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The Official MMO philosophizing corner.

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Author: Enigma

A growing trend I have been noticing among MMO players ....

Posted by Enigma Wednesday August 20 2008 at 9:25AM
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.....and that is MMO players are having less patience for the many ways developers handle their games and, in my opinion, this is a good thing as it may force developers to actually make sure their games are playable before releasing.
The reason why I bring this up is because of three MMOs that comes to mind:
  • Star Wars Galaxies: New Game Enhancement.  This has been debated FOREVER and I wont go into who was at fault or screwed up this more..LA or SOE.  I could really care less at this point.  I remembered when I was on staff here I did a review on the NGE (its still on the SWG section) and while I was playing it, I thought to myself: well, crap, this wont go too well with the players.  I remember when SOE tried to keep it under wraps but Amazon dropped the ball by releasing the new NGE details too early.  The Community Manager over at SWG kept on denying the truth that the Developers were messing around with a game that has been in productivity for two years now. Sadly, the Community Manager literally did not know and when she voiced her opinion against NGE, she was promptly fired.  No matter how many commercials (you guys remember all those SWG NGE commercials?) they produced, the exodus of players from SWG was jaw dropping.  Since I have been playing MMOs (since 1999), I had NEVER experience such a massive withdrawal of players from any MMO at one time ever.  This was the first wave (and hint) that players weren't going to take it anymore.
 
  • Vanguard Saga of Heroes:  This game was the second AAA rated MMO that was affected by the players' mentality of we aren't going to take it anymore.  Brad McQuaid took a good idea and completely crashed and burned it into the ground leaving only a few survivors.  In his mind, he thought he could lead a company because he had a nice ranger in EQ and he was on the EQ development team. Well, common sense dictates that a game developer who helped with artistic rendering would not necessarily qualify them for running a multimillion dollar software company.  He had no business skills (or educational training) whatsoever.  He was so convinced that people would play his game regardless because of the nifty features he was adding (seamless world, diplomacy side quests, etc) but what he failed to realize was that many players just will not play a buggy game anymore.
McQuaid was so convinced of it, that he screwed around with Microsoft and lost millions from that and during the last 2 months of development he hardly ever went to work.  But when it was released, the players quickly realized how buggy the game was and in two months time the subscription numbers went from 250,000 to 20,000.  They lost so many players that Sigil could no longer afford to maintain the servers and to pay their developer salaries.  Later in the second month, Brad drove away on his motorcycle and hired a 3rd party person (who is paid to fire people...kinda like in Office Space) to fire his entire company save for four people. They brought them out in the parking lot, said you are fired and made them all go home.  Sigil failed because they hyped a game and lied about results. They thought the player would be understanding and that Sigil will continue to get money from there player base so they could "fix" their game while we payed to beta test their game further.  Their failure to comprehend basic principles of business cost them their company and they ceased to exist.
  • Age of Conan:  We all knew the hype.  It was hyped for YEARS and 99% of us thought it was going to be our miracle MMO that we have been waiting for years.  The screenshots were incredible, the combat combos were revolutionary and the fatalities were new.  However, when we started to play it we realized the hard truth.  It had a pretty game skin but the inside was just rot.  They are plagued with bugs, GMs unsure about their own PvP ruleset, questionable moderators, etc.  They boasted 750K subscribers in the first month alone declaring it from rooftop to rooftop and we saw it. The servers were packed and many more were coming in.  However, it had a fatal flaw:  it was release with way too many bugs, false promises, and missing features.
Funcom has had the mindset that Sigil did. We'll let the monies that come in from the release and the subsequent months to further pay for our developers to come out with better patches to stabilize this game. This is a fatal flaw because players are tired of paying for beta. They've just washed their hands and said no more.  We'll see what happens to funcom in the future. They still have a chance to save themselves but they need to be honest with their playerbase if they hope to achieve this.
Players are tired now of half assed MMOs. It doesn't matter if the MMO is the most hyped MMO of the century, if it is release in a shitty state of affairs players just aren't going to stick around anymore.  It isn't because players have lost patience in development of MMOs; it is because players have grown to dismiss the excuses that developers give them now.
Watch the interview with Jon and the Lead Developer of Funcom. Funcom was skirting those questions like Clinton during the Monica Lewinksy hearings. 

It’s in the hands of us now as the players to tell these companies that enough is enough. Develop it right the first time or don't do it at all. MMOs have been released with VERY LITTLE bugs in the past so it can be done. The question is whether or not these companies have the ethic morality of taking the time to do it right the first time versus having their first few months of subscribers pay for their patches

Mrbloodworth writes:

Im not sure its segregated to MMO's that are not complete. Its more like, MMO's that didn’t live up to what someone had in there head, no matter how unreasonable that idea in the head was.

There are some people that are just burned out on this genre, and hate any game that’s not Wow, Wow was a fluke.

I honestly do not understand the "My game is better than yours" attitude, I play all MMO's some i like more than others, some i enjoy for a handful of features within it.

Some people have just created a new MMO, its played on the forums and has a lot of  "YEAH! ME TOO" replys.

Granted, we would all like any new mmo to come out perfect, and with every feature in it, and we all have our dream MMO's. Sadly, reality created a different occurrence. MMO's take time, are made by people, things get cut, and nothing ever works out like it is on paper. The only way to perfect MMO's is by time with people in it, in the live game. You will never be able to account for everything a player base is going to do until you open the flood gates.

 

 

 

Oh, and the whole attitude of "The developers don’t want us to play the game/don’t care about players/are fucking us over/lazy/ ETC..." Is the most stupid stance ever. I cant believe anyone would think that. lol

 

 

A lot of games do come out "unfinished" or with poor executions...but dam, MMO players are a fickle bunch, and would bitch even if it gave them blowjobs while playing.

Wed Aug 20 2008 9:37AM Report
Souvec writes:

"Develop it right the first time or don't do it at all."

This I will agree with you until the end of time.  In my job, I have to have something 100% done and perfect by the time it hits press, why would anyone else who creates something as a profession be held to any less of a standard.  Get it right first, then release.  Everything after should be minor tweaks leaving expansions for the bigger content and feature additions... which should also be subject to those same standards.

Wed Aug 20 2008 10:52AM Report
dethgar writes:

Lol two of the most overhyped bombs of all time involve SoE, Vanguard by extension of a former employee(they actually salvaged his waste land), and SWG which always had its problems even in its golden days.

 

You forgot RICHARD GARRIOTT'S!!!111 Tabula Rasa, another under developed bug filled bomb masterminded by someone who thinks their history means they are bulletproof. TR would be an awesome game with bug fixes and pvp, more world elements. Too bad he's running off with his money to the moon.

 

I think AoC is going to become the modern standard of what happens when you don't deliver, or when a game is concealed until full release even to the beta players. Smoke and mirrors did us in there. Let's hope our mass exidous hits their wallet and makes investors demand more disclosure and attention to detail before investing.

 

Nice avatar btw, great taste!

Wed Aug 20 2008 11:42AM Report
archisis writes:

I applaud you! I couldnt agree with you more. I was one of those players that made the mistake of pre-ordering for the fancy smanzy ingame (CRAP) items you got for pre-ordering, only to find that the state of the games were horrendous. And realized, I was actually beta testing a live game.

Well...NEVER AGAIN! I will wait atleast 6 months to 1 year before I even think of touching any new games that go live.

Wed Aug 20 2008 2:39PM Report
ronpack writes:

Don't forget how SoE screwed up Planetside. That game also saw a massive exodus. And also Ultima Online. I can't even play the game I bought because EA wants me to buy a newer version of UO. Talk about getting screwed.

Sat Aug 23 2008 11:16AM Report
TruongSon writes:

GREAT POST! this is so damn true though. It's not like we having less patience, but we are fed up, tiredof the damn lies. And the feeling of being betrayed is a painful and lasting one =.-

Sat Aug 23 2008 1:24PM Report
rsreston writes:

Great blog, I loved it - I simply don't touch a game at least 6 months after release, because most of them will be a paying Beta, which you can't even play because there's always a patch to download and install. Not to mention tweaking the game.

Mon Aug 25 2008 11:24AM Report
Unive writes:

I play female avatars for all the reasons you stated. I respect your opinion completely and in no way am I gay.. But I am 100% shy and I wont talk to anyone in less spoken to.  And I have found playing a female avatar helps that social requirement everyone needs in an mmo to stay interested. I am admitting this up front.. I cannot fulfill my social requirements in video games if I play male avatars because you simply do not get as much attention as you do playing females.  I do not think it is so wrong to play the role as a female to deceive someone to help your game. I mean lets get realistic people.. Why do you help females so much more than men anyway? Lol, and this is not an escape goat to try and throw the blame to someone else but men do it simply because they are perverted bastards and they are wanting either A. To get sex ( yes on the interneetz) or B. To get some nude pics or just plain to get some attention them selves from females. Do not even lie and say otherwise I AM A GUY and guys generally see what other guys are up to.

Tue Aug 26 2008 11:11PM Report
CyberJ writes:

*Unive you're in the wrong blog.

About buggy MMO, I work in the software industry (mostly fortune 1000) and I understand the scope and magnitude of what is involved in large scale software and therefore I can and do tolerate some bug. Software are coded by human and we all make mystake. From the guy/gal that develop to the one that runs the test.

That beeing said, I have ZERO tolerance for the 'Microsoft' mentality. you know the one, the 'We know we got 575 bug left to fix but we HAVE to start bringing money so let's release and just start working on a 'fixpack'. Let's just put a PR person to fence the wrath, our stuff is so great and we're so good that the 'user' will still stick with us.

Well, I got news. I'm not a 'user', i'm a client. And when client are not happy guess what they do? They just move-on.

You would think that after seeing how SoE litteraly destroyed an almost guaranteed money making machine such as SWG others would have learned. I guess not.

They probably consider this recipie a success since they made their 'ROI' and now that they fired everyone the 'TCO' is so low that it was worth-it.

For most company, it's not about continued revenue but rather, a quick turn-over and then move-on to something else.

This will work in the short and mid-term but in the long run it will bite them in the ass.

SoE is my perfect example for this. They've screwed so many games that their reputation is made (with me anyway). If I see the SoE logo on it, I just won't bother playing because I just KNOW what i'm gonna get; MMO that 'could have been, should have been but won't be".

I rather spend my hard earn cash elsewhere. When enough of us will do the same, THEN (and only then) will the industry learn it's lesson.

Thu Aug 28 2008 7:12AM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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