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Devil's Daily: The Importance of IP

01. July, 2013Tags: MMO Blog

We all love something that we recognise, but is that all that matters? With games like Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and The Elder Scrolls Online filling every blog and gaming site, it's obvious that these are names with a lot of clout behind them. But how important is a brand name to the average gamer? Are you more likely to try out something new if it's not all new, or do you put originality before all else?

That's the topic on today's Devil's Daily, and I really want your take on this one, so leave a comment if you have an opinion.

Everybody Knows Your Name

Personally, I think I'm a little more attracted to games I know. Even Final Fantasy XIV, which shares no characters or plot with the previous 13 games, appeals to me more than a title I've never heard of, regardless of how good or bad both games turn out.

I know that I'm not alone in this. You only have to look at the figures behind the beta for Star Wars: The Old Republic to realize that that was a game built around a keen group of Star Wars fans and very little else. MMO gamers had seen it all before. Star Wars fans and regular gamers were sucked in by that E3 2010 trailer - a CGI trailer, no less.

Is that wrong? Should we make more of an effort to get out of our comfort zones and try something new and exciting? The answer is, of course, yes, but the problem with something new and exciting is that it's rarely very new and even more rarely very exciting. To take a risk like that is a big step, especially for a game that's not free-to-play, and there's a good chance that, if it's a good game, you'll hear about it from those that took that risk later on.

Nothing Changes

Maybe that's cynical, but it's true. A new IP probably isn't that new, especially in any sort of fantasy genre. You'll have a group of orks, some small "cute" race and the "the humans." Most people, as we found out in our World of Warcraft: By The Numbers guide last year, will choose to be humans.

If that's the case for every fantasy game - and it is, for most - that implies that there are people woh are going from one game to the next, simply creating the same character and playing through the "single player" portion and moving on. They're playing these games specifically because of the similarities, not because they want something different.

Some god, probably with a red body and horns, has done something really bad and a good god has called together an army in order to repel the bad god. Both armies will need to kill 5 chickens, collect an important letter for a commanding officer, fight an attacking group of skeletons and so on before they're considered important enough to be promoted to head chicken smasher and are allowed to fight the end boss.

Rince and repeat.

So the question is, is it that we don't like new IPs, or is it that we've already seen it all before?

Final Thought

With an established IP, especially something like Final Fantasy, you know what you're getting. Chances are, even with a new IP, you know what you're getting, but at least you expect recognizable traits from a Final Fantasy game. It's not about comfort necessarily, but wanting to continue with something you've enjoyed. There's an expected level of quality.

Then something like Guild Wars comes along, and completely bucks the expected trend.

The important thing, I suppose, is building a game that's actually worth playing. That's harder said than done, but if most new IPs are browser-based, click to move, fight a million monsters for experience affairs with nothing else going for them, then I can safely say I'm not interested in most new IPs.

What do you think?

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