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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Community Spotlight: Why go back after a poor first impression?

Posted by MikeB Monday April 9 2012 at 6:47PM
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We're focusing on the thread, "Why go back to a mmorpg that gave a bad first impression?" in this week's Community Spotlight. The thread, started by user nomatics856, poses this question to the community:

Why cant these mmorpgs get it right the first time? Why is it when I see all these advertizements of mmorpgs saying return look at all our improvements, look at all our changes. You been in development for 4 to 5 years, probably even earlier than that, you have waves after waves of closed beta testing, open beta testing, internal testing, etc. Then you still release a half assed product  and then you tell us well dont worry about the crap now, we have so much potential, you as a player voice your opinion on the half assed products flaws and you get free month fan boys telling you your a troll (half of which wont even be playing after the free month is up and its time to pay). Then they say, well you shouldnt blast its flaws because it has so much potential, potential that doesnt get realized until  months later and the games half dead.

Then here come the banners, here comes the advertizements, come join us now, give us your time and money and see all the improvements we made. No, we need companys that need to start delivering on products at release, no nothing has to be 100% perfect it never will, but the rate and the quality of products being released now can be immensily improved.

So, what did you all have to say? Read on to find out!

elocke gives us the first great response:

I have gone back and been completely blown away by changes made.  Lotro and AoC as well as EQ2 are 3 games that come to mind in this category for me.  MMORPGs aren't like any other kind of game.  They actually CAN change over time and I fully expect them too and is one of the main reasons I love this genre so much.

I'm hoping that in a year or 2 SWTOR and Rift blow me away.

Now, granted, they should still aim to blow me away at launch...but sometimes there are dev changes, company take overs, etc. that alter games before and after release.  A lot of situations to take into consideration.  

Last but not least, sometimes it's just ME.  Maybe my viewpoint has changed or what might have bored me before now I consider fun.  Much like certain things in life.  Of course, that goes the other way too, and I notice it in games like WoW where it was a blast 4 years ago and doesn't grab me the same way at all.

For Kyleran, first impressions are critical:

I'm one of those people, once I try a game and move on, I'm pretty much done for good.  AOC, LotRO and Rift are good examples of titles that were a bit lackluster at launch for one reason or another, and even though reports came back about the titles continuing to improve in quality, I've just had no interest in revisiting them.

I guess because there are still so many titles I've never really had a chance to try, seems like a waste to go back and redo something I've already washed my hands of.

GTwander offers an interesting take on why he is willing to check back on these games:

Because I can understand the worth within the *core* of a game.

I did the MO beta test long ago, and liked it's very basis. Everything about it was buggy, and the community was the worst I have ever seen - EVER - but I occasionally do a free trial period here and there to see how it improves, and whether it's finally worth paying for. As is, I could if there was a way to chemically castrate it's playerbase. The game is nowhere as bad as it used to be, but most people won't see that... they go into a game with the sole purpose of finding it's faults. Like they are more invested in the idea of "why they shouldn't", compared to "why they should".

I for one am very forgiving about a game's technical faults, but a poor community is enough to make me stay away indefinitely. It's why I no longer play Eve (after playing on and off for years).

I also go back to Ryzom now and then, but it's hard to play with a nonexistant community as well.

~Again, people just WANT to hate on something to begin with. The DL is free, no barrier to entry, so why wouldn't they? It's much different, but a bit similar, to how nobody will pay for a game without trying it first - all the while trying to convince themselves that the cost for the full product isn't worth it, simply because they already got a taste, and spit ot out before any flavor can come through. So many people give up in the first 15 minutes... it's incredible.

Unless I was super hyped for a game and got burned hard at launch, I generally keep a completely open mind about this sort of thing. If I found the basic premise of the game intriguing, but was ultimately pushed away by a number of issues (small or large), I'm willing to check the game out again if the developer has sorted them out or added new things that pique my interest. It also helps if the developer lets me check the game out again for free, though this barrier to re-entry is becoming less of an issue now with the trend towards F2P. 

I just don't see the big deal. MMOs evolve, that is their nature, and also their strength. I know that for many the first impression is all a developer will get, but I've always been perplexed by this phenomenon. I played the original Witcher, which was an absolute mess, and I gave up on it. When CDProjekt deployed the Enhanced Edition version of the game I didn't scoff and ignore it. I re-installed the game and checked it out, only to end up having one of the best RPG experiences I can remember. If it requires something as simple as reinstalling the game, there really isn't any reason not to try it again if the updates sound compelling enough.

How about you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!