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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Botched Launches

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71 posts found
  Drakynn

Novice Member

Joined: 3/02/08
Posts: 2051

9/11/13 12:23:52 PM#21
Originally posted by Bhob

It's sad, in my opinion, that as consumers we are complacent about poor game launches because it sends a message to companies that it is acceptable and the norm.   Do we put up with this with any other product?  

In the case of FFXIV, they are on their second try and had every opportunity in the world to prepare.   It seems like alot of bad decisions were made.

This is what I've been saying.You can't blame companies for continually launching badly when no one holds them accountable.

Why launch with a thoroughly tested game and expensive backup plans to account forincreased  demand when your consumer base will accept anything and even make excuses for you?Might as well let them and save the money.

  Vercin

Novice Member

Joined: 3/18/04
Posts: 293

9/11/13 12:35:53 PM#22

If you spend five years building a house the front door ought to open properly and the toilets should flush.

Seems reasonable.

The Stranger: It's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid.

  Dakirn

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/16/04
Posts: 353

9/11/13 12:40:44 PM#23

As soon as you get beta tests with the same number of people as launch week (all hitting the system from account creation to game play), then you will have a point about instability.  Note that a bad launch from poor planning and design is different than a poor launch from a stressed out infrastructure standpoint.

 

The truth is that MMOs are harder to load test than other traditional systems.  A system that handles 10,000 concurrent connections could choke and die at 10,001. That holds true even for non-MMO systems.  Sometimes something as simple as an incorrectly configured setting on a single server can bring your entire back-end to a standstill.

 

Launch is like rolling a die. You do as much preparation and testing as you possibly can and hope for the best. There are just too many variables in the architecture sizes that MMOs use today to be 100% sure of a successful launch. Even large companies can still have problems with plain old websites and yet people are surprised when something as complex as an MMO bends under a massive load.

 

Also, people who think that large companies don't care about their launch are insane. NO company wants that kind of bad press. Not holding them responsible? People who are having issues are more likely to walk away than keep hammering away at it. The hardcore "want to play" people will keep trying but many people will give up. Others will go plaster the horrible, evil game's name all over the internet so that others know that the game is a scourge to man-kind.

 

These companies spend MILLIONS of dollars up-front to create a game to attract players. They try to do their best, they aren't out there to screw you over.  Some people are so paranoid.

 

Personally I think FFXIV had a bad launch due to poor planning and convoluted registration processes.  At least people seem to be enjoying the game and most of the problems have subsided for a majority of players.

 
 
  moiraesfate

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/22/11
Posts: 4

9/11/13 1:16:45 PM#24
Since when was Rifts launch a smooth launch? Sure, they did well for probably not so many bugs, but it was anything but a smooth launch. I remember 4 hour ques to get into the game. And I remember people raging about it. 

 

Its launch. It always happens. If you don't want it to happen, wait a week to log in. 

 
  Darth-Batman

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/26/05
Posts: 685

Bruce, I am your father.

9/11/13 1:29:26 PM#25
Originally posted by Drakynn
Originally posted by Bhob

It's sad, in my opinion, that as consumers we are complacent about poor game launches because it sends a message to companies that it is acceptable and the norm.   Do we put up with this with any other product?  

In the case of FFXIV, they are on their second try and had every opportunity in the world to prepare.   It seems like alot of bad decisions were made.

This is what I've been saying.You can't blame companies for continually launching badly when no one holds them accountable.

Why launch with a thoroughly tested game and expensive backup plans to account forincreased  demand when your consumer base will accept anything and even make excuses for you?Might as well let them and save the money.

Complacency comes easy to some.

  thamighty213

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/17/06
Posts: 1647

9/11/13 2:01:47 PM#26

He's been there, done that, and is still waiting for his Vanguard t-shirt.

 

 

Does this relate to a bad launch ? I only ask as aside the servers being up 2 hours later than intended Vanguards launch was impeccable.

  HurricanePip

Novice Member

Joined: 3/07/04
Posts: 169

9/11/13 2:41:15 PM#27

Any argument that starts with, "This is how it is and always will be ... you should deal with it," is flawed logic.  Soon (tm) became a running joke on the WoW forums because how long do you wait when you're paying money and part (or all) of the service is broken.  $15/mo is high subscription fee if you don't have access to the service.

 

Rift is a good example of a WoW clone that had a smooth launch and lots of concurrent.  The overflow server design isn't new either.  CoH did the same thing and outside of some initial rubber banding with travel powers, it worked too.

 

The real counter point is that people are willing to accept the day 1, week 1, month 1 problems.  So, developers cut corners and hope to patch later.  That's a societal problem and it's getting worse as console now do the same thing.

 

Unfortunately $$ speak louder than words (although I wish reviews sites would rip launches like D3 and Sim City rather than handing out high scores for games that may eventually functional correctly).  Personally, I don't play MMOs as much anymore because the connection issues and bugs became too annoying.  To a lesser extent, I don't play MMOs as much anymore because the design hasn't changed.  I get why the progression systems are in place, but when honor points per hour is more of driving factor to compete than actually winning a team PvP match, the system is broken.

 

p.s. MMORPG really needs to upgrade the comment software or incorporate a cloud solution.  The paragraph and return tags don't work correctly, at least in firefox.  Right clicking on words and not getting the firefox spell check options is also annoying. 

 
 

If you don't worry about it, it's not a problem.

  Comaf

Elite Member

Joined: 7/13/10
Posts: 1089

I want an mmorpg where pvp matters, my enemies are not my race or class, and community matters.

9/11/13 2:51:51 PM#28
Originally posted by SBFord

Welcome back to another edition of Player Versus Player! Each week MMORPG pits two of its writers against each other in a battle to the death – or at least a spirited debate. Final Fantasy XIV relaunched last week and reminded us all of how disastrous the first days and weeks of a new MMO can be. This go-round, our combatants step to their podiums ready to duke it out on a topic you probably have first-hand experience with: MMO launches.

Chris: Thanks for letting me start things off, Bill. Let me just say, I understand players being upset with a poor launch. They're no good, especially after you've just spent money on a box and subscription. What really gets me, though, is that everyone acts like they didn't see it coming. It's time to get real folks, MMOs are the hardest games to make and the hardest to launch. Launch issues are the norm. If you rush to buy on day one, then get upset because thousands of other people did the same, I think it's time to look at your expectations.

Read more of Chris Coke's Player vs Player: Botched Launches.

I have never been acceptable of launch mishaps. 

 

Why is it, a game like Dark Age of Camelot, with over 30 classes at launch across three realms  and have a nearly perfect launch? Three factions with a full 1-50th level map per realm with separate raids for pve and pve content per realm, over 16 races (2001). 

 

IGN stated in 2001 (November article I believe) that DAoC had a flawless release.  So yes folks, a game far more advanced than anything we have today was able to have a sustainable launch.

 

Now we get these trivial so called mmorpgs with 5 classes (usually classless classes nowadays)  no true factions (mercenary options, pve crossover [think Secret World and Rift]...or just plain zero factions with 5 races and the same class race combinations in an E-Sport battleground (think Guild Wars 2, SW:ToR, etc).

 

Subscribers don't need to keep swallowing this junk.  Shame is, do they know that it's possible to create a massive mmorpg with more variation and depth than anything on the market today?  Sadly, no.  Most folks I know never played Dark Age of Camelot.  That game raised the bar so high that EA had to buy out Mythic so that Dark Age could be left untouched and undeveloped, swept under a rug, so that it would NOT appear to be a threat to Warhammer (a game that seriously failed).

Dark Age of Camelot

Mythic's MMORPG is beautiful, addicting, and actually stable. The full review....

by IGN Staff

November 2, 2001

 
 
I can't post the URL....but you can find this easily.  Read how it's supposed to be.

 

  DamonVile

Elite Member

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 3616

9/11/13 3:15:27 PM#29
I wonder what would happen if forum goers made the game and devs played it. The excuses would be funny to read....suddenly the experts on everything don't know what the fuck they're doing!

People are like cats. When they die, you get a new one.

  Kaneth

Elite Member

Joined: 8/19/07
Posts: 1456

9/11/13 3:38:39 PM#30
Originally posted by Comaf
Originally posted by SBFord

Welcome back to another edition of Player Versus Player! Each week MMORPG pits two of its writers against each other in a battle to the death – or at least a spirited debate. Final Fantasy XIV relaunched last week and reminded us all of how disastrous the first days and weeks of a new MMO can be. This go-round, our combatants step to their podiums ready to duke it out on a topic you probably have first-hand experience with: MMO launches.

Chris: Thanks for letting me start things off, Bill. Let me just say, I understand players being upset with a poor launch. They're no good, especially after you've just spent money on a box and subscription. What really gets me, though, is that everyone acts like they didn't see it coming. It's time to get real folks, MMOs are the hardest games to make and the hardest to launch. Launch issues are the norm. If you rush to buy on day one, then get upset because thousands of other people did the same, I think it's time to look at your expectations.

Read more of Chris Coke's Player vs Player: Botched Launches.

I have never been acceptable of launch mishaps. 

 

Why is it, a game like Dark Age of Camelot, with over 30 classes at launch across three realms  and have a nearly perfect launch? Three factions with a full 1-50th level map per realm with separate raids for pve and pve content per realm, over 16 races (2001). 

 

IGN stated in 2001 (November article I believe) that DAoC had a flawless release.  So yes folks, a game far more advanced than anything we have today was able to have a sustainable launch.

 

Now we get these trivial so called mmorpgs with 5 classes (usually classless classes nowadays)  no true factions (mercenary options, pve crossover [think Secret World and Rift]...or just plain zero factions with 5 races and the same class race combinations in an E-Sport battleground (think Guild Wars 2, SW:ToR, etc).

 

Subscribers don't need to keep swallowing this junk.  Shame is, do they know that it's possible to create a massive mmorpg with more variation and depth than anything on the market today?  Sadly, no.  Most folks I know never played Dark Age of Camelot.  That game raised the bar so high that EA had to buy out Mythic so that Dark Age could be left untouched and undeveloped, swept under a rug, so that it would NOT appear to be a threat to Warhammer (a game that seriously failed).

Dark Age of Camelot

Mythic's MMORPG is beautiful, addicting, and actually stable. The full review....

by IGN Staff

November 2, 2001

 
 
I can't post the URL....but you can find this easily.  Read how it's supposed to be.

 

DAoC also had less people trying to play during launch, much much less. Hell the game peaked around 250k users (iirc). DAoC was a great game, and had a lovely launch (I was there day 1), but at least compare apples to apples when making comparisons. DAoC did have the best launch of any pre-WoW era mmo though, Mythic did a lot right for the time.

I won't say FF had a perfect launch, because it didn't, but aside from server lock and login issues, the game had less issues than WoW did when it launched. WoW was by far and away the most popular mmo launch of the era. There were login issues, plus people would get loot locked when looting or attempting to gather from a broken gathering node (flowers/mineral veins). The queue issues persisted for months on many servers, which is why they had to break up the populations of many of the largest servers.

Compared to many other equally popular mmo titles, FFXIV had a pretty smooth launch.

  Robbgobb

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/03/03
Posts: 404

9/11/13 3:47:19 PM#31
Interesting article. I have to say that I expect that bugs and issues can and will arise at launch. I don't blame the company as I know it is something that is unlikely to change. I am one that personally believes that a change needs to be made with how launches need to be changed. I think for subscription based games that the best way to figure out if things work is a preview week before game is released with characters carrying into launch. Let every person who wants to try it do so for that week. Yes, it might lose people but it could also gain people. This would allow a team to know what potential problems are. 
  Wizardry

Elite Member

Joined: 8/27/04
Posts: 6341

Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

9/11/13 6:21:08 PM#32

I usually don't mind any topic at all,they is always something interesting in a topic.However this one has already been beat to death and gone over even by MMORPG so i am not so sure we need any more dwelling on the obvious.

There are probably a million other topics you could have picked ,even if  just looking at FFXIV,but one that is over played,not so interesting anymore.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Napolianboo#p/u/15/rCYLLQCNc1w
Samoan Diamond

  IridescentOrk

Novice Member

Joined: 5/27/13
Posts: 160

9/11/13 7:18:12 PM#33
Rift had a good launch for me. QQ more.

gameplay > graphics

  dragonsi

Novice Member

Joined: 7/06/09
Posts: 63

9/11/13 7:28:34 PM#34
Originally posted by icculus2112
Originally posted by grimal

 But these have been done successfully in the past with far less resources at their disposal (look at Rift).  

 

 

1.  Lets not say Rift didnt have resources at their disposal.  Lots of industry vets with 100 million at their disposal.  New company, but not a poor one and not one without industry ties.

2.  Rift servers, at launch, held 1800 people max.  FFXIV servers held 5k and were increased to 7500.  Rift aimed low and played it safe.  FFXIV did not.

Icculus, where do I find out max capacity of servers out at?  I never saw max. amounts in any MMO I played listed anywhere and would be interested in some various MMO's capacities?

dragonsi Xfire Miniprofile
  CthulhuPuffs

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/03/13
Posts: 360

Will consume your soul, yet stay crunchy in milk

9/11/13 7:29:40 PM#35
Originally posted by Comaf

 

Why is it, a game like Dark Age of Camelot, with over 30 classes at launch across three realms  and have a nearly perfect launch? Three factions with a full 1-50th level map per realm with separate raids for pve and pve content per realm, over 16 races (2001). 

 


 

Because DAOC was a very small game to begin with and it launched with only half the content of games like EQ and AC.

Frontier was empty. No Mobs. No doors on Keeps.

Dungeons werent Itemized. They had Mobs, but they dropped no loot.

The PvE areas of the 3 Realms were empty of Mobs the further you went from the main cities.

Avalon (Albion) was completely taken out at release. It was in Beta, but removed. Only to be added later in an Expansion.

 

DAOC launched smoothly because there was hardly a game there in the first place.

 

On Topic- Anarchy Online. Worst. Release. Ever.

 

Bringer of Eternal Darkness and Despair, but also a Nutritious way to start your Morning.

Games Played: Too Many

  Papamac

Novice Member

Joined: 11/28/08
Posts: 161

9/11/13 7:45:29 PM#36

MMOs have been around for more than 15 years.  Most industries learn from the mistakes made in the past.  The software industry (and the MMORPG industry in particular) can't seem to learn from their own mistakes, let alone the mistakes that their predecessors (and competitors) have made.

 

FFXIV:ARR had a terrible launch.  We're not talking "waiting in a queue for an hour before you can play" terrible; we're talking "I can't even log into the game, and there's no queue system in place when I get there anyway" terrible.  It's one thing to forgive SE for being unprepared for the massive influx of players their game experienced.  It's quite another to overlook the fact that they hadn't even bothered to have the most simple systems in place once the game went live.

 

We can all agree that MMORPGs are tough to build.  What we can't seem to agree on is how much FUBAR is too much FUBAR.  FFXIV:ARR was severely FUBAR'd at launch.  No matter how you spin it, the degree to which SE f'd up their launch should serve as an object lesson in how not to launch a game.

 

  icculus2112

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/25/13
Posts: 107

9/11/13 7:46:02 PM#37
Originally posted by Drakynn
Originally posted by Bhob

It's sad, in my opinion, that as consumers we are complacent about poor game launches because it sends a message to companies that it is acceptable and the norm.   Do we put up with this with any other product?  

In the case of FFXIV, they are on their second try and had every opportunity in the world to prepare.   It seems like alot of bad decisions were made.

This is what I've been saying.You can't blame companies for continually launching badly when no one holds them accountable.

Why launch with a thoroughly tested game and expensive backup plans to account forincreased  demand when your consumer base will accept anything and even make excuses for you?Might as well let them and save the money.

This post is full of ridiculous idealism.

It is 100% impossible to ensure a smooth launch.  no matter what you do, how many precautions you take, osmething can go wrong.  Now, SE wasnt as prepared as they could have been, but preparation doesnt stop everything.

The reason companies launch badly is because MMORPGs are a *very* difficult thing to launch.  For one, you can't properly stress test.  Most people simply arent going to do the beta stress test.  So should we hold everyone that didnt do the stress test (myself included) accountable as well?

And how are we supposed to hold SE accountable?  By not playing an enjoyable game?  Thats called cutting off your nose to spite your face.  Its not like SE hasnt generated massive amounts of complaints about this.  And if a company deserves to be held accountable for something, it usually is.  Look at NGE.  SoE paid for that.  Look at vanguard, Sigil launched an unfinished, buggy game and it cost them their company.  

And then there is this:  Many, many people, myself included, would rather have dealt with the week one issues than have the launch delayed.  because once you got in the game, it was great.  And its not like we apid for it anyway, that week was free.

And what money did SE save?  This cost them more money most likely, because they had to rush to get the servers ready.  they had to deal with the negativity on top of that.  they earned it, but you are acting like there were no consequences.  Good thing for them they have a good product to overcome this.

 

Put it this way: If a chef I like is opening a brand new restaurant and due to errors in the reservation system it takes me 2 hours to get a table.  When i sit down at the table the service is atrocious and the food takes forever to get there.  but when it comes, its amazing.

Now, the reservation system should have been better tested and the staff better trained.  I filed a complaint about it, and i got a free meal out of it.  Am i going to let these issues stop me form going back and enjoying a great meal in the future, especially given that now the reservation works and theyve replaced most of the staff?

  Ozmodan

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 6454

9/11/13 7:53:51 PM#38

The ultimate botched launch was SOE's EQII.  It barely ran on most computers, and had so many bugs it was almost unplayable for the first two months.  They tried to upstage Blizzard's wow by 3 weeks and ended up making EQII an also ran because of it.

The thing that bugs me about launches these days is these companies that open up the item shop during beta and not just a portion of it, the entire thing.  That is NOT a beta in any shape or form it is a stealth launch if you ask me.

I think Lotro and Rift are the best launches that I can think of.

  Drakynn

Novice Member

Joined: 3/02/08
Posts: 2051

9/11/13 8:04:45 PM#39
Originally posted by icculus2112
Originally posted by Drakynn
Originally posted by Bhob

It's sad, in my opinion, that as consumers we are complacent about poor game launches because it sends a message to companies that it is acceptable and the norm.   Do we put up with this with any other product?  

In the case of FFXIV, they are on their second try and had every opportunity in the world to prepare.   It seems like alot of bad decisions were made.

This is what I've been saying.You can't blame companies for continually launching badly when no one holds them accountable.

Why launch with a thoroughly tested game and expensive backup plans to account forincreased  demand when your consumer base will accept anything and even make excuses for you?Might as well let them and save the money.

This post is full of ridiculous idealism.

It is 100% impossible to ensure a smooth launch.  no matter what you do, how many precautions you take, osmething can go wrong.  Now, SE wasnt as prepared as they could have been, but preparation doesnt stop everything.

The reason companies launch badly is because MMORPGs are a *very* difficult thing to launch.  For one, you can't properly stress test.  Most people simply arent going to do the beta stress test.  So should we hold everyone that didnt do the stress test (myself included) accountable as well?

And how are we supposed to hold SE accountable?  By not playing an enjoyable game?  Thats called cutting off your nose to spite your face.  Its not like SE hasnt generated massive amounts of complaints about this.  And if a company deserves to be held accountable for something, it usually is.  Look at NGE.  SoE paid for that.  Look at vanguard, Sigil launched an unfinished, buggy game and it cost them their company.  

And then there is this:  Many, many people, myself included, would rather have dealt with the week one issues than have the launch delayed.  because once you got in the game, it was great.  And its not like we apid for it anyway, that week was free.

And what money did SE save?  This cost them more money most likely, because they had to rush to get the servers ready.  they had to deal with the negativity on top of that.  they earned it, but you are acting like there were no consequences.  Good thing for them they have a good product to overcome this.

 

Put it this way: If a chef I like is opening a brand new restaurant and due to errors in the reservation system it takes me 2 hours to get a table.  When i sit down at the table the service is atrocious and the food takes forever to get there.  but when it comes, its amazing.

Now, the reservation system should have been better tested and the staff better trained.  I filed a complaint about it, and i got a free meal out of it.  Am i going to let these issues stop me form going back and enjoying a great meal in the future, especially given that now the reservation works and theyve replaced most of the staff?

There is no idealism,just because there has been on 100% smooth launch doesn't mean companies shouldn't be striving to achieve it even if it doesn't ever get fully achieved.the only 100% there is is that if no one tries it will 100% never be achieved.

There are a lot of things that are difficult to do but we as consumers expect them to be done,why should MMORPG's be a special unique snowflake?It was acceptable back when this genre was being pioneered and when something truly unique and new is trying to be done with the game especially the network structure but this is not the case for most launches including your one example of FFXIV.

You seem to be going out of your way to make this about SE and FFXIV when the article and resposnes are about MMORPGs in general.Maybe SE did lose money because of this bad launch maybe not neither of us know but many companies have released beta products that are not fully tested as release or started charging during "beta" which does save money because it starts them earning money.

Many people will walk out on a restaurant that has just opened and has terrible service and wait times and will not return until they've been told the food is amazing and the service has improved or not at all.Why should MMORPG customers not do the same to let the people running things know it's not acceptable?

Also in your example people will be more forgiving if the restaurant in question is being opened by people new to the business but if it's being opened by someone with a lot of experience and should know how to open smoothly then it's gonna be criticized harder and piss more people off who had better expectations based on the experience of the openers.

Again why should MMORPG's be so special in regards to consumer expectations and what consumers have a right to expect from such services?

  Evokerz

Novice Member

Joined: 11/05/09
Posts: 32

9/11/13 8:21:58 PM#40
Perhaps Anet has patented their Overflow Server system, that's why no other game dev implemented this feature on their game. Overflow server system is really revolutionary.
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