This will be short and to the point (hopefully).
Many MMOs have had a horrible launch, for many reasons
Horizons (now Istaria Chronicles of the Gifted) launched buggy, crashed a lot (especially during monster invasions. Do they even still do monster invasions?) AND biggest thing was all the stuff they said was going to be in the game...it wasn't. I remember that they promised that the Bane (Undead in Istaria) was going to spread by themselves and the people playing would have to fight them back. What did we end with? The Bane was actually controlled by the devs and didn't spread dynamically in the game. Not to mention that they completely changed the game before release...but I won't count that, since games do tend to change before they are released...and sometimes after. But the dynamic AI is only one example of things they promised that weren't in.
Now, many years later...Istaria has new owners, and a very low population. Is it partly because its old? Or is it because they launched in a horrible state, and now most people don't give it a moments thought. I can say, it has improved a lot from release...and only MMO where you can actually play as a DRAGON. Outside of that, I never did get far in my trial. Though I can say, game when I tried it, was a lot more lively than Vanguard (MMO I'm going to speak about next.). But this was a year or so ago, so not sure what its like a year later. I do know Istaria has/did have a much more active chat than Vanguard's chat.
Then take a more modern MMO, Vanguard Saga of Heroes. It launched with a lot of bugs (and still has quite a lot of bugs) and performance was horrible (greatly improved now). But I don't know too many promised features that didn't make it into the game...a few, like Druid's controlling weather, some classes that were taken out (and never put back in)...but not really (in my view) anything major like what Horizon's promised. And classes being removed is understandable if they were unfinished/bugged etc. No one wants to play an unfinished class. But as I mentioned, current Vanguard is greatly improved...sure some bugs are in the game. But, I saw many bugs in WoW as well (for example, some monsters being stuck and you were unable to kill them). Every MMO has bugs that I've played...so it can't be that, can it? Why did Vanguard never make a comeback?
Lack of advertising? Can't be. I never once see an advertisement for Istaria...and yet, its doing (at least relatively) really well. Well, maybe I need to check up on it again and see how its doing in the present day.
Is it because Vanguard is owned by SOE?
Or an entirely different reason?
So, is it ever possible for a MMO that had a bad release to make a comeback? So far, every MMO that has a horrible release, hasn't really done too well afterwards. Okay so, Anarchy Online had the worst release ever...and now its doing pretty well...but that is probably because its now free to play, so it doesn't truly count.
What do you think? Is it possible for a MMO to have a bad launch, but earn the right to be given another chance? Or, is a bad launch it for a MMO?