Even today, I like to trick myself into thinking that by purchasing Wizard101 with crowns, I'm buying those areas forever. But, when Wizard101 is no longer a profitable enterprise, it will go. And all of my money with it. We all assume and hope that it won't be any time soon, but recent signs seem to prove otherwise. Will Wizard101 go up in flames?
There are three telling signs to me that Wizard101 is nearing a close. The first is J. Todd Coleman leaving - did his game vision go with him? Read more in the first of the "Wizard101: The End?" posts HERE. The second sign is the seemingly retaliation and dissatisfaction of veteran players. Read the second post HERE.
A Fiery DebateIt seems that updates can no longer happen without some sort of major controversy. Sure, there has been some disagreement in the past. But nothing like recent updates. Mostly because many consider them not to be true content.
In 2010 and 2011, the update list is very different from 2012 and 2013. It seemed like almost every update was a new world or major new content of some sort, and then we've suddenly got "Misc. Updates" passing for one of our major game changes during the year. Some, including myself, would argue that a larger number of updates warrants some smaller ones. But that isn't all.
Content Tells AllJust take a look at recent updates. Aquila is the most major one. It consists of one main area and three dungeons. Plenty of nice stats on some of the gear, sure. But what else have we had recently? The Pharaoh's Hoard? Three new bundles all at once? To me, it seems like there's been a lot of interesting new little things, but mostly these odds and ends that don't amount to much content.
A while back, J. Todd Coleman said this (October 24th of last year to be exact):
New W101 world announced - Azteca, lost world of the Aztecasaurs! Don't worry -- we have *years* of new adventures planned for Wizard101 !
The funny thing is that we're coming up on the one-year anniversary of that comment. And "years" could mean two. And with Coleman gone, who's to say the whole game direction hasn't changed, as we discussed in previous "Wizard101: The End?" posts?
Aquila was great, but what if the finale with Morganthe is scheduled to be the last main storyline update of the game? If they release it in November, they've got less than a year left to meet JTC's criteria, assuming it's still valid at all.
The reality is that we could get a few more bundles and packs, a couple of fixes, and suddenly, they're done working on Wizard101. The main argument now is that anything making money is going to continue working. But did Pirate101 make KingsIsle realize that new games with an old audience can bring in even more money?
Marketing TacticsRemember Wizard City? The promise of being able to finish it for under ten dollars! Great! But we get down the road and worlds like Azteca cost twenty-five dollars. Obviously, we've come this far and we aren't going to give it up at this point, so KingsIsle drove the price up. But who's to say it won't get higher and higher. What if each new location is like Tartarus and costs 3995 crowns - a forty-eight dollar world?
The truth is, KingsIsle could do the same thing with an entirely new game. New content, new quests, etc. Because we're part of the KingsIsle community, we'd always feel as though we were missing out if we didn't try it. So we do. If they find this to be profitable, and the combined complaints from veteran players with the hassles and restrictions of an old game make Wizard101 seem like a less attractive product, who's to say we aren't preparing for our last world in the game?
The End?J. Todd Coleman did end up leaving. And like other gaming companies whose major employers have left, KingsIsle could go. Then what about the irritations from old-time players? Based on the model of other games and their communities, that must mean something. And how about this lapse in new content? Is it stalling for the end?
What do you think? Is Wizard101 on its way out? Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!