It always starts like this.  Hot New Game that everyone wants to play.  Lots of people buy the box.  First month is getting to know the game.  It sure is pretty/authentic/fun.  All your friends are playing it.  You might have broken down and bought it yourself.  It’s a lot like EQ/WOW/Lineage and you wonder if it’s different enough to make you want to play.  You unsubscribe from your All Time Favorite game.  You say some hurtful things about it as you leave.

Now it’s a month or two later and you are starting to notice your Hot New Game has a few warts.  It’s still the Shiny though, and you try to ignore them.

Then it starts.

First, it’s a couple of blog posts or a tweet.  Um, it’s not as cool as we though.  A couple of people defect and go back to their All Time Favorite.  ATF takes them back because it always does, and in a month or three their account goes inactive and they try not to think about it any more.

Then there is a small swelling of people saying that the emperor has no clothes. They are pointing out legitimate concerns with the game.  Some of these people are the ones who should love the game, it’s purported target audience.  Yet they begin to second-guess the game and where it’s going.  This is where Aion is right now.  Some of the people whose opinion I respect that should be the target audience are starting to slough off the game’s subscription roles.

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