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Controversial Imagination Conversation or CIC (prenounced sick) for short

Dig deep into the basis of MMOs, controversial or not it needs to be discussed. Let the heads roll and the children cry its time to get CIC.

Author: FlyingSquid

Opps we launched?!?!

Posted by FlyingSquid Monday March 17 2008 at 3:17AM
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Welcome folks to another CIC blog entry, tonight I'll be talking about a touchy subject that seems to becoming more and more of a popular occurance.  It's the classic "Opps we launched to soon!" debacle.  One quick point I want to throw in here before I go on is that it isn't always the developers fault that an MMO or any game is launched too soon.  Most the time it is publisher pushing them to release it quicker or the investors that want their money made.  So my first question for this evening is...  Which part do you think has the most effect for an too early launch?  The publisher, developer, or investors?  Is there a mix of blame?  Do you blame them all as having a part of responsibility?

Having said this we are looking at an age were it is acceptable to release an (what feels like Alpha staged MMO) and improve on it.  The error of these ways do not go un-punished, MMOs are now crumbling to the ground when this happens, the MMO community as a whole is no longer saying "Well I'll keep paying maybe they will improve it."  And why you ask?  Well it's because we have a library of MMOs now, if we don't like one or feel we are getting ripped of or the state of the game is so bad we stand to play it, we leave for another.  Rightly so, back when the age of MMOs was born there wasn't much to choose from and you stayed where you were, but one can argue MMOs back then were in a much solid launching state then what we get today.

I feel in my research and knowledge in the field of the MMO industry, if the MMO is a f2p MMO we let things slide much more, cause hey we aren't paying for it, but in a p2p MMO  we demand perfection, cause well hey we are paying for it!  I'm not saying this is the wrong type of thinking, we should always expect quality for p2p games.  F2p is an animal all itself, it can have no future updates or very little and survive on a cash shop alone because there always someone who gets emotionally attached with it and feels they need to be the best or grind faster with player bought items/enhancements.

During a beta test developers should be keying in more and more on game breaking issues and I'm not meaning coding errors, though those should be cleaned up as well but they should be more open to the player base that is testing the product.  If a large majority of the testers let's say 80% say this certain system isn't going to fly, well then they better be on that to change it up to make it a feature the players enjoy.  Forcing crap that the testers and player base is booing over at launch is just adding another devil to your collection of demons.  It will back fire and you will feel it when your player base sinks.

Couple things I want you readers to answer for me, if you would.  Do you see this broken/flawed launching breaking the mold ever?  Do you think developers will launch more solid products down the road?  Does the future of MMOs look bright or dark and cold?  Will we just see more of the same excuses and mistakes we have seen for years now, from broken gameplay, to mix and mash elements, to complete changes in systems?

My personal opinion is we will see a change and very soon, we are getting a lot of indy developers doing their own thing once again, believe it or not it takes indy developers to change the tide over from the current trend.  There is more sandbox style MMOs coming into the broad horizon and I see hope in the industry yet.  I see blizzards next MMO no matter what it will be, another blockbuster, Blizzard is already known for a stable game, with very little bugs and hardcore dev team that cares for the community and this reputation is going to win customers over every time.  I see bioware's Star Wars MMO being a hit as well, it's not going to kill WoW, nothing will except WoW2 if that ever happens.  A see a bright future of console companies getting involved more in MMO technology, I see PS3 as the console king of future designed MMOs.  The changes are coming and we will welcome them.  We will slowly die off of the fantasy genre and move on to original IPs futuristic, urban and war-torn settings.

What do you see?

See you all next week, let the heads roll and the children cry.

wolfmann writes:

We probably won't see a change, until investors and publishers get a clue...

And these are the people that don't care if game is P2P or not..since their money only comes from box sales.. They could really care less if the game was around for a year or 5.

'sides, these are also the people that don't play games and do believe that gamers are kids in basements..

 

So to get a true change?

We gonna need new investors, new ways of investing, new publishers, none wich is run by "men in suits".

Mon Mar 17 2008 5:06AM Report
Gishgeron writes:

The mold will be broken by the up and coming MMO's.  As more companies try to compete with WoW...they will strive for WoW's kind of release.  They will also push for WoW's speed in correcting bugs.  There are times that a bug can be found and they will have the patch for it the next day.

 

Anyway, the market is VERY high in competition now.  I think everyone knows that they must meet certain quality standards if they have any hope of success.  I think they ALSO know what kind of instant death awaits the game if they do not.

Mon Mar 17 2008 1:42PM Report
Hashbrick writes:

I agree with Gish to a point, I don't think everyone knows or meets quality standards still of yet today. PotBS is proof of this, but I do see the changes coming through the up and coming MMO's as Gish has envisioned it.

Wolf I can see your argument but I can't agree, publishers are a slow breed to every 9-10 new development companies that come out maybe one publisher is born.  I don't think publishers is the key to break the mold, it's a combination of all 3, the investors need to be more aware of the time that is needed for a quality MMO and the publisher needs to leave it up the development company to flip the switch and yell power on.  Only then will we have perfection.

Mon Mar 17 2008 5:08PM Report
KokiriChild writes:

Hash: Don't forget that often the creators of the MMO (devs, publishers etc) will be eager to get the investors to invest, so that they can get the money to actually do the project, and are probably equally to blame for getting a rushed game out "on time".

 

Put it this way: if I have Blizzard telling me they can have a new MMO that will pull in $15 per month per player but will be ready in 5 years, and I have Turbine telling me that they can do me a game that will bring in $10 per month per player but will only take 3 years to develop, I'm going to go with them to get the quicker, greater return, regardless if it would actually take them 5 years to create the game to a releasable point.

Overall I think all 3 are to blame, as this is nothing more than another industry and there's only ever one goal in mind - profit.

Mon Mar 17 2008 9:24PM Report
Hashbrick writes:

Yes good point their KokiriChild, they may be some lies around the developers to get the investors be it a release time or what have you.

You have a good point on the time issue the best return and I'm sure it is a classic approach for those investors who have been in the industry a long time, the new ones are the ones that seem like they go for the longer titles hoping for a WoW like smash.

Tue Mar 18 2008 7:23AM Report
mattic65 writes:

When the gaming industry is slowly filling with suits that have dollar signs in their eyes, this trend will probably not get any worse, but not better either. The production side of the industry has no clue as to what a quality product should be/play like. They just want a release date so that they can begin to rake in the dough. And it is this, my friends, that will kill the gaming industry.

Wed Mar 19 2008 6:07AM Report
yardik writes:

Hate to bring this to light, but early release is a problem not only found in the gaming industry. As a software developer for a large corporation I can attest that products are OFTEN released with bugs. Heck, even internal releases are often pushed out early. I can't begin to count the number of times I've had a senior level manager pushing my team to 'get that release into UAT' even when we fully well know that it isn't ready, and QA hasn't had enough time with it.

Upper management always knows less about the products guts than the people who wrote it, but when push comes to shove, they are the people who call the shots. When your bosses bosses boss says 'get that release ready' you do it.. even if everyone on the team knows it's going to be rocky.

It's simply cheaper to push a product out a year early and quick fix the bugs post-mortem. If you can ship and sell copies, you are already raking in the cash, you can move some of the talent off to other products and then have the remaining team focus on fixing the bugs that the player base reports. Costly in-house QA is slowly being replaced by cheap and dirty UAT. It sucks, but most people live with it.

As for MMOs? I believe the competition in the market will force more testing and more polished products, but the bottom line will always be it's a hell of a lot cheaper when your customers will test your product for free, or hell, even pay you to do it... instead of shelling out megabux to a team of QA specialist.

Just my 2c,

-Yard

Wed Mar 19 2008 10:41PM Report
Heradite writes:

"it's not going to kill WoW, nothing will except WoW2 if that ever happens. "

I see the same thing happening with WoW on what happened with EQ.

A new game will come along, 75% of the WoW players will switch, and then I will try the game out. WoW is so huge right now, and so was Everquest, and each age the #1 MMORPG is more popular than the last age's. I have no idea which MMORPG is going to beat WoW, or when, but it's probably not going to be WoW2-most MMORGP sequels don't succedd like the first ones do.

Thu Mar 20 2008 11:02AM Report
FlyingSquid writes:

Very good points.

yard:  Do you work at EA Company?  I know it is a common practice for them to release quick as possible with a semi-buggy product, it's like their trademark.  Even so yes I agree with you 100% even console games or pc games in general get pushed out to early you can see and use a lot of glitches because of this.  Like Halo2s rocket launcher leap, Call of Duty 4's walk on air exploits, to name a few.  In the end it has to be the players that demand polish by not buying the buggy games till that changes and at the current turning point there is usually nothing game breaking with console or pc games, MMOs are different, when they are unfinished they are game breaking and that is what causes the uproar.

Heradite - I see your point, the key I'm dealing with is it is blizzard well known for it's lore, I think everyone who played WoW would shift over to play the new enhanced WoW.  Regardless good point as mostly all sequels have failed in an MMO but that was because they were sub-par to the original.

Fri Mar 21 2008 1:00PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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