This site offers some interesting information about MMOs:
- Free-to-play MMOs make up almost half the subscriptions.
- In June, Runescape had almost as many players and as much market share as Warcraft.
- Only a handful of games have more than 1 million subscribers: WoW, Runescape, Second Life, Guild Wars, Lineage, and Dofus. Most MMOs have fewer than 300,000 subscribers.
I was intrigued by Dofus so I downloaded the client and created a character. I’ve hardly played it 30 minutes, but I’m impressed actually because I was expecting a game riddled with bad translations and horrible mechanics. The Flash-based graphics run well and looks good. [I'm intrigued, too, by a class who combat spells include 'alcoholic blow', 'Boozer' and 'Hangover,' though the Pandawa class isn't available on the English server yet.] A turn-based MMO has my interest, though I’m not sure about the depth of the gameplay. The game does include crafting, as part of what looks like a variety of professions. And the recipes appear to have some variety, as the baker and handyman recipes show.
It’s very tempting to dismiss a non-serious game like Dofus, especially when it comes to MMOs which seem to be inherently hardcore. Yet, a frothingly light theme does not make it a casual game. The game appears to include, for example, territorial conquests.
Dofus is free to download and to play, but there is a subscription [US$7 a month] to access other areas than just the one free Astrub as well as a slew of other interesting features. Still the free version should give you a pretty good idea of whether or not the game is fun. Quite frankly, I’m not sure surprised this game is capturing a significant MMO marketshare quickly.