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Screenshots don't mean jack for an MMO

Judging an upcoming/current MMO based on "screenshots"? Think again...

Author: HappyFunBall

Judging an MMO based on screen-shots...

Posted by HappyFunBall Wednesday February 6 2008 at 4:29PM
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Man, how many times must I find myself rushing to see the screen-shots of some past, current, or future MMO in order to decide if I want to play it or not.  How many other people do this?  They are, IMHO, a complete waste of time when it comes to telling you about the most important aspect of any MMO, the *playability*, or just, the "game" itself.

Worse yet, concept art.  Oh gawd, who the hell cares?  I know I don't.  Why would I want to look at anything besides the finished product that I'll definitely see again when I launch the game on my PC?

I personally download and try almost every MMO available.  I hold back on the retail box games and subscription games until a free trial is available (unless I was a beta tester, and have a good feel for the game already).  I've made the "ooh, but look at the screen-shots" mistake one too many times.

So many games have pretty graphics, and "awesome" screen-shots, just to find out that the playability is actually near 0.  How many f2p games have YOU downloaded based on screen-shots, just to uninstall the "game" the next day (or worse yet, 5 minutes after logging in and "playing" the so-called game).

I'm a veteran gamer, and remember when game demos didn't take up 1 gig+ to download, then some 10-20 minute install and setup (getting a game account and all that hassle),  just to try the game out.  It used to be so easy to quickly get up and running with a demo not so many years ago and be able to truly judge if you are going to want to play this game some more (by buying or subbing it) or not.

Now we have near constant dev chats, concept art, screenshots (which you may NEVER see in the shipping game), and posts by 12 year olds who have never played a single MMO saying "this game pwns!!!" and so on.  Sometimes, luckily, we get free trials here and there (which I don't call free if you need a credit card and actually will be billed if you don't cancel your "free trial" you just had to sign up for).

I've personally downloaded over 30 f2p games, beta tested about 20+ retail and f2p games, mostly based of pretty screenies, that I uninstalled in 5 mins to the next day or so (max) because the gameplay was laughable.  The same goes for "free" trials of "retail" or sub-based games.

What's wrong with a "demo server"?  We could download a MUCH smaller client, log into the very limited demo server - say, with an included tutorial,1-3 maps max, a max level of 5-20 (based of the type of MMO of course), and supply only a 1 week of playtime with auto account deletion (for those that want to abuse the server).

Maintenance would be next to 0 for such a small server, and this server is the advertising for a company's game, so it would be worth the time and money required to get it going and keep it running, FULL-TIME.

I say forget posting 1000 screenshots of your game, concept art, empty promised in dev chats, and let us actually try your game for free, for a week, and let us decide that way, by actually PLAYING the game, to see if we like it or not!!

Enough said, for now...