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Videos Videos - The Rant #2 - Previews, Press, and the Players

In this week's Rant, MMORPG's Bill Murphy muses on the Preview debate. Who are previews really for? Who should they be for? Why are they mostly rubbish? And what can be done to fix the issues at hand?

Duration: 6:19
Views: 3,835  53 comments
Game: General
Direct Link:
kzaske writes: Great video Mr. Murphy.  I really hope that MMORPG continues in it's quest to deliver both the good and the bad about the various games.  It's the one thing I have come to count on this site for.  Keep up the great work. Mon Feb 25 2013 9:18AM Report
nolic1 writes:

Well thats the way it truely should be and thank you for bringing it to light.


Mon Feb 25 2013 9:31AM Report
FateFatality writes: i enjoyed you rant and agree with you Murphy, us players also need to stop buying every MMO and Games that has fancy trailer. most of trailers are pre rended and never show what game is like. its time for a change and we need hear the negetives and concerns and not just hype it all up Mon Feb 25 2013 10:00AM Report
Four0Six writes: I enjoy the musings Murphy, not too long, not too short, and honest. *thumbs up* Mon Feb 25 2013 10:17AM Report
Icewhite writes:

Walk the walk, not just talk the talk, right Bill?

We'll see what happens the next time a serious ad-revenue title opens here.

Mon Feb 25 2013 10:20AM Report
littlemonkey writes: Here's my rant....

Uh, yeah. Game previews are ads to sell games. They may make the product look better than it actually is. This is news to you?

Here's another eye-opener for you. That delicious looking Big Mac you see in ads on TV?  It's pretend. You can't actually get that burger at any McDonalds.

You want to really inform us? Start by overhauling how User Reviews are tallied and scored. Then give us more details on the nuts and bolts of your official reviews.  How much experience with MMO's does the reviewer have?  How many hours did the reviewer play the game? Does MMORPG have any possible conflict of interest from advertising or other financial agreements? 

And by the way, I like pre-orders. I like all the shiny stuff I get.



Mon Feb 25 2013 10:21AM Report
aslan132 writes: Excellent video, and very well put. Its everyones personal responsibility to research a game, and decide for themselves if its worth the buy. You should never the medias opinion as ultimate truth, but they usually give you a great place to begin your research from. I think everyone could learn from this rant, players and your previewers and column writers on this site. Mon Feb 25 2013 10:28AM Report
itgrowls writes:

From what I've seen on this site, the cons thing never happens. All we see are pros, even when the cons are supposedly listed there are soooo many things left out that one has to wonder if the press beta was even scrutinized properly to see what the game is really like. 

Let's look at what happened with SWTOR. Not only did they wait until the last possible second to take down the NDA something that nobody had a problem with on these types of websites, but the people like me who were very concerned over what type of game this was despite the large amounts of money they spent on the advertising, who tried to warn people about some of the things we did see that wasn't released to the public were all but shut down. Post after post about the truth about this title were wrongly infracted and deleted despite the good intentions of the forum posters and despite the real need to spread the truth. Well thought out honest and properly worded forum posts were treated as troll posts when the reality of this game was put forth.

Further, there seems to be a large number of accounts that were created on this site with 1-2 posts about how wonderful this game was and how it was wrong of us to post the truth about it that months later were completely deleted. Where did these people go? And why would this practice be allowed when those who were posting the truth were treated as lepers.

I hope people have learned from the mistakes made about SWTOR both from a press reviewers standpoint and from a forum moderation standpoint. Only another AAA title that used the same tactics the EA used with SWTOR will reveal if anything will be done.

Mon Feb 25 2013 10:51AM Report
Nanfoodle writes: I love my video games but over the past few years I am feeling like I have been baited and switched more then once on product info. MMOs are so big its not hard to show some area thats awesome and leave out the bad. But at the same time devs are so worried to have their ideas stolen when they are good you cant tell any more why they are hiding info. Whats a gamer to do? but pass up on fun things like head starts and pre-orders? This saddens me. Mon Feb 25 2013 10:54AM Report
Thorkune writes:

I thoroughly enjoyed the video. You said what a lot of us players think.

But, if you are encouraging people not to pre-order games, what does that say for the many kickstarter's that people are aimlessly contributing to?

Mon Feb 25 2013 11:22AM Report
JimmyYO writes:

Very good rant, not because of the negativity but because everything he said is true.

Another subject I'd like to see covered in the future is the negative impact fanboys have on games. That is, people who defend there beloved game regardless of how many game breaking flaws. They help to keep a bad game bad as they paint unrealistic pictures of a game that's far worse then they make it seem.

Mon Feb 25 2013 11:29AM Report
morbuskabis writes: Good work Bill! MMORPG is since 2004 (or even earlier) the place for me to get Info on up comming MMOs. Even when I somtimes disagree with your opinnion (GW2 as an example) I do like what you and your team dos on this site! Mon Feb 25 2013 12:19PM Report
LIOKI writes: You guys take yourselves way too seriously. These are video games! You're not buying a house or a car lmao. Mon Feb 25 2013 12:33PM Report
achesoma writes: Great rant.  But what are we going to do?  Press previews aren't going to stop anytime soon.  Like you said, reviewers are gamers too and get just as excited over the hype like any one of us.  Especially with MMOs.  Like Nanfoodle said, MMOs are so huge it's very easy to hide the crappy stuff.  Oh well, at least it's only 60 or so dollars lost.  It's the life of being a MMOer. Mon Feb 25 2013 1:05PM Report
n3v3rriv3r writes: I holded some kind of a grudge towards this site because of your reviews of swtor and a couple of other games. Now I see that you realize that sometimes you are too enthusiastic when reviewing a game. The truth is, we can afford to be fanboish, you can't .. at least if you want to be as ojective as possible.
Anyways kudos for this video.
Mon Feb 25 2013 1:06PM Report
Purutzil writes: Do like this rant, and I did notice a lot of the site being a lot more critical of stuff, granted its still feeling not completely explored as I do feel some things are still painted in an overly 'bright' light. None the less its good to see this rant and it does show that your at least being more critical of games. Mon Feb 25 2013 1:22PM Report
goosie writes:

Sorry but I disagree on one point: reporting with an opinion. You need to withhold personal opinions in order to give a game an objective review or preview which is a huge problem in the gaming journalism industry which, I might add, is quickly losing its credibility over the past few years. 

You have to let the audience decide (like you mentioned) without bias from the reporter so they can come to an informed decision. If you feel there is a limited scope issue because you weren't able to fully experience the game outside of a controlled environment, then it needs to be mentioned.

Other than that, good rant and I agree on your other points.

Mon Feb 25 2013 2:41PM Report
Burntvet writes: As someone else mentioned, we'll see what happens the when the next massive advertising budget MMO shows up here. My prediction: the same old pumped up hype. Talk is cheap. The next time writers give an "honest" review of a majorly advertised title (as opposed to the overly sunshiny one) it will be the first time. Mon Feb 25 2013 3:24PM Report
NobleNerd writes:

  I enjoyed the video, but I still have a little trouble with the title. You are very soft spoken and in my mind I see a rant as something a little different. I enjoy most of what you put out Bill, but when I think of rant I see Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men". 


  Now on to the topic. I think most of gamers should be intelligent enough to know that all game developers put a spin and hype on their soon to be released game. If you are amongst those that just can't see that and think that all gaming companies are saints and not wanting to sell something to you then I have a great deal on a slighly used car that a little old lady only drove to the store and church.


 We as gamers should be able to read between the lines, BUT you as the gaming watch dogs should also be able to report the same. I know you don't want to be all negative on the games, because that is just not good business. In the future it would be nice to see more people that aren't all "This game is awesome!" and maybe a little more balanced. That is one reason I do not watch many of Ripper's posts anymore (let alone that annoying fake voice). When I watch a review I want to hear that the game has some nice features, but more than that I want someone to push the developers and ask the hard questions, to challenge them and really make sure they are developing a great game.


 So the future starts now.... we will see if the rant holds true or if we get spoon fed again instead of some hard hitting reporting on the gaming world.

Mon Feb 25 2013 4:10PM Report
Dren_Utogi writes: <3 Bill Murphy. THough Bill, becareful cause mike b might ban you for trolling swtor :D /sarcasm Mon Feb 25 2013 4:58PM Report
erictlewis writes:

OK rant. I am looking forword to how they handle all this in the future becuase that is not how they been done in the past.   I just have to point out everything that was done for Star Wars in the past.  We will see what happens with the next big mmo hype train heads our way.

Meanwhile it is still my favorite site for games, despite the hype trains. 

Mon Feb 25 2013 5:06PM Report
FARGIN_WAR writes:

Well good. Maybe this is a sign that MMO journalism is growing up.


I agree with your points that both professional reviewers and players need to need to be more practicle when it comes to seperating the truth from the hype about these games.


However I still feel the biggest culprit in the current state of affairs of gaming are the companies who make a substandard game, and instead of trying to make improvements where needed, just hire some spin doctors to hype the game enough that customers will buy it blind.


We as both gamers and journalists need to tell these companies that this shit has to stop. As journalists you guys need to not only point out a games rough spots, but call a company to task over any intentional misdirection by advertising. And as players, for heaven's sake, stop thinking that the way to fix things is to give these companies your money and then complain about what's wrong. Becuse by then its too late. Stop with the impulse control buying and actully research the game you want to purchase before doing so. You'll find yourself being burned less.

Mon Feb 25 2013 5:22PM Report
Bootez writes: <3 Bill Murphy. This guy is a much needed voice in the gaming industry.  Mon Feb 25 2013 5:23PM Report
Jerek_ writes: great video, but did neverwinter's converage really live up to that standard?  What I read seemed strong on the good aspects and only mentioned the potential negative.  Maybe the previewers really felt that strongly about the game, but I wonder what it will look like 6 months after release. Mon Feb 25 2013 5:38PM Report writes: I'm sorry but a journalist should focus on consumer first, the player. Without the player there are no stories, no reviews, no journalists and no game. I expect a journalist to focus on facts. And if facts are not present, because of devs and publishers not making it available, well that's a fact on it's own and we consumer should take that and make our decision. It's not about believing the word of the reviewer, it's just a matter of facts to me. Mon Feb 25 2013 6:01PM Report
akiira69 writes:

"Will it hurt to wait to pre-order a game for a review of a game?"

Yes, for the simple reason: my waiting for the review of a game will mean that I will not get the pre-order goodies. If at any time I dont want the game before the game goes live I can switch that cash from one game to another.

Mon Feb 25 2013 6:32PM Report
mmoguy43 writes:

Pre-order goodies? Are you that easily convinced to pre pay for something... that will shortly thereafter be deemed worthless dust collectors?

It's was a good rant Bill but the way of gamers won't chance so easily. Greed dominates passion.

Mon Feb 25 2013 7:06PM Report
Hokie writes:

*watched video*




YEAH!!!! You said it Bill.

Especially when you said "That you (me the consumer) have to be the stawert warriors who take it in the *** yet again." Oh wait you didnt actually say that.

But thats what we do. We get boned on a regualr basis.

Mon Feb 25 2013 7:58PM Report
atuerstar writes:

You are already winding the organ for the dancing monkey that is Defiance.

None of the critical information players need to make a purchase decision is being offered. Just a dancing monkey and that same old sorry song. Just on 4 weeks to release and youre giving them 1 skill per week reviews while adroitly avoiding (cant say so much).

If you are not a part of the solution you are a part of the problem.

Mon Feb 25 2013 9:17PM Report
Raventree writes:

That was more of a thoughtful discussion and less of a rant than I was hoping for.  I am going to need more yelling and spitting while talking from Bill, possibly with some thuds as he angrily slams his fists on the desk. 

Just kidding Bill, well done.

Mon Feb 25 2013 10:59PM Report
Megatronic writes: Id like to give a big "Hell Yeah" to Bill for this piece.  Mon Feb 25 2013 11:06PM Report
Gravarg writes:

1000000% agree with Bill on everything.  I haven't trusted a preview in since I played my N64 regularly hehe.


I like to think I have a general inkling of if a game is going to be for me or not.  Other than SWTOR (which I didn't really hate, I just got bored with it), I haven't bought a game that I come to regret later in a long time.


I skipped GW2, it's just not for me.  I skipped TSW, I knew before I even played beta I wasn't going to like it.  DCUO I didn't get because SOE was behind it.  I've always loved comic books, and have a collection of thousands of them, but I knew SOE would find some way to destroy it, like every game they have ever touched.  WAR was skipped because it didn't seem to have the feeling like it was actually Warhammer.  I have a huge collection of tabletop Greenskin army figurines and maps to play on.  And there's many other games that I stayed away from that aren't MMOs.

Mon Feb 25 2013 11:33PM Report
ZoeMcCloskey writes:


Fairly done, good job.

Tue Feb 26 2013 12:27AM Report
Dreamo84 writes: Love the generic comments about reviews being paid for. Tue Feb 26 2013 12:37AM Report
red_cruiser writes: I immediately lost interest when I realized it wasn't about a DuckTales MMORPG. Tue Feb 26 2013 12:38AM Report
Matticus75 writes:

Yeah Bill I did like your comment on one of the other articles something to the effect "yeah getting the ride the dragon in elder scrolls was dissapoint******** bleep" lmao, Dont make the gods angry!

I also liked how you attempted to get more specifics from Scott Youngblood, and he was like, "well its like a steak and maybe add some bacon, and some cheeze"

But yes I do think you should ask the more "specific questions" to get at what we want, but on the other had please dont become Bill O'Riley

Tue Feb 26 2013 12:52AM Report
Scot writes:

I have been saying don't listern to the hype and don't pre-order for over eight years now. Previews are are not a test drive, they are seeing the car in a showroom.


Tue Feb 26 2013 1:57AM Report
Yamota writes:

Previews are garbage because the devs decide which parts of the game you see and which you dont. So obviously the bad parts are rarely shown.

So previews are basically like free advertistement and I always take them with a grain of salt.

Tue Feb 26 2013 4:03AM Report
miguksaram writes:

I'm with Xepo with regards to what a true "rant" should sound like and in turn convey in the feelings of the words expressed rather than just in meaning.

With that said I have to agree with the majority of your statements Bill but only so far as those were true statement/intentiosn rather than just lip service to us, one of three, "customers" to the larger companies at hand.

If it was indeed sincere then I can only hope that the rest of the staff here at and other communities at large take to heart the words you stated here today (minus the "rant" like effect, you really need to work on that part).

Tue Feb 26 2013 6:02AM Report
Wicoa writes: This is a good video article, your work gets better and better. Tue Feb 26 2013 6:24AM Report
BillMurphy writes: Perhaps I should call it "The Soapbox" instead?  Thanks for all the comments folks.  Really appreciated. Tue Feb 26 2013 7:40AM Report
Wraithone writes:

interesting observations.  Given the reality as it exists, the only wonder is that matters aren't worse.  Its human nature to only want to hear good things about ones work (from the Dev side) and to reward those who tell you what you want to hear.

 Real fans will tell Dev's what they need to know, not just what they want to hear.  To do other wise is to under mine the game itself. 

As for the media, the same problem exists as in other walks of life (politics in particular).  Those who say only good things tend to have greater access, than those who speak the truth.  That seriously distorts the media's role.

They become the means to create, shape, manipulate and misinform public opinion.  We can see the dire results all around us.  One recent example is the run up to SWTOR.  Given the vast somes of money involved, and everyone naturally wanting their own piece of the pie, the end result was predictable.

Bottom line, its up to the players to take in all of the hype, bias and agendas, and decide if a game is worth their time and money.

Tue Feb 26 2013 9:35AM Report
Grakulen writes: Rob should Rant and you should have Murphy's Minute. If it runs over a minute you wife gets to cattle prod you. Tue Feb 26 2013 9:46AM Report
Hodo writes:

The problems is, or more was, MMORPG for a while some of the reviews seemed bought.   They were as you said in your rant, they only glazed over the bad and concentrated on the good instead of a balanced review.  


I personally dont buy a game until I have seen a few videos on gameplay by players, and then I see a free trail.   If I liked my trial period or I want to see more, I may buy the game.   If not I will remove it from my HDD and move on to something else.   This is why I love beta tests so much, not only are they a chance for me to test the game find bugs and help improve the finale product, but it helps me determine if this is going to be a game I would like to play.    It also gives me an oppertunity to evaluate the developers.  I can see how fast they fix bugs, how quickly the implement patches and how compitently they do it.   Great example is Star Vault vs CCP.   SV created more bugs with every patch, and CCP actually improved the game with every patch through beta.

Tue Feb 26 2013 9:55AM Report
SBE1 writes:

Watched video and I must say that after being one of the harshest critics of MMORPG's reviews in the past (way to positive), they have improved a lot over the past year or so.  I also congradulate you on not doing a final review based on 3 hours of playtime in an MMO. My still biggest area of improvement for MMORPG reviews has to be the PvP aspect of the game, because most of the staff at MMORPG in their reviews have stated that they do not like PvP, and then turn around and review the PvP part of the game and say how they don't like it.  WTF? Stop having people who don't like PvP review the PvP game. How simple can that be?  


The other big gripe about MMORPG reviews is when they are so at odds with the player's reactions, there should be a policy in place at MMORPG to do a re-review if the game scores well in your review and yet customers are cancelling their accounts quickly, and point out what might have been the issue or missed point in your review.  Think DCUO as a good example, it scored very well and yet customers dropped the game about 1-2 months after launch.....why? Was there ever a full re-review of that game to figure out what went wrong?  Did anyone stop and think what they missed in the official review that everyone else seemed to find a problem?  These are the kinds of things a professional site would try to uncover and correct in future reviews. 


Things have gotten better, but they still have a ways to go.

Tue Feb 26 2013 11:13AM Report
miguksaram writes: Rob's personality, or at least the one that comes across in the videos, seemed more akin to a rant than Bill's. Tue Feb 26 2013 12:39PM Report
therain93 writes:

So, when it is all said and done, Bill is ranting that game reviewers like himself aren't doing a good enough job.  And, that this rant was basically an echo chamber for Kotaku and gamasutra articles, suggesting that this wasn't simply a natural realization.

Yes, that comes off pretty harsh.  But, in the not so recent past, I was certainly very critical of Bill's reviews, as SBE1 mentioned notably, DCUO and how it was reviewed.  I think the quality of BIll's reviews have improved over time in terms of disclosure, identifying bias and leveling criticsm, but basically the rant calls out previewer/reviewers to be more professional, kinda sorta like real journalists.  I think that is a good thing and it is long overdue. 

Indeed, perhaps is starting to grow up.

Tue Feb 26 2013 7:05PM Report
Bookah writes:

"When in reality its just the polished & painted tip of a much larger turd"

Pure genius =)

Thu Feb 28 2013 11:14AM Report
Ginaz writes:

The problem is that most "game journalism" is complete and utter crap.  90% of "game journalists", including the ones here, are nothing more than ham fisted gaming nerds with delusions of grandeur that their fanzine is somehow important and relevent while looking for handouts from the gaming industry.  I hope that  more established news organizations start to look at games and reviews as business news.  That way we can get rid of the hacks that call themselves journalists who have infested gaming news with their public and private developer asskissing for ad revenue, preview/review copies and whatever free shit they can get their hands on.


Thu Feb 28 2013 10:28PM Report
Ginaz writes: <span com_body"="">"When in reality its just the polished & painted tip of a much larger turd"...irony at its finest. Thu Feb 28 2013 10:30PM Report
trash656 writes: Media is a very powerful tool. It brainwashs nieve and misinformed people, especially in American society were media is everywhere, including mine (canada)  were people are so emotional over everything that they base their morals, thoughts and idea's on emotion, but with no logic or facts while making selfish and uncaring descisions of how they think, judge, of precieve others. Other forms to stupid media whores who believe everything they read and watch are conspiracy theorists, or anyone who comes up with delusional idea's in their head with no official facts to support any of their claims.

This is also true in games, there are already hundreds and thousands of people out there who assume Elderscrolls Online is going to be great already just by watching gameplay and preveiws.

Fri Mar 01 2013 4:14AM Report
Wizardry writes:

Breathe of fresh air to stay away from this site for a long period,then come back and see some journailsm that is actually amazing.

Everything he talks about is spot on accurate,i acan only add more REASON.

The reason you don't kiss ass in previews and marketing,is yo uwill NEVER get a true feeling of your product,how the people accept it and what the players want.

By putting your product out there early and allowing tons of feedback ,you allow your game to be "READY" and imporve BEFORE it reaches the shelves.

The problem is Beta as they operate right now,are nothing mroe than marketing and pre order gimmicks.Aside form making sure players can login with an actual playable screen,they are not taking feedback and are NOT going to change anything in the game.

THis is FACT,otherwise how can a developer announce a definitive release date,if they are honest about feedback and the quality of their game?

Tue Mar 05 2013 8:52AM Report
meglepett writes: very good video Wed Mar 06 2013 1:42AM Report writes:
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