Originally posted by SBE1
I see that you've been writing for MMORPG.com since 2012 and are a freelance writer. Okay, so perhaps you're new to MMO games or nobody has ever tried to edit your work to make it better. In my previous life I have written professionally and along the way took a lot of edits from folks (which i initially scorned but soon learned that it made me a far better writer). What follows is a short list of things you really should think about when writing about MMO games and writing in general.
Let's go over your review:
1) Aesthetics: The definition of Aesthics is how it looks. Yet the vast majority of your review (in terms of words spent on the subject) of this section is bad coding and crashing. Did you deliberately put the game crashes in this section because you can't think of what to write about the graphics/images/looks of the game, or did you simply forget you have the Polish section (is the game finished/polished. You did mention optimization again in the Polish section as an aside. Why put it in both?
Second, if you're going to compare graphics to TERA or GW2 and say they aren't as good, why not say which game you think the graphics in Darkfall are better? I mean, if you give it a 7/10, surely there are other MMO games that have worse graphics. Do you mean to imply that TERA and GW2 are the only 2 MMO games that have better graphics than Darkfall? Hard to know since I'm only told what is better than Darkfall, but I don't know what Darkfall is better than so I can't figure out on my own how decent the graphics are.
2) Gameplay -- Okay, you give it a 9/10 after playing this game for several weeks (according to the intro on the top). Then you add this fun gem: "Unfortunately I wasn’t able to experiences the full on sieges and organized clan wars. It is the most interesting aspect about the game, and makes for a hell of a lot of fun." So, you played for a few weeks and didn't get to experience the best part of the game, yet felt compelled to write the review? Who writes a review of the game and admits they didn't do the best part? Furthermore, how do you know it's the best part of the game if you didn't experience it? Is this from someone else's review of the game? Is the 9/10 because you hear that part of the game is really good (and thus the score of the game you actually experienced is lower?), or is it 9/10 based upon the game you actually experienced and would be perhaps a 10/10 based upon getting to experience you have been told is even better?
Did you compare other recent MMORPG.com reviews of games that got a 9/10 for gameplay to try to set as a comparison? Did anyone at MMORPG.com help you in this regard?
You also mention that you have never played in an open world PvP sandbox game. Really? Ever hear of EVE? It's a fairly popular game (often highlighted on this very website) that perhaps people at an MMORGP review site should be familiar with and have played. Maybe get some experience playing other types of MMOs before reviewing MMO games, so as you can compare the gameplay with EVE. It clearly stands out as a big red warning sign for your review.
Innovation - 8/10? You seem to give it a high-score simply because it is a sandbox MMO. While i agree sandbox games are not as common as themepark MMO games, I don't think it qualifies as innovative, just uncommon. So, here's the definition of innovation from Merian-Webster: "The introduction of something new." While sanbox games are uncommon, they are not NEW. However, since you mentioned you haven't played that kind of game before, hence it falls into this section unfortunately.
You do mention the leveling system which you believe is innovative. I would have focused more on this aspect since you said, "[it] is something which I haven’t seen outside a traditional leveling system."
Social: 9/10 - You did say that you played with another MMORPG.com staff member and his guild. Sort of creates a bias if you join people from work in the game. Still, I would agree that in a well-done sandbox PvP game, social tends to be a very important (and fun) part of the game and often leads to very high scores.
Longevity - No comment, that's pure opinion.
Value - I have a comment. You say "In addition to this, content is always being added." Interesting. It would be nice when you say stuff like that to give some facts. How often is "always"? What content was added? If it is on the expensive side, you'd have to compare how often it is added and the amount of content to another MMO game that isn't as expensive and also very popular (so it's easy to compare). You provide no data and no comparison.
Don't say stuff like "the developers are always striving to make their game better." Please tell me which developer of a MMO game isn't trying to make the game better? Was this an attempt to make this section longer and ran out of things to say? See my comment on data and comparisons for things to add to this section, rather than silly "they're working really hard" comments.
End thought to the writer-
Yeah, I'm a harsh critic of MMORPG.com reviews because long ago they were really all glowing with how wonderful everything was. Thankfully, people like Bill Murphy eventually stepped in and changed the review process to remove such bias. While I think most of the reviews have been better since then, I would have to say this review certainly needed an editor.
To my friends at MMORPG.com staff (that are probably tired of me reviewing their reviews):
You should carefully screen people hired to write reviews to ensure that they have played a similar game and are very familiar with several MMO games and have someone provide helpful edits and suggestions to freelance writers. When they give a 9/10 score on something, you have to compare that to other games that also got a similar score (8/10 - 10/10) and make sure that's consistent, especially when the writer comments that game "crashes were normal." A game that crashes all the time just got a 9/10 gameplay score. Is that the new standard? Did anyone but me notice that?
For such a wall of text about the writing style and grammar of someone else, your crap is sure hard to read.
Protip. 95% of the time 'that' is a superfluous word. 100% of the time, you are not as hot as you think you are.