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Teala's Wickedly Cool MMORPG.com Blog For The Masses

Just my thoughts on MMO's, roleplaying, game companies, and the people that play these games.

Author: Teala

Worst and Best MMORPG Launches - Part 1

Posted by Teala Sunday March 23 2008 at 6:48AM
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So, ever wonder what MMORPG launches are the worst and best ever(in my opinion of course)?  Well  I think this dead horse can be beat a few more times and decided to make a list based on my own experiences with MMORPG's down through the years.   I have been gaming on and off now since a teenager and my first experience with a 3D MMORPG was EverQuest and since then I have played or beta'd just about every MMORPG ever launched.    Now I realize that some of you might disagree with me on my choice of what I consider to be a badly launched MMORPG and this is going to happen no matter what games I list here and in what order I put them in, but from my memory and what I experienced first hand - these are the five worst and best MMORPG launches I ever encountered.

Top Five Worst MMORPG Launches

5) World of Warcraft - Now I know I am going to catch flak for this because of the over all success of WoW.  There is no denying that it is the king of MMORPG's, but if there is one thing that I will never forget was the horrible launch of this game.   I remember how hard it was to get a server when it first launched.  Blizzard almost blew it entirely when they launched WoW because despite the fact they had over a 500k people sign up for beta within 2 days(as I recall) Blizzard failed to totally anticipate the mad hoard of people that would purchase and play their game on day 1.   Blizzard didn't have nowhere near enough servers to accommodate the mass of gamers that day and the queues to get on the existing servers was a whole other story unto itself.   Then on top of it the servers that did go live and manage to stay up where so laggy in the starter zones that it was almost impossible to play.   It took some people days if not a couple of weeks to finally get on and play due to this.   Blizzard had to add server after server to accommodate the number of players and it took like a whole month to finally get enough servers and running to accommodate all the people that wished to play it.  Because of this I give the game a number 5 spot on my list of worst MMORPG's launches ever.

WoW Queue Dance  <<<Remember this?

4) Dark Age of Camelot - Nothing and I mean nothing prepared us players for the launch of DAoC.  This game actually launched without MOB's being itemized and there was not a dungeon, as I recall in Hibernia that was itemized either, a few in Midgard and some in Albion.   On top of that the number of bugs we encountered almost made you think that you were playing an Alpha version of the game.   Yes...it really was that bad.   I know people will tell me I am full of it...but I was there and I remember people getting on the message boards over at the vault network asking Mythic when they planned on getting itemized MOB's into the - took them a couple of months but they did finally get the majority of MOB's and dungeons itemized.

3) Asheron's Call 2 - Game launched almost flawlessly...almost, but what we players and beta testers found was not what we were told we'd find.   The live version of AC2 was no different then the game was in the final stage of beta - there was no miracle patch...and many of the things that we were told we didn't see in beta would be launched with the live version of the game.   When we discovered the truth Turbine producers put out a letter begging us to give the game a chance and to become pioneers to help them make the game better.    The game was so full of bugs, holes and exploits it become a laughing stock of the game community almost over night.  The rants from pissed off players got so bad after the the game lost it chat servers that IGN literally made a separate forum for disgruntled players to voice their complaints about the poorly executed and implemented game.   We all know the final outcome of the game because Turbine eventually had to pull the plug on the servers.

2) Anarchy Online - A fitting name for an MMORPG that fell into anarchy on message boards all over the Internet.   What can I say about what many consider to be the worst launched game in the history of MMORPG's.  It was a total frikking nightmare.  It was so full of bugs, and the servers were constantly crashing even if you could get on which was nearly impossible.   OMG...3 months after launch, Funcom the creators of AO, almost went belly up...but through hard work, perseverance and help from on outside source Funcom saved AO from the depths of the dead games abyss and turned AO around.  It wasn't pretty at launch, but it did finally become stable and a very fun game to play.  Took Funcom about a year, but they did it.   Still a bad launch...but even it was not the worst.

1)  Three way tie here, yep a three way.    What I consider to be the worst 3, yes 3 worst launches in the history of MMORPG's - ever!

3a)Star Wars Galaxies/NGE - Oh this one was so bad it makes almost all other game launches look flawless.   Seriously.   This thing was so full of bugs it wasn't even funny.   The NGE even launched with an expansion that was not compatible with the launch of SWG/NGE and it caused SOE to offer a refund.   SOE managed to piss off so many of their existing players the exodus from the game of its players numbered in the hundreds of thousands...it is estimated that of the 300k people that were playing it at the time of the NGE's launch that 250k players left the game in disgust.   SWG to this day has never recovered from the launch of the NGE and SOE still struggles to get people to even play the game.

How bad was the NGE - tell me this wouldn't drive you crazy.   NGE Tutorial - Better get on the Falcon kid  <<< Ramp of Doom Video

2a) Dark and Light -  Oh I know this game has its fans(all 3 of them), but to some of us it is one of the worst launches if not the worst launched MMORPG ever.   What can I say that hasn't all ready been said or still being said about this game and its launch...plan and simple and in the general term used by most gamers  - it was teh suxor.  Yes it sucked - plan and simple. 

1a) Realms of Torment aka Mourning - This was the number one worst launch in the history of MMORPG's.   This games launch was so bad it stands as one of the most discussed games here on MMORPG.com.   Gamers flocked to MMORPG.com and used it as their soapbox to spread the word about the game and its producer that it became the pariah of gamers all over the Internet.   Eventually even MMORPG.com closed its doors to Mourning.    Yes...Mourning was and is and stands as the worst launch of an MMORPG to date.  No other MMORPG comes close to the debacle that was Mourning.

Next Installment of Teala's Wickedly Cool Blog - The 5 Best MMORPG Launches

Salvatoris writes:

There may be room for debate on where vanguard should be on this list... but it's hard to take a worst 5 MMO launches list serious without it being in there somewhere. 

Sun Mar 23 2008 11:41AM Report
kitsunegirl writes:

Yeah Vanguard should have been 5 atleast. To this day I still regret the 40$ I wasted on that crappy game. Im just glad I didnt buy the CE.

Sun Mar 23 2008 12:26PM Report
MChavez writes:

Salvatoris, you said it correctly. Vanguard definitely belongs in the top five.

I'm not so sure about WoW (queues were a symptom of the popularity of the game, not any problems with the game. LotRO also had queues when the game was first released. Don't see that one listed here.)

About the only two games I can agree with on this list is AO and D&L. I never got into Mourning, so I wouldn't know. AC2 didn't have a bad launch although it was not accepted by the gaming community. SWG also did not have a bad release, however, it was plagued by it's critics as being too system heavy and not feeling "Star Warsy" enough. You can't count NGE because that was a major change to the game, not a game release. I also don't recall DaoC having any serious problems upon release.

I know you are writing this article because another recent piece was written including Vanguard in the list. I'm sure this hurt your feelings so you probably thought writing this article would somehow vindicate your feelings towards Vanguard.

But, I'm sorry, Vanguard has had one of the most botched game launches in gaming history. The lead developer was locked away in his little castle crying over personal issues because he could not lead. As a result, he ran away from the development process with his tail between his legs. Mr. McQuaid continued to lie to the fan base by continually pimping features he knew was never going to make it into the game. He simply kept leading people on in hopes that they would not abandon the terrible turd that this game turned out to be. How you can overlook all of this is amazing.

I can go on and on about this game from the technical issues to the empty (albeit beautiful) world that was created. As Sigil dissolved, all I could think of was what a terrible waste VG turned out to be. An MMO that couldn't even get the "seamless" part of the world right definitely deserves to be on this list. An MMO who promised us a true virtual world but only delivered on about 40% of the promise SHOULD DEFINITELY BE ON THIS LIST!

 

Sun Mar 23 2008 12:26PM Report
Anofalye writes:

For me...

 

The best launch was City of Heroes.

 

And the worst launch ever was City of Villains.  It is still laggy today in some area because there are grids over grids on the visual.  Also when they say whoever pre-order get 2 days headstart...but then I was locked out of the game for like 10 or 11 days.  If you don't like giving headstart to fallen players, don't give them, but preventing me from playing the game, it sure has it toll in the long run. 

Sun Mar 23 2008 1:30PM Report
Anofalye writes:

And Vanguard is in the top worst launch ever, but in a bigger category, it make it to all genres confused.  So for MMOs, it would be #1 worst launch.  :P

Sun Mar 23 2008 1:31PM Report
Hugh01 writes:

Wow you have no idea what your talking about since Vanguard was not metioned in this list.

/flame on

Sun Mar 23 2008 1:33PM Report
Soara writes:

Nah, out of these, I would say Vanguard was bad launcher as well, but most of the players (including me) still stuck with the game and had put forth good faith in it.

I would say it should go somewhere in here for worst financial catastrophies though.

Sun Mar 23 2008 2:01PM Report
premierebori writes:

I don't see why you say Vanguard was a bad launch. The game sucked for sure, BUT the launch at least from the technical standpoint wasn't bad.

I remember exactly: pre-release accounts went live, people logged in and I remember there was only two crashes. When the main release accounts started logging in 3 days later there was no problem (probably due to the fact that there was more pre-orders than regulars.)

 

Sun Mar 23 2008 2:35PM Report
Ragnaven writes:

I didn't even know morning launched, oh well lol goes to show what I know. For me Vanguard would go on there, the game was badly designed and flawed at launch. I could kill a mob one day, and the next after a hot fix patch it would eat me alive. Same mob, same lvl it was the day before, same everything. WoW wasn't that bad, ques not withstanding I have seen worse.

As for SoE and SWG the game itself at the origonal launch was a nightmare, bugs out the wazoo and half the quests not in the game. SoE never fixed them instead they nerfed them out until they could do nge, and even then it was the same stuff all over again. SoE has a card carrying license for epic fails. Ruined the game, then took away things from player who worked their asses off for items because "we made a mistake, you shouldn't have been able to get that at your level".

In the end they screw up a lot, I remember the launch of EQ's storm hammer server. The brains at sony decide to crowd some six thousand people into a single zone to form guilds, the result, one mad wizard pops an aoe buff and crashes EQ. SoE #1 at screwing up online gaming.

 

Mon Mar 24 2008 2:40AM Report
KevinR writes:

I played about half of the above games at BETA my two worst games at launch must be AO and one not mentioned ..... Horizons.

I missed the first week of WoW due to being the the UK and the developers forgeting to send us any copies..lol. By the time I got in and running alot of the initial faults had been corrected.

My box of Vanguard still sits on the shelf, I tried to play it for a week but had horrible lag even with all the options set low.

My best games at launch must be Guild Wars and maybe Earth and Beyond which sadly got dropped shortly after launch.

Mon Mar 24 2008 7:49AM Report
Teala writes:

Vanguard actually launched pretty good.  There wasn't a bunch or serious issues regardig the lunch of the game itself.  The biggest problem was people didn't have gaming rigs powerful enough to run it.   I suspect we'll see something similar to this happen to AoC when it launches. because the games requirements will be steaper then expected.  

Mon Mar 24 2008 8:02AM Report
Unshra writes: Going to have to disagree about the launch being "pretty good", Vanguard had many UI issues that existed through most of its beta life. From the UI blowing up in size to having to constantly manually dump the cache. With a buggy UI an mmo is hardly playable. It also lacked end-game, which thankfully has been addressed. The issue of systems not being powerful enough was more so (as recent patches have proven) what beta testers new all along, that they dev team spent little effort on optimizing the MMO. Recent patches allow for many systems that could not play vanguard to now have near max settings and still have decent frame-rates. Now as to if I believe it's release was worse then WoW, no I don't I believe the history and the SOE publisher combined with players high expectations made it's release cause a larger shock wave then it would have if the hype was not as high. If anything it ties WoW as having a broken UI renders an MMO almost unplayable. Mon Mar 24 2008 10:18AM Report
Unshra writes: *sighs* Apologies for the wall of text, it seem that submitting a comment through Safari removes the "returns". Mon Mar 24 2008 10:21AM Report
Hexxeity writes:

I'm awfully glad I only played one of these games at launch (DAoC).  And yeah, it was pretty ridiculous.  It took many, many calls to tech support before I could even get into the game -- some arcane modem configuration requirement that I never experienced in any other game before or since.  And then when I did get in, the game was so obviously unfinished, I began to wonder what  exactly I had paid for.  Luckily, they started turning things around pretty quickly, but it never turned into one of my favorites.

Mon Mar 24 2008 3:30PM Report
Trimethicon writes:

WoW's day one launch was very smooth - 2-3 weeks after the launch is when things went south, they claimed to have under estimated the number of people that would play the game.  This brought server queues and other issues.  Many gaming sites were pulling their original WoW review scores due to the hardware issues.  It always amazes me when a developer claims to be caught "off guard" by the popularity of their game and getting slammed by players when they've been promoting their game for a year and have a monthly ad going in every major gaming mag and/or every gaming website.  Also, pre-orders do give you a sense of how many people to expect as well, a smaller percentage but at least you can plan?

Yes, GW is a technical marvel - it amazes me that a game can install a tiny file on my pc and from that I can launch an Online RPG.  The Arena Net top level management is made up of ex-Blizz network code gods which may have something to do with their smooth as butter online code.


EQ2 was shall we say.......rough.  Yes, the servers were up and there was little to no downtime but I think they mismanaged the launch with regards to their system requirements.  Regarding their recommended system specs; SOE stated that the machine had not been created yet that could run the machine in all its glory - well guess what every gamer did?  We tried to run the machine in its full glory and the result was a slide show, or you would get trapped in Qeynos and unable to move because you were getting 1-2 frames per minute.  I think they should have capped the ability for gamers to run the game at super NASA settings early one, just my opinion.

Yes, CoH was a good launch, as well as L2 - I didn't have any issues honestly.  It’s a shame that smooth launches are the exception and not the norm. 

Mon Mar 24 2008 5:24PM Report
Jackdog writes:

If you think DAOC's launch was bad you should have been there for EQ1 and UO . Horizons, WWII Online and Shadowbane should be in the list also also.

I would not even call what Mourning had a launch. They mailed out maybe 500 unlabled disks for those who were gullable enough to send them 25 bucks if memory serves correctly. Dark and Light was almost as bad,  if not worse. The client was download only and I think they charged people for over 50 bucks if memory serves.

Mon Mar 24 2008 5:37PM Report
Wimbie writes:

Shheeez, remember she said  from her experience, maybe she didn't play Vanguard.

Mon Mar 24 2008 7:28PM Report
Teala writes:

Ummm...Wimbie.  I ummm...have been playing Vanguard since day one.  I do not think it had as bad a launch as many make it out to ahve had.  Sure it had some really heavy system req's, but as I recall the servers stayed up and never crashed once after it went live.   The biggest problem I heard from people was that their gaming rigs with their circa 2004 gaming cards couldn't handle the game.   Otherwise Vanguard actually had a pretty smooth launch compared to games like Anarchy Online or Wow where you couldn't even get into the game. 

Mon Mar 24 2008 7:34PM Report
TheSalad writes:

Sorry Teala, I have to disagree with your Vanguard comment, I had a computer strong enough to run it, and it had to be one of the worse games on launch for bugs. You couldn't click twice without getting a bug or an error. And my system can run AoC on high graphics(beta), so I don't think I had any trouble with Vanguard. The problem with Vanguard was that they had no  idea how to program. Hellgate: London falls under this too. Unfortunatly the programming in Hellgate is also one of the worse I've seen, I can't even run that game on high graphics without getting crap frame rate. I'd put Vanguard and Hellgate top of my list. They both had great potential but failed where it was a must to succeed.

Mon Mar 24 2008 7:44PM Report
TheSalad writes:

Oh right and not to mention I had a lot of trouble with my CD-Key being stolen by someone else after buying it day 1. Then after getting that sorted out after a week of painfulness crying. I couldn't log onto the servers for some reason. Something about servers being down, I believe that lasted a few days.

Mon Mar 24 2008 7:46PM Report
Trimethicon writes:

Saying that Flagship and Sigil didn't know how to program is a joke right?  Say what you want and you're entitled to your opinion but that is a massive sweeping false judgement to state that they don't know how to program.  Any 1st year DeVry student can program; maybe they were rushed or ran out of money but either way I think they know how to program?

Mon Mar 24 2008 11:20PM Report
Burnthebed writes:

I agree that WoW deserves a spot on the worst for sure. I played at release and had to switch servers hourly just to be able to play for any amount of time. The loot bug was not "rare" it happened everytime you looted, and it was unacceptable.

My only disagreement with you is about Vanguard. I played at release, and I have not forgotten about the major problems as it seems you have. You say the only issue you can recall is people's computers not being up to par? I run on a 8800 gtx, 2 gigs of ddr 800 ram, and a core 2 duo 2.6 which should be able to run just about anything on the market and I had performance issues. People were having CTD's multiple times a day, and there were millions of bugs everywhere from quests to graphical bugs.

Now, thats not to say that VG hasn't shaped up into something much MUCH better, but denying the release was crap is just ridiculous. I understand that you love the game, and I definitely respect that but it lowers your credibility a bit when you deny something so blatantly true.

Just my 2 cp.

Tue Mar 25 2008 10:35AM Report
kakarotrage writes:

Dark and Light was had the worst launch ever,  since the game wasn't even close to being ready and had so many bugs it was just really funny all the fans of the game shocked :P

Tue Mar 25 2008 11:33AM Report
Killerbee124 writes:

Lolz i didnt read of this. i just like the game oblivion, as per the title mentions :D

Sun Jun 20 2010 4:36PM Report
Killerbee124 writes:

btw i think you are totally wrong about WoW. or right. it has caught on fast to the superhighway of nerds and right clicking. In my small city( 5k people) i know about 40 who play WoW. Just rephrasing that. I KNOW 40 PEOPLE WHO PLAY WoW. It may be totally conformist to game using WoW but nowadays its just "cool" to say i play WoW. How ironic...

Sun Jun 20 2010 4:39PM Report
eburn writes: Horizons & Vanguard being left off pretty much nulifies any sort of credit this list has. Mon Jul 12 2010 6:32AM Report
Ataaka writes:

Uhmmm...I respect your list.

It seemed a bit 'personal' which is what you wanted, I guess.

My list..without anticipation...

#1 Conan

#2 Vanguard

#3 AC2

#4 Who cares

#5 Who cares less

My list, however incomplete, it is comprosied of three things that affect all MMOG's...

1# The Hype

#2 The Beta

#3 The Launch

Most failures occur within one of those the stages. I detest being led into a boxed canyon with eye-candy that is later coded out of the game.

Conan *** (three stars for epic failure)

Vanguard *** (three stars for seemingly not having employees show up on launch day)

AC2 *** (three stars for the lack of guts for not standing up and saying, "Uhmm, Hey! This game isn't ready for launch!")

Mon Jul 19 2010 1:04AM Report

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