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May 20, 2008 was a day that will live in infamy. Age of Conan was released broken, bereft of many features promised. The company went on to blame its customers for many of these problems; I believe it was Gaut himself that claimed the lack of participation in the beta server was the cause of so many bugs making it through THEIR QA onto production. It was a galling accusation that left me dumbstruck. Were these developers so disconnected from reality?
My view of the gaming industry and MMOs was forever changed for the worst. I spiraled into a depressive realization that my industry heroes, the champions at Funcom that claimed they were flipping the MMO genre on its head and making a WoW killer, were nothing but charlatans. Funcom was more interested in their bottom line than meeting their promises. Innocence was lost that day.
I learned that year:
There was a glimmer of hope for a time. The game was a visual splendor and the skill based melee combat was a breath of fresh air. But where was the blood coins? The sieging? The mounted combat? The bar room brawls? The DX 10 support?
3 months? Then 6 months? The next expansion? When would the failed promises end?
They abused and misused our trusts. For the most part we let them. Now we pay the price; the industry was changed forever. The consumers are no longer in control.
But, I do hope the current state of Age of Conan is a lesson learned for any others wishing to sell us their snake oil. This company continues to be a tumor in the industry. Limping along with bad licensed properties. I look forward to their eventual demise. This is the result of a business objective solely concerned with short term gains.
I will never forget what they did. I will never forgive what they did.