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Musings and Stuff.

Random thoughts and musings.

Author: singsofdeath

FunCom and PR....Paradox?

Posted by singsofdeath Monday May 19 2008 at 1:53PM
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I am puzzled.

 

First off, let me say I greatly enjoy playing Age of Conan. I am having tons of fun with my gf, exploring the world, killing things and players and generally enjoying the beauty of the game in itself. Second, I know there are many others like me. I talk with them in game, I see their comments in the OOC Chat, I read their posts in various forums. I am not alone with my enjoyment of the game.

 

Now, of course there are people who are complaining. There always will be, but from what I see and hear, I think the game got off to a rather decent start.

 

Which brings me to why I am so damn puzzled.

 

The decisions of the FunCom PR team are slowly reaching the borders of...incompetence? I suppose that's the best word to use right there. With their recent announcement that DX10 won't be in game till Q3 this year, they've really struck another chord of disgrace right there.

 

Why? Why come out two days after Early Access is opened and divulge this information? Fanbois will say, because they only now realized they can't patch it in till full retail. I call BS on that. If they would delay it for a week or so, I could believe that, but they are delaying it for 3 -Months-. That's not something you realize just a few days ago. If they have 3 Months worth of work to do, they knew that before then.

 

The haters will, sad as it is, most likely have it right. FC feared losing subscriptions if they announced that their game would launch without one of the prominent features implemented. Thus, they decided to wait until the Pre-Orders were shipped out before announcing this. While Sieging and Spellweaving are in and they at least managed to quiet the fronts there a little, this then, has given haters a whole sack-full of ammunition for their attacks on the game.

 

And the worst thing about it? I am rather sure it was not needed. The game is a good one. As I stated above, I enjoy playing it and it looks very pretty already and I am -not- alone with this. Maybe they would have lost a few subscribers, but in the long run, won't they lose more by distributing information like they did in this case?

 

I don't know, I am not a marketing expert, but it seems to me all that FC accomplished with this little stunt, is to aggrevate people. Not because they really miss DX10 in the game, because as I said, the game looks beautiful even without it, but because of the incredibly horrible PR work that is being shown here.

 

I for one will continue playing the game. Because it is fun and I am enjoying it greatly and I believe the development team at FC have done an incredible job in their own right.

 

But I would suggest to FC to put a close glare on their PR department from now on. Many of the decisions made by the Public Relations Department recently have only caused a whole lot of damage and if this continues, a good game will die, not because of game-breaking bugs or missing content or missing polish...

 

But because of the way information is handed to the players.

Gishgeron writes:

 You got that right. 

  Maybe they are hiring the PR guys that SOE has to keep letting go of :P  That make some pretty "out there" choices in that regard.  They should be offering to wash each member of the dev team themselves for making a game good enough that people are ignoring the absolutely VILE PR work being done here.

Mon May 19 2008 2:40PM Report
BishopB writes:

There might be an other reason...

Since Funcom announced that they are increasing the server capacity with 100k more users and that they are sold out on 111k CE versions, and that they are running short with the 700k normal boxes...*takes a breath*...it sure looks like they are risking to become a failure of their own success. The demand seems to be beyond their expectations.

If I was in their shoes, I would stop and reconsider my plans. Putting all resources into the game as it is by polishing it and increasing server capacity. Maybe even optimizing the code to allow more clients on one server, etc. All just to meet the demand and keeping the customers happy so they stay in the game.

DX10 is not vital for a good gameplay. It sure will make it look better, but it is not vital for keeping the players. (The Wii is a great example of gameplay vs eye candy)

You might be right, but I think the PR guys are those with the least say in this matter :)

Mon May 19 2008 3:01PM Report
SteamRanger writes:

The code needs to be optimized. Performance is inconsistant and all over the map with different configurations. I think the developers tried to fit too much into one release product. Windows Vista and DX10 and X-Box? From the look of things, they haven't succeeded in any of them. XP players are having trouble with a game that was geared towards Vista system requirements. Using DX 9 means reducing the visuals to get decent performance, because Funcom wanted to play with DX10, and weren't able to pull that off. The whole thing was created with the console in mind (the Microsoft effect) and the PC game suffers because of it.

Then there's the whole issue with Gamestop breaking the street date. People bought a game, cracked the box, installed and were stuck with a game they couldn't play yet and couldn't return because the box was opened. This smells funny to me. It almost seems like Funcom is focusing on box sales to recoup capital and losing sight of the fact that they need a consistent player base for them to pay for the development. A lot of questionable decisions here.

Mon May 19 2008 4:38PM Report
Eccentricaa writes:

I do hate to say class action lawsuit.. but.. Unless we as consumers stand up to the corporations, they will do what ever they can to take our money, delivering us half finished products.

We would not dream of purchasing an uncooked hamburger from McDonalds.  We would not consider purchasing a pair of Levis that had no stitching and was just pre-cut denim.  How many people would file a complaint suits if we were sold a brand new car from the delership, only to be delivered a shell with no seats and no engine?

We do not tolerate it in any other industry, but why have we, as gammers accepted the declining standards of games?  I can not even count how many MMOs were released in unfinished conditions.  Doing nothing more than making people pay to really finish their betas.  Vanguard and Tabula both being good examples of MMO releasing without finishing.

Selling a game as one thing, but delivering another is NOT an acceptable pratice.  The Bait and Switch tatic is used in countless other industries, and corporations have been sued for doing so.  Better Business Breau handles thousands of Bait and Switch complaints each year, and companies are liable for their actions.

The little disclaimers they toss on the bottom of their packages, do not eliminate their liability for intentionally misleading  their customers. 

Mon May 19 2008 7:22PM Report
singsofdeath writes:

People, please read my post. Everyone except the first two commenters have taken things (again) way out of proportion. This is a Blog-Entry that is mainly concerned with FC's PR Depertment and their mistakes.

 

There is -no- reason to file a class-action lawsuit, nor can you blame FC for people trying to play a game before commercial release.

 

Please keep commenting on topic.

Mon May 19 2008 7:44PM Report
Gishgeron writes:

Awww, thanks death.  I'm not even sure why...but for some reason being acknowledged for actually being able read makes me smile.  I think that its a bad sign of our expectations in this country.

On topic:

  I'm still shocked that they did nothing to fully address the retailer issue about early access.  It would have been amazingly good PR for them had they stepped up and at least tried to offer the poor guys stuck with a pre-order that was useless to them something.  Blizzard would have probably given them an extra item or something...perhaps even opened more servers and tried to get more EA's going.

  Funcom did little more than say "tough cookie sucker".  Terrible, terrible stuff from a PR aspect.  I realize that their website explained it all...but they missed a real opportunity to step up and do something great for their fans...something that would rival Blizzard in every way from a consumer stand point. 

  Just another easy to pick out example of their PR department missing out on great chances.

Mon May 19 2008 8:26PM Report
SteamRanger writes:

Funcom's PR Department is directly responsible for the current dust-up over the condition of the game. They have misled customers regarding exactly what it is they are buying. I don't see how you can say that shining a light on this is taking things out of proportion. Allowing customers to buy a game they can't play for several days and a still-locked NDA are questionable at best. The developers themselves can't really be accused of misleading Funcom customers. That's the domain of PR and Marketing, which was your topic. What you perceive as dumb mistakes may well turn out to be a deliberate attempt to deceive.

Mon May 19 2008 8:32PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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