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News & Features Discussion  » General: Massey: Stop The Hype Train

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49 posts found
  Dana

Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/04
Posts: 2425

 
OP  9/24/09 4:49:54 PM#1

MMOs announce too early and it's become a problem. In this week's column, Dana Massey looks at the harm that comes from this and makes an argument that MMOs should only be announced about a year before launch.

Dana Massey

MMOs on the other hand take years. Sometimes they’re announced out of necessity (hiring), sometimes it’s financial (stock prices) and sometimes it’s just bad planning.

While this isn’t something someone at an MMORPG coverage website should be saying: there is no good reason we should know so much about these games so early.

Want an example? Think about Star Wars: The Old Republic, then look at our forums. There are already entrenched opinions on what Bioware should or should not do. Some have decided it's a terrible idea destined to fail, some think it's going to be the ultimate savior of the genre and may even topple World of Warcraft. Both opinions are equally hysterical at this stage. Aside from a limited demo and some info they’ve doled out online, information remains limited. Anyone here played it? I thought not.

Read it all here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

  Death1942

Novice Member

Joined: 2/24/07
Posts: 2596

9/24/09 5:17:01 PM#2

this is exactly what i have been thinking for years.  If only the marketing department would just avoid revealing the game or any information more than a year from release we would all be better for it.  If i was incharge you would hear the announcement of a secret project when they normally announce the full thing.  4 Months before releae (or beta) i would reveal the project but keep the marketing low.  Build it up over that 4 months and i bet you it will do a whole lot better than the game that are hyped to death 6 months before release.

 

Anyway that wont ever happen

MMO wish list:

-Changeable worlds
-Solid non level based game
-Sharks with lasers attached to their heads

  CyanSword

Novice Member

Joined: 7/26/09
Posts: 266

9/24/09 5:22:03 PM#3

Easy to say

You know what I don't think the game companies have all the blame here either, we are just as to blame as they are. If a games doesn't pour out with tons of detail we flame it, call it vaporware, call it boring, discredit its dev team for being unimagintive, claim it will be a wow clone. Then when they do we complain they over-hype? Of course some do take it too far, and do over hype but when you think about it we really dont do ourselves very many favors in that regard :p

 

 

  drbaltazar

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/28/07
Posts: 7951

9/24/09 5:22:34 PM#4
Originally posted by Death1942

this is exactly what i have been thinking for years.  If only the marketing department would just avoid revealing the game or any information more than a year from release we would all be better for it.  If i was incharge you would hear the announcement of a secret project when they normally announce the full thing.  4 Months before releae (or beta) i would reveal the project but keep the marketing low.  Build it up over that 4 months and i bet you it will do a whole lot better than the game that are hyped to death 6 months before release.

 

Anyway that wont ever happen

 

mm used top be we got hyped during the same month of the release now its hyped too long in advance soon they ll hype the

futur wow replacement

blizzard will call it wow 12

release date 12 of the 12 2012

 

  Harabeck

Novice Member

Joined: 2/21/09
Posts: 623

9/24/09 5:31:20 PM#5

I agree with the article. Anyone who was following War knows that the city change really pissed off a lot of people because Mythic hyped something they couldn't deliver.

  Bama1267

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/24/04
Posts: 1880

9/24/09 5:34:19 PM#6

 I agree, but loose lips and the itnernet make it hard to do. Even Cataclysm  for WoW was leaked before the official anouncement. That is just one example, there are plenty more.

  Yauchy

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/06/07
Posts: 296

"The keenist sorrow is that we are the sole cause of our adversities" ~Sophicles

9/24/09 5:56:26 PM#7

 I think most dev's would love to wait, but this is the "beast of burden" known as Marketing.  Unfortunately the metrics that the industry uses to measure marketing success are highly circumstantial.  As much as we would all love to hear about a game when its almost complete, instead of pre-alpha..."opportunity" to help the word get out will always be weighted higher :(

But as with anything else -- Only time will tell :)

  Caleveira

Novice Member

Joined: 9/13/09
Posts: 563

9/24/09 5:59:24 PM#8

The thing about financial necessity got me thinking about the business side of game development. Really, i believe there seems to be something of a lack of sotisfication on a number of investors, and it sometimes appears that games get hurt by the choices made in corporate boardrooms. MMOs do undergo a lenghty process and it seems silly that many of the key decissions in their life cycle may hinge on people without a working knowledge of the dynamics of online comunities. Game developers should be better able to comit to better planing and more realistic deadlines, and companies would certainly benefit from depending less on genius designers and more on teams of people whose experience range includes the everyday management of online games... IMO gamers need to step up to the plate and get involved with the legal and financial sides to MMOs and provide a perspective that would help avoid mistakes such as a game being defeated by it's own PR and marketing processes.

Just to make things clear...
I speak for myself and no one else, unless i state otherwise mine is just an opinion. A fact is something that can be independently verified, you may challenge such but with proof. You have every right to disagree with me through sound argument, i believe in constructive debate, but baseless aggression will warrant an unkind response.

  Tisiphone

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/16/04
Posts: 487

"Every time you skip security patches, Cthulu kills a kitten."

9/24/09 6:48:51 PM#9

Also, think about the miserable years of anticipation between finding out a certain genre or IP will become a game, and actual release. I truly think I would be happier if I did not know until a year or so before release that a MMORPG was coming out.

For example: I've been waiting for World of Darkness since 2004 or so. It has switched dev teams, lost and gained funding, all the while dangling carrots of cool details and potential developers in front of our noses on the White Wolf Games forums.

I shouldn't not enjoy other games just because I'm miserably hyped about a game that has been in development for years and may or may not ever come out.


  ghoulie

Novice Member

Joined: 4/26/04
Posts: 17

9/24/09 7:06:09 PM#10

Tisiphone: Man, you and me both. At this point, I almost wish I'd never heard of World of Darkness Online. Stop playing with my heart strings! And just think; they've been better than some companies about controlling the hype machine.

  User Deleted
9/24/09 7:15:55 PM#11
Originally posted by Bama1267

 I agree, but loose lips and the itnernet make it hard to do. Even Cataclysm  for WoW was leaked before the official anouncement. That is just one example, there are plenty more.

 

Was that an accidental leak or a strategically timed release of information to steal another game's thunder?

 

 

  Apricoth

Novice Member

Joined: 8/15/09
Posts: 44

9/24/09 7:48:16 PM#12

 Agreed. And that's one thing I appreciate SE for - they didn't announce anything or hint at anything regarding FFXIV until this year and it's due out next year. Thank you SE for standing up against the urge to say anything too soon!

  wgc01

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/05/08
Posts: 193

9/24/09 7:52:29 PM#13
Originally posted by CyanSword

Easy to say

You know what I don't think the game companies have all the blame here either, we are just as to blame as they are. If a games doesn't pour out with tons of detail we flame it, call it vaporware, call it boring, discredit its dev team for being unimagintive, claim it will be a wow clone. Then when they do we complain they over-hype? Of course some do take it too far, and do over hype but when you think about it we really dont do ourselves very many favors in that regard :p

 

 


 

I agree 100%, so many players hype themselves, that no matter how good the game is it will never live up to what is expected, good example of this will be Star Wars Old Repulic,  this game has no chance of a fresh launch, with all the the old SWG fans that are still bitter over the nge, to the general anticipation of the game,  I expect to see many negative posts because it will be way over hyped at launch.. I have learned the wait and see approach, on games these days, it is just a game..:)

  nuififun

Novice Member

Joined: 4/27/06
Posts: 126

9/24/09 7:58:02 PM#14

 I think what you are talking about can also be described as a hunger, MMO fans out there myself included want to play great games, we love MMOS! And like most I've come to hate the hype that surrounds MMO's these days.

A few years ago I was totally out of the MMO 'scene' and games in general when one day I decided to check out this very site and saw a game called Lord Of The Rings Online.. I'd not followed or even heard about the game at all but decided to give it a go, I spent a good 4 months playing it, fantastic - I escaped the hype.

In contrast to that I knew all about age of conan for years! and well as Dana mentions in the article it didn't go too well.. also in part to unfulfilled features.

I think maybe the problem isn't with the specific game developers but with the MMO scene itself, and perhaps MMORPG.com has a role to play in this.

  SoliTear

Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/04
Posts: 46

9/24/09 9:26:29 PM#15

The forum on this site wouldn't have anything else to complain about other than this issue.  I mostly watch this site to see all the idiotic comments that are made about games.  The Darkfall  pre-launch vaporware threads were hysterical.  The AION threads are getting just as good.

And of course, hype meters are not the best to keep companies quiet.  the longer they can stay on the hype meter, the more free advertisement they get.  It is kind of a self-fulfilling problem.  MMO sites are trying to make money by reporting on games people want to see and watch to get traffic to their site to make $$$.   The game companies want people to take notice of their game so they let the news out to the gaming sites.

Besides.  There is no game that will ever launch and get positive reviews by the board monkeys on this stie.

 

Good ideas though.

  User Deleted
9/24/09 9:31:10 PM#16

I think the dude from WAR was the best at hyping any game.
That man could sell anything

  Vexe

Novice Member

Joined: 5/25/06
Posts: 554

Hoorah

9/24/09 9:54:44 PM#17
Originally posted by CyanSword

Easy to say

You know what I don't think the game companies have all the blame here either, we are just as to blame as they are. If a games doesn't pour out with tons of detail we flame it, call it vaporware, call it boring, discredit its dev team for being unimagintive, claim it will be a wow clone. Then when they do we complain they over-hype? Of course some do take it too far, and do over hype but when you think about it we really dont do ourselves very many favors in that regard :p

 

 

 

I don't think you read the article thoroughly enough. He was basically saying that the community is the problem the whole time. He also talked about NOT TALKING ABOUT IT UNTIL SOON BEFORE IT CAME OUT, which I think you also missed. Usually things are called vaporware when it doesn't come out for years. Like it evaporates. Vaporware. Get it?

  Vexe

Novice Member

Joined: 5/25/06
Posts: 554

Hoorah

9/24/09 10:02:15 PM#18
Originally posted by SgtFrog

I think the dude from WAR was the best at hyping any game.
That man could sell anything

 

I saw him on TV once. He was SO excited about the game and was hyping every single thing. Unfortunately, half the things he was talking about that I got excited about were taken out, and the stuff that stayed in didn't seem as cool as he said they would be. Or at least as cool as the volume of his voice suggested.

  JYCowboy

Novice Member

Joined: 1/11/05
Posts: 661

SWG: Jess Youngstar(CIA)-AhaziDCUO: Blue Horizon(CIA)STO: John West(USS Texas)NCC-91836

9/24/09 10:32:10 PM#19

What I find troublesome is the cycle this industry is heading.  Companies are fereting out the top features that casual players want and expect from a genere or IP without fleshing out its content beyond simply expected features that are common to all of its catagory.  Some examples are:

 

1) Combat must match the theme and be quick and easy to play,

2) Character progression needs to be quick and easy to understand,

3) Reward system needs to reflect the theme and be instant and gratifying,

4) Game play must be dominately soloable with maxed progression geared towards group play,

5) In game journel or guide that keeps players focused on a linear path,

6) Crafting, Player Market, Failing Penelties, Travel Functions and Roleplay Features are all secondary to the former issues. 

 

This pattern of developement has become formula to this industry when trying to adapt an IP and is used to outline genere games.  Focus of development follows this as now investors know better what the high yeild life of an MMO is coupled with the compition for gamer attention.  Targeting a game for anything outside this emphasis puts it in a niche demographic which will not maximize its earning potential.  Investors become commited to handing out thier money when sold on the broad projected numbers pitch folks suduce them with.  These pitches always speak of casual market target on a specialized IP or genere.

What is totally ignored now is the niche end of a game.  Those players that would be commited and continue to fill coffers year after year and often promote that same game to new players. Community builders in concept.  Instead building solid games with long term earning potential (Cash Cows) the get it quick "boxes on the shelf" attitude is sinking in with little faith for a lasting life.  A obvious change in the market now, after WOW, is most games released have only average 10 servers instead of 20.  This is mostly because there are many more games via for the same set of players even though higher demographics are targeted.

WOW toughts 11 mil subs but those are not total active accounts which this giant wants back.  In the current economic down turn this is just not going to happen.  With its established mechanics it has offered little change in its life span beyond really cosmetics in its expansions.  Now its offering a radical departure in its next release to earn back players with something new and drastic.  I just don't know if it will lead to thier goal.  WOW is still the top earner and is still the brand favorite like Coke Cola but even Pepsi has good days.

So what does all this have to do with Hype?  This is what PR has to wade through to tell you why thier POS in a box is going to change your life for just $60 plus other fees.

IMHO

  CymTyr

Novice Member

Joined: 11/08/08
Posts: 166

9/24/09 11:05:33 PM#20

Good read, thanks for posting this. I agree.

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