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My Gender is gamer.

I want an outlet to focus the maelstrom of thoughts i have about past, present and future games and put them up for like - minded people to experience. Some will agree with what i say, A lot more will not. I am excited about doing this already.

Author: DeserttFoxx

It's all down hill from here...

Posted by DeserttFoxx Monday July 28 2008 at 3:09PM
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                It is 2008 and we are rounding off the end of the year.  2 of the 4 “World of Warcraft killers” have been released, both failing miserably in my opinion. 

                The first, being Vanguard – Saga of Heroes, the game sounded so promising didn’t it. Flying mounts, seamless zones, character depth and variety.  A lot of great promises, until of course the game was released. Now Vanguard is one of the many games I got into beta early on with, and when I first tried the game, I couldn’t get it to run at all. Now, my computer is no joke, it was a beast back then, and it is a bigger beast now. The game was just poorly optimized and it was in bad shape, I couldn’t productively test the game, neither could a lot of other players, so it was very surprising when I heard I heard the game was ready for release. I knew instantly the game was doomed, and reluctantly made my way back to kiss the hand of the king I betrayed, World of Warcraft.

                Flash forward a year, a new combatant has made an appearance, several actually; Age of Conan, Warhammer: Age of reckoning, and Aion. So many to choose from, which one do I choose. And for a while, that was a difficult decision which kind of solved itself. I managed to get accepted to the beta for all of them, except Aion.

“This is great!” I thought to myself.

                The Age of Conan invite came first, at a time when I just quit World of Warcraft again for the third and final time. Therefore, I had ample time to test this game; unfortunately, this game was not much to look at. When I first got into the game I didn't have much to work with. There wasn’t much customization options, a lot of the things were either disabled, or missing from the game, the most glaring omission was the entire female gender. In a game boasting about mature adult content up to and including sex, I figured they were just paying more attention to the models. Anyway, when I got into the game it wasn’t too bad, for the beginning anyway, the story was a little interesting for the most part. The game was very buggy but that was to be expected, it was beta. Patch after patch, I realized not much was improving, and then of course, the announcement that launch is right around the corner, I had to draw the same conclusion I did for Conan as I did for Vanguard, this game is going to fail.

                The second and current invite is to Warhammer. I got invited into Warhammer a few months back, and while I can’t go into detail about the game. It is following the same trend. But Warhammer is the one that infuriates me the most. Mainly because of all the PR, the hype, and all the promises. I actually got suckered into hitching my wagon to this one. I actually bought Warhammer collector’s edition 3 months before I got invited into beta, pre-ordered in full. Which I never do, I had a lot of faith that this game would be a good game to play, and unlike Conan, after getting into beta it just confirmed my belief. What turned me off Warhammer Is not its condition in beta, but the fact that they drastically deviated from the games original design that sold me.

                Now people may disagree with me, but cutting for classes is huge. And the removal of the cities is big as well, but the classes are bigger for me. I see it as a removal of options, 4 melee classes, 4 melee classes that I planned on playing at some point. Now people say, well you can play another class that is a tank, or melee DPS. Which isn’t the point. The original appeal of this game to me was balance, and the removal of 4 classes fucks that up. The original promise was 6 races, with 4 classes each, with each class being completely unique of each other, and while they all played differently, they all were equal and could play their roles. No race was weaker then another because they were all supposed to be strong. Well that was all shot to shit with 4 races being removed. And you don't have to be in beta to realize this, but I will wait for the NDA to be lifted before I go into detail about it.

                Now the final game is Aion, and I admit, I don't know much about this games current state. But I attribute that to the game following the traditional Korean development style, which is make the game in Korea, launch it there, and then port it here and take very little to no input from the north American player base. Which is fine, it worked for lineage 2, I guess it can’t hurt Aion too much.

Anyway, my whole point of this blog is this, MMO’s seem to be going through this trend, of releasing unfinished garbage and having the consumer pay for it. I like to call it, paying to beta test.

“Paying to beta test” is when you dish out $80 for the box, and $15 for the sub, and then wait, while devs release patch after patch to get the game to a playable state. Vanguard is doing this, Tabula Rasa is doing it, and now Age of Conan is doing it. Warhammer however, is taking the high road, but not surprising us with it, they just figured they would tell is 2 months in advance that they plan to do it too.

Now I understand MMOs are persistent worlds, which are supposed to be constantly improved over the days, months and years to make the world even better then when it first was introduced. But that doesn’t mean getting the game to a state where it doesn’t crash, or where there aren’t any bugs that should’ve been fixed in beta, or so you can revamp the player model, that’s right change the entire model. Or promise to re-add shit that was originally planned like... oh let’s say 4 core classes, 4 cities and a level achievement system.

A lot of companies seem to think this nonsense is acceptable, and I don't know why more gamers aren’t outraged by this apparent trend. As much as people like to bash World of Warcraft, you all have to admit one thing; the game had a smooth launch. It was not buggy, it had all the original features and they weren’t talking about revamping any of the models. They had a queue problem but of course, they couldn’t anticipate how many people were going to buy the game.

Now I don't want to call Warhammer just yet, there still Is a few more months of beta left so I will sit back and watch its patch progress. And I won’t say the game will fail, because I seem to be 3 for 3 on that (yes even though I didn't talk about it, I did beta test Tabula Rasa as well) I will say, I cancelled my pre-order. And that is not because of the state of the beta, let me make that clear, it is because of the removal of the classes. That is too big of a change for me, and something I have to wait for launch to decide whether or not I still want to be a part of that game.

What causes these games to change so much when the eleventh hour approaches? They make promises, big ones, and small ones and then slowly start resending them. And just expect the fan base to stay loyal and accept it. And every time a promise is receded it is not because it was impossible to deliver, but more that they were trying to keep a deadline of some sort.

It will be a damn shame if Warhammer goes the same way Age of Conan did; don't get me wrong, I’m not saying the game is going to fail. I’m just saying, the gnomes will still be polishing Blizzards throne come September.

 

A lot of people blame the publishers for a rushed product, is that true, I don't know. I don't know why a publisher would want to rush to release an unfinished product, they can’t possibly believe it is a good idea, and they have to see what happens to the other unfinished products, I mean when it comes right down to it, it seems to be a global chant that gamers would rather take a game delay then an broken game. It doesn’t seem like anyone is actually listening though.

I really do hope that this isn’t a trend we can expect to keep seeing for every new MMO, it has been 5 years since I started playing MMOs, and only 5 games out of the many have gotten me to play longer than a month. Which is sad, I hope developers are watching and learning from the massive amount of mistakes. I’m sure these mistakes are expensive lessons to continuously relearn.

I hope MMO developers realize that MMO gamers aren’t looking for a game that lasts a month, we want something that lasts a decade.

Psymyn writes:

Alot of great points Desertt Foxx, and to end on a more obvious note it just couldnt be anymore obvious. Oh were seeing it, were feeling, and were definetly tasting the bitter shit taste of fail when it came to most of these games. But there is a key point missing, you dont seem to understand that right now there is a key balance to exactly what every other MMO has right now... a player base, not a fan base, they dont care if you like it or hate it, but they do care that your playing to get your facts right! So in that sense, is it not so obvious that the more important factor that the developers are creating the material world around its players with a self sustaining crowd that not only creates hype and controversy, but let alone creates more interest for ppl to see for themselves. Especially in somthing as Strong and beloved as Robert E. Howards Lore of Hyperboria and Conans adventures.

 See the key point is that its here, and it exists for as long as we do ( not just speaking for AoC, but for the 'trend' u speak of ). As long as the material world is in existance, how can you say they have failed, especially for AoC, as it is losing probably a 1/3 of the accounts that were signed on launch which to begin with was one of the largest yet. Than how can you say it failed, Let it be known that with each and every MMO or MMORPG that is made it has its purpose, and it has its players, all in all its not going anywhere... Whens the last time an MMO has ever shut down their servers and said sorry folks shows over were packing up and going home! Sorry! NEVER.... let me say that again, NEVER EVER EVER has an MMO lost so much potential it had imploded in on itself. Maybe theres one even un-namley game but seriously is it even worth mentioning for that matter.

Does anyone else see the pattern? another strong point is the fact that upon release developers did their job of creating a game that everyone thought would be so exquisitly fantastic it would blow your mind, and in turn did the bare minimum and sugar coated it with sweet hollywood like effects ( catch my drift ). Then again upon release they hit that number that would keep them in the charts and then some, then as (virtual) reality had the ball in its court ppl said awwww this is crap... well for now. How long does it take to make a completely cohesive film before it reaches public eye, pretty long... Its the exact opposite for the gaming industry, thats why beta exists. Its a long drawn out process, who said the game had to be finished upon release knowing it would take an entire research team to even conjur a semi-functioning and very demanding game engine? No one.... Who said all the features that are in the works for their game had to be completed by release? No one..... Who said that by creating a game that would excite many, but please few would not be a motive to get the idea out there!

They are here and here to stay, wheather you like it, or wheather you hate it. Like i said its ( Virtual) reality... deal with it!

The Best part is (in my favor) is im playing AoC because im playing in a fantasy world that i first experienced as a child ( the movie ofcourse), and now im getting to live that experience in a huge gaming world that was all created since the early 1930's (yes i wikied it to be precise lol) , and thats more then i can even ask for. HOW YOU SAY?? Because i still have a soul, as oppose to those of you whom have not with your WoW butt plugs... any way im going to stop now since ive blown this whole topic in the pooper... im bored and going home to jump on AoC, because the more of you lamezots who dis even any of these games the stronger my spirit grows!

Mon Jul 28 2008 4:18PM Report
DeserttFoxx writes:

Just to correct you, Armored Assult failed to the point where it shut itself down, as did dark and light.

And nobody said the game had to be completely finished at release, but the bare minimum is a game that doesnt feel like a beta test.

I accept that people are simple and can accept mediocrity in droves, and i know that enough people will continue to pay for the beta test known as Age of Conan until they get to the point where the game is actually passable.

After all id rather play nothing, then settle for trash. I play a lot of free to play game lately, because at least you know what to expect with those games.

Mon Jul 28 2008 4:36PM Report
LiquidWolf writes:

I understand your point, and I was a bit peeved when you included Warhammer with others... I'm just not as bothered at what was removed as you are. 4 classes out of 24 doesn't hurt me. 4 pieces of endgame content (think AQ, Necropolis, Blackwing Lair, Molten Core) doesn't  really make me itch much either.

I'm in beta, you can see it on my xfire profile, and Mythic at the moment is doing a great job comparitively. You can place them along with others simply because they removed items if you want to... but I'll accept that as reality of business today.

That is the problem too... the business. The state of MMO's today is just atrocious, and I agree with you that a huge amount of games are just released crappily with the "pay to beta" design. Why? for the money. The money that WoW made brought to the market.

***As much as people like to bash World of Warcraft, you all have to admit one thing; the game had a smooth launch. It was not buggy, it had all the original features and they weren’t talking about revamping any of the models. They had a queue problem but of course, they couldn’t anticipate how many people were going to buy the game.***

Bull-Shit is what I call here. The game was completely unplayable till January after the release. My brother, my friends, and a number of guildies we knew in game had to deal with HUGE problems from character bugs, inventory wipes, crashes... And everyone seems to forget the time when Upper Black Rock Spire (UBRS) was the ONLY endgame content available. Tie that in with Scholomance, which, if I remember correctly, was originallly a 40 man dungeon... you have undeliverables.

WoW didn't stand against the market that exists now, it was a "pay to beta" release too, but the problem was: It was successful.

WoW showed companies they could get away with this. Now that was not their intention, I believe the game released as best as they could... especially considering Blizzard today is not the same Blizzard at WoW release.

But now, I fully expect Blizzard to release their next MMO as pristine as can be. A shining example to the rest of the industry about what they need to be. They have the money, the time, and the manpower.

There is no excuse.

Mon Jul 28 2008 4:49PM Report
DeserttFoxx writes:

I had to include warhammer. Look at what you said, Picture the zones removed as being AQ, Necropolis, Blackwing Lair, Molten Core, well i spent 5 months in Molten core and blackwing lair.

The only issue i experienced with WoW was the server queues, if they had other issues they got that shit fixed pretty quick, much quicker then vanguard and Conan. hell Vanguard still isnt worth playing. But what it comes down to is this, If Mythic plans on releasing the 4 missing classes a few months after launch, then in my opinion the game isnt worth buying until the classes are released.

 

Its like this, Mythic basically said they are cutting my class, and arent sure when they are going to readd it. well, I have no incentive to buy the game anymore. Because one of the classes i wanted to play is no longer in the game. That is just what it came down too.

I put Warhammer up there because they made a lot of promises they cant keep, and you being in beta you know exactly which promises wont see the light of day come the 23 of September.

Mon Jul 28 2008 5:10PM Report
grimmbot writes:

Nowadays you could predict that every MMORPG in development could "fail" and have a pretty high shooting percentage. ;)

Warhammer Online is a game that's quickly gathering impossible expectations. The genre is in such need of innovation that as soon as people smell even a little, they go hog-wild. Age of Conan had the same problem, but their inability to follow-thru on their own expectations (a game that markets itself on "storyline" but runs out of quests in midgame) is what's done them in.

I'm happier to see that they're cutting content than having sub-standard unpolished things at release. It's a no-win situation -- either cut content, or have people complaining more that the finished product is a beta test.

The real problem I guess then is a combination of having lofty goals and impossible expectations. Because of this, any bad news is taken in an "OH, HERE WE GO AGAIN" light.

But who can blame the fan-base for being skeptical? We're so used to being letdown that, even when we think there's a shining beacon of hope in the sky, that beacon might turn out to be a meteor that destroys the planet. ;)

Mon Jul 28 2008 7:24PM Report
DeserttFoxx writes:

@Grimmbot

That is like saying, the side airbags on a new car just dont deploy on impact, and instead of trying to figure out why, just cut them out of the car in order to look better. Instead of saying we had fualty airbags we can just tell the public we didnt have them at all.

 

Im not holding anything impossible against mythic, out of the list of things i figured they would cut, classes werent one of them. I totally expected them to cut that whole, unique trait differentiating your character everytime you level up. Like orcs getting taller, or whatever. I expected them to cut most of the pvp shit, so it was just the same rehash over and over again for a while.

When they say things like, if we didnt cut the classes we would have to delay again and people would be upset, well how the hell would they know it was a delay? We didnt actually havea  set in stone launch date until 2 days ago, they couldve ttally bullshitted it and gotten 3 or 4 more months to add the things theyy couldnt add, so them using time as a factor is total garbage.

 

They just know they have enough people that will buy it in september too support them until mid august when they finally get the game to the point where they originally planned to have it.

Mon Jul 28 2008 7:43PM Report
Gishgeron writes:

I'm going to parrot the ideal that Warhammer didn't bother me with their choice.  They cut the cities for a reason I agree with...and, having played my fair share of PvP, understand.  They said the classes they cut had pretty big issues...one of which was they simply were not fun to play.  I really think it sucks that you lost the class you wanted, trust me...I do. 

But I do think you'd be a few thousand times more angry to HAVE your class and realize that it just plain sucks to play.

I figure that they decided the classes were going to take more than "just another month" of work.  I think they decided to cut things that would have forced a LONG delay to properly correct AND test.  The thing is...they can watch the live game as it plays out and use the information gathered there to help usher the rebuilding of the lost classes far better than simply sitting on it in testing.

Mon Jul 28 2008 9:06PM Report
linadragon writes:

Just to note WoW's launch wasnt the greatest out there..... They were not ready on the server side for the influex of people... When i went to pick up a copy of it I had to wait to get it because they had stopped selling it for a breif period so they could get the servers under control because of the influx of people, while they game wasnt buggy and the delivered it wasnt smooth in regards to being ready on the server end...

Mon Jul 28 2008 9:30PM Report
Daelus writes:

I'm gonna have to disagree with you on the Warhammer point. Warhammer made the smart decision to stop directing resources at something that they something they didn't think could work. If you have content that you don't think will be even marginal come release, why spend a whole bunch of time and effort making it "playable", when you could spend that time polishing what does work and what will be great?

I'd rather have 5 unique and interesting classes than 24 classes that are virtually the same. You don't need massive numbers of classes to enjoy a game.

Mon Jul 28 2008 9:51PM Report
DeserttFoxx writes:

@linadragon i commented on that.

@daelus Like i said, i didnt stop playing War because of the state of their beta come launch, the way i did for vanguard, tabula rasa and conan. Id rather join the game when the class i wanted to play is in game, then force myself ot play a class i dont care for.

Being a beta elder ive played the exisiting classes at max level already so i know for a fact i dont enjoy them.

There is actually a second reason why the class removal is damaging to the races but that will require an NDA removal. BTW, if this game started out with only 5 unique classes i wouldnt even look at it, because that isnt variety,

Mon Jul 28 2008 11:42PM Report

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