shouldn't consider their opinions as MMO gamers. This makes their opinion of less value than my opinion because I like things other than WoW.

Of course, this completely ignores the correlative that WoW is an MMO. That it makes up the majority of the market. And that many players enjoy WoW and look at it favorably – even former players like myself.

You might not like those facts – but they are the facts and you can’t simply ignore them because it’s convenient to your argument.


Anonymous said...

Here through tobold's blog, as it was linked in the comments.

I don't play WoW anymore, and I try other games to see what else is there.

I guess I'm an MMO Tourist? :)

Anyway, just wanted to say that I like what you wrote, and more power to you! :D

Rackham said...

Actually I still play WoW, but I'm only playing it until STO comes out. Barring whether or not that will keep me entertained, I'll probably then return to WoW only until Star Wars: The Old Republic comes out.

So your comment about how WoW tourists don't exist? I guess I'm disproving that, yeah?

Kiryn said...

I tend to play WoW when I have nothing else to do. I subscribe for a month or five, level up some more characters, then cancel again when some other game comes out that I want to try.

I like knowing more about what other games are out there, but when they ultimately fail to hold my interest, I go back to WoW as the default. I'd love to find a new game to call home, but so far I haven't found one I really like. Maybe STO will do it =)