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Ten things WoW players should know from E3, continued

Mike Schramm

6. Content is king. One thing developers have learned from World of Warcraft and other recent games is that it's better to not only get players playing, but keep players playing -- almost everyone we spoke with at E3 talked about addon content and regular content updates. Say what you will about Blizzard's release schedules, but they have very steadily delivered updated content that players want and are interested in, and that's why people are still playing their game four years later. Don't get us wrong: developers are realistic, and they know that you need a successful game before you start thinking about adding more stuff in. But they all have really big ideas about what they can put in next, and they definitely seem influenced by Blizzard's big regular patches.

7. Consoles aren't quite that important yet. We did see a few MMOs planned for consoles, most notably Sony Online Entertainment's The Agency, but they weren't nearly as prevalent as you might think. Even APB, a crime-based MMO that seems perfect for consoles, is sticking with PC at release, with a possible console version later on. Blizzard has never shown interest in releasing World of Warcraft on a console, and other game companies seem to agree: for now, the MMO genre (and the MMO audience) is playing games on their PCs, not their Xboxes and Playstations.

8. Innovation isn't over yet. Blizzard has led the vanguard on a lot of MMO innovation -- their phasing techniques and class and quest mechanics are definitely great examples for other developers. But Blizzard isn't the only game in town -- The Agency used instancing in an almost seamless way, taking you from a public to a private world just by passing through doors in a building. Trion's Heroes of Telara is hinting at players being able to change the game world in a big way as they play, influencing the world around them in ways even Blizzard hasn't tried yet. And games like Global Agenda are taking stats and talents from Blizzard's UI-based system into gear and outfitting: instead of simply affecting your stats, your gear will more directly affect which abilities you have access to as you play. Blizzard has made a classic MMO in WoW, but there are still plenty of great ideas coming out of other developers, too.

9. User content is overrated. Blizzard has pretty much always been firmly against user-generated content. Instead, they want to put you in their world, rather than asking you to create some of it (Second Life would be an example of a world much more defined by what users can create). And while most of the MMOs we saw definitely depended on players to socially encourage gameplay, very few of them depended on user-generated art, missions, or content in any way. While non-MMOs like Little Big Planet and the recently announced Mod Nation Racer are still carrying the flag on user content, most MMO companies are going Blizzard's direction: you can play in their world, but you can't help them make it.

10. It's a good time to be an MMO player. Keep in mind that most of the titles we saw this year at E3 have been in development for quite a while -- these are basically the first titles imagined as their developers were playing WoW during its first few years. It's a little too early on any of these titles to call them another World of Warcraft (and truthfully, WoW's success is probably a combination of its quality and the time and place in which it was released more than anything else), but there's no question that Blizzard's world has had an influence on almost all the worlds we saw at E3. If you like World of Warcraft, odds are that there are going to be some more games you like coming out very soon.

WoW wasn't at E3, but our sister sites Massively and Joystiq have all the E3 wrapup news you'll ever need. Check out Massively's big MMO summary, or hit up Joystiq for all the E3 gaming news that's fit to print.

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