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Do Chinese Strategy MMOs adopt the right strategy for market?

Sara Lau
Sep 16,2011  12:09 by
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Strategy MMOs constitute the bulk of the game industry, especially the latest trendy browser games. Rich in quantity but uneven in quality, the strategy game market at times baffles players with the trouble to separate the goat from the sheep. Yet whoever delves into this field deep enough may gradually develop a knack for telling good from bad; and one time-tested lesson is that think twice before dedicating oneself into the China-made, however excellent their publicity sounds.

Why are Chinese strategy games imprinted with an unpopular icon? What is the hidden culprit that ravages the disheartening player base and pushes the game under fire from disappointed players who feel taken in to invest time even money into it in the first place? Sampling twenty or so Chinese strategies available in the market for a closer look, one may come home to the very reason for players’ repulsion and rejection to them.

Common failings first emerge at the technological level: poor graphics burn in a low-end impression; repetitive sound effects, or the simple lack of them, rule out the possibility of total immersion; and lagging and other bugs show up a little too frequently to cause irritation. Not all games are blemished by all the problems mentioned, of course, but each is crippled by one or another to some extent, such as the gloomy scenarios of Dynasty Saga and bugs-strewn quests in World of LordCraft.

Probed deeper into the contents, all can be said to be birds of a feather that similarity presents itself explicitly. Settings may differ from one other, such as Batheo taking place in ancient Greek, Maegica featuring a fictional land and Warflow staging the Three Kingdom period of ancient China; nevertheless, the core gameplay is strikingly of one pattern, which starts with the city-building elements mainly around resource, structure construction and upgrade and army units recruitment, then proceeds to strategic combat covering battles against NPC opponents in various quests and wars among players in solo or in group. Except the trivial differences in the surface, what is there to distinguish Reignage from Indomitus or discriminate Immortal Kings from Chronicles of Merlin?

In addition, what all games share in common is the business mode, which invariably involves alternative micro-transaction to compliment free-to-play. It is quite understandable that a game is made to bring about profit, yet the china-made go too far to actually allow for pay-to-win by granting greater edges than necessary to the paying gamers. Isn’t it ironical that premium items are designed to make more money, but only to drive potential players away at last?

The market of strategy MMOs is highly competitive with quality works from different nations constantly emerging to strive for the lion’s share. Under such circumstance, it is almost impossible for copycats to survive, let alone to thrive. So to set a foothold, Chinese developers really need to modify their ineffective strategy and make the hard choice, for the easy path just doesn’t lead to success.

Good Luck to Snail Games, Koramgames, Aeria Games, Dovogames, whatever Chinese company you hate!

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