This is to all investors, publishers and Project Managers in the MMO Industry.
You're all currently forcing an issue that most other men would be ashamed to admit.
It used to be that developers released their MMO's plagued with buggs and balance issues.. but that was another time, before beta's and such.
Then it picked up quite a bit, betas were used to pollish games, and games were actually released as a finished prouct for a while.
Not so much anymore.
I may seem gullible and ignorant to the ways of the world here, but It stil believe that releasing an MMO should be a statement of your companys skill and quality of production. However this has degenerated into a pure, and financially skewed, mass production race.
It seems to me that lately, publishers consider a game to be ready for release as soon as mechanics allow players to walk in all four directions. Beta has become little more then server stress-tests.
Obviously most developers are gamers, and as gamers they would like to release an awesome game, so I blame publishers and investors for forcing the releases.
But here is what I dont understand.
When did you last see a prematurely released MMO's sales, actually pick up several months past release? I sure havent seen that, and I'm looking quite hard. Wouldent you, as investors and publishers, rather wait 6 more months and then make twice what you would have by a premature release?
Release day is when a game seals its faith.
The financial backers of the industry obviously has a hard time grasping this, but if you made a graph displaying the multi-media attention your game recieves during it's lifespan, release day and the comming couple of weeks would be a clear peak.
This is when EVERY professional and not so much, reviewer cast their judgement.
This is when all the "first" gamers check it out, and report their findings back to their community.
If the game fails to impress these groups, it wil never get another shot. Honestly, thinking - that in this day and age, with this market and this competition, you can ever hope to considerably rise in status if release was a bummer is just plain old fashion stupid.
Here is what needs to be in place when the game goes gold:
- All core mechanics must be working and polished.
- All Features should also be working
- Enough content to keep an average player bussy for atleast 3 months.
- Severe exploit testing must have been done
- It is okay to lack balance tweaking, and have patch style content and features planed for the future, but these should not be the kind that defines the game. Everything that defines the game must be working at the time of launch. You cannot just sell a product by lining up a bunch of things you hope to be able to do in some future patch.
Summing up, this is a horrible trend. It destroys potentially great game concepts because they almost never surive long enough to finish what they started.
The moronic part in my hopinion at least, is that not only does players suffer from it, but so does the investors. all they got to do is have some patiance. Let the developers finish their game, then collect on that. Win / Win.
this irritates me to a degree that prevents from spellchecking this entry.
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