I’m beginning to think gaming industry people don’t actually know what the word “dead” means. Back in my day, it was a pretty final thing – oftentimes even considered fatal. Now, though, if something doesn’t have all eyes on it, it’s apparently dead and gone forever. Just ask adventure games and, oh right, that whole “entirety of PC gaming” thing. And now, with the era of WoW’s incomparable dominion drawing to a close, MMOs seem to be getting the same treatment. But that’s a knee-jerk reaction. Nothing’s six feet under just yet. The writing is, however, on the wall, and its message is quite clear: change or lose your audience to boredom’s creeping clutches. But how? Well, if you ask SOE president John Smedley, it’s time to stop railroading players and start letting them live their virtual lives as they see fit. I know because I did, er, ask him. I also asked him about replicating the success of EVE Online, PlanetSide 2‘s eventual planet-based metagame, EverQuest Next‘s new incredibly player-driven reboot, and tons more.
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