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Paragus Rants

Rants, reviews, and interviews from an MMO veteran and guild leader.

Author: Paragus1

Rant: Undocumented Patch Notes

Posted by Paragus1 Thursday July 31 2008 at 11:24AM
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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....

Improvements

Items
* Reports of further Loot Table additions: New items dropping in several areas.

Trader
* 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...

Stealth Nerfs

Guardian
* Overreach reduced in power. Apparently reduced by 40-60% damage. Strikes that were hitting for 1200-1500 overreach III now hitting for 600-700

Assassin
* 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%

Barbarian:
* 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.

Items
* 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.

 

Paragus

Co-Leader of Inquisition

www.inqguild.com

streea writes:

The "customer" picture made me laugh so hard...

But yes, I know WoW has stealth changes all of the time.

Thu Jul 31 2008 12:01PM Report
afoaa writes:

You pointed out exactly what is wrong with the game and with funcom. Its not the game itself that makes people frigging mad and cancel, its the disrespect funcom show to its customers.

They keep smiling and sugar coating. If you know just the tiniest professional knowledge about human interaction then you know that lies will never ever do anything but show that you dont respect the other side.

Everyone know when they are being lied to, the question is do you accept the lie because you feel its ok or do you not? In the case of AoC the state of the game is so poor that lies are NOT accepted and therefore people react naturally to being lied to instead of putting a brave face and accepting the lie.

Thu Jul 31 2008 1:49PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

You have to wonder if the game director is actually aware of the Undocumented Patch Notes, when he makes his letter proclaiming the progress.   If you were to read the patch notes as is, without knowing about what was missing from them, you might see how he could write the PR that he does.

Thu Jul 31 2008 2:24PM Report
D|CE writes:

In software development most undocumented changes happen due to a single developer not willing to go through the proper development process, and basically making the decision to do those changes on his own. I still firmly believe that those undocumented changes in AoC are not intentional and 99% of the development team does not even know about them.

Thu Jul 31 2008 3:28PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Those 60% nerfs to damage are from early June.  There is no way in hell that they don't know about those nerfs.  They literally destroyed entire classes and talent trees over night and to this day those changes have not been undone.  Their forums were on fire for these changes, and there are dozens of other examples I could have listed in this article.

Thu Jul 31 2008 3:35PM Report
freakky writes:

Other games have done this, but I think Funcom is taking it to a new level. Got love a company that doesn't give out a phone number for support. They think kitting is exploit but give you spells that reduces movement speed. They have such hard time updating server. Like extended patching and patches to fix patches which isn't uncommon in games but real common with AoC.

But anyways funcom is going ruin it self. They think people should pay for their game and yet they  treated you like your on a beta server. I don't think I will play game much more since doesn't have that much content anyways yet. It might become good game but who wants to deal with the extra bs when there are so many other games out there or comming out.

Thu Jul 31 2008 3:39PM Report
Ascension08 writes:

Great visual aids, +10 for those. And I agree with you, Funcom is probably so scared of losing customers that they think they need to sugarcoat everything.

Now, of course, when you think about it, that just makes them lose customers...I know! Let's see how long it takes for them to realize it! I say at least another 3 months, if at all.

Thu Jul 31 2008 4:03PM Report
Death1942 writes:

pretty sure it is infact illegal to do that.  i may be wrong and those lawyers have no doubt snuck in some sort of system allowing devs to not even bother with posting changes

Thu Jul 31 2008 4:15PM Report
Cursedsei writes:

wait wait wait...

Kiting is considered exploiting in AoC?

Damn, better add that to my "reasons to never play" list :(

Thu Jul 31 2008 4:41PM Report
krumb writes:

Duh, Funcom says is all.  I was in on the beta and release of AO.. which wasn't ready for realease (as we all know).  Promptly canceled my account at release.. and was then charged for the next 2 years for a canceled game.  Funcom = none of my cashcom ;)

Thu Jul 31 2008 7:45PM Report
ABRaquel writes:

If I'm not mistaken Funcom also said that farming lower level dungeons for loot and cash was considered an exploit.

Fri Aug 01 2008 12:14AM Report
DonnieBrasco writes:

"

  • If I'm not mistaken Funcom also said that farming lower level dungeons for loot and cash was considered an exploit."

  • Turbine has actually implemented a REWARD system for higher players to re-visit older instances, to help out newer players. LOL

Fri Aug 01 2008 8:06AM Report
grimfall writes:

Umm,  what does this mean from the July 31st patch notes?

"All Assassin, Barbarian, Bear Shaman, Conqueror, Dark Templar, Guardian, Herald of Xotli and Ranger combo damange and stmina costs have been rebalanced'

How about this from the July 17th notes?

"we have been working flat out to ensure that we can address the game mechanic issue that have lead to some inconsistencies"

 

 

Tue Aug 05 2008 8:15AM Report
Paragus1 writes:

It is a lot fancy language to try to tell you they are nerfing you while trying to disguise it.

Tue Aug 05 2008 8:52AM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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