Rant: Undocumented Patch Notes
Patch day, the day that most MMO gamers look forward to. MMO's appeal to so many people because of the constant addition of new goodies that the devs put it over time that usually give us, the players, new content, bug fixes, and other things to hopefully make our gaming experience a little better. Every MMO out there worth a shit will continue to release these patches every so often, and then provide us with a complete list that we eagerly wait for so we can find out what the devs are up to, as well as rationalize our subscription. Unfortunately, Funcom's "Age of Conan" does not fall into this category.
Now I have played a lot of MMOs in my day, and survived many a patch day, but I have never seen a game with so many "Undocumented Patch Notes" as they are called by the community. I was an early access player for Age of Conan, unsubscribed recently for a variety of reasons, but every patch I have seen looks good until you see the things that aren't listed there. One has to ask themselves, why wouldn't they list all of the things they changed? You would think you would want to take credit for all the changes you have made to your game to show the community that you are proactive about fixes. Let's take a look at a few of the undocumented fixes from previous patches....
* Reports of further Loot Table additions: New items dropping in several areas.
* Silks,Gems,Jewelry, all such items are now searchable and showing up at the traders.
Herald of Xotli:
* The spell "Hellfire Breath" now has a new animation.
* Party members now show on zone maps
Looks good! Take credit for this and list them on the patch notes! You might be wondering why I am writing a rant about this issue? Let's take a look at some other things that never got mentioned...
* Overreach reduced in power. Apparently reduced by 40-60% damage. Strikes that were hitting for 1200-1500 overreach III now hitting for 600-700
* Assasin's From the Darkness combo (Corruption lvl 70 feat) nerfed. Animation after charge has been changed, damage on next attack lowered by roughly 50-70%
* The Level 40 talent in the Barbarian Tree "Cyclone of Razors" has been changed from 5-points for 28% Damage to 5-points for 10% Damage.
* Reports of many items losing their Gem Slots. If you had gem's in these items you have also lost your gems
*Invisible walls everywhere, it's now impossible to climb an average slope. It was very easy to notice in eiglophian mountains.
Nothing says "Fuck You" to your customer like massive undocumented nerfs (AKA Stealth Nerfs). Do they seriously think your customers are so stupid that THEY WONT NOTICE THEY ARE DOING 40-60% LESS DAMAGE?! Not only is it insulting to my intelligence, but it speaks volumes about business ethics.
Look, I understand that class balance is key, especially in a PvP MMO. I have been around this genre long enough to know that nerfs happen, and in quite a few cases they are justified. But at least MAN-UP, have the balls to let your customers know that you ran the numbers, and you thought a nerf was justified. When you make drastic changes that are literally going to cripple the play style of a large portion of your customers and not even mention it in the patch notes, that is like trying to rape someone who is asleep and think they won't know something happened when they wake up sore and pregnant.
These kinds of changes without documentation seems like a deliberate effort to mislead players. You would think that a side-effect of a given patch that was unintended would be a bug. Yet for some reason, bugs that reduce our damage by 60% never seem to get fixed. Weeks go by without any real comment regarding the crippling of a critical class skill by the devs. That's customer service worth paying $15 a month for!
Are there any other games out there that this has happened in, or is this another next-gen idea brought to you by Funcom? This type of spineless activity on the part of developers shows that they are not fit for the business world. I am a big believer in accountability, and things are not always going to be sunshine and lollipops. If you can't step up and be honest and tell me how it is without sugar-coating, I don't think I trust you with my business.
Co-Leader of Inquisition