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

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

Three Christmas Wishes

Posted by Stradden Friday December 18 2009 at 7:49AM
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Well, it’s that time of year again, time to deck the halls, if you didn’t deck them as soon after Thanksgiving as your little hands could get the plastic Santa out of the attic, and wait for all the warm fuzzy feelings of the Christmas season to overwhelm you.

Forgive me if I’m feeling a little bit cynical this year, I normally let myself get caught up in and carried away with the fun and excitement of the season, but this year I’m finding it a little bit more difficult. I don’t know if it’s the fact that it’s been a busy year and exciting year, so Christmas just doesn’t feel that exciting or what it is, but this year I’m finding it hard to locate the magic.

With that said, I’ve been trying to get into the spirit and with that in mind, I wanted to dedicate my blog to the magic of Christmas and what, if I could harness all of those Christmas miracles and wishes and use them to my own MMO based ends, I would do.

So, let’s adhere to the golden rule of wishes: I get three. I assume the same rules apply for both Christmas and Genies:

Wish #1

I sincerely and wholeheartedly wish that we could all take a less negative spin on things. It honestly bothers me that we live in a world where we always assume the worst about people and scoff at the idea that there’s any honesty left out there in the face of the all mighty dollar.

I bring this up because I’ve noticed a couple of growing trends. The first is the assumption that all MMO companies and developers are evil, black hearted people who are literally sitting around trying to figure out how they can ruin your gaming experience while still pocketing your cash. Most recently, at least around here, that’s been the default assumption for many people. That makes Jon a sad panda.

What makes Jon an even bigger and sadder panda is that the same philosophy is applied to media. Why is it that whenever I write something negative about a game, people think it’s because their competitor advertises at our site and if I write something positive, this same people think it’s because they advertise on our site? Why is it the assumption that when I, or any of my colleagues express an opinion, that people assume that it’s bought and paid for?

While I’m not saying that some development companies aren’t in it for a quick buck, nor am I saying that there aren’t any dirty journalists out there (though not at this site). I just think that these should not be our default assumptions.

Wish #2

I wish game studios would be given the time that they need to actually complete a game. I mean, I don’t know for sure who’s at fault for this. It could be the publishers / investors demanding too fast a turn around for too little money, it could be studio heads estimating low on what they’ll need in order to complete the game as promised. It could be any number of smaller factors all aligning to much up the development schedule. I don’t know. The thing is though that I, and many others, are tired of games that aren’t launch complete when they launch. It’s hurting the industry, so whoever’s to blame, and you know who you are, I’m sure, please stop.

We all know that MMOs are works in development, even after launch. That’s one of the truly awesome things about these games. A game six months to a year down the road doesn’t need to be the same as the game at launch… it shouldn’t be.

There is, however, a difference between a game with room to grow, and a game that’s not done. When a game launches, it should be and feel like a complete product. The things that are added to it should actually add something, they shouldn’t finish something. Talking about features to your fans and then cutting them pre-launch is going to make the game feel incomplete so either make sure those features you’ve yacked about and juiced people up with are in the game, or do what more and more companies are doing these days and stop talking about a feature before the feature is in the game. I can’t miss something I didn’t expect to be there in the first place.

And no, before people start assuming I’m thinly veiled calling out Cryptic for their recent STO announcement, I’m not. If I wanted to complain about them specifically, I would. This isn’t the first time that something similar has happened, and we don’t know what the results are going to be. I’d rather point my icy gaze at games of the past that have done so and suffered for it.

Wish #3

World Peace – I figure I’m about as likely to get the first two as this last one, so I figured I’d shoot for the moon.

Butch808 writes:

I wish i could get a job lol

Fri Dec 18 2009 8:47AM Report
Bountytaker writes:

1)  Can't deny that, during tough economic times, negativity tends to rule the day.  And, certainly, this sites forums are normally the example, and not the exception, to that trend.  But, before one starts blaming all the negativity in the "industry" on the fans, lets keep in mind two things:  A)  We seem to be finishing with a "Worst Year for MMO's?" question for the THIRD STRAIGHT TIME.  If the industry is in a three year slump, can one really expect happy thoughts from customers?  B)  There STILL seems to be a trend of heavy fandom for games during development.  What I mean is that, when most mmo's are in their development phase, they still seem to have hardcore, positive followers, as opposed to constant naysayers (with a few exceptions).  So, if the negativity isn't happening from beginning to end, but instead starts when the product is released, isn't is possible that the final product is as much to blame for the poor response?

2)  While others probably do question the journalistic integrity of this site because of the OVERWHELMING number of advertisements in it, not everyone does.  Some, like me, question its integrity based on the "reviews" that act more like puff pieces or advertisements, the pieces of "news" that are nothing more than press releases, the "columns" that don't investigate current issues, but instead report on the forum debates going on about the topic, and the lack of attention paid to some games that are listed on the site, while others get "reported on" almost every day.  I'm sure still OTHERS are put off by the fact that there seem to be as many "industry insiders" getting to put out "news" on this site as there are actual reporters questioning those "insiders" about the industry.  So, yeah, folks don't have to assume impropriety based on the sites advertising layout...they could just read the articles and get the same concerns, only legitimately.

3)  World peace would be quite nice.  Let's all hope for that, or, at the very least, a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.

Fri Dec 18 2009 10:16AM Report
MMO_Doubter writes:

If you don't want your articles and modding standards questioned - don't take advertisements within the video/PC gaming industry.

There are plenty of other things to sell in this world. Comfy computer chairs, snack foods, self-catheterization kits, etc.

Fri Dec 18 2009 12:34PM Report
ericbelser writes:

My wish? That the customers in the MMO market would actually hold a company accountable for past performance for once.

Fri Dec 18 2009 1:51PM Report
reanor writes:

 Wish #1:

I wish MMO developers before they create a game would do a research of what people like. Look back a few years and see which games were successful. And for the sake of future good games, DON'T look at WoW. Because as many games went live and as many of them felt and looked like WoW - NONE of those gained any real popularity. Developers have to stop thinking in WoW-language and try to activate their brain cells that are responsible for CREATIVITY. Stop making zombie games and try to bring FPS into MMO genre, thats just pathetic and not smart. Learn the difference between genres, what can be implemented in MMO and can not. Maybe THEN, when MMO devs come up with something not so pathetic and linear we will stop thinking about them like they are evil and all they want is oour money. Because right now its just clear like a day - they make games based on most popular genres and other game examples. They don't use their brains. They think if they make a new game and just  wrap it into a different graphics it will sell as good as the candy made by the other developers. But it doesn't work that way. Gotta be smarter.

Wish #2:

I wish people who make games and people who publishes them took their heads out of their asses and would stop judging the gaming market from the prospective of almighty dollar. Yes, there are opportunities out there, but only if you're not a stupid walking wallet. A lot of games are destroyed half way only because people who stand behind the budget are a complete ignorant idiots about the games. I wish that people who provide budget to a game developing company would think more about game success and then about how much money they can gain from selling the unfinished product by lying in advertisement campaigns. Its just amazing that people who release games they prefer to release them unfinished and ASAP, because of some inaccurate game market prognosis rather than finish the game, release it with appropriate campaign and make it successful. Don't push unfinished games on the market. The only reason behind that I see lack of budget and wrong planning. Well then people who are behind unfinished released games get what they deserved - NOTHING.

Wish #3:

I wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. Lets do less stupid stuff in 2010 and be kinder to each other. Stop cussing each other in the online play like its some kind of a way to communicate today. Try to have more life and less MW2. =)

Fri Dec 18 2009 4:40PM Report
Tanemund writes:

Wish #1

i wish that companies would quit promising us gamer the penthouse while giving us the outhouse.  I'm getting very tired of the overblown hype that gets bigger and bigger with each press release about a new game being designed around an IP.  Then the game is launched and we get to hear the dreary old concert by Captain Backpedal and the Apologists singing the old standards "Well We Just Didn't Have Time" and "Wait 'Til Next Patch!".  I hope the media would quit accelerating the hype and call it what it truly is ... Hype.  And I hope us gamers would quit buying into it and driving the hype along even faster. 

Wish #2

I wish in 2010 we could all find something in the world of MMOs that we could all be foolish fanbois and fangrls for.  Something that would make us all feel like we did when we first logged on to our favorite online game and had that, "WOW!" moment.  I keep hoping for that one thing that we can all point to and agree, "That is good."  It doesn't have to be a whole game.  It could be a certain game mechanic or even an certain person associated with a game.  Maybe it could be one Dev who has the guts to say, "I won't foist it on the gamers and then try to tell them that all is right with the world."  Maybe it could be a gamer who rescues a basket full of kittens from a burning building.  Maybe it could be a member of the media who during an interview has the courage to ask the developer "Who forced you to push this game into production when it's obviously not ready for release" rather than soft-balling them and letting them get their spin out.  Maybe it's world peace.  I wish the whole MMO community could finally experience that holy moment where we all agree and stand and applaud as one.  There was a time not so long ago when I thought that could happen, but now I'm not so sure.  Seeing that moment would go a long way to restoring our collective faith in ourselves and the community at large.

Wish #3

I wish that everyone could enjoy what is actually under the tree as opposed to crying about what isn't there.  Maybe this sounds antithetical to my other wishes, but they're my wishes so that's that.

Fri Dec 18 2009 5:40PM Report
Death1942 writes:

world peace...what a shallow wish


the first 2 are good though.  No2 is pretty much instant win for any studio that follows it...too bad $$$ speaks louder than common sense

Sat Dec 19 2009 7:23AM Report
Ruwin writes:

Well written Jon, may you and your staff have a safe and happy holiday.



Sun Dec 20 2009 4:44AM Report
Scot writes:

Wish #1: With the creeping introduction of cash shops in our MMO’s it is hardly cynicism that makes us think that they just want to pocket more and more of our cash.

As for the independence of this site I would not say that individual staff comments are made do to feather your own nest. I would question why certain articles ever get made though. We have had a series of articles about F2P this year, when are we going to have a series of articles about P2P? Also the surge of articles around the release date of Dragon Age (which is not a MMO) when you were also heavily advertising it does not look good. I do not think this was feathering your nest either, but I do think you did not consider how bad this would look.

Wish #2: Making a MMO is not like making a car, it is not done to a template that allows you to know exactly how long it will take. It is more like writing a book or painting a landscape. The problem is that recent ‘failures’ will make MMO’s more corporately orientated believing this will somehow protect them from disaster. More accountants, executives and public relations personnel will not do that; they will only reduce your already limited budget. A MMO which looks fabulous on corporate spreadsheets will not necessarily succeed as a game, this is a concept that MMO companies have forgotten or still not grasped.

Wish #3: About as likely as us making a online game where there is no conflict, conflict is in our blood. The good thing about online games is we only kill pixels.

Sun Dec 20 2009 4:59AM Report
Amathe writes:

I will try to grant you wish #2. Confessedly, I raised this issue myself after I saw Vanguard being plugged so hard.  But I am willing to take you at your word that there is no economic motivation to your reviews and features, and will try to go a whole year without saying otherwise. :) Never say there was nothing under your tree from Amathe.

Sun Dec 20 2009 4:48PM Report
pojung writes:

Christmas and Genies? Somehow Christianity and Islamic folklore got mixed? =P I understand your lighthearted jest at putting a cap on wishes and the season that the western world uses for 'wishing'.

Nothing other to say than a Merry Christmas to you Jon, and a seemingly heartfelt post that was an enjoyable read. Cheers!

Sun Dec 20 2009 7:30PM Report
brostyn writes:

100% of the garbage that has come out, since WoW doesn't deserve any positive spin. As the late great Chris Farley said "You can crap in a box and slap a warranty on it, but its still crap." Crap doesn't deserve praise.

Sun Dec 20 2009 10:19PM Report
buegur writes:

This site is the champion for malcontents, no game will ever be good enough period!  It must be complete, bug free, and meet each posters expectations, even though each posters has a different expectation.  There can be no compromises and if someone dares to be positive he must be branded fan boy and labeled as such.  The posters will not just post their complaints once and fade away as the said game is obviously not made with them in mind, but posts over and over again to cause discontent and hopefully destroy the said game so no one else can enjoy it.  As this seems to be the site all the discontents flock to, I doubt your wish will be granted. :(


Oh well Merry Christmas anyways!

Mon Dec 21 2009 6:41PM Report
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