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Age of Conan: Anatomy of a Launch - Part One

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

New MMORPG.com writer Mathew Reuther pens this look back at the Age of Conan launch from his perspective.

Each new year sees a few high profile MMORPG releases. These game launches are something each early adopter of a new MMO eagerly anticipates yet dreads at the same time. The veterans of the massive online gaming battlefield can tell you some real horror stories. As new games come to market and eager gamers await the opening of the game servers, one of the most oft-repeated tales is that of Anarchy Online's 2001 launch.

The story of this launch is probably one of the most chilling MMO tales floating around the net, as when the game released it was nearly impossible for customers to actually play. The ambition of the game's creators to have one large world where every gamer who wanted to play would be able to interact with every other player was unheard of at the time. Even today only one game (EVE Online) has successfully achieved this goal in a large scale title. This ambition came at a high price as the in-game avatars actually generated so much stress on the game engine that a matter of walking fifty meters in the game world became an arduous journey that could take fifteen minutes or more. Though the game developers (Funcom, a minor development house based in Norway of all places) were quick to begin addressing the issues, the damage done by the initial problems is incalculable. Even post-fix efforts to woo customers back with offers of free playtime were not a resounding success. Though Anarchy Online remains profitable (albeit with an alternate revenue scheme) today, it is likely a shadow of what it could have become had the launch not been an abysmal failure.

Read the whole editorial here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • mike470mike470 General Correspondent -unknown-Posts: 2,396Member

    Very nicely written Mr. Reuther.

    I look forward to part 2.

    __________________________________________________
    In memory of Laura "Taera" Genender. Passed away on Aug/13/08 - Rest In Peace; you will not be forgotten

  • ArtermisArtermis CarlislePosts: 172Member

    Although i like constructive critism, all of part one looks at 'issues' of the launch, and doesnt mention any good points. He thinks they did that bad? Personally, me and the rest of my wow guild got onto a server with 0 problems and have been playing hapily ever since.

    Does he think double the amount of servers should of been opened on day 1 ? Hence having low population servers?

    Is part 2 the same old bashing? and nothing good on funcoms behalf. In my opinion they have a massive task ahead of them for the first few months at least, and are doing a good job.

    I have to head off home from work now or i would post more, but to me it seems to be just a bashing news post.

  • StraddenStradden Managing Editor Halifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member
    Originally posted by Artermis


    Although i like constructive critism, all of part one looks at 'issues' of the launch, and doesnt mention any good points. He thinks they did that bad? Personally, me and the rest of my wow guild got onto a server with 0 problems and have been playing hapily ever since.
    Does he think double the amount of servers should of been opened on day 1 ? Hence having low population servers?
    Is part 2 the same old bashing? and nothing good on funcoms behalf. In my opinion they have a massive task ahead of them for the first few months at least, and are doing a good job.
    I have to head off home from work now or i would post more, but to me it seems to be just a bashing news post.

    Again, as the article says, this is his own look at the launch. The point of the article is to look at what went wrong.

    Cheers,
    Jon Wood
    Managing Editor
    MMORPG.com

  • mike470mike470 General Correspondent -unknown-Posts: 2,396Member

     

    Originally posted by Artermis


    Although i like constructive critism, all of part one looks at 'issues' of the launch, and doesnt mention any good points. He thinks they did that bad? Personally, me and the rest of my wow guild got onto a server with 0 problems and have been playing hapily ever since.
    Does he think double the amount of servers should of been opened on day 1 ? Hence having low population servers?
    They get sales reports.  They *should* look at forums.  They should have been more prepared for the fact that their game had the possibilty to become a success.  While handling a launch of this calliber is not simple, it does not take away from the fact it was poorly done.
    Is part 2 the same old bashing? and nothing good on funcoms behalf. In my opinion they have a massive task ahead of them for the first few months at least, and are doing a good job.
    It should be the same old bashing.  Hopefully Part 2 will be about the bugs and how the game wasn't even complete at launch!!
    I have to head off home from work now or i would post more, but to me it seems to be just a bashing news post.
    I like this.  This is just saying what the fans have been complaining about.  The news writers here (I assume) are gamers just like us, and they are entitled to an opinion, just like us.  It is good that a news article is being put out about how [poorly] this launch was done, instead of just ignoring it and pretending like it never happened.  This is a gaming site, and opinionated news posts will be made gawd damnit!
    There is nothing wrong with a news reporter voicing their opinion about this.  I, for one, look forward to more articles like this in the future.

     

     

    __________________________________________________
    In memory of Laura "Taera" Genender. Passed away on Aug/13/08 - Rest In Peace; you will not be forgotten

  • Ben1778Ben1778 pittsburgh, PAPosts: 33Member

    I don't usually try a new MMO until a couple months after release.  I do a lot of reading and research before investing my time and money into something like that.  It's been my experience that upon launch, most MMOs have a lot of issues and bugs that really interrupt smooth gameplay and the immersion factor.  For example it's hard to comment about how much you love some of the group PvP when one or more members of your group is disconnected once per 10 minutes.   It's hard to discuss the polish and fun of the game before they fix a couple big issues (overcrowding & queue times, DX10, etc).

     

    Once those kind of issues are handled players will start to comment about how awesome the combat system is, or how they like the art or mecahnics of something.   You just have to get the big things out of the way and that often takes a little time.   I am a huge Robert E Howard fan and would be very excited if Funcom solved the gameplay issues quickly before the player base becomes a little too disgruntled.  I think they learned some valueable lessons from the AO launch mess. 

  • boingedboinged LondonPosts: 160Member

    Did it go wrong? Many more copies of the game were sold than anticipated and yet most people on most servers had an ok time.

    I remember the PotBS servers at launch not long ago, with just a fraction of the player base, and they were really laggy. I experienced very little lag and no queues on my server with AoC.

    PS. The instancing technology that so many people complain about in AoC actually saved Funcom lots of hassle with this oversubscribed launch, and it means if numbers die down then the instances will merge rather than servers.

  • galad2003galad2003 Burlington, NCPosts: 167Member

    So what he is saying is:

    The game was vastly more popular than anyone imagined. Funcom was unprepared for the mass quantity of people who wanted to play the game thus, servers filled up quickly, early access keys ran out quickly, stores sold out and had problems getting enough to fill demand. In other words the game was a huge success. Yea FC way to screw up and make a game that so many people wanted to play that it overwhelmed you. Next time make a crappy game that no one wants to play so you have empty servers.

  • silverreignsilverreign Whitehouse, TXPosts: 402Member Uncommon

    exactly. aoc is a success whether people like it or not. no game is "polished" at launch. as far as being "finished" at launch, no mmo is EVER finished. WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK UPDATES AND EXPANSIONS ARE?!  

    image

  • MindTriggerMindTrigger La Quinta, CAPosts: 2,596Member

     

    Originally posted by galad2003


    So what he is saying is:
    The game was vastly more popular than anyone imagined. Funcom was unprepared for the mass quantity of people who wanted to play the game thus, servers filled up quickly, early access keys ran out quickly, stores sold out and had problems getting enough to fill demand. In other words the game was a huge success. Yea FC way to screw up and make a game that so many people wanted to play that it overwhelmed you. Next time make a crappy game that no one wants to play so you have empty servers.

     

    *Initial sales* were a success. Whether or not the game is a success as a subscription based MMO for the long haul is a whole other question. 

    I personally walked away from the game even before my "free" 30 days was over for many, many reasons.  Lots of other people on multiple MMOs I am playing all tried Conan and left too citing the same issues I had with it. I sure would like my $50 back, but that's the risk you take when you buy any new game.

    A sure sign that you are in an old, dying paradigm/mindset, is when you are scared of new ideas and new technology. Don't feel bad. The world is moving on without you, and you are welcome to yell "Get Off My Lawn!" all you want while it happens. You cannot, however, stop an idea whose time has come.

  • GorillaGorilla Posts: 2,202Member Uncommon

    Misses the real worse issue, whilst essentially they have enough servers it seems like they have no customer services staff what so ever. Well maybe one or two old guys from AO that they quickly got to fill in. Scandalous.

    Of course the real promblems are showing now a couple of weeks in.

  • JK-KanosiJK-Kanosi Seaside, CAPosts: 1,357Member

    Love the combat, love the graphics, love the FFA PvP, but Funcom didn't do their homework, so I am now playing Vanguard. I too am looking forwad to Part 2. It better be brutally honest.

    MMORPG's w/ Max level characters: DAoC, SWG, & WoW

    Currently Playing: WAR
    Preferred Playstyle: Roleplay/adventurous, in a sandbox game.

  • JK-KanosiJK-Kanosi Seaside, CAPosts: 1,357Member
    Originally posted by boinged


    Did it go wrong? Many more copies of the game were sold than anticipated and yet most people on most servers had an ok time.
    I remember the PotBS servers at launch not long ago, with just a fraction of the player base, and they were really laggy. I experienced very little lag and no queues on my server with AoC.
    PS. The instancing technology that so many people complain about in AoC actually saved Funcom lots of hassle with this oversubscribed launch, and it means if numbers die down then the instances will merge rather than servers.



    Do you have a quote from Funcom stating that they'd merge instances? While it may seem like common sense for Funcom to do that, I've played the game and seen how fast the mobs respawn and the amount of people in one instance and I honestly don't think that could happen without some changes. For one, the respawn timers would have to be increased if more people are added to an instance, because as of right now, they are too slow for the 5-8 people in the area. 5-8 people for Pete's sake in one instance making an area barren of mobs is piss poor design and isn't on par with traditional MMO standards of a massive multiplayer populated world.

    MMORPG's w/ Max level characters: DAoC, SWG, & WoW

    Currently Playing: WAR
    Preferred Playstyle: Roleplay/adventurous, in a sandbox game.

  • JK-KanosiJK-Kanosi Seaside, CAPosts: 1,357Member

    Originally posted by MindTrigger


     
    Originally posted by galad2003


    So what he is saying is:
    The game was vastly more popular than anyone imagined. Funcom was unprepared for the mass quantity of people who wanted to play the game thus, servers filled up quickly, early access keys ran out quickly, stores sold out and had problems getting enough to fill demand. In other words the game was a huge success. Yea FC way to screw up and make a game that so many people wanted to play that it overwhelmed you. Next time make a crappy game that no one wants to play so you have empty servers.

     

    *Initial sales* were a success. Whether or not the game is a success as a subscription based MMO for the long haul is a whole other question. 

    I personally walked away from the game even before my "free" 30 days was over for many, many reasons.  Lots of other people on multiple MMOs I am playing all tried Conan and left too citing the same issues I had with it. I sure would like my $50 back, but that's the risk you take when you buy any new game.

    I'm right there with you. There are things about AoC that I absolutely love, but there were gamebreaking things that aren't fixed that can and probably will be fixed eventually. Fanboi's need to understand that some of us that are heavily critical of the game actually loved a lot of things about it and want the game to get better, hence why we are criticizing it. What gamer in their right mind wants a game to fail, so they have a smaller pool of games to choose from? No, fanboi's we want AoC to get better and to succeed. The game is beautiful and the combat is fun and action packed. This game does have some serious issues needing addressed. I won't post them here, because they've been posted a hundred times already and Funcom already knows about them. Granted, not everyone has these issues, and I wish I was one of the lucky ones that didn't. But I do, so I will criticize. Sorry, but I had to cancel too.

    MMORPG's w/ Max level characters: DAoC, SWG, & WoW

    Currently Playing: WAR
    Preferred Playstyle: Roleplay/adventurous, in a sandbox game.

  • AikenDrumAikenDrum Portland, ORPosts: 118Member

    Originally posted by Artermis


    Although i like constructive critism, all of part one looks at 'issues' of the launch, and doesnt mention any good points. He thinks they did that bad? Personally, me and the rest of my wow guild got onto a server with 0 problems and have been playing hapily ever since.
    Does he think double the amount of servers should of been opened on day 1 ? Hence having low population servers?
    Is part 2 the same old bashing? and nothing good on funcoms behalf. In my opinion they have a massive task ahead of them for the first few months at least, and are doing a good job.
    I have to head off home from work now or i would post more, but to me it seems to be just a bashing news post.

    The guild I am a member of had some issues all getting onto the same server.  Those of us with Early Access, were able to create our toons with no problems on the only RP-PVP server we could chose, Cimmeria.  By the time launch day rolled around however, it was very frequently full and our non-Early Access members had a hard time creating their toons and joining us.   It happened exactly as Mathew described it.  So I for one also welcome articles like this. 

  • MyrathiMyrathi LivingstonPosts: 94Member

     

    Originally posted by silverreign


    no game is "polished" at launch. 

    They should be. No exceptions. Launch is supposed to be "we're out of beta, we've fixed all our bugs and the game works as we intend it to!". In the case of AoC, that's not the situation. It should be polished. It should be ready to play without the insane number of bugs that are still in it (even before end-game, not that that's the point).

    That they've released "more polished than other companies have in the past" is entirely besides the point. It's not polished and it should be. Period.

     

    Originally posted by silverreign


    as far as being "finished" at launch, no mmo is EVER finished. WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK UPDATES AND EXPANSIONS ARE?!  

    This, at least, I agree with. Updates should always happen, to address issues that will, undoubtedly, crop up and bite you. Expansions are (almost *grin*) always something to look forward to.

    However, until players start actively complaining about (and refusing to pay for) the release of beta-quality games, ass-backwards developers (or their tight-fisted distributors) will keep giving us this beta-quality rubbish. The next game to be released could be the WoW-breaking, most awesome, mind-destroyingly beautiful game to ever hit the market, with a crafting system to make even ex-SWG players cry tears of joy.... but if it's a buggy piece of crap, I'm still not going to play it. I don't pay to play beta; I pay to play release-quality games.

    Now, don't get me wrong: personally, I love what AoC tries to be.

    I want to play it! Really! I would happily give them my money each month for what AoC tries to be.

    But.... (and it's a huge but...)

    There are just way too many bugs and horridly thought-out mechanics and issues for me to play without grinding my teeth; crafting is waste of time and effort, the resource system is horrendous, itemization is beyond chronic (my necro has had two level 10 greens way past level 40 simply because nothing better has dropped or appeared on the Trader), player cities are horrendously buggy (no npcs meaning buildings are useless, falling through buildings' internals, etc), quests are buggy all over the place (even in some of the first zones you get to after leaving Tortage), you can lock yourself out of - or just utterly bug out - gathering and tradeskills if you have something as simple as a full quest log (known about since early access but nothing done about it)... the last being even worse because there's nothing you can do to drop or reset those tradeskills and GMs actively say "they can't help you because they're only allowed to help fix Destiny Quests". Yes. Really.

    The combat system may rock and the lore may be great; the environments may be nothing short of jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring; those don't, however, make the sour taste in my mouth go away, when I run head-first into yet another bugged quest.

    When they fix their slew of problems, I'll be one of the first to sign back up, again. I'm fairly sure that my few dozen friends who have also cancelled their accounts (after trying to play through these issues) will do the same.

    We just refuse to pay to play a beta... and regardless of what the mindless fanbois attempt to tell you, it most definitely still is in beta and, at this rate, will still be for quite some time.

    I wish FunCom the best of luck in their striving to get the game into a release state, though. I don't feel cheated (more than with any other MMO release)... just extremely disappointed.

    I console myself with this thought: at least it wasn't another AO release. :P

    One of those is enough to last me the rest of my gaming lifetime. Heh.

  • kitsunegirlkitsunegirl Grand Rapids, MIPosts: 525Member

    Maybe you will address the huge stink that was the RP-pve server debacle where they gave the Europeans one, but continuously ignored the Americans desire for one.

    image

  • GorillaGorilla Posts: 2,202Member Uncommon

    Don't fret about having no items drop for you.....most of the stats do nothing anyway :)

  • AOCtesterAOCtester ReykjavPosts: 431Member

    A total disgrace of an article !!!  MMORPG.COM proves they are taking direct bribes from gaming developers instead of bringing out the TRUE issues of a new releaased MMORPG game.

    Anatomy of a launch ?   How about talking about the PR job that promised alot of features that then are not in the game ?  How about talking about the total preventions of allowing testers to tell gamers about the true state of the game ?   How about pointing out that he "succsess" of launch is NOT based on the product - not based on the content and not based on the features.   Its based on something totally diffrent.  And MMORPG.COM finds that perfectly fine ? 

    What kinda MMORPG gaming site is this ? 

    Fool as many to spend their money ?   Is that what gaming is about ?   Is that good for the MMO gamers?  Or is that good for MMORPG.Com vallet ?  Not to mention the gaming developers ?  

  • lupisenparislupisenparis Broussard, ORPosts: 185Member

    I'd have to disagree with the op, EQ1 was worse than AoC and EVERY expansion for it meant bugs, crashes and nerf batting.  Hands down EQ1 is the worst with every launch.

  • BlueCadwalBlueCadwal Pembroke Pines, FLPosts: 170Member
    Originally posted by AOCtester


    A total disgrace of an article !!!  MMORPG.COM proves they are taking direct bribes from gaming developers instead of bringing out the TRUE issues of a new releaased MMORPG game.
    Anatomy of a launch ?   How about talking about the PR job that promised alot of features that then are not in the game ?  How about talking about the total preventions of allowing testers to tell gamers about the true state of the game ?   How about pointing out that he "succsess" of launch is NOT based on the product - not based on the content and not based on the features.   Its based on something totally diffrent.  And MMORPG.COM finds that perfectly fine ? 
    What kinda MMORPG gaming site is this ? 
    Fool as many to spend their money ?   Is that what gaming is about ?   Is that good for the MMO gamers?  Or is that good for MMORPG.Com vallet ?  Not to mention the gaming developers ?  

    I actually have to agree.  The whole article read a lot more like an opinion piece designed to bring down Age of Conan.  Every single major MMO has experienced these problems and delays, and I know from experience.  I've played almost every major MMO at the launch and they've all had the same problems, delays, and issues.  Only the early MMOs were unaffected by the Open Beta access issue because it wasn't used as a commercial ploy to sell the product.  By far the best MMO launch I have ever experienced was Lord of the Rings Online because almost none of the problems were present, granted it took Turbine 2 games (and one botch) to get there but they did.

    Let it be known that I hate WoW with a passion and will defend almost any MMORPG against it.
    Current: FFXI (PC/360)
    Want: FFXIV, Stargate Worlds, Star Trek Online
    Past: AC, AoC, AO, Atlantica Online, CoH/V, DAoC, Dungeon Runners, D&DO, EVE, Everquest I+II, FlyFF, GW (all), Lineage 2, LOTRO, Mabinogi, Maplestory, PSO (DC/Xbox/PC), PSU (PC/360), PlanetSide, RO, Shadowbane, SWG (Pre-NGE), SotNW, TR, UO, Warhammer Online, WoW, WWIIO

  • FiredornFiredorn Montreal, QCPosts: 93Member

     

    Originally posted by AOCtester


    A total disgrace of an article !!!  MMORPG.COM proves they are taking direct bribes from gaming developers instead of bringing out the TRUE issues of a new releaased MMORPG game.
    Anatomy of a launch ?   How about talking about the PR job that promised alot of features that then are not in the game ?  How about talking about the total preventions of allowing testers to tell gamers about the true state of the game ?   How about pointing out that he "succsess" of launch is NOT based on the product - not based on the content and not based on the features.   Its based on something totally diffrent.  And MMORPG.COM finds that perfectly fine ? 
    What kinda MMORPG gaming site is this ? 
    Fool as many to spend their money ?   Is that what gaming is about ?   Is that good for the MMO gamers?  Or is that good for MMORPG.Com vallet ?  Not to mention the gaming developers ?  

    What?

     

    This article (Part 1 of X) outlines some of the problems with the game, more than anything else.  I for one am having a pretty good experience with AoC but am frustrated that some of my colleagues are having problems.  Will I leave the game if my guild decides to move on due to problems? I will.  But in the mean time, I try to enjoy the game for what it is and have faith that Funcom will deliver on its promises.

    Should Funcome have been better prepared? Yes. 

    Should they have a better PR/CS department?  Yes. 

    Are they paying MMORPG.com to write a flashy embellishing article?  Are you nuts? 

    Are they trying to fool people to spend their money?  I ask you who is the more foolish; the one who fools or the one who gets fooled?  Get informed, get educated and make an informed purchase.  Don't blame publicity and hype (called promotion for you non-business types) for making a game attractive.  That is the whole point of going in business....to make money.

    I personally can't wait for the next part(s) of this article, as I have been  in the dark about some of the other issues I don't know about.  I haven't looked around for problems that I don't have and count myself lucky.  I do hope that people who left do decide to come back when the game actually goes through its polish.

    P.S.: I agree with LOTRO being my smoothest launch evar!

  • checkthis500checkthis500 Raleigh, NCPosts: 1,236Member

     

    Originally posted by AOCtester


    A total disgrace of an article !!!  MMORPG.COM proves they are taking direct bribes from gaming developers instead of bringing out the TRUE issues of a new releaased MMORPG game.
    Anatomy of a launch ?   How about talking about the PR job that promised alot of features that then are not in the game ?  How about talking about the total preventions of allowing testers to tell gamers about the true state of the game ?   How about pointing out that he "succsess" of launch is NOT based on the product - not based on the content and not based on the features.   Its based on something totally diffrent.  And MMORPG.COM finds that perfectly fine ? 
    What kinda MMORPG gaming site is this ? 
    Fool as many to spend their money ?   Is that what gaming is about ?   Is that good for the MMO gamers?  Or is that good for MMORPG.Com vallet ?  Not to mention the gaming developers ?  



    I'd wait for Part 2 before going off.  I think the reason it has "parts" is because the launch, and the state of the game can easily be divided into two very separate beasts.

     

    I think the state of the game at launch is what has bothered most, and that will naturally be what they talk about last.

    Personally I feel like all of the people following the game were lied to.  You don't release any software product that isn't completely tested and "feature complete."  It's just bad business to do so, no matter what the reason.

    If you say something is definitely going to be in the game, then it damn well better be there.  If you say "we're planning on it being in at launch" then you have some room to your statement where if it isn't in, it's no big deal.

    There are tons of issues with the high level content, and tons of issues with bizarre bugs that shouldn't have made it past the in-house testers.  Poor development process IMO.

    To Seryth: I agree with your "get informed, get educated" argument, but wouldn't you agree that Funcom tried to prevent that.  They didn't live the NDA until release.  They didn't unlock the forums to the public until a week in.  I mean it seemed like they were really trying to hide some things and prevent the gamers from being educated and informed about their next purchase.

    ---------------------------------------------
    I live to fight, and fight to live.

  • ErolisErolis Mission Viejo, CAPosts: 54Member

    Originally posted by Myrathi
    They should be. No exceptions. Launch is supposed to be "we're out of beta, we've fixed all our bugs and the game works as we intend it to!". In the case of AoC, that's not the situation. It should be polished. It should be ready to play without the insane number of bugs that are still in it (even before end-game, not that that's the point).
    That they've released "more polished than other companies have in the past" is entirely besides the point. It's not polished and it should be. Period.
     However, until players start actively complaining about (and refusing to pay for) the release of beta-quality games, ass-backwards developers (or their tight-fisted distributors) will keep giving us this beta-quality rubbish. The next game to be released could be the WoW-breaking, most awesome, mind-destroyingly beautiful game to ever hit the market, with a crafting system to make even ex-SWG players cry tears of joy.... but if it's a buggy piece of crap, I'm still not going to play it. I don't pay to play beta; I pay to play release-quality games.
    Now, don't get me wrong: personally, I love what AoC tries to be.

    I want to play it! Really! I would happily give them my money each month for what AoC tries to be.

    Amen Brother!

    Ever since Netscape started it's infinate beta cycle in 1997. Internet based software. Software that REQUIRES internet access to function at all, like a web browser or in this case an MMORPG. Has been developed with (ab)using the general public to act as their unpaid, in many cases your paying them, beta testing department. This trend has now migrated to consoles like the XBOX 360 and PS3 since both come with a hard drive (the ps3 always, xbox you can buy it after the fact) , sony and MS can now update to their hearts content games that shipped too early or in a beta state. It used to be that console games had to be 100% PERFECT, now they can be good enough. This will continue until the paying public stops buying beta quality software and stops being unpaid beta testers, and in some cases unpaid tech support via the forums. Case in point. AOC runs like dirt on my machine. But Vanguard, which uses the unreal engine, but an earlier version, runs wonderfully on balanced, but AOC is unplayable on the same hardware using the lowest settings possible and I tried for hours. Using a trick that a friend found on the forums. I was able to increase the frame rate from about 4 FPS to 8 to 10 FPS. Which makes it just barley playable. And NO I'm not getting a new computer just to play ONE game. Forget it. EQ2 runs beatifully as well on balanced even in a raid, and maxes out the WoW engine, but that is not really hard to do. Every game I have ever tried on my computer works awesomely, except Age of Conan.

    The continual beta release cycle will continue, because people will put up with it. It's sad but true. It's only going to get worse, as studios try to save a buck, why pay massive amounts of people to test it when you can unleash it on an unsuspecting public and call it a preview. At least call it what it is, unpaid beta testing.

    The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity. - Harlan Ellison
    image

  • AOCtesterAOCtester ReykjavPosts: 431Member

    Here is what I feel Funcom should have done.  Ive stated this on Test forums - on the public AOC forums and now here.

    First off - DONT fool the players.  It can never pay off.  Funcom did delepratly hide the state of the game when it launched.  That on its own is a disgrace to gaming.  It had nothing to do with servers - it had nothing to do with client stability.  It had to do with a) the content of the game b) features of the game c) classes of the game. Stabilty of servers and Clients should have been tested months and months before at that stage. 

    Imagine this...  This game was in beta for ... God knows how long.  Still there was NO focused testing of Spellweaving before launch.  None.. whatsoever.  And this leads to spellweaving beeing now disabled for certain classes.  Imagine the effect on the overall classbalance ?  Key factor of any MMO game was just thrown in at last second.  And ofc it wasn't working.

    Content -  Its lacking to maintain healty and steady lvling curve in the game.   Part of the problem lvling is cause there are endless traveling between loading screens - and then running - and then running on slowed down mounts that cost fortune... Just so the Pre-Orders and EA would not go crazy on slow mount that  was made for content that WAS NOT ready ... Now... Im still trying to be positive.

    Features -  I could go on and on about this one.  DX10 ... Who cares if this game has a box saying it specially supports DX10?   There are many bigger features that again were NOT tested in beta and testers knew were not ready. 

    So what should Funcom have done ?   I tell you what.. THey should have been honest.  Yes - thats a big word but it pays of longterm.  So what does it mean to be honest in this case?

    Here is what it means.  When "open beta" started Funcom should have come out and PUBLICLY announche the following.

     - The game will now be focused fully on testing the lvling process of the game. 

    - Certain features of the game will sadly not make the launch.  DX 10 - Guild Cities and Siege battles have not fully been tested and will need more time and testing before we can release it.  

    - Our priority at this stage is to provide balanced content throughout the lvling progress.  Thats why we are now focusing specially on spellweaving and will be launching focused testing in closed beta to test out this feature for those classes.  Class balance is a key feature in any MMORPG game and we will do our very best to make sure we can provide both fun - and at the same time fair and balanced game throughout the lvling progress.

    Now....  What did Funcom actually say at this stage ?....

    They came out PUBLICLY and said they were holding DX10, siege battles and spellweaving out for the closed beta testers so  testers could look forward to something at release....   How many closed beta testers do you think actually belived that ?   NOONE !! And NDA prevented testers to say so.  All testers knew at exactly that stage that Funcom was no longer beeing honest about one word they said at that time.  They were just selling an unfinshed game - trying to make as much money at launch and then ....  well.... and then what ?

    Are ppl really surprised that the game is getting backlash now ?   Really ? 

    Or why do you think Funcom has made special rules that players that have BOUGHT their product are not allowed to say on OFFICIAL forums that they have chancelled the subsctibtion ?  .....  Seriously .... Is that how to listen to custimors that were fooled into buying something they belived was actually a real end product ? 

    What about beeing honest ?  

    MMORPG.COM ... What about beeing honest for the good of the gamers instead of the gaming developers ?



  • ElikalElikal ValhallaPosts: 7,906Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by boinged


    Did it go wrong? Many more copies of the game were sold than anticipated and yet most people on most servers had an ok time.
    I remember the PotBS servers at launch not long ago, with just a fraction of the player base, and they were really laggy. I experienced very little lag and no queues on my server with AoC.
    PS. The instancing technology that so many people complain about in AoC actually saved Funcom lots of hassle with this oversubscribed launch, and it means if numbers die down then the instances will merge rather than servers.



    Which part in the word "critic" do you fail to understand? A critic is SUPPOSED to highlight what went wrong. Its like a gourmet critic, or a movie critic, no one wants to read what went as planned, but what went out of what was to be expected. A critic has to highlight critical things, otherwise it would be called advertisement.

    People don't ask questions to get answers - they ask questions to show how smart they are. - Dogbert

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