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While not all MMORPG's are like this and it seems to get better, there was at least a time where MMORPG's would be released with endless number of bugs, performance issues, and incredibly unbalanced (to the point of broken) PvP.
I remember playing Champions Online during the beta. I played it a lot. The Beta had a few bugs in the game (PvE) but nothing too serious that wasn't fixed before release. PvP was almost perfect: the fights lasted forever and killing a super hero felt like killing a super hero. IT was NOT an easy thing to kill someone, and it took a huge amount of teamwork and effort.
Then comes release...and things like EGO BLADES and SWALLOWTAIL CUT. Abilities that were so powerful, it broke PvP. Tier1 was fun, but if an opponent had [X, Y, or Z ability] and you didn't, then you would always lose. Not almost always, but actually always. Swallowtail Cut would kill the strongest most defensive of tanks in 2-3 hits, and you could spam the entire enemy team with it because it was a DoT. Hit all 5 targets with it, and you pretty much won. In Tier2, Ego Blades were so incredibly powerful, even the tankiest of champions would die almost instantly. No other offensive ability, not even the other overpowered abilities, were even CLOSE to this. If your opponent had EGO BLADES, you lost the match.
I quit due to the fact that not only did the Dev team NOT fixed these flaws, but they were in total denial OF them! The forums were lit up with quality PvPers (as well as everyone else) demanding these things be fixed. You know WHY swallowtail was broken? It was something like they accidentally typed 20 instead of 2 in the damage formula. A very easy, simple fix for the programmers, pointed out not only by the forum members but also BY the patch notes. For whatever reason, they decided to keep it for quite awhile before fixing it.
These weren't small imbalances that people normally whine over. They were game-ending imbalances. The forums were flooded with people quitting Champions Online solely because of specific flaws in PvP balance. Really obvious ones. This game made every other PvP game look as balanced as the final version of Starcraft.
Vanguard is another example of a game so plagued with flaws that it bled out subs almost instantly. Amazing beta, buggy game but still great. Devs ignored the real issues and focused on less important improvements, less important bugs. Although the real issue was bad programmers/artists (performance issues) and arguably bad design, the patch notes were infuriating.
Is it just me, or do the first large chunk of patch notes completely ignore the massive flaws of a MMORPG and focus on stuff that absolutely no one cares about? In Champions Online and Vanguard (two games that were plagued with horrendous flaws) these were common patch notes.
*Fixed a grammatical error in a quest no one accesses.
*Altered Level 1 hit points of the Butorial Toss from 101hp to 105hp.
*Fixed a grammatical error in the Patch Notes. Issue 2 should now read "Altered Level 1 hit points of the Tutorial Boss from 101hp to 105hp."
*Smoothed out the login GUI by adding AA to the title logo.
*Fixed a few quests that no one knew about and 99% of players never accessed. Now you can't type /questWinAccessVictory and instantly finish the quest. This stopped 3 people who exploited this quest which you can only complete once.
*Added in a feature we should have added in Alpha: The Ignore Function. (It was already coded, but we forgot to turn it back on.)
*Did nothing to resolve the huge flaws, horrible broken balance in PvP, horrid graphic errors, incredible performance issues, or massive disconnection bugs.
*In fact, we deny that those even exist! More grammatical fixes in the Natch Potes in Patch 1.0.1b!