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.