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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: High Expectations

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Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 16278

OP  10/02/12 6:39:12 PM#1

If there's one lesson that we, as gamers, have a hard time learning, it's NOT to be so swayed by the current trend to over-hype the MMOs we're looking forward to playing. In her latest column, Pokket takes a look at that notion and offers a few thoughts. See what she has to say and then leave your comments.

I played this new game recently. I won't say the name, but let's just note that I played it. I played it a lot and I liked it a lot. It was fully polished, it had modified questing in a way that, well, I didn't feel like I was questing, and when I got a fully leveled toon, the end game was so vast that I wasn't bored at all. The gear grind was actually enjoyable, there were very few bugs that I encountered, and the content in the game would rival the gigantic beast WoW has become over the past 7 years.

Read more of Hillary Nicole's Pokket Says: High Expectations.

Associate Editor:
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom


Novice Member

Joined: 3/15/12
Posts: 8

10/03/12 9:22:05 AM#2
I'm sorry but sites like this and any of the video game media is , at the very LEAST, partly to blame.  You, the industry media, who does not make clear that you will not give an actual true point of view of games instead of being so scared too offend a game developer that will pay your bills.  Until this trend of scratch my back i'll scratch yours stops we will never know just how bad a game is, going off of "professional" reviews.  Yes we do get, for the most part, beta entry into games ahead of launch but most of us only get those after preordering.  I think every article/advertisement for a game should be prefaced if that company has given your company anything.

Novice Member

Joined: 10/24/07
Posts: 68

10/03/12 9:28:18 AM#3
Well that was short. Would have been nice to see you expand a little. This is actually a pretty hot topic in the community right now, and you just kinda skimmed over it. This probably took you what, a half hour to write? Maybe less?


Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/06
Posts: 991

10/03/12 9:33:52 AM#4

I didn't guess it was a made up game. I actually thought you were talking about GW2. I agree it's the "suits" that are the villains for most problems we see in recent games, and that we (the players) need to take a step back from the hype train and be more reasonable with our expectations.

If we can just get rid of the so called "industry experts" who advise the suits about what sells well, maybe we'd see some more interesting games instead of re-skinned WoW clones.



Joined: 5/21/08
Posts: 2735

10/03/12 9:57:16 AM#5
Just want to point out that she is completely off about WAR. It was originally almost completely PvE focused. But throughout alpha and beta testing the players kept demanding more / better PvP and they started turing their focus towards that. In the end we wound up with a game that had some of the worst PvE, made even worse by constantly changing / updating gear & rewards for PvP while completely ignoring PvE rewards (PvE gear hasnt been updated like PvP gear since day 1).

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/28/06
Posts: 1687

10/03/12 10:05:30 AM#6
Good article, and completely true.

Novice Member

Joined: 3/28/12
Posts: 235

10/03/12 10:11:05 AM#7
It´s very shortsighted to blame problems on suits when it comes to missing elements in games. The devs from SWTOR (an example I know) have said they love playing their own game. If that's so, they are probably unable to see why for a lot of people it feels stale and outdated. That's a problem the 'suits' can't help with. And it might be the shareholders' problem, as they are the ones to tell the 'suits' to make more money.

"We need men who can dream of things that never were." - John F. Kennedy
And for MMORPGs ever so true...

  User Deleted
10/03/12 10:13:16 AM#8
I'm going to have to agree with her. I said what she has said here in different words before. I think overhyping is what went wrong with SWTOR, I've felt if they would had been more humble and not proclaimed to be the next wow or wow killer things would have been a little different for them and us.

With respect to wow's A team and working on Titan, this game is going to be so overhyped and expectations are going to be so out of what reality is, I'm not sure what kind of chance it has, it's a huge challenge on the so called A teams part, I hope they are just having fun with it and humble themselves to thier creation and can disregard all the negative comments that are going to be no matter what.
  User Deleted
10/03/12 10:27:19 AM#9

"I've learned that the best way to get around this is to just not overhype games anymore. "

I've learned my lesson as well. 

I'm called jaded, hater, doom & gloom expert and other filth because of it. And you know what? I'd rather be this way and still get something out of the latest vapid title without feeling the need to go on a rampage mode about how the game done me wrong when I do decide to put it down (temporarily or for good).


"The same issues that happen in the game industry happen in other industries as well."

Which other industries can get away with releasing a buggy, half-assed product and have customers eating it all up no matter how many times history repeats itself?


People may overhype themselves which in turn could lead to disappointment but it's entirely their own damn fault. Shouldn't we know better by now? It is 2012 after all...

Let them learn the hard way. Carry on with your own life, don't waste any energy on the rest.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/08/11
Posts: 78

10/03/12 10:34:00 AM#10

Personally, I am well aware of how high my expectations about a game are. I try to keep them level. I also take everything the media (like, you know, with three to four pounds of salt. Because like it or not, the VG media are in a very uncomfortable position between two chairs: Players and Industry.

And they're shifting their buttocks more and more onto the side of the business. Anecdote: I am currently looking for a job as editor, and many ads state explicitly that "rephrasing press releases" is one of the core duties of the job. Let that sink in. Yes, that sounds exactly like "gaming magazines are marketing extensions".


But back to the "don't blame too much on the execs": I think that devs often are in a similar position as editors: They have to please gamers, but they report to the suits. And depending on specifics, those suits might have an influence in how the game is created.

Take TOR, for example. It has many faults that the devs can be blamed for (like those aweful lifeless worlds and the tube-like zones). Others, I have a hard time seeing devs making such decisions. Like using the Hero engine for the game. It feels unresponsive (really bad for all those jump-and-run sequences), it has abysmal loading times and heavy segmentation, it has rough collision detection (I love falling to my death in an elevator because the platform caused the solid ground to become permeable for a second). It apparently doesn't even allow for a real 'free' camera look, instead snapping the camera to its default position the moment your toon moves. After nine months, this is still not adressed. And to top it off, the camera and player movement in itself is clunky and jerky. After 100ü hours with TOR, the simplest thing of them all still doesn't come naturally: Camera movement.


So, it's all well and good to say: "Players, lower your expectations!", when you and the VG companies do their best to stoke them, and try to alleviate any doubts (regardless how justified they were in hindsight). It's really more like. "Players, when will you learn and become cynical?! All we write is basically bullshit, and you cannot trust anything we  or the companies proclaim. The only way to judge if a game might be for you? Peer review!"

Which is, by the way, how I have begun looking for good games. Thus far, it works like a charm.


Novice Member

Joined: 3/22/11
Posts: 988

10/03/12 10:47:59 AM#11

I think all you need to consider a movie a gem is for Joseph Gordon-Levitt to appear in some capacity. ;)

I've become a cynic about video games, much to the displeasure of most of my gaming buddies, and I refuse to buy into the hype. It's worked out pretty well so far, as they quickly pass the honeymoon period and drop the game they were so excited about.

I really don't think overly high expectations are the fault of the gamer, though. We're an excitable breed by nature, and publishers have learned to use that to sell subpar crap. I place the blame on the publishers and developers, and in many cases 'news' sites like this that parrot everything a PR marketing team says about a new title.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/31/04
Posts: 2668

Some folks are like Slinkies, totally useless but great fun to watch when pushed down stairs

10/03/12 10:51:46 AM#12
I don't feel my expectations are too high, I believe where I have played MMO's for 15+ years I have seen a trend. The trend being older games had way more features than todays mmo's.  Features that every mmo should have they no longer think about adding.  Think back to UO, DAoC or SWG, those games had more features than the current mmo's being released. By leaving out some of those great features they automatically fail in most mmo'ers eyes or at least in my opinion.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/05/09
Posts: 68

10/03/12 10:54:51 AM#13

Game editorials and movie reviews are much the same as sports radio: they are meant to provocative in some way so that people will read them. I think Pokket does that pretty well, as is evidence with all the hate and vitriol.


The point though is a valid one and no one is to blame but the consumer. We buy the game, participate in the PvP, get tickets to movies, and in general support corporations that do not give us what we want. We are a group of Charlie Brown's always thinking Lucy is going to not pull the ball away this time.  Companies HAVE NO INSENTIVE to make better games or go outside of the boc because the gamer is going to lay his money down.  In regards to WoW, which even in hatred gets more press than it probaly deserves, why should someone try and do better? The WoW player plays WoW for the same reason the McDonald's go goes to McDonalds - its fast easy and familiar. McD fries (for those of us who like them) have not been consistently the yummy fries we remember, but we keep going back. We keep oping it will be and if not, its familiar. So why open a competitive place nearby with something NEW when I know, regardless of how good my food is or good my prices are - you are still going back to McD anyway. So what insentive does a company have at all to try and win your WoW money? No matter how good your game is, X Million people are still going to play WoW as well.


We throw a lot of dirt onto the suits at EA. Well deserved maybe, but the gaming consumer keeps handing over his or her money. Want EA to at least pretend to have a creative conscience? Stop buying their games. Take away their money. That is the way to get them to notice. And you have to do it consistently until you get the changes you want.. Spend the money on the games that DO push the envelope. If you have $15 a month you spend on WoW until something better comes, I would suggest spending it on as many indie games as you can manage to spread the wealth around on. Even if you don't play.


Companies give us crap because we keep paying for crap.

Just My 2 Lunars


Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/04/05
Posts: 5297

10/03/12 11:13:27 AM#14
Originally posted by Icewhite
[mod edit]

Pretty much this ^

While I agree on the general idea of what pokket says in this article, I also find it highly hypocritical. To be fair, she's hardly the only person guilty of this. Hell, I've seen Total Biscuit, in the same podcast, go from stating 'MMOs are inherently bad games' to 'I think I'm just done w/ MMOs' to 'we as gamers are definitely part of the problem' to 'Planetside 2 is the future of MMOs' to 'Planetside 2 will be my next MMO no doubt'.

I'm not even sure that a lot of game journalists even realize they do this half the time. They just get caught up in the next hot thing, and then retract their statement later once they've full absorbed it. In fact, it's very rare to find game enthusiasts who are good at being objective about games. Critics like TB have their moments, but often end up flip-flopping their impressions later.

One thing's for sure, the next generation of gaming will be interesting to watch. We have the growing indie movement, a consumer base full of jaded gamers with little-no concept of what constitutes a good game, and a growing movement to get back to the roots of gaming. Will we see a re-established focus on games as games? Are we stuck in this rutt of interactive movies, that have budgets bloated about as far as they can go? Or will we see a new direction form?

Time will tell.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/04/05
Posts: 5297

10/03/12 11:23:24 AM#15
Originally posted by logan400k

Game editorials and movie reviews are much the same as sports radio: they are meant to provocative in some way so that people will read them. I think Pokket does that pretty well, as is evidence with all the hate and vitriol.

Companies give us crap because we keep paying for crap.

Part of the problem with this, though, is that it gives people the impression that if they stop supporting crap it won't be getting made. While theoretically, this is true, it rarely ever actually happens. When it comes to larger companies, especially, they have it down to a science of how to appeal to the masses. And the simple truth is, people in their base nature, will always buy crap. There's no real getting around that.

The best way for real change is to instead try and rally people around supporting newer / better ideas. Support the people trying to breath fresh life into the industry, instead of focusing on taking money away from those ruining it. We're starting to see this becoming more prevailant with indie games, and as a result we are actually starting to see some really creative & interesting games.

  User Deleted
10/03/12 11:30:47 AM#16
I'm guilty as a gamer as well, one minute I will praise a game the next I hate it. It's just how it goes, as I figure more out about games I like dislike or I just realize my perspective needs to change because I got to caught up in all the hype. For example GW2, I started getting bored I see people saying you have to play it differently and well I come to find you do. It still doesn't fit the mold for me completely but its fun for the 4-5 hours I might play it each week and its not a race its a marathon for me and I'm on cruise control, I like it that way.

Only reason I do it though , take this website for example is because I'm browsing for some news on my smartphone and I don't have to log in to post, I hardly ever visit mmo sites on my gaming rig, to busy killing stuff and looting.

Novice Member

Joined: 3/18/11
Posts: 1126

What is "real"? How do you define "real"?

10/03/12 11:43:23 AM#17

Sounds like someone is disappointed with the latest and greatest?


For some, the 'hype' surrounding a particular game is more than the game deserves.  For some, it's dead on, and for others, there wasn't enough hype for said game.  It all depends on the particular player, the particular game and what the player's preferences are.


I for one think the 'hype' surrounding a newly released game was very justified.  Others don't.  Another newly released game was found by many to be way over hyped.


I think one of the biggest issues is the extremity of the hype.  One person says, "X game is the second coming" and repeats that mantra until others start to think every potential fan of that game thinks the same thing.  Then those on the fence play that game and think, "Well, it's good, but it ain't that great".  Then they come running to the forums to say, "This game was way overhyped!".  The reverse is also true.


And of course, those who got tired of the 'hype' of one game will be the loudest detractors if they happen not to like that game.  So then the game will have "failed to live up to its hype".


And the beat goes on.....

You want me to pay to play a game I already paid for???

Be afraid.....The dragons are HERE!


Novice Member

Joined: 11/28/05
Posts: 220

Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten. B.F. Skinner

10/03/12 12:21:32 PM#18
Originally posted by Betaguy
I don't feel my expectations are too high, I believe where I have played MMO's for 15+ years I have seen a trend. The trend being older games had way more features than todays mmo's.  Features that every mmo should have they no longer think about adding.  Think back to UO, DAoC or SWG, those games had more features than the current mmo's being released. By leaving out some of those great features they automatically fail in most mmo'ers eyes or at least in my opinion.

I totally agree. I remember playing Asherons Call. I could improve my speed running simply by...running! These days I'm pretty much limited to the speed I run, hence mounts which again are limited. Its a small thing but there are plenty more examples. The rpg market of mmo's is truly limited to the same old hash these days. TSW tried to get away from that and in most people's eyes failed. But at least they tried. atm Rift is the only game I'm playing as I feel it offers the most variety in an otherwise fairly stale market. And thanks to SWTOR I will never preorder a game again!


Novice Member

Joined: 6/15/12
Posts: 326

10/03/12 12:27:32 PM#19
The problem is overhype, expections, what has been preceived as success and what has been preceived as failure. Video games are a large Industry now. While I am under the opinion that pokket's articles tend to lack much substance, I understand that she has limitations imposed on her. I was surprised that DF:UW got mention among the bohemeths of the genre in her gameface. People tend to forget the websites and their columnists are part of an Industry as well. Bashing products not only gets advertisement monies pulled but also discourages other potential advertisers from doing business.

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/08/11
Posts: 78

10/03/12 12:52:58 PM#20
Originally posted by logan400k

The point though is a valid one and no one is to blame but the consumer. We buy the game, participate in the PvP, get tickets to movies, and in general support corporations that do not give us what we want. We are a group of Charlie Brown's always thinking Lucy is going to not pull the ball away this time.  [...]

Companies give us crap because we keep paying for crap.

In theory, this line of thought might work. In practice, the line isn't so neatly cut.

For example, there is marketing. The job of marketing is to increase demand, or even create demand. And 'resisting' marketing can be a full-time job (and or render you fully paranoid ;-)). And no, advertisments are not even the tip of the iceberg. There is a reason companies use considerable precentages of the money invested in a product in its marketing.

In short: If you claim that the consumers and customers are solely to blame because we could just as well not buy, be very aware that the industry manipulates us by every angle they can possibly reach into buying things we don't need or don't really want. And it's working like a charm - it's 'simple' psychology.

It's not just ads in print, online and TV. It's not just providing free test samples ('just keep them'), Beta access and other goodies ('Exclusive Preview!') to reviewers. It's not even just implying that this supply of timely and free samples could just as well dry up. It's also not only going into various 'public' review systems (like and buying reviews, faking them. For all you know, I could be paid by any number of companies to write something nice about them. Or something not so nice about another company. Or maybe their marketing rep just guilt-tripped me on a personal level into not writing too much about the flaws of a certain game... I could go on and on, but it all boils down to this:

Customers are being naive if they think their decision to buy or not to buy is something only they make. They're constantly being influenced on multiple levels by people wanting to sell them stuff. And even if you know their methods, you are not immune. You may resist a few (usually the most obvious ones), but they are legion. And they are clever.


edit: Take, for example, your average Supermarket. I don't know how things are handled in your country, but in mine (Germany), there is one type of wares put along the queue where you stand in line at the cashier: Single-piece sweets or sweets in (very) small packages. They're neatly placed at about (under)arm's height.

This isn't happenstance or a weird choice. They're put there deliberately, so little children can reach out and take them easily when their parents are distracted by the cashier. Those wares even have a name "Quengelware", or in English "Whinewares". Because if the parents don't get those children their sweets, there will be whine. And thus, super markets istrumentalize children to sell things to their parents.

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