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News & Features Discussion  » Age of Conan: Editorial: Anatomy of a Launch - Part 2

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64 posts found
  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  6/11/08 7:45:34 AM#1

New MMORPG.com writer Mathew Reuther pens this look back at the Age of Conan launch from his own perspective.

Early Bird Gets the Shaft

With the logistical delays a new problem has arisen. There is a substantial group of pre-order customers who have been involved in the Early Access program yet did not receive a retail key in a timely manner. This has culminated in the freezing of an untold number of accounts on the 27th. Despite red flags going up two days prior to the end of the Early Access period (when people knew their copies would not arrive in time) it took until after access was actually denied before a single word was heard from Funcom. By the time European Early Access customers received word that they would be given until the end of May to enter retail keys many had already canceled their orders through their credit card companies (which can have an impact on future dealings with the pre-order retailers in question), some picking up retail games and others simply deciding not to play the game.

Read the second part here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  drarkanex

Novice Member

Joined: 10/14/06
Posts: 158

6/11/08 8:15:29 AM#2

Both parts of this editorial are well-written, but seem to focus on the negative aspects.  I feel a tenseness about the writers trials and tribulations and that's the only thing I pick up from reading both parts.  While i'm sure there are other people that have had problems, I on the other hand, have not had one single blue screen, crash, freeze or error.  The launch for me was as smooth as butter.  Probably one of the smoothest launches i've bore witness too.  Also, it's noteworthy that this was from a EU perspective and not a US perspective so bear that in mind when reading both articles.

DrArkaneX Xfire Miniprofile
  puffmouse

Novice Member

Joined: 11/07/05
Posts: 36

6/11/08 8:22:04 AM#3

[quote]In closing I'd like to note that many MMO gamers would gladly pay more to get more. If there is simply not enough money to pay sufficient staff the retail or subscription prices of MMOs should be adjusted. If part of what we are paying for is service, then many of us are perfectly happy to choose eating at a restaurant with waiters instead of going through the drive thru. We accept that it costs more, but we like the quality that we get. I'd like to see a company start to hire good staff in sufficient numbers from day one. That's something I'd pay for.[/quote]

 

 

I've shut down all my other games to move to this one and have no regrets so far.  There are certain features that I do sort of miss, like independent and guild city personal housing, and other personal structures for trade skill.  If there were certain extras like that made available for additional charges i know i would be willing to pay out higher subscription fees.  They should have a first class account thats gives more in the game at a higher price to help increase money for customer service maybe.

  araczynski

Novice Member

Joined: 2/12/07
Posts: 25

6/11/08 8:22:28 AM#4

i too ran into the CE delay issue (amazon), fortunately my copy arrived a few days after they extended the cut off date.  I don't blame funcom for amazon's issue however.

gameplay wise i've been having a blast, short of a couple strange quest bugs that seems to always get resoled sooner than later.  i'm 42 on my main (and only) character and still have a ton of quests to go through.  combat is a blast for me.  i prefer this combat system to any other i have ever experienced in past mmos.

stealth patching i have a problem with however, if you've fixed something in a patch, let us know, its not that difficult.

  impulsebooks

Novice Member

Joined: 5/16/07
Posts: 561

6/11/08 9:01:32 AM#5

Originally posted by araczynski

i too ran into the CE delay issue (amazon), fortunately my copy arrived a few days after they extended the cut off date.  I don't blame funcom for amazon's issue however.


You should actually... blame Funcom I mean. Funcom is Amazon's supplier. But that's beside the point. The problems occured, they are being fixed. The real point of the article posted here iFuncom's lack of communications skills with their customers. This is an ongoing problem and has not been addressed as far as I can tell. How hard can it be to a have a couple of Funcom eployees acting as moderators in their forums? Ablue post here and there can go a long way in allaying people's ire and fears.

Even if the blue post says "We are aware of this problem, its is being investigated" its enough to make people think they are not screaming into a vacuum like currently.

I think the tone set by this article is one of desperate hope... exactly right IMO

______________

Mark E. Cooper
AKA Tohrment
Proud member of Damned Souls since 2007.
http://www.damnedsouls.eu

  Asherett

Novice Member

Joined: 6/29/07
Posts: 1

6/11/08 10:26:24 AM#6

Ok, just to make it clear: there is no problem with reading both US and EU forums!

Please stop repeating the nonsense that's floating around and actually check it for yourself:

 

http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/index.php

http://forums.ageofconan.com/index.php

 

There's a nice big "US FORUMS" button at the top of the EU forum page. The ONLY issue is that you can't read the "Voice of Crom" section on the US forum, as you can't login there.

  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  6/11/08 10:37:44 AM#7

Originally posted by Asherett

Ok, just to make it clear: there is no problem with reading both US and EU forums!

Please stop repeating the nonsense that's floating around and actually check it for yourself:

 

http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/index.php

http://forums.ageofconan.com/index.php

 

There's a nice big "US FORUMS" button at the top of the EU forum page. The ONLY issue is that you can't read the "Voice of Crom" section on the US forum, as you can't login there.

Yup. You're right.

I have used my mystical editor powers to delete the offending section.

 

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  BogSvarog

Novice Member

Joined: 4/22/06
Posts: 99

Frag the Weak, Hurdle the Dead

6/11/08 10:54:37 AM#8

For me, everything went perfect!

I got my early access, played that, got my pre-order, no problem.
The Game pas level 20 is pathetic.

Demos "were" broken, now fixed, so I am a happy camper!

 

Funcom!

 

Seriously, I live in New Zealand...And had 0 problems.
Amazing? Or what...

13370wn4g3 Xfire Miniprofile
  AOCtester

Novice Member

Joined: 4/22/08
Posts: 445

6/11/08 11:28:44 AM#9

This is more like it... An article that actually allows to critisise the game.  Many good points made but the solution is not the right one in my opinion.

"Players can and will sit on top of an issue which is of personal import" This is so true.  And thats the reason that any gaming developer should try to minimise the chance of individual problems.  In terms of servers and clients this is done by testing, fixing, testing again and then polish and finally test it once more.  And if game needs more fixing after that then u keep fixing it and testing it.  

In terms of supply, pre-orders and other issues - Thats more down to how compident the ppl in charge of distribution are and management of that factor.  And if there are some new ways of doing things (like EA was) then you need alot of tests before.  This was NOT done.  The game was distributed all over the world.  The reseller and online distribution is used to handle these big realse games.  There is no hiding that almost all problems are coming from EA and Pre-order  - Thats a system that Funcom is fully responsible for.

The OP gives us insight into his individual problems with the game.  Some others have had those problems.  Others have had client problems.  Some have FPS problems and others have lag problems.   And we are not even gonna be talking about the lack of features and content problems that most players will start to find out after first 25 lvls. In total the game has a whole bunch of diffrent individual problems that need special support.  And its for all to see that the customers service and technical support simply can't handle that amount of issues. And we can not see a game launch with 10 K ppl in customer support cause thats unrealistic.  So how to prevent this ?  Easy ... very, very very easy .....  Launch a game that has gone through more testing, more polishing, fewer issues in diffrent departments.  But first and formost - try everything possible to stay away from any unnessisery issues that could arise.  Like the EA turned out to be.  Like client issues that many players are having.  Its all there based on the fact it wasn't tested and wasn't up to the standard acceptable for release. 

Thats the whole problem of this game.  It simply wasn't and isn't ready for launch.  There are so many issues that need not just abit more work - but a huge amount of work to be acceptable to paying customers.   The game is unfinished - and untested.  And thats not acceptable.  Even tho the OP is chearing for the devs....

What can the MMO gamers do to try to raise the standards of new MMO releases ?  Just so that we will have games that are at acceptable state on release ?  Is that done by cheering on a gaming company and hoping for more support and comunications after the game has been out for 3-4 weeks ?  Or is it to demand a game with less issues at launch so you simply will not have all these issues piling up ?  I would say the answer is obvious.

The MMO gamers should not cheer for a gaming developer that is launching an unfinshed game - even tho it still can be enjoyed to some extend.   And they sure should not cheer for gaming companies that dont deliver the featuers and content that was said to be in the game.   And NO gaming site should cheer or "root"  for that kinda behaviour.

Silence is also a way of comunications.   Its often the only way to react when things go out of hand.   And we have to ask ourselfs.  Why has it gone out of hand now ?  Is it because of lack of support - or is it because the game simply was not ready to be sold to 100s of 1000s of customers?  

I can't cheer or root for Funcom at this point.  And noone should.  They launched a game knowing they didnt have it at an acceptable state.  They knew they would not be able to support the game with all those issues.   Thats not just sign of incompitent group of gaming developers.  Its sign of things to come.   Cheering or rooting for such a behavior only calls for more of the same.   And thats what Funcom will be doing.   - Sadly

I agree 100% with the OP about paying for quality.  Im ready to pay more for good and enjoyable game.  But that doesn't mean I or anyone else should accept paying one dime for somethng that is far from the acceptable standard.   So I can't belive that the OP who is working for a gaming site is telling ppl that they should pay for this product.   Thats  simply not acceptable.

  JK-Kanosi

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/15/06
Posts: 1359

6/11/08 12:59:38 PM#10

AOCTester,

I agree. I read this one review, which was 8 pages, I am sure you read it too. Someone posted a link to it in a thread on the AOC mmorpg.com forums. I like the school of thought he subscribed to, which says that a game should be released in a finished state. The only issues that should come up, are issues that were unforseen and couldn't possibly be caught during Beta. We all know that games, as all software, will have bugs that pop up and other problems that cannot be seen in beta, but it is time for the MMORPG community to say "Enough is Enough!" We want a complete and quality product at release, because we freakin' paid for a complete and quality product. If your box says it offers this feature or that feature, or your website promises this or that, it better be there by God! We wouldn't expect any less from any other product, so we shouldn't expect any less from games, just because they are a hobby and we can't wait 2 darn months to send a signal to the companies that are releasing these bug ridden and unfinished games.

 

MMORPG's w/ Max level characters: DAoC, SWG, & WoW

Currently Playing: WAR
Preferred Playstyle: Roleplay/adventurous, in a sandbox game.

  Ozmodan

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 6588

6/11/08 1:01:58 PM#11

Well what do you expect, it is Funcom we are talking about with the worst customer service in the business and you expected it to change?

There are a lot more issues than what he covered.  Funcom made a major mistake in permitting fast leveling as their post 50 content is abysmal.   Most of my guild was there within two weeks of open game play.  Major mistake in my opinion. 

Linear play, expecially in the early levels does not help either.   Over done instanc\ing is also badly done, we had to postpone guild activities at times because not everyone could get in the specific instance.

We all enjoy pvping and expect to get griefed, but the pvp servers are ridiculous at present, big high level groups going around ganking lower levels and because of the limited places you can level it removed the fun factor completely.

Full servers is not something Funcom will have to worry about long, this game will set a record for number of players that fail to renew after the first 30 days.

Out entire guild has decided not to continue playing, we have 34 active members right now, most of us ex-wow players.   Wow has nothing to fear from this game, it is going to take years to provide the needed content to make AoC a player in MMO arena.

When War comes out, AoC servers will be desolate.

 

  Stikato

Novice Member

Joined: 9/21/06
Posts: 55

6/11/08 1:24:29 PM#12

So basically the reviewer trashes the launch, and then at the end says this gem "I see no reason not to buy this game." Uhhh, how about all those negative things covered in your article? How about that Funcom is totally unresponsive to guild cities not being built correctly? Or any of the other reasons you listed.

Sorry, that was a good article that went bad. You see no reason to not buy this game.

Are you serious?

  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  6/11/08 1:26:46 PM#13
Originally posted by Stikato

So basically the reviewer trashes the launch, and then at the end says this gem "I see no reason not to buy this game." Uhhh, how about all those negative things covered in your article? How about that Funcom is totally unresponsive to guild cities not being built correctly? Or any of the other reasons you listed.

Sorry, that was a good article that went bad. You see no reason to not buy this game.

Are you serious?

This wasn't a review. There was no reviewer. This article, as was clearly stated int he description, talks about one writer's experience with launch.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  Stikato

Novice Member

Joined: 9/21/06
Posts: 55

6/11/08 1:57:54 PM#14

 

Originally posted by Stradden
Originally posted by Stikato

So basically the reviewer trashes the launch, and then at the end says this gem "I see no reason not to buy this game." Uhhh, how about all those negative things covered in your article? How about that Funcom is totally unresponsive to guild cities not being built correctly? Or any of the other reasons you listed.

Sorry, that was a good article that went bad. You see no reason to not buy this game.

Are you serious?

This wasn't a review. There was no reviewer. This article, as was clearly stated int he description, talks about one writer's experience with launch.


This wasn't a review? Pardon me, I believe he just "reviewed" several of the launch problems . It may not be a proper "review," but when an MMORPG.com writer describes positive and negative thing about the game in an article it is enough of a review for me, and, I'm sure, for everyone else commenting on it. I could go back and change "reviewer" to "writer" but I won't. I'll just provide you with this.

 

Review: 

1. To look over, study, or examine again. 2. To consider retrospectively; look back on. 3. To examine with an eye to criticism or correction: reviewed the research findings. 4. To write or give a critical report on (a new work or performance, for example).

It would appear this article, err, launch review, meets those definitions.

Since we are on the subject, would you care to comment on the writer's assertion that he sees no reason to not buy this game?

 

  galad2003

Novice Member

Joined: 11/13/05
Posts: 168

6/11/08 3:06:24 PM#15

So this whole two part article was nothing but the writers personal problems with the game. It was completely one-sided only talking about the negatives of the launch. Nothing about any of the positive features. The writer is clearly biased by his personal experience, which is fine and completely valid, however that turns this into an editorial not a news article. You might want to post this piece under a blog and not your front page section mmorpg.com.

Anyway I knew that this game would be huge so I made sure I pre-ordered from a reputable company. Any time you order from a compnay other than EB games/Gamestop you take a risk. They specialize in hot games and have the best success at fulfilling pre-orders. Even then they mess up somtimes. Thats why you have to follow up on yoru order and be prepared for a limited quantity being available. I  made sure I logged in all keys (pre-order, early acccess etc) in a timely manner. I even pre-ordered at two retailers  just in case. I got my copies and had no problems.

Worst article I have ever read on here.

  Leucent

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/24/04
Posts: 2452

6/11/08 3:13:09 PM#16
Originally posted by galad2003

So this whole two part article was nothing but the writers personal problems with the game. It was completely one-sided only talking about the negatives of the launch. Nothing about any of the positive features. The writer is clearly biased by his personal experience, which is fine and completely valid, however that turns this into an editorial not a news article. You might want to post this piece under a blog and not your front page section mmorpg.com.

Anyway I knew that this game would be huge so I made sure I pre-ordered from a reputable company. Any time you order from a compnay other than EB games/Gamestop you take a risk. They specialize in hot games and have the best success at fulfilling pre-orders. Even then they mess up somtimes. Thats why you have to follow up on yoru order and be prepared for a limited quantity being available. I  made sure I logged in all keys (pre-order, early acccess etc) in a timely manner. I even pre-ordered at two retailers  just in case. I got my copies and had no problems.

Worst article I have ever read on here.

Theres alot of truth to the article though, this is why to someone who likes it will say this. Where were all you guys when the reviews were out after just the starter area. They were all good reviews, where were all you guys saying oh well it s not really a fair article it s not a full review. Instead all i saw was thats bang on this game is awesome, etc. I can understand it seems biased but theres no difference with this one as there are with the glaringly obvious paid by FC ones.

  ajax7

Novice Member

Joined: 1/15/07
Posts: 367

The Greatest Story Ever Told Yours.

6/11/08 3:15:21 PM#17
Originally posted by Stradden
Originally posted by Stikato

So basically the reviewer trashes the launch, and then at the end says this gem "I see no reason not to buy this game." Uhhh, how about all those negative things covered in your article? How about that Funcom is totally unresponsive to guild cities not being built correctly? Or any of the other reasons you listed.

Sorry, that was a good article that went bad. You see no reason to not buy this game.

Are you serious?

This wasn't a review. There was no reviewer. This article, as was clearly stated int he description, talks about one writer's experience with launch.


This was a bashing by a unhappy customer you let some one vent who had a problem, why not let some vent who had no problems. This site has become a big negative site as launches go I still say this was the best one I have been in.

Ajax

  mike470

General Correspondent

Joined: 2/11/08
Posts: 2429

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand" - Randy Pausch

6/11/08 3:30:54 PM#18
Originally posted by galad2003

So this whole two part article was nothing but the writers personal problems with the game. It was completely one-sided only talking about the negatives of the launch. Nothing about any of the positive features. The writer is clearly biased by his personal experience, which is fine and completely valid, however that turns this into an editorial not a news article. You might want to post this piece under a blog and not your front page section mmorpg.com.

Not that intelligent, eh?  First off, there was some positive features in the review, apparently you didn't read past the first line.  Secondly, as stated, this is is OWN personal opinion of the how the launch yet (although he didn't stress enough on the bugs or unfinished game IMO). 

What you write a piece on your own personal experience and state your opinion it's called an EDITORIAL (many people don't seem to know this).  This is just a gamers' opinion.

Anyway I knew that this game would be huge so I made sure I pre-ordered from a reputable company. Any time you order from a compnay other than EB games/Gamestop you take a risk. They specialize in hot games and have the best success at fulfilling pre-orders. Even then they mess up somtimes. Thats why you have to follow up on yoru order and be prepared for a limited quantity being available. I  made sure I logged in all keys (pre-order, early acccess etc) in a timely manner. I even pre-ordered at two retailers  just in case. I got my copies and had no problems.

This wasn't Matthew Reuther's fault, it's foolish to believe it was.

Worst article I have ever read on here.

So...since you disagree with someone's opinion you somehow seem to think it is a bad article?  Even though Funcom has a crappy launch and the author brought out good points, it is somehow a bad article?  That makes no sense.  The fact is, someone disagreed with your beloved AoC and it hurt your feelings, so you decide to somehow think it is the worst article ever.  Well to you, I say QQ.

The author brought out truthful points in Funcom's [very] flawed launch.  I'm surprised he didn't go over the over hype & unfinished game.  OH WELL.

In my opinion, it was a nice article.  Nicely written Mr. Reuther

 

__________________________________________________
In memory of Laura "Taera" Genender. Passed away on Aug/13/08 - Rest In Peace; you will not be forgotten

  mike470

General Correspondent

Joined: 2/11/08
Posts: 2429

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand" - Randy Pausch

6/11/08 3:35:30 PM#19

 

Originally posted by ajax7
Originally posted by Stradden
Originally posted by Stikato

So basically the reviewer trashes the launch, and then at the end says this gem "I see no reason not to buy this game." Uhhh, how about all those negative things covered in your article? How about that Funcom is totally unresponsive to guild cities not being built correctly? Or any of the other reasons you listed.

Sorry, that was a good article that went bad. You see no reason to not buy this game.

Are you serious?

This wasn't a review. There was no reviewer. This article, as was clearly stated int he description, talks about one writer's experience with launch.


This was a bashing by a unhappy customer you let some one vent who had a problem, why not let some vent who had no problems. This site has become a big negative site as launches go I still say this was the best one I have been in.

 

It was hardly a bashing.  While he did bash the game, he also stated some of the good points  about AoC.  The fact is AOC had a crappy, unprepared, unfinished launch, and you really expect them to get away without being bashed?  That makes no sense, and if we gamers were to do that, then we would have to go through more launches like this.  I think it was good how MMORPG.com posted this, since this [crappy] launch is not something that should be ignored...after all, this IS a gaming website

Also, if this is the best launch you have ever been in.,...then you must not have been in many launches....

For others---

It was an EDITORIAL, where someone posts their opinions on the matter.  He was not reviewing the game, just sharing his opinion on how poorly the launch was.  As you can see, he did not go over the whole detail about the game, just briefly went over it.  Mr. Reuther was only going over his opinion on the matter.

 

 

__________________________________________________
In memory of Laura "Taera" Genender. Passed away on Aug/13/08 - Rest In Peace; you will not be forgotten

  neonaka

Novice Member

Joined: 3/04/05
Posts: 803

6/11/08 3:39:22 PM#20

 

Originally posted by galad2003

So this whole two part article was nothing but the writers personal problems with the game. It was completely one-sided only talking about the negatives of the launch. Nothing about any of the positive features. The writer is clearly biased by his personal experience, which is fine and completely valid, however that turns this into an editorial not a news article. You might want to post this piece under a blog and not your front page section mmorpg.com.

Anyway I knew that this game would be huge so I made sure I pre-ordered from a reputable company. Any time you order from a compnay other than EB games/Gamestop you take a risk. They specialize in hot games and have the best success at fulfilling pre-orders. Even then they mess up somtimes. Thats why you have to follow up on yoru order and be prepared for a limited quantity being available. I  made sure I logged in all keys (pre-order, early acccess etc) in a timely manner. I even pre-ordered at two retailers  just in case. I got my copies and had no problems.

Worst article I have ever read on here.

 

You have to have positives to type positives.

This writer didn't "review" on things or rant on things that could only plague certain people. He spoke about things that plague ALL of AoC's players.

Just because you "Have no issues" doesn't mean that IF you did, it would fall on deaf ears. The things he is talking about are REAL issues to A LOT of REAL GAMERS. He is trying to back them up and reinforce the issue that when you release shit, you need have to have customers in mind, and not a dollar bill.

You guys can praise Funcom all you want and Bash the writer all you want.

He gave a highly negative overview of a release because that is EXACTLY what it is, highly negative.

It doesn't matter what poll or site you go to across the web.

Take the Pepsi Challenge and you will find this game isn't being as accepted as all of you think.

Every poll conducted here on MMORPG is usually a 50/50 split. Every poll out on the other sites are usually a 50/50 split.

Go look up the pictures posted on the MMORPG homepage. Click on the AoC pics. You will see the majority get WAY buried compared to bumped.

People just aren't feeling this game, people are feeling like they have been lied to, people are feeling like they have been shafted. They feel as though no one is listening to them when they need help in regards to AoC bug ridden ass game.

Then a writer comes along with the balls enough to write THIS GAME HAS PROBLEMS THAT NEED ADDRESSED, and you accuse him of being one sided.

Well when a game has as many issues as AoC it usually is one sided.

Screw that I am glad this dude had the balls to say funcom screwed the pooch on the launch, I'm glad he stood up for the consumers who play MMO's in the world today, I'm glad someone finally said what the majority of us are thinking.

Mr. Wood, you be sure you let your team know, Mathew is a writer with balls, and he needs to stick around. That was the most intelligent review of a screwed up game I ever read.

 

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