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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

No Troubleshooting Required

Posted by BillMurphy Tuesday October 19 2010 at 9:01PM
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I recently picked up a PC title I've been waiting for for some time.  I won't say the name, as I don't feel like picking on them and that's partly because I haven't yet played the game.  You see... I have a fairly decent system at home. Nothing epic, but more than capable of running the game in question.  I can play just about anything that comes out at high settings still, even though it's probably time I upgraded my video card and installed more than 3GB of RAM.  It's not a beast, but it gets the job done.

So why will just this one game not work? Why can't the company's help-desk seem to narrow down any possibilities?  What if I was reviewing this game for them?  If I was, it would certainly feature quite a bit of initial complaining about the difficulty I had in just getting the game installed and running.  And that to me is the worst possible first impression... not even able to get it running despite exceeding the recommended specs.

Think about some of this era's most successful PC games.  Aside from excellent gameplay they all have something a little less noticeable in common: they are easy to set up, and easy get running.  They don't hang long when loading, they don't require a lot of milling about on forums to track down technical solutions.  They simply play, and let you play.

So I'll keep this week's blog short and to the point.  If you want your game to be success in a dog-eat-dog PC market?  Make sure it works properly on the widest range of systems possible before the ship date.

Athcear writes:

I remember being really excited to try Nox at the time... and I could never get it working.  Huge disappointment.

Wed Oct 20 2010 10:13AM Report
Wraithone writes:

What is even more annoying is having a game run, then a patch breaks it, and you can't get it running again.  This happened to me with Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online.  Both games give me a BSOD 116 error within no more than 3-5 minutes of play(some times its at the character select screen). No amount of driver changes, DX checks, temp checks etc have solved the problem.  Note that these are the ONLY games that give me this issue. So finally, after countless back and forths with tech support and mining the forums, I finally gave up.  Its too bad as I was in at launch with both games, and had no problems at all. Such is life <shrug>

Wed Oct 20 2010 10:28AM Report
ROFLwafflez writes:

I would have to say the most games that give me problems on my PC would be the battlefield series games.  Having to go to the EA download manager and blah blah blah it gets really frustrating just trying to get the game started. Never did get Battlefield 2142 to work and it took me about half an hour to figure out how to run Battlefield Bad Company 2

Wed Oct 20 2010 10:51AM Report
erictlewis writes:

Thats the problem now days folks just make a game and forget to take into account a wide range of systems are out there. Some from hp that have the worst on board graphics all the way to high end stuff like I run.

Im not sure about the game your running but the one I had the most problem out of was spore, it hated my gtx 295.

In fact there are several games as of late that dont like invidia cards at all.

I just call i plain old bad programming.

Wed Oct 20 2010 11:17AM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Im gonna go out on a limb and say its Fallout New Vegas.   I just got it and there is an issue inflcting almost everyone where they are getting very low FPS and their save files are vanishing.  The community managed to find fixes for these and the games been out for a day, but it makes you wonder how they didn't find these things and if they did why is there not a patch.

Wed Oct 20 2010 12:31PM Report
The_Grump writes:

Do you mean Elemental: War of Magic? Or Final Fantasy XIV? Or do you mean Fallout New Vegas? Or do you mean...?

Please do us a favour and include the name of the game you are talking about so we can be aware of it. Unfortunately, PC games in this age of cheap broadband connexions, publishers as greedy as BP, developers trying to get while working as hard as single-parents and with just as much respect and, finally, duly cynical players...well, they are getting worse and worse in many respects. God knows that 'Support' isn't there for us either.

We have to make smart financial decisions so please do help us out, otherwise we're going to end up showing how embarassing the industry has become by running down the names.

Wed Oct 20 2010 1:11PM Report
The_Grump writes:

Do you mean Elemental: War of Magic? Or Final Fantasy XIV? Or do you mean Fallout New Vegas? Or do you mean...?

Please do us a favour and include the name of the game you are talking about so we can be aware of it. Unfortunately, PC games in this age of cheap broadband connexions, publishers as greedy as BP, developers trying to get while working as hard as single-parents and with just as much respect and, finally, duly cynical players...well, they are getting worse and worse in many respects. God knows that 'Support' isn't there for us either.

We have to make smart financial decisions so please do help us out, otherwise we're going to end up showing how embarassing the industry has become by running down the names.

Wed Oct 20 2010 1:11PM Report
ZeroRaptor writes:

My biggest problem is that some MMORPGs are developed to lock out computers that don't have the specific requirements needed to run it. I don't have the most powerful PC around but it's good enough for me to play World of Warcraft decently, yet Lord of the Rings Online hits me with a "oh, your computer's not good enough, I won't even let you log in" error. If you're a developer trying to get as many players playing your game as possible, don't lower your chances by making your game pick and choose its players based on their system specs. Games have low settings for a reason, you know.

Wed Oct 20 2010 1:16PM Report
boincman writes:

Personally I wish more developers would use OpenGL instead of Direct X.  This would generally make it easier for me to play the games I want in Linux instead of depending on Winders.

Wed Oct 20 2010 5:50PM Report
wlvnspectre writes:

I am sad to say as someone who is both trained in End User Support and as a PC Technician that there is no way all but the biggest gaming companies can test for all the expected hardware.

For example take motherboard A. It is a relatively new board with a decent amount of an upgrade path for the future and room to downgrade in an emergency as compared to todays average components. That can mean a range of up to 8 lines of CPUs each of which react differently and have their own flaws. There can be 10 different speeds of RAM, within each speed a few different access speeds for that speed of RAM and 5 major manufacturers to get them all from (and that isn't counting generic and specialty manufacturers). Video Cards, NIC Cards, and Sound Cards come in a nearly unlimited variety.

Then you also have software issues that never come up until someone who has a weird strange settup tests it.

An MMO I Beta tested years ago was great and stable until I put together a machine that had 2 Monitors and an SD TV hooked up to it, each at a different resolution. For gaming I made a single monitor profile that was more horsepower to graphics where I dialed them back for the other set up. The MMO would crash and take the client down by corrupting it on the HDD. The only solution was to delete the 3 screen profile and roll back my drivers.

When I reported the bug they thanked me and said they would fix it but they had other bugs with higher priority. They said they tested it on a selection of machines but every dollar spent on one time testing for uncommon configurations was actually like 2.50 taken from game developement, because it not only ate up money to have those configurations but then it also delayed work on parts of the game and pushed back launch.

IMHO some game developers are sacrificing the range of testing to get the game out when they want it and still make it as good as they wanted.

Wed Oct 20 2010 6:15PM Report
BowWake writes:

For me, the gremlin is Nexon's Combat Arms. Every time I get it working, they patch something, or add new content... And the game will not launch for me (or many people who frequent their technical forums).

A few weeks later, someone (and almost NEVER a Nexon person) figures out a fix they put on the forums, I get the game running, play for a week or so, and the cycle starts anew.

Wed Oct 20 2010 11:10PM Report
Veryll writes:

I've never really had any games with problems i couldn't fix in 10-15 mins.

But what most people seem to forget is the fact that it is almost always not the programs fault, if it was it would be for everyone.  The reason is more likely a combination of software and hardware on the users pc and something in the game code. So it is neither the developers fault nor the users, all they can do is report to the developers and hope it gets fixed, in todays age it is impossible to test on all possible hardware configurations.

Thu Oct 21 2010 2:57AM Report
Shinami writes:

I don't mind devs locking out computers. It prevents a freeloader from entering a game and then complaining about everything. Nothing offends me more when I update my system, spend money to play the latest games...

 

...and some idiot with specifications 5+ generations old gets in my case about the game itself. They give me some lecture about ethics and morals which I don't really care about when it comes to something as trivial as an online game...

 

My advice for those slackers. I can understand if your highest resolution is 1024x768 and you are still using Geforce 6s and X800 series cards.....or using those Athlon 64s and first dual core intels....

 

What...you can't go out and buy a playstation 3 or xbox360 for a few hundred dollars to get much higher performance than your comp? but someone like me can spend money to upgrade my PC.....Does that make sense? Sorry but there is no reason why people can't have reasonable settings today,,,,

 

Most of the time a game fails to launch its either something wrong with the PC running it. If it was something extremely wrong with the gamecode, there would be complaints, heavy patching about the entire issue on a wide scale. 

 

Americans and Europeans have one thing in common...They may not care who writes the laws or who controls the world, but get in their way of their entertainment and gaming and its like a declaration of war. 

Thu Oct 21 2010 3:03AM Report
smile9999 writes:

I can troubleshot my game thank you very much, most if not all the times its actually a user proplem, I see alot of ppl in forums who is saying the game wont work and gives me a dll missing file, what can I do, the stupidity is dll is most of the time a directx file and all they have to do is update their directx

or the game opens then closes, the most common reason is unupdated drivers yet tons of ppl do that too, I always thought of the pc gamers as the intelligent gamers of the crop but I get disappointed when I see ppl like this.

I am sorry but this post is useless and only serves to encourage lazy ppl to be more lazy and blame the company for the all the proplems 

Thu Oct 21 2010 8:55AM Report
ChickGeek writes:

The worst thing ever (IMHO) if the game DOES work, but you still can't play it because some part of the system on dev's side is totally screwed. I've been playing on LOTRO USA servers several years ago, and i'm not from USA, so they had to add my credit cards details manually (and i had to call them at 4am by my time and spent money on overseas calls lasting an hour at the least, which already was not cool) each time i'm issued with the new card (each year) and when i create another account. So, at some point, my card stopped working for them.

I called Turbine support, they bounced me to my bank. I called my bank, they bounced me back to Turbine and said it's not their fault, it's because Turbine is using some totally screwed system that doesn't work. And Turbine said, well, you can't pay, then bye-bye. Like they don't need customers at all, and their money too. There were no LOTRO time cards in sale online, so i was just kicked out of the game... And when they fixed this stuff and allowed non-us credit cards to be entered into their system without calling the support staff, i wasn't interested anymore.

I'm not surprised they had to go F2P after that, scaring off all of their customers...

Fri Oct 22 2010 3:10PM Report
Dwarvish writes:

Alot of what people think of a product depends on the people they talk to when something goes wrong.

 Some companies have great support but even these have a top rung. Its very VERY irritating to be talking to someone who obviously knows very little and tries to dump a task on the customer so they will have to hang up and complete said task.

   I had an issue I couldn't resolve in GW1 and the support was just incredible. The tech ( a great one) had me load a program from Major Geeks and send him a dump of game activity....problem fixed.  Wish there were more like him out there.

 

 With all that said...there are some people who just can't accept the fact that thier 6 year old pc just doesn't cut it any more.  Newer games need more than the original version of UO did and while most ofer the option to turn the eye candy down there are still minimum reqs to be met. There are some that think any game should run on all systems but to do so would make for a lesser visual experience for most players.

  Unfortunatly there are just some ( as Bill said ) that just decide they aren't going to play for who knows what reason. If tech can't offer a solution its time to move on.  I have to admit I usualy beat the horse to death and continue beating the now dead horse when this happens to me 

Sat Oct 23 2010 1:02PM Report

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