It has happened to everyone. You’re walking along in some magical land running some "super important" package hither and yon for some faceless nameless NPC and you see a rather interesting looking rock. Since you have nothing better to do, you deiced to jump on it. You then plummet though the earth and fall to infinity...... Then die some time later. Then later your having an epic battle against some mini-boss mob you found wandering about in the wilds. It's an epic struggle, but your blood is pumping, your HP is dwindling and the end of the battle is closing. Then the mob stuns you, so you break it and unleash your ultimate attack! The game immediately freezes, crashes, and your left staring at your desktop with a small white error message.
This and other rather obvious bugs like it have frustrated, enraged, and baffled MMO players forever. "Does no one test these games?!". "What is this a F-ing Beta!?", "This game sucks I'm going back to WoW." Everyone has done it. So why is it that such OBVIOUS bugs exist in games, sometimes persisting even months or years after launch.
I've pondered this question and have come up with an answer, or at least part of one. I believe the problem is with scope. MMO games have a VERY large scope, they are an amalgamation of maps, players, systems, and interactions so much so, that it's nearly impossible to test all the possible combinations of things that could happen within any given time frame.
In Call of Duty: Black Ops for instance cost 40mil$ to create. By all estimates I've heard GW2 was about the same. That to me is highly significant. How much MORE is involved in creating GW2 than COD? Look at the games. How much MORE territory is there is GW2. How many more complex systems are there.
The scope of COD is simple. Create a fast paced, highly responsive shooter with next gen graphics and excellent multiplayer..... That's it. On the other hand what is the scope of an MMO? To create a living world where players can do what they want, and play however they wish to.
It's honestly no-wonder MMO's have failed so hard. They are ALL biting off WAY more than they can chew. Even TOR which cost by most estimates nearly 200mil( that's nearly a quarter of a BILLION dollars) and they still failed to do all the things they needed to make that game success.
My point is that MMO's need to step back and re-evaluate. It's not that the time of block-buster MMO's has come and gone. They never had a time. There has been 1 high budget highly successful mmo. And wow's budget wasn't even that high at launch. It was grown on its own merits. Companies need to stop trying to please everyone, and make smaller budget more focused games.
Give us a game with great PVE raiding.
Give us a game with great RvR.
Give us a game with a great player economy.
And stop trying to give us all three......