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General: Grinds My Gears: An Unfinished State of Being

SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,126

In his latest Grinds My Gears column, Managing Editor Jon Wood takes a look at, among other things, the unfinished state that some games are released in and the promise of future patches to address issues that, frankly, should have been addressed before launch. And that's just one ground gear. Jon has other thoughts too about today's games. Check them out and then make your voice heard in the comments.

First of all, and I can’t be too emphatic about this: Don’t use later updates as an excuse to launch a game that just simply isn’t ready for prime time. You can promise all of the updates and fixes in the universe, but if your game is crap out of the gate then don’t expect people to stick around long enough to pay for you to finish it.

Read more of Jon Wood's Grinds My Gears: An Unfinished State of Being.




  • simmihisimmihi Member UncommonPosts: 705

    Excellent read. Sick and tired of the "new game" argument: "well, it's a new game, give it time, content will come in 6 months, game X didnt have more content when it launched".

    As said, "from a business perspective, this does not make any sense at all". You cannot say "my game competes with game X" and then  hide under the "new game" argument. Again, very very well said.

  • TUX426TUX426 Member Posts: 1,907


  • staranstaran Member UncommonPosts: 87
    I concur...kinda.
    Some mmo's find it safer to release bad products because they could spend all the time in the world on a core feature that is bigness only to find out that it is hated or ignored.
    It is mire cost effective to release it broken and wait for feedback
  • galphargalphar Member UncommonPosts: 81

    This is the biggest reason a lot of the new MMos are failing. Just look at DCUO, three months in and people are still using the "new game" excuse. This game will be dead on the PC by June.


  • kefkahkefkah Member Posts: 832

    Best thing I have read all day.

    Should I take a screenshot of it before it gets moderated? Heheh, just kidding.

    Late seasonal contnet publishes are truly embarrassing and no amount of explanation will suffice. And season content? Its fluff. Icing that should be added onto the cake that is meaty additions to the game.

    I know you didn't mean it entirely towards SOE but their example as of late is not something that I would like to see emulated by other publishers.

  • MeltdownMeltdown Member UncommonPosts: 1,182

    Agreed, I would only put an exception in for indie developers. But they should really take a note from Notch, who asked players to pay for alpha/beta... not for a crap-released version of the game. Minecraft was quality gaming in Alpha, but more features were to be added, so did it just get a "released" tag slapped on it? No... props to Notch.

    "They essentially want to say 'Correlation proves Causation' when it's just not true." - Sovrath

  • AnnwynAnnwyn Member UncommonPosts: 2,853

    I'm rather curious to hear what MMORPG prompted such article from Jon. Nonetheless, I couldn't agree more with Jon Wood. We have definitively been served MMORPGs that, have not only delivered, but have been done in such a half-assed way, it's ridiculous. But what I think is ridiculous is how players continue to buy and play these games, basically telling these same companies "it's alright to release like this, we'll just buy every sh*t you pop out everynow and then, we'll cry a lot, but don't worry we'll buy the n ext one too".


    It's not just about the Developers in this case. It's also about the message that we as players are constantly sending to these companies. Look at those NFL or NHL consoles games, there's a new one every year without any improvements, if not for a roster update, yet people continue to pay $60 for them every year.  Or how Warhammer sold over 1 million copies at launch, only to end up in a major flop. Same goes for Age Of Conan, Champion Online, Star Trek Online (you'd think players would've learned after CO but, I guess not), Aion. Then you have upcoming games like SWTOR, GW2 and TERA which are being hyped as hell by the fanbase, but will end in major disappointment (especially SWTOR) once Launch hits.


    We're definitively sending a terrible message to these companies, saying that it is fine to publish half-assed product and that we'll continue to pay and buy their new stuff even if they fail over and over again.  But it appears to be impossible to get people out of this vicious loop. The moment you critize something you are automatically labelled as a Troll, while they put their hands on their ears and eyes chanting " LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA". It's a battle that has already been lost.

  • SaarosenSaarosen Member Posts: 18

    Very good article, Jon. Now if you could only spam this across Corporate E-Mails to these Gaming Companies, staple it to every CEO mirror where they can view it before they preen themselves in the morning, and set up billboards across from their cushy office windows so that the points you've listed might sink in someday. Then maybe we might see some games worth subscribing to for more than a few months at a time. Hope the newest MMO's to come have already learned some of this, but we can only wait and see.

    The MMO Law: Create in Alpha, Fix All in Betas, THEN Release. New Content to Follow Same Procedure.


  • TardcoreTardcore Member Posts: 2,325


    "Gypsies, tramps, and thieves, we were called by the Admin of the site . . . "

  • nate1980nate1980 Member UncommonPosts: 1,930

    If this was church, I'd stand up and yell "Preach it brother!"

    I've been saying this for years, and all of that on top of some other things are reasons why I don't get into any new MMO's for very long.

  • kaliniskalinis Member Posts: 1,428

    I wanna know how u think swtor and tera will disappoint. Im not sure any of the games will disappoint. I think the on thing bioware hasnt done is give us false hope on tor. I know what tor is gonna be as far as a game.

    while we have no info on endgame yet. I plan on rolling all 8 classes for the class stories alone. Usually disappointment hits because the games are so buggy u get pissed, or are like dc universe with very little content.

    Swtor seems like its gonna have plenty of content and being bioware i dont think they will release a game thats super buggy and will do wht they can to fix there bugs as quickly as possible.

    They alreayd have a huge active community team at bioware. As for tera thsi game will have been out 6 months to a yr in asia, europe by time goes live in america so they have plenty of future content ready to go that just needs to be westernized.

    As long as u know tera is more an action mmo then an rpg u shouldnt be too disappointed.

  • nate1980nate1980 Member UncommonPosts: 1,930

    You shouldn't judge a game before it releases. I don't think GW2 or SWTOR will flop. Both games are being made by proven companies. Guild Wars was a huge success, as was the KoToR series. Also, Bioware is doing things never done before in the genre, which just so happens to be their halmark when it comes to making RPG' interactive story.

  • elockeelocke Member UncommonPosts: 4,335

    I mostly agree except for the bug argument.  Software is an ever changing beast and there will ALWAYS be bugs.  If they never patched anything until the bugs were fixed, we would never see new content.  EVER.  Granted, major bugs should be squashed, and for the most part I don't see many devs screwing this up, so again that's why I think that point is a bit moot.

    Up to this year, we have only really seen one company deliver a polished game.  WoW.  Now with Rift launching with polish, we now see it can be done and there are no more excuses for games like Earthrise or FFXIV to launch as they did.  The gauntlet has been thrown, the new standard has been laid out, developers from here on out had better step up to the plate and follow suit or it will be disaster for any game that doesn't. 

    While no one likes delays, it does make glad that Bioware and ArenaNet have been willing to delay and delay and delay in order to make their prospective games great and hopefully "polished".   At least enough for a new MMO on the scene.  At this point, anything is better than what I went through with Earthrise and FFXIV. ;D

  • outfctrloutfctrl Member UncommonPosts: 3,619

    One game in specific comes in mind and I got sucked into buying it.


    Sure, it's an Indie developer, but allot of the issues should have been worked out over a year of tweaking it.

    Who knows, the game may still make it .


  • Bob_BlawblawBob_Blawblaw Member Posts: 1,278

    Did I just hit my head and sustain some sort of brain injury? Did Jon Wood just write an article I emphatically and enthusiatically 150% AGREE with?

    Must have something to do with the Mayan calander and the whole 2012 thing...


    Either way, f'ing great article Jon. It's about time somebody called out the publishers on this crap.

  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid Member EpicPosts: 10,225

    i really, really hope developers read this column and take notes.....

    this is a masterpiece article and every detail given is true in all the latest mmos... yes, all latest mmos

  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 Member UncommonPosts: 2,770

    Does this rule still apply to indy MMO devs that simply can't afford to finish it? Because those are the ones that are in the more sorry start than AAA titles... heres looking at you Mortal online and Earthrise.


    MMORPGs are not single player games, stop treating them like they are.

    Truth is truth.

  • fiontarfiontar Member UncommonPosts: 3,682

    For years, most developers were releasing buggy, unpolished messes of a game, making the fact that it was unfinished obvious from the get go. Recently, they've learned a half lesson and try to make sure what they are actually launching with is polished and relatively bug free. However, they are still making the core mistake, which is launching games with worlds that are far too small and seriously lacking in content.

    It's like selling a really beautiful car with out an engine, with the promise that you'll get an engine in a year or two, assuming that they sell enogh engineless cars to keep their engine development process afloat!

    I frequently hammer home one concept that may be lost on most gamers, but should be obvious to developers. It's all about content creation tools and extremely efficient content creation. The less efficient your content creation pipeline, the more likely you'll feel forced to launch a game with a notable lack of content. however, since you know you can't crank out content at a pace faster than glacial, you know for damn well sure you are never going to be able to overcome the fatal flaw for your title, which is insuffient content.

    I don't care how good other elements of an MMORPG are, lack of content and proper world size will prevent the game from ever being successful.

    Want to know more about GW2 and why there is so much buzz? Start here: Guild Wars 2 Mass Info for the Uninitiated

  • WraithoneWraithone Member RarePosts: 3,802

    Excellent column Jon.  We've seen WAY too many of those types of antics, over the years. FFIVX is just one of the latest offenders.  One would think that SE would know better... But then look at SOE and the NGE <face palm>

    "If you can't kill it, don't make it mad."
  • barezzbarezz Member UncommonPosts: 143

    I really couldn't agree more.  I have a friend who defends games that launch early and loves to point out that "well back in EQ it was like this".  I guess that makes it ok then!  Let's face it, way back EQ could afford to do that, because what else were you going to play.  Today there are tons of MMO's out there to choose from, and a bad launch can just kill a game's future regardless of what they do.  Anyone who doubts this should take a good look at Age of Conan.  And besides, how silly is it keep allowing the same crap to happen just because it's the way "EQ" did it? 

    I'm hoping that game developers just seriously wake up and rea;ize that they need to launch is a solid state.  DC sounds like it is having major issues...hey whould would have thought that launching with a bad chat system could impact the game!  But Wowee!!  Jim Lee did that art!!!  Mark Hamil is voicing the Joker!  Who cares about basics like chat!!!  Oh...MMO players...

    Meanwhile you have a game like Rift that is doing well.  Now is Rift really a great game?  I like it a lot, but I will admit that the fact that it was stable and felt polished was a factor, and it has been a huge factor with a lot of people.   What does that say when being polished, stable and finished is treated almost like a innovative feature?  I think that games need to calm down on the PR machine hype and focus on making a solid game more. 

  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid Member EpicPosts: 10,225

    Originally posted by mmoguy43

    Does this rule still apply to indy MMO devs that simply can't afford to finish it? Because those are the ones that are in the more sorry start than AAA titles... heres looking at you Mortal online and Earthrise.


    MMORPGs are not single player games, stop treating them like they are.

    Truth is truth.

     i hope it applies for those as well.... if you dont have enough funds to finish a project, either dont start it or dont release it until problem is solved (go make money somewhere else then finish your project),,,

    thats how i see developers that dont have enough money to provide a well finished game :)

     edit: what the *** i posted and got all the codes in the post :S.. now fixxed. sorry

  • Bob_BlawblawBob_Blawblaw Member Posts: 1,278

    Originally posted by rojo6934

    Originally posted by mmoguy43


     i hope it applies for those as well.... if you dont have enough funds to finish a project, either dont start it or dont release it until problem is solved (go make money somewhere else then finish your project),,,

    thats how i see developers that dont have enough money to provide a well finished game :)

     edit: what the *** i posted and got all the codes in the post :S.. now fixxed. sorry

    Gotta agree. And while it's a sad state of affairs for the dev with little funding and a great idea, you simply have to count the cost of going to war before you do so. If you can't finish, don't start.

    IMO, the embarrasing truth that MOST MMO's launch unfinished is THE biggest problem in the MMO industry today (IMO).

    It's not about sandbox vs themepark, or skills vs levels, or twitch (action) vs turnbase, or even the lack of innovation.... it's the fact that everything is released as unpolished garbage.

  • TalonsinTalonsin Member EpicPosts: 3,619

    Great topic!  I dont understand how MMO corp types have not learned from the past.  Loko at AoC, it was a good game, launched unfinished and will never recover.  If they wold have waited 6 to 12 more months, they could have been sitting at a million subs instead of the under 100k they have now. 


    Look at the trainwrecks that Cryptic has put out.  Come on DEVS, learn from the past, you are never gonna hit the big bucks by releasing unfinished games with poorly designed core mechanics and patching them later. 

    "Sean (Murray) saying MP will be in the game is not remotely close to evidence that at the point of purchase people thought there was MP in the game."  - SEANMCAD

  • unclemounclemo Member UncommonPosts: 462


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