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Martin Bruusgaard interview, looks back at TSW

KuppaKuppa Boulder, COPosts: 3,292Member Uncommon
http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/life-after-layoffs-the-former-lead-designer-of-secret-world-looks-back-on-t

So Ive already stated that I think the two big problems TSW had was its release date(and lack of marketing) and its business model.

 

In the article he talks about how many players they had in beta that thought the game was great. But I think they were asking the players an incomplete question. They should have asked "Do you think this game is great and do you think you would pay 15$ for this game?". I would expect a more telling answer than just asking if they think the game is great. If the game had a million beta subscribers of which most of them liked the game the only logical conclusion I can think of as to why they didn't get the game is the same reason I didn't get it, the business model.

 

He also mentions how he thinks the game was too different and not to commercial. I don't agree with that either. Yes, the game does some things different but its still the same MMO formula and Im not sure putting a level on your progression would have made this game any more successful. 

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Comments

  • tyfontyfon OSLOPosts: 238Member

    The game is very diffrent with it's deck approach to skills and excelent quests, player spawned world bosses, engaging dungeons etc. You have to use your grey matter, and this might put some people off. However, I think the main problem was timing and lack of advertising/hype. They did the latter on purpose as to not repeat conan. Unfortunally they took it too far.

    My wife and me are enjoying the game immensly and have really only had a two week exodus to gw2 before the shallowness of that game came forth and got really boring.

    They have done something about it though, the game was on sale on steam this weekend and the noob areas are now packed with new players.

    The business model is fine. I have no problem paying €15 a month for a game with proper support (with ingame gm's), frequent content updates and to not be reminded of a cash shop every time you open the inventory or bank.

     

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    I disagree with the "not commercial enough", which is basicly code speak for "not wow clone enough"

    The leveling aspect of tsw was good, and that was different.

    Where tsw goes wrong is the endgame, where it really is a "world of cthulhucraft"

    The other question that needs to be asked is what did funcom get out of their deal with ea, weren't ea Involved to help market the game?
  • KuppaKuppa Boulder, COPosts: 3,292Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by tyfon

    The game is very diffrent with it's deck approach to skills and excelent quests, player spawned world bosses, engaging dungeons etc. You have to use your grey matter, and this might put some people off. However, I think the main problem was timing and lack of advertising/hype. They did the latter on purpose as to not repeat conan. Unfortunally they took it too far.

    My wife and me are enjoying the game immensly and have really only had a two week exodus to gw2 before the shallowness of that game came forth and got really boring.

    They have done something about it though, the game was on sale on steam this weekend and the noob areas are now packed with new players.

    The business model is fine. I have no problem paying €15 a month for a game with proper support (with ingame gm's), frequent content updates and to not be reminded of a cash shop every time you open the inventory or bank.

     

    I've heard this all too often in these forums. But if that is the case how do you explain that they had one million beta subscribers and he says they had a very hight percentage of people who said they liked the game, the devs were happy with what they were seeing, and then no show when the game goes life.

    That isn't because the game is "different" or because not enough people knew about it. People didn't want to take the plunge, I believe because of other titles or what I think is the biggest culprit their business model. Not sure how else to explain how most of the people that said they liked the game during beta would not buy it...

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  • FoomerangFoomerang Portland, ORPosts: 5,565Member Uncommon

    There was a disconnect with my charatcer and his environment. It felt like a paper doll in front of a backdrop instead of immersed in the world. So much detail everywhere that you could not touch. None of it moved, either.

    I also think the crafting was a major screwup on the devs part. This is supposed to be a modern day setting and im still gathering metal scraps and making shotguns in some toolkit that exists in my inventory. Crafting could have been so much more. They had an oppprtunity to think outside weapons armor and potions, but instead went straight back to the old mmo standbys.

    I aslo feel this game, because of the setting, really needed player housing in some form at launch. And also forms of transportation like bikes, skateboards, cars, taxis, whatever.

    You cant make a modern day game and expect people to walk everywhere and gather metals to make guns on the fly. Between that and the total lack of object interaction save for the occasional ladder, this game was just too disconnected for me.

  • ConnmacartConnmacart OsloPosts: 681Member Uncommon
    when the greater majority of your testers are overly positive. You either have a seriously great game or a seriously bad group of people testing. Now which is more likely. Alarm bells should have started ringing the second the got that kind of respons, because no game ever will not have a great big collosal room for improvement. They seemlingly were either blinded or to arrogant about their own game.
  • CujoSWAoACujoSWAoA Nooo, AKPosts: 1,781Member

    I think the game's dynamics that came anywhere near World of Warcraft's was the problem.

    I don't have any interest in paying $15 a month for a Themepark video game that has an ending right around the corner.  If I'm paying $15 persistantly, it needs to be for a persistant world. 

  • OmnifishOmnifish LondonPosts: 616Member

    I think it's a depressing indication about the industry as a whole when pretty much none of the programmers/developers ever take responsibility for the decisions they make, when a title isn't as successful as expected.

    This reminds me a lot of NGE mess when the developers blamed everyone from Lucasarts to WoW as to why they ended up screwing up an already screwed up game. It also reminds me off:

    From Mythic and their adject failure with WAR, which was apparently everything from EA buying Bioware through to haters spreading, 'lies', about them cutting four starting cities from the game, when they did actually did that.

    From Funcom insisting people who couldn't run AOC, weren't their target audience anyway when in reality the engine was such a mess not even those on the high end of machines couldn't run it.

    From Bioware telling people that not fun, dated elements in SWTOR, were actually fun and that bored people were, 'wrong'. T

    And now this, yes you only sold 200k copies of your anticipated game because it's too, 'complicated',or the settings too different, or it's not mainstream enough, or blah, blah. In honesty the game was released at the wrong time because it needed that much extra because it was a mess.  The supposed differences in skills were only skin deep, combat felt crap, and numerous other reasons. That is ultimately the developers fault, if it doesn't meet expectations.

    I'm not sure what it is but MMOs developers really need to start acting like adults and take the victories and defeats with equal perspective.  Maybe it's because these people work so closely on this projects that being objective just isn't possible for them. 

    Whatever it is, I hope developers grow up soon or all we'll be getting is more dissapointments like this...

     

    This looks like a job for....The Riviera Kid!

  • GR3NDELGR3NDEL Tulsa, OKPosts: 108Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kuppa
    http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/life-after-layoffs-the-former-lead-designer-of-secret-world-looks-back-on-t

    So Ive already stated that I think the two big problems TSW had was its release date(and lack of marketing) and its business model.

     

    In the article he talks about how many players they had in beta that thought the game was great. But I think they were asking the players an incomplete question. They should have asked "Do you think this game is great and do you think you would pay 15$ for this game?". I would expect a more telling answer than just asking if they think the game is great. If the game had a million beta subscribers of which most of them liked the game the only logical conclusion I can think of as to why they didn't get the game is the same reason I didn't get it, the business model.

     

    He also mentions how he thinks the game was too different and not to commercial. I don't agree with that either. Yes, the game does some things different but its still the same MMO formula and Im not sure putting a level on your progression would have made this game any more successful. 

    Well, I for one am very glad to see that Martin was able to get a good paying job.  I had been wondering what happened to him.

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  • JeroKaneJeroKane OsloPosts: 5,353Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kuppa
    Originally posted by tyfon

    The game is very diffrent with it's deck approach to skills and excelent quests, player spawned world bosses, engaging dungeons etc. You have to use your grey matter, and this might put some people off. However, I think the main problem was timing and lack of advertising/hype. They did the latter on purpose as to not repeat conan. Unfortunally they took it too far.

    My wife and me are enjoying the game immensly and have really only had a two week exodus to gw2 before the shallowness of that game came forth and got really boring.

    They have done something about it though, the game was on sale on steam this weekend and the noob areas are now packed with new players.

    The business model is fine. I have no problem paying €15 a month for a game with proper support (with ingame gm's), frequent content updates and to not be reminded of a cash shop every time you open the inventory or bank.

     

    I've heard this all too often in these forums. But if that is the case how do you explain that they had one million beta subscribers and he says they had a very hight percentage of people who said they liked the game, the devs were happy with what they were seeing, and then no show when the game goes life.

    That isn't because the game is "different" or because not enough people knew about it. People didn't want to take the plunge, I believe because of other titles or what I think is the biggest culprit their business model. Not sure how else to explain how most of the people that said they liked the game during beta would not buy it...

    People didn't want to take the plunge because it was in the middle of the friggin' summer.

    Add to it that exactly before launch the launchdate of Guild Wars 2 was announced only to be a month away. A game that was hyped to the heavens.

    And then to top it off, Blizzard finally came out of the closet and announced the MoP release date.

    And as icing on the cake, Funcom didn't market the game AT ALL! A banner on a website here and there isn't going sell you  a million copies. /shrug

    It's a shame as it is a really nice game. It really is trying to do something different.

    But it's also a difficult game that challenges you. It allows you to create terrible decks that will seriously hurt your gameplay and makes the content extremely difficult. I experienced this myself first hand.

    It can really turn away a lot of people, when they are litterly facerolled by mobs due to bad ability choices.

    The premade decks are a nice guide, but some of them are still terrible. Giving you a hard time in Savage Coast and especially in Blue Mountain.

  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,281Member Uncommon

    Over and over he said he thinks the game should have been more comercial lol.

     

    He likes the way that it is, but in order to get the sheep eer masses it needed to be watered down. He also said marketing.

     

    Well I happy the didn't go the comercial route, but I wish the had the money to market.

  • KuppaKuppa Boulder, COPosts: 3,292Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by JeroKane
    Originally posted by Kuppa
    Originally posted by tyfon

    The game is very diffrent with it's deck approach to skills and excelent quests, player spawned world bosses, engaging dungeons etc. You have to use your grey matter, and this might put some people off. However, I think the main problem was timing and lack of advertising/hype. They did the latter on purpose as to not repeat conan. Unfortunally they took it too far.

    My wife and me are enjoying the game immensly and have really only had a two week exodus to gw2 before the shallowness of that game came forth and got really boring.

    They have done something about it though, the game was on sale on steam this weekend and the noob areas are now packed with new players.

    The business model is fine. I have no problem paying €15 a month for a game with proper support (with ingame gm's), frequent content updates and to not be reminded of a cash shop every time you open the inventory or bank.

     

    I've heard this all too often in these forums. But if that is the case how do you explain that they had one million beta subscribers and he says they had a very hight percentage of people who said they liked the game, the devs were happy with what they were seeing, and then no show when the game goes life.

    That isn't because the game is "different" or because not enough people knew about it. People didn't want to take the plunge, I believe because of other titles or what I think is the biggest culprit their business model. Not sure how else to explain how most of the people that said they liked the game during beta would not buy it...

    People didn't want to take the plunge because it was in the middle of the friggin' summer.

    Add to it that exactly before launch the launchdate of Guild Wars 2 was announced only to be a month away. A game that was hyped to the heavens.

    And then to top it off, Blizzard finally came out of the closet and announced the MoP release date.

    And as icing on the cake, Funcom didn't market the game AT ALL! A banner on a website here and there isn't going sell you  a million copies. /shrug

    It's a shame as it is a really nice game. It really is trying to do something different.

    But it's also a difficult game that challenges you. It allows you to create terrible decks that will seriously hurt your gameplay and makes the content extremely difficult. I experienced this myself first hand.

    It can really turn away a lot of people, when they are litterly facerolled by mobs due to bad ability choices.

    The premade decks are a nice guide, but some of them are still terrible. Giving you a hard time in Savage Coast and especially in Blue Mountain.

    We know that at least one million knew about the game and from that a big percentage actually liked it. They didn't get an absurd number of players because they didn't market the game well, but they players who's attention they did caught was in vain because the game was released in a horrible time frame and you had to pay more for it then at least one of the games that was coming out(GW2).

    I still believe it was mainly the business model, but with time all other variables disappear and I stil think they will have a hard time selling the game. Not because its "hard" or "different" but because they require a sub.

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  • MardukkMardukk Posts: 1,558Member Uncommon

    Well it was clearly a combination of everything everyone is saying...a perfect storm really.  I think the game was very good but very light on content.  It is sad to see a game that treats you like an adult (consequences for poor build choices and overall game difficulty that isn't faceroll) and gets punished for it.

    Games are going to continue the handholding and easy route as TSW is a warning to anyone trying anything different in a more difficult way.  The streamlining will continue in this genre.  The best hope will be with an indie dev, the big companies are likely to avoid a unique vision. 

  • KuppaKuppa Boulder, COPosts: 3,292Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by bcbully

    Over and over he said he thinks the game should have been more comercial lol.

     

    He likes the way that it is, but in order to get the sheep eer masses it needed to be watered down. He also said marketing.

     

    Well I happy the didn't go the comercial route, but I wish the had the money to market.

    Do you think that theory lives up though? Of the players in beta he thinks that at least 80% said they liked it. We know that not even anything close to that bought the game. I doubt the problem is that it needed to be more "commercial", what else would cause someone to say "yes, I like your game" and then not buy it? the price.

     

    BTW I understand that still they had a pretty crappy marketing campaing and could have interested much more than 1M players. But they could at least have a bigger base if they had changed their business model IMO.

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  • jayfeeler69jayfeeler69 sacramento, CAPosts: 94Member
    Originally posted by Kuppa
    http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/life-after-layoffs-the-former-lead-designer-of-secret-world-looks-back-on-t

    So Ive already stated that I think the two big problems TSW had was its release date(and lack of marketing) and its business model.

     

    In the article he talks about how many players they had in beta that thought the game was great. But I think they were asking the players an incomplete question. They should have asked "Do you think this game is great and do you think you would pay 15$ for this game?". I would expect a more telling answer than just asking if they think the game is great. If the game had a million beta subscribers of which most of them liked the game the only logical conclusion I can think of as to why they didn't get the game is the same reason I didn't get it, the business model.

     

    He also mentions how he thinks the game was too different and not to commercial. I don't agree with that either. Yes, the game does some things different but its still the same MMO formula and Im not sure putting a level on your progression would have made this game any more successful. 

    This is generally what happens when they cherry pick feedback looking only at what justified their efforts. Most people were screaming on the beta forums about bugs and problems that have still yet to be looked at.

  • OmnifishOmnifish LondonPosts: 616Member
    Originally posted by Kuppa
    Originally posted by bcbully

    Over and over he said he thinks the game should have been more comercial lol.

     

    He likes the way that it is, but in order to get the sheep eer masses it needed to be watered down. He also said marketing.

     

    Well I happy the didn't go the comercial route, but I wish the had the money to market.

    Do you think that theory lives up though? Of the players in beta he thinks that at least 80% said they liked it. We know that not even anything close to that bought the game. I doubt the problem is that it needed to be more "commercial", what else would cause someone to say "yes, I like your game" and then not buy it? the price.

     

    BTW I understand that still they had a pretty crappy marketing campaing and could have interested much more than 1M players. But they could at least have a bigger base if they had changed their business model IMO.

    1million people in a beta could be explained as people just wanting to beta test a game.  But really that's a lot of people to market the game to and they didn't manage to translate that into sales. Something was wrong with their approach, it was a different sort of game, but I don't believe the differences were, 'good enough', for most people to put money down for.

    Ulitmately that's Fun.com's fault.

     

    This looks like a job for....The Riviera Kid!

  • KuppaKuppa Boulder, COPosts: 3,292Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Omnifish
    Originally posted by Kuppa
    Originally posted by bcbully

    Over and over he said he thinks the game should have been more comercial lol.

     

    He likes the way that it is, but in order to get the sheep eer masses it needed to be watered down. He also said marketing.

     

    Well I happy the didn't go the comercial route, but I wish the had the money to market.

    Do you think that theory lives up though? Of the players in beta he thinks that at least 80% said they liked it. We know that not even anything close to that bought the game. I doubt the problem is that it needed to be more "commercial", what else would cause someone to say "yes, I like your game" and then not buy it? the price.

     

    BTW I understand that still they had a pretty crappy marketing campaing and could have interested much more than 1M players. But they could at least have a bigger base if they had changed their business model IMO.

    1million people in a beta could be explained as people just wanting to beta test a game.  But really that's a lot of people to market the game to and they didn't manage to translate that into sales. Something was wrong with their approach, it was a different sort of game, but I don't believe the differences were, 'good enough', for most people to put money down for.

    Ulitmately that's Fun.com's fault.

     

    He says in the article they were actually very exited with how many people in beta were saying they liked the game via surveys. Ultimately something else besides the quality of the game drove them to not buy it. The only thing I can come up with is what happened to me, the price.

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  • ste2000ste2000 londonPosts: 4,706Member Uncommon

    This game is as commercial as it gets.

    I played Beta and to me it felt like any other themepark out there, with few twists, but still I felt like playing a single player game.

     

    But what TSW was really missing though was the feeling of progression, same problem as all Super Hero MMOs (DCUO, CO, COH)

    A day one character looks the same as a few months old character, people wants to display their achievement ON them (through a rare armorset or weapon)

    It might sound shallow, but people who play MMOs like character "visual" progression in themeparks.

    In sandbox that's not needed, but in themeparks that's the bread and butter.

    In short what TSW was missing was the "carrot", big design mistake

    (PS: The story doesn't interest MMO players, when devs gonna learn that?)

  • OmnifishOmnifish LondonPosts: 616Member
    Originally posted by Kuppa
    Originally posted by Omnifish
    Originally posted by Kuppa
    Originally posted by bcbully

    Over and over he said he thinks the game should have been more comercial lol.

     

    He likes the way that it is, but in order to get the sheep eer masses it needed to be watered down. He also said marketing.

     

    Well I happy the didn't go the comercial route, but I wish the had the money to market.

    Do you think that theory lives up though? Of the players in beta he thinks that at least 80% said they liked it. We know that not even anything close to that bought the game. I doubt the problem is that it needed to be more "commercial", what else would cause someone to say "yes, I like your game" and then not buy it? the price.

     

    BTW I understand that still they had a pretty crappy marketing campaing and could have interested much more than 1M players. But they could at least have a bigger base if they had changed their business model IMO.

    1million people in a beta could be explained as people just wanting to beta test a game.  But really that's a lot of people to market the game to and they didn't manage to translate that into sales. Something was wrong with their approach, it was a different sort of game, but I don't believe the differences were, 'good enough', for most people to put money down for.

    Ulitmately that's Fun.com's fault.

     

    He says in the article they were actually very exited with how many people in beta were saying they liked the game via surveys. Ultimately something else besides the quality of the game drove them to not buy it. The only thing I can come up with is what happened to me, the price.

    This kinda of eludes to my first point on this, it just sounds to me like a developer not really taking any responsibility for how the game was put together and blaming other factors as to why it wasn't as successful.  Honestly we only have he's word for that claim about great feedback as most of us know there was negative, (as well as positive feedback), in forums and general chat.

    Was the price an issue? Possibly, there was a negative conitation towards a sub game, (which is higher in Europe then most games), which also had a CS on top.  As I recall it was rather late before Fun.com said what was in the shop but in the preorders stage you could buy starter type gear.  That would have given the impression that the CS contained worthwhile gear and as well as a sub. Really that's going to be too much for people to part with on a game that needed a ground well of support over the next highly-competitive months.

    This looks like a job for....The Riviera Kid!

  • ScalplessScalpless SnowballvillePosts: 1,396Member Uncommon

    IMO being unique and different is exactly what TSW is missing. Yes, it has zombies instead of orcs. Yes, you use assault rifles instead of bows. Yes, there's a nice-looking classless wheel system. However, most abilities I saw in beta were extremely dull and unsatisfying, most quests were boring "use ten items" ones, most enemies were clones of each other and the game just didn't work well enough. It felt like a typical MMO with a great story. On top of that, it has no EU servers and costs more than its competitors. When I heard there's fewer than 20 investigation quests in the whole game, my interest got killed. It's just too clunky and bland mechanically and the whole limited skill slots thing was done better in Guild Wars 1.

    With other games coming out and lots of cheap, good games on Steam, I didn't see a compelling enough reason to buy this one. I could buy ten indie games for two months of TSW. It's ridiculous.

  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,281Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kuppa
    Originally posted by bcbully

    Over and over he said he thinks the game should have been more comercial lol.

     

    He likes the way that it is, but in order to get the sheep eer masses it needed to be watered down. He also said marketing.

     

    Well I happy the didn't go the comercial route, but I wish the had the money to market.

    Do you think that theory lives up though? Of the players in beta he thinks that at least 80% said they liked it. We know that not even anything close to that bought the game. I doubt the problem is that it needed to be more "commercial", what else would cause someone to say "yes, I like your game" and then not buy it? the price.

     

    BTW I understand that still they had a pretty crappy marketing campaing and could have interested much more than 1M players. But they could at least have a bigger base if they had changed their business model IMO.

    I hear you kupp.

  • jayfeeler69jayfeeler69 sacramento, CAPosts: 94Member

    Price was only a small issue. The issues as I see it are these.

    - Story driven mmo. Too many feel burnt on the last story driven mmo TOR. A straight puzzle mmo was never going to fly (look at Myst: Uru Live lasted only two months). There is no reason to level an alt or even replay anything.

     

    - Lackluster boring combat. I reall y don't need to extrapolate other than most mmos do way better than this.

     

    - Lack of innovation where it counts. There really wasnt nothing innovative about TSW despite devs saying it was. The skill wheel is nothing more than a round skill tree. Modern day settings and horror in mmos have been done before. Hell even puzzle quests are not new (ie Myst or even look at Rift)

     

    - Endgame that complete rewrites what the game was until you got there. Classless system? Only until endgame where you have to roll a specific class no ifs, ands, or buts.

     

    - Endgame is nothing more than a gear ladder grind just like any other mmo but done far worse.

     

    - Crafting is useless, easily the most worthless crafting system since CO

     

    - Pvp is absolutely a joke

     

     

    I think all of these reasons are why the game is empty and dying off

     

     

  • VhalnVhaln Chicago, ILPosts: 3,159Member
    He thinks it didn't do well because it wasn't enough of a WoW clone?  Really? image

    When I want a single-player story, I'll play a single-player game. When I play an MMO, I want a massively multiplayer world.

  • jayfeeler69jayfeeler69 sacramento, CAPosts: 94Member
    Originally posted by Vhaln
    He thinks it didn't do well because it wasn't enough of a WoW clone?  Really? image

    Wow clones generally do well look at rift

  • VhalnVhaln Chicago, ILPosts: 3,159Member
    Originally posted by jayfeeler69
    Originally posted by Vhaln
    He thinks it didn't do well because it wasn't enough of a WoW clone?  Really? image

    Wow clones generally do well look at rift

    LOL image

    When I want a single-player story, I'll play a single-player game. When I play an MMO, I want a massively multiplayer world.

  • KenzeKenze Posts: 1,214Member Uncommon
    you surround yourself with yes-man, brown noser fanbois during beta and theyll tell you whatever you want to hear. If you base ANYTHING off feedback from such people then you have no one to blame but yourself. I remember SOE making the same mistake by hiring and listening to "focus groups" about SWG.

    Watch your thoughts; they become words.
    Watch your words; they become actions.
    Watch your actions; they become habits.
    Watch your habits; they become character.
    Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
    —Lao-Tze

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