So Cuppy has posed the following question: If a game were to come out that was identical in all ways to an MMO, in support, updates, persistent world, etc, but WASN'T multiplayer - ie, you play alone, or with NPC's, the whole game, would you still pay a monthly fee for it?
When I read that, I had almost already said "No" when I stopped to think. My answer still came out "No", but now I had to think about it. Why wouldn't I? It's the updates and support and neverending, ongoing gameplay that we're all paying for, right? We want a game that we can never beat, that keeps throwing more content at us. We still want the climactic encounters, the big boss battles that we remember from Final Fantasy games and the like, but then we want the game to keep going. That's what we're paying for, aren't we?
Well, maybe not. Maybe we're paying for the community aspect. We want to play with others, form grand adventuring companies, slay dragons, do things that one character alone could never accomplish. It wouldn't be the same to take part in a 40-man raid if 39 of them were bots. Or maybe we want to PvP, which you obviously can't do by yourself. We WANT to play with others, to know that there's hundreds or thousands of other people out there sharing our pain and listening when we brag about our accomplishments. We like other people. Right?
Well, maybe not. I mean, in general, the thing you complain about the most in an MMO is the other people. Whether it's goldfarmers or griefers or just plain idiots, let's assume that half of the people in any given game are people you don't want to play with. I don't have any stats to back that up, but it's just a number.
Am I really paying 15 dollars a month (well, 10 for LOTRO, but that's not the point) for the privelege of playing with HALF of the playerbase of the game? If not, what the hell AM I paying for?