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General: The Worst MMORPG Launches

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,643MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

The launch of an MMO is arguably one of the most important facets in a game's long term success or failure as most players will not hang around a buggy game. In The List this week, MMORPG.com's Bill Murphy takes a look at the five worst MMO launches thus far in the history of MMOs. Check it out and add any you think are missing in the comments below.

In a week’s time, SOE will be launching the anticipated (and oft argued over) DC Universe Online. No stranger to MMO launches, SOE will hopefully be able to pull off a successfully smooth opening day. But despite a wealth of experience, sometimes things just don’t go as planned in the first days of a fledgling MMO. In the brand new year spirit of looking back to see where we are when moving forward, let’s take a look at five of the worst MMORPG launches in recent memory. Bear in mind, these are based on the author’s (my own) personal experiences since I began this hobby, and when I write the following synopses I’m not picking on the mentioned games… I’m just trying to call it like I see it. All said, let’s list us a list, shall we? Be sure to add your own thoughts below, as always.

Read more of Bill Murphy's The List: The Worst MMORPG Launches.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • thamighty213thamighty213 NewcastlePosts: 1,630Member

    Ha I was one of the very very few who got to experience SWG on day 1 well for all of 15 minutes before the server came down,   Warhammer had a pretty horendous launch in the EU with the same problems Aion, WOW etc had.

     

    Aion's in the EU wasnt that bad TBH not sure what it was like stateside but EU wise it was tolerable and the queues never quite got past the 20-30 minute mark which was bearable.

     

    Others i have no history with having beta's AOC from Alpha stage I was not prepared to pay for a product was in such a broken state so gave it a miss at launch, AO is before my MMO time (not my gaming time) and WOW I never had any interest in.

  • SolestranSolestran Laguna Vista, TXPosts: 342Member

    Spot on for the most part, but I definitely believe that Vanguard:  Saga of Heroes should be in the top 5 worst launches ever.

  • BACONXBACONX Wellford, SCPosts: 236Member

    EVE Online was pretty rough. I remember a couple of "rewinds" (lost like day of playing?)and lots of down times. This of course proves that bad launches do not make for bad game.

  • BACONXBACONX Wellford, SCPosts: 236Member

    Oh yeah! Sole, you are right. Vanguard- worst launch ever known.

  • kirak2009kirak2009 fredericton, NBPosts: 541Member Uncommon

    I am embarrased to say,  but i was involved in the " Horizons" laugh  er launch :/

    "All expectation leads to suffering" Buhhda

  • KanethKaneth Posts: 1,930Member Uncommon

    Can't forget about Anarachy Online, which had a terrible launch. Really, it was the worst launch of its time.

  • maskedweaselmaskedweasel houston, TXPosts: 7,277Member Uncommon

    A list wouldn't be complete without vanguard...  I also wouldn't count out the matrix online either,  .... really ... really bad.

    "Loan me a Dragon I wanna see space"


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  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,462Member Uncommon

    I don't really consider having queues part of a "horrible launch".

    I"m sure any number of games that had successful launches would be in the same boat if they had far more players than expected.

    To me, horrible launch is servers going down, huge lag, lots of bugs, billing errors, etc.

  • ericbelserericbelser buffalo, NYPosts: 783Member

    I'm sorry, but you have to be delusional to list WoW as the worst launch. It had very few problems compared to Anarchy Online and they were quickly solved, while the worst of AOs persisted for 3 months or longer (some for years!).

    It is also a shocking lapse to not have World War II Online in the list, unless you try to claim it isn't an MMO.

  • junzo316junzo316 Raleigh, NCPosts: 1,684Member Uncommon

    I think Darkfall should definitely be on the list.  Although the game is doing well now, it had a slew of problems when it launched.  One of those problems is that people who wanted the game couldn't even buy it.  These forums were full of upset players.  From server crashes, to the limited launch, to the hacking issues and other things the game was just a mess of a launch.

  • donblasdonblas at, TNPosts: 4Member

    What about Final Fantasy XIV?!? I was expecting it as #1 on the list.

  • DalanoDalano missoula, MTPosts: 116Member

    Even though I love WoW, I knew it would be number one. Other than AoC, the rest of these games had issues that were measured in days or weeks. WoW's issues persisted for months.

     

    Silver Hand was my first server, and it and nineteen other servers came to be known as the "terrible twenty" because they were up and down like a manic depressive doing situps. While the early days of WoW still hold some of my best gaming experiences, they were surely some of the most frustrating as well.

    Playing: FFXIV, EVE

  • TheonenoniTheonenoni Lexington, VAPosts: 279Member

    I agree with Donblas , Final Fantasy 14 was definitely the worst launch. They are still giving out free credits right? yah , worst launch ever.

    -I am here to perform logic

  • RohnRohn Saint Peters, MOPosts: 3,740Member Uncommon

    WoW earning top honors here is funny.

    Yes, I hope other game developers will learn their lesson here.  So, the next time a Western MMO developer launches a game that attracts, oh, about 4 million people (about 8 times as many as the next highest Western MMO ever had at its height), they'll be less stupid than Blizzard obviously was.

    Sheesh.

    At least Blizzard will likely be given a second chance to not be so completely inept, in that their next MMO will probably be the only other game that will attract those kinds of numbers again.

    Bad Blizzard!  Bad Blizzard!

    I sure hope they've learned their lesson, because this grave mistake almost ran them out of business.  Oh, wait....

    And Vanguard, probably the most recognizable posterchild for bad launches since Anarchy Online, doesn't make the list.  Unbelievable.

    Or, FFXIV - a game so bad, and a company with no idea how to fix it.  Where is it?

    Easily the worst List you guys have put out in a while.

    Hell hath no fury like an MMORPG player scorned.

  • spookydomspookydom BristolPosts: 1,782Member Uncommon

    http://www.somethingawful.com/d/feature-articles/ianarchy-onlinei-first.php?page=1

     

    Just linking the legendary article about the launch of A.O. For anyboy who has never read it I strongly advise a look. It makes me laugh every time.:)

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  • thamighty213thamighty213 NewcastlePosts: 1,630Member

    Vanguard launch was perfect,   thats not satire by the way for me it was i experienced zero problems there where no server queues I was in and playing 30 seconds after servers up (admitedly a couple of hrs later than expected) I had no techissues my pentium d 940 2gb ram and x1950XT ate vanguard up for breakfast and if i remember rightly I got numerous server firsts that day.

  • KellerKeller UtrechtPosts: 254Member

    Vaguard was terrible; the servers were working, but the exploits were numerous.

    Darkfall was really terrible. Servers were on and off. Like 100 people managed to get online and the rest had to wait for like 6 hours. Mobs were out of sync. Exploits and hacks were pretty normal. (not to mention how they sold the game to the players :) )

  • AntaranAntaran LeedsPosts: 579Member

    Obviously those attempting to defend WoW didn't read what the article actually said..

    "When it launched the fact that the developer was caught off guard by the response to its first MMO release was painfully obvious"

    "Servers were down for days at a time, players couldn’t loot, server-side lag was abundant and no matter how many new shards the studio launched, they filled to peak population incredibly quickly."

    "The early days of WoW were hampered by its own success. So much so that the developer began handing out free days in accordance with how many days the servers were inaccessible."

    and as far as Blizzards next MMO goes "I shudder to think about what Blizzard’s next MMO launch will be like" this means that it could be the same thing all over again unless they've learned to have the hardware to cope with mass population floods.

    TRY READING BEFORE BLINDLY DEFENDING WOW...

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,191Member Uncommon

    All of you have really bad memories about the Wow launch.  To put it number one basically means your memory is defunct!  They had a few server issues, but the servers I played on were never down more than a day and the game was quite playable and I was using a fairly low end computer at the time.

    Personally I don't think Wow should be on the list at all, EQ2 and Vanguard were far worse launches!

    So sorry Bill, but I think your list is bogus because you put the wrong game at number one and left out some far worse releases!

  • pixeldogmeatpixeldogmeat San Francisco, CAPosts: 441Member

    I think EQ was the worst, for months and months there were rollbacks. You could play for 7 hours, only to find you were 2 days behind the next day. This happened for MONTHS.

    and I played AO during beta and launch, no where near as bad as EQ.

    I think it's funny that EQ and UO are never mentioned on these lists, when they were plagued with problems for years.

    PLAY WURM ONLINE!! www.wurmonline.com

  • HerodesHerodes DannenbergPosts: 1,494Member

    Some names I can think of: Vanguard, Dark and Light, Roma Victor

    WoW and WAR released quite good here in EU (I don´t mean pre-release) in my opinion.

  • CelestianCelestian DFW, TXPosts: 1,151Member Uncommon

    The only thing on that list that actually deserves to be there is AO. Based on your scale I am surprised you left off EQ if you have WoW on there. EQ was far wrose than WoW. EQ's problems lasted much longer as well. Anytime a patch went live it would go back to being crap for days.

    Needless to say I think your list is off.

  • Kaynos1972Kaynos1972 Quebec, QCPosts: 2,316Member

    Funcom 2 MMO's in the top 3 worst launch, that's telling.

  • AutemOxAutemOx Fullerton, CAPosts: 1,704Member

    I remember being able to log into SWG on the second day and having a lot of fun with it, and WoW on the first day and not having much issues (although later on I would have to wait in 'line' to log on to WoW.  So I am not really that impressed by this list.  I guess there are not many games that had a truely disaster launch.

    Play as your fav retro characters: cnd-online.net. My site: www.lysle.net. Blog: creatingaworld.blogspot.com.

  • RohnRohn Saint Peters, MOPosts: 3,740Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Antaran

    Obviously those attempting to defend WoW didn't read what the article actually said..

    "When it launched the fact that the developer was caught off guard by the response to its first MMO release was painfully obvious"

    "Servers were down for days at a time, players couldn’t loot, server-side lag was abundant and no matter how many new shards the studio launched, they filled to peak population incredibly quickly."

    "The early days of WoW were hampered by its own success. So much so that the developer began handing out free days in accordance with how many days the servers were inaccessible."

    and as far as Blizzards next MMO goes "I shudder to think about what Blizzard’s next MMO launch will be like" this means that it could be the same thing all over again unless they've learned to have the hardware to cope with mass population floods.

    TRY READING BEFORE BLINDLY DEFENDING WOW...

     

    I recommend you take your own advice before responding.

    I read what the article said, and disagree that the "problems" engendered by WoW at launch are something that should put it on this list when compared to the serious problems games that didn't make the list had.

    In short, having server problems due to massive, completely unprescedented load due to an unbelievable popularity of your game is a nice problem to have.  In fact, it's the best "problem" any game company could ever hope for.  Mythic, Funcom, NCSoft, Cryptic, and SOE would KILL to have that kind of problem, and they never have.

    By the way, I don't play WoW, as it's not my type of game.  But I do recognize it as the dominant game and game company in the MMO space, for good reason.

    Again, how Vanguard and FFXIV failed to make this list escapes me.  Both enormous and well documented failures, with their problems being of a purely negative kind.

    Hell hath no fury like an MMORPG player scorned.

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