Earlier today Bill started writing a list about five things that we MMO gamers should stop whining about. It comes out next week, and really a lot of them are very good. That said, we (the staff here) all agreed that we should start off with five things we should all feel perfectly safe kvetching about. No one is saying you shouldn’t have anything to complain about. It’s perfectly reasonable to have a rational discourse on things that upset you. Don’t reduce yourself down to name calling, mudslinging, or down right attacking the people or things that you don’t agree with, is all. If you do people just tune you out and you will more than likely be ignored. With that said here are my own personal five things that you should be actively engaged against in the MMO genre.
5. Subscriptions for games that are not frequently updated.
No longer is it acceptable for MMOs to charge a subscription if they are not going to update their game frequently. What determines what is frequent enough is very open for debate. For my money it is roughly once a quarter. Three big updates a year at the bare minimum. No longer is it enough to charge money just to keep the lights on. There are plenty of multiplayer games out there that charge a one time purchase fee and have tons of multiplayer mode servers, and I’m not even talking about other MMOs! If you can’t be bothered to update you game, we shouldn’t be bothered to pay.
4. Early Access Bad Practices
This one is great for developers but not that great for consumers. There is a reason that a lot of developers have gone the the lean model of software development and not just for games. This means creating those minimal viable products and getting them into the hands of paying customers as soon as possible. The great part as the consumer is that you can see some really off the wall design decisions that traditional developers and publishers wouldn’t be willing to try. The bad news is that financially it’s usually the consumer left holding the short end of the stick when the game they were promised would be built around the minimal viable product they purchased never gets developed because not enough people are interested.
3. When it really is pay to win
Just because a game sells you a cosmetic item that can only be purchased in the real money cash shop it is not pay to win. That said if the same game sells you a ward needed to upgrade an item that allows you to enhance a weapon that will add a 6% damage increase bestowing upon you a significant advantage over your peers in PvP is pay to win. No a 1% chance to upgrade the item without the ward does not make any less pay to win, especially if you lose your items if the upgrade fails.
2. When a game launches and it isn’t anything like the hype...
This one isn’t always on the developer. A lot of the times publishers and public relations get their hands involved and make promises that the developer just isn’t equipped to live up to. Other times the developer runs into time constraints and features end up on the cutting room floor. For my money I’d rather have a game be repeatedly delayed to launch a quality product than on time and half assed. I’m okay with waiting if it makes the game that much better. Kudos to Square Enix for having the guts to delay Final Fantasy XV for two months even after they held a spectacle of an event to announce the release date. Some high ranking officials had to swallow their pride to get that to happen and I’m glad they did.
1. The never ending fundraiser!
This isn’t limited to Kickstarter but they have their fair share. This is about those games that are in development and release constant developer updates alongside constant sales of in game items that can be developed if you only pay them ten thousand more dollars. They want you to know just how much money they have raised with your help and how involved their community is as they continue to ask for more. Meanwhile their game is somewhere near a minimal viable product and not yet what their true vision is without that extra cash. These companies remind me of the annoying kid that comes around to your house every few months with a different fundraiser for their school, cub scouts, church, father’s midlife crisis, it’s not cute it’s just annoying. Stop it. I’ve backed more than one of these and want to say thank you to Camelot Unchained for not barraging me weekly with emails asking for more money. Apparently once was enough.
Final thought: The best way to complain about all of these? Stop giving them your money. It’s easier said than done, I know. I have one game in particular for each of these examples in mind. Two of them I’ve given money to in the last month. Three of them will never see another penny from me. I’m not sure I can say the same about the other two. For all their flaws and however much I dislike their monetization practices, I still find them fun. Yet, I’ll still complain about it. Isn’t that what the internet is for?