Daily Archives: December 11, 2011

The era of the Jesus feature is over

A Jesus feature, it emerged, is something that turns “4 loaves of bread into 50,000 new subscribers“. It’s the home run, the called shot into deep left field, the awesome idea that will solve all of CCP’s problems, carved in a stone tablet made of virgin Eyjafjallajökull lava and delivered from on high down to the adoring fish-factory devs.

Supertitans! Tech-IV! Jovians! Jovians in Tech-IV Supertitans! And they’re naked, and want your precious NEX store clothes and monocles!

You get the idea.

Trebor Daehdoow, Member of the Council of Stellar Management

The quote in the title was attributed to Hilmar Pétursson, CEO of CCP, as part of his address to the latest session of the CSM.

According to the full post, the next couple of expansions will be more like Crucible, fixing and refining.  It will be likely be 18 months before the next big “new feature” based expansion.  While the minutes of the session are not out, that seemed to be the general gist of things.  The Mittani seemed to only be tweeting about alcohol at the CSM, which I take as a sign that there was little drama.

Now, in the case of CCP and EVE Online, they kind of backed themselves into a corner.  Their last set of “big” features, which came as part of Incarna, and they failed to draw many new people while alienating a lot of veterans.

But a lot of other companies take their shots at “Jesus features.”  Free to play seems to be the big one these days.  And it seems to work, for the most part, though it isn’t really a feature of the game, just a payment plan change.

But history is also full of big feature plays that failed.  Trammel in Ultima Online and the NGE in Star Wars Galaxies, to name a couple of historical precedents.

Do MMOs just hit a point in time when the best thing to do is incremental changes and improvements?  Where raising the level cap, adding a few more zones and dungeons, tacking on a new features, and maybe tossing in a new race or class is all they can safely do?

When does the era of the “Jesus feature” end for most MMOs?