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General: Grinds My Gears: An Unfinished State of Being

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  • GoobGoob Member Posts: 398

    Why is everybody so excited about this article? He has only pointed out the obvious. Incomplete, prematurely released MMO's are bad and we're sick of it. This has been the general attitude among MMO gamers for years.

  • nefermornefermor Member Posts: 70

    This is a good article and thanks for doing it.  I have noticed with own my personal experence that some fixes that are made in beta test never make it into live.  As hard copy has to be recorded and boxed months before launch dates it makes sense that a lot will be fixed in the launch patch but it doesnt all make it.   Also some things are broken in late beta while making changes and those new problems dont all get fixed.   To us its unfinished but to the publisher it might just be like the cutting room floor of a movie.

    Industry is two things always, thrifty and opportunistic.  That being said, it might be too easy for publishers to become apathetic to the player experience in favor of more far reaching profit goals based on skewed and out dated market research [ I almost choked on the reasearch part].   So they may think we are all game hoppers who dont care about the whole game experence beyond the first 20 hours of newbie orientation to the environment, that most of us  just want to zerg to end game and are gold buyers and exploiters.  That being said its reasonable to assume that the best profit approach is to cheap up the new games and pink slip all but a skeleton crew at launch and start working on the next project.   Sounds insulting to the gamer I know, but honestly look at new game forums.  We have brought some of this upon our selves.

     

    My goal is to find a real, whole game, though I realize with the evolution of the gaming industry it may be a pipe dream.  One that I can play for years not 4 to 6 months and one that doesnt use the ugly stick on character models to help make sure I move along as expected.  I know this isnt the game developers intention, their games are their art but they are not running the show. 

    Recently a business student told me his marketing professor told him that consumers do not know what they want.  Think about that, they think we dont know what we want.  What happens to industry when this is a premis to build upon?

  • GravargGravarg Member UncommonPosts: 3,424

    This is precisely one of THE biggest reasons I like Rift so much.  It has a near seamless launch, and the game is pretty complete.  Everything works.  I have a feeling this is directly tied to DCUO, which is ****.  I knew better than to buy it, since it had SOE on the box.  My friend bought it, I played it at his house for about an hour an a half, and was like "Really?".  I think other than Rift, I haven't played a MMO at launch that was "complete" since Lotro.

  • TheCrow2kTheCrow2k Member Posts: 953

    Points 1 and 3 are the biggest killers of new MMO's bar none. First impressions really do count, people buy the game box and it usually has 1 month in it for "free" so you have a captive audience for 1 month.

    This is your window to impress people or at least make a good impression, ok you might have launch issues but you have 30 days in which to impress your customers so make it count. launch issues need to be squashed within the first 7 days, serious bugs/exploits need to be squashed/addressed within the first 7-14 days or you will lose customers. I am not saying everything has to be perfect in the first 14 days from launch but you need to show the players you are addressing things rapidly and not adding new things instead of fixing the OOTB functionality & features.

    Bad launch & First month doesnt necessarily mean bad product, however that is the impression the majority of players get and they will not come back once they have that. If you do decide to actively invite players back make damn sure everything that was broken in launch (maybe first 2-3 months) has been fixed and that major concerns have been addressed.

    People will whinge about needing community updates etc, forget that fix the damn game. Myself and I think 90% of players want to be online, ingame playing not reading the community forums.

    There is at least one big MMO that had a massive launch & here 2 years later still does not have some of the features that were promised out of the box despite having had a major expansion pack they made players pay for. The devs probably wonder why more players didnt come back and why most of those who did come back for the expansion have not stayed.....

  • paroxysmparoxysm Member Posts: 437

    "X will fix it."

    "This patch was released with a few known issues.  These will be addressed in a following patch.  We have no release information for the next patch."

    "Why was X changed in this patch?  We are not aware of any changes to X in this patch.  *proof of player testing* We will look into that.  We have found out that the change to X was intentional in this patch." 

    Quality Control is awful in a lot of MMORPGs.  Bugs persist for long periods of time in the face of denial from the company.  Later, they are very proud to have discovered and fixed a legacy bug.  They find bugs in patches that go live anyway instead of pushing the deployment date back or moving the bugged changes/bugged feature to the next patch.  Patch notes are continually brief and completely lacking information that has to be investigated that can take weeks.  Is it poor change tracking by the developers or someone doing a poor job of reporting the changes.  If a person is posting a change log, isn't it their job to know what was changed and why?

    Patching has become a crutch for bad developers.

    Now, don't get me wrong.  There will be bugs in every piece of software.  My problem is bugs that are already known, pointed out by players on test realms, and happen under very common conditions that go to live repeatedly.  My personal favorite is the patch that unpatches a previous patch inserting the bug that was already fixed.  These are hints at very major procedureal problems and poor judgement.  Which, seems almost common these days.  Lastly, the stealth fix.  Changes they hope will fly under the wire to preserve their infallable status.

    While we can all agree these are not something we should be dealing with all the time, we do.  And, by doing so, we empower these companies to continue these actions.  We continue to pay them for shoddy work and to take us more for granted.  We've all done it.  But, there has to be a point where we say no more.  I personally will not buy any new products from several MMO companies because of such experiences in their games.  Based on that statement, it always surprises me how badly companies maintain current projects while they funnel it's money and resources into their next big thing.  They promise they learned from their mistakes.  They promise their new project won't repeat them.  How do people trust these people?  I stopped.  I refuse to play these games period.  I would not play them if they payed me to.

    I've often said in similar discussions as this one that we are just seeing the tip of it.  MMORPGs are not the majority of games.  Every game or gaming console is "online".  How long before it's an industry standard to ship first and patch later?  How many console games require a patch before you even start to play them already?  Is it already here?

  • paroxysmparoxysm Member Posts: 437

    Originally posted by Talonsin

    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. 

    This is an example of what I mean.  Funcom.  I played AO for years.  They treated the game badly.  They treated customers badly.  They pushed bugs to live without testing at all(trader candybar just to name a funny one).  They even did not include a feature of an expansion, that was on the expansion box as a listed feature, in that expansion.  How long has AO been waiting for it's new game engine?  How long has AO been waiting for PvP balancing with earnest.  Why would anyone expect AoC to be different with a lot of the same people doing the work? 

    Don't get me wrong, some of the Devs there have talent and are straight up with the players.  I applaud these people.  Being able to admit a mistake and correct it is the right thing to do.  The problem is, 90% of the company does not follow this rule and took that position with them to AoC.

    [edit] Since I named Funcom, I'll just elaborate some things.  The current Devs on AO are good examples of what needs to happen.  It's just too bad that they are this late to the party and do not have the resource backing they should from Funcom.  The original devs, that moved on to other projects for Funcom, were the exact opposite.  The recent article about the "secret nerf table" is funny, insightful, and sort of not surprising when I think about a lot of the stuff that previous Devs did (*cough*FC_Karma*cough*).  The fact that the current crew is honest about it and wanting to fix it, in the face of embarassment, is awesome.

    Sadly, I still will never buy another Funcom game.  Why?  Because these people are the exception, not the rule with Funcom.[/edit]

  • DignaDigna Member UncommonPosts: 1,994

    I liked the article but it really is a summarization of the rants/cries/pleadings of hundreds of throats (keyboards) on many different forums throughout our little Internet universe.

  • WarmakerWarmaker Member UncommonPosts: 2,244

    As far as the article goes, I agree pretty much.

    Though in one aspect I have to admit being cynical and suspicious about some companies out there:  That is talking about fixes / additions to the game, even going so far as to give a general time for it to go live, but never actually doing it.

    For example, a large update that fixes major problems that's supposed to arrive roughly 6 months down the road (a few saying even a year).  The devs give token "updates" about progress but when the time arrives, the update isn't there.  The excuses come, they need more time of course.  The months pass on by, and the update doesn't come.

    In a subscription based game, this annoyed me because it's what I call "Stringing A Person Along."  I regularly pay expecting the fixes to arrive, but they never do.  But the excuses keep on coming regardless in the hope you do keep paying.

    "I have only two out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (First Lieutenant Clifton B. Cates, US Marine Corps, Soissons, 19 July 1918)

  • Darth_OsorDarth_Osor Member Posts: 1,089

    Originally posted by Meltdown

    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.


     

     Why exempt indies?  They charge the same as the big boys...they should be held to the same standards.

  • RhemsRhems Member UncommonPosts: 26

    WORD, Jon Wood.

  • WickedjellyWickedjelly Member Posts: 4,990

    Wow, I agree with this article in its entirety.  Kudos all around for this one.

    Now if only there was a way to ensure execs and devs for all of these organizations were forced to take heed. Seriously though, one has to wonder why the hell most of these companies continue "to not get it".  Even if they really are that stubborn and oblivious regardless the history of game launches they have to look over you would think at a certain point if nothing else the investors would force them to get their act together.  I mean who really benefits when they release a game in these poor conditions?  The game gets Scarlet Lettered, the developer/publishing company gains a black mark, etc.

    So why in the hell do most companies keep going this route? I keep asking this question and far as I can see no one benefits in the long run from either the company, investor, or customer standpoint so why do they continue to do it? Some of these companies have done it multiple times now.  Is the short term payoff really that profitable that it is worth destroying future gains, goodwill, and profitability for a short term gain?

    1. For god's sake mmo gamers, enough with the analogies. They're unnecessary and your comparisons are terrible, dissimilar, and illogical.

    2. To posters feeling the need to state how f2p really isn't f2p: Players understand the concept. You aren't privy to some secret the rest are missing. You're embarrassing yourself.

    3. Yes, Cpt. Obvious, we're not industry experts. Now run along and let the big people use the forums for their purpose.

  • HoliceHolice Member UncommonPosts: 116

    Definitely going to applaud this read. I've been saying this for years now, and can't understand why more players don't hold developers to the standards that we hold other trades/fields too. For too long now, developers have been getting away with "paid" betas, and this needs to stop.

    Rift, regardless of personal preferences on the game, launched terrifically and that should be a model for how launches go.

  • indiramournindiramourn Member UncommonPosts: 884

    Originally posted by simmihi

    As said, "from a business perspective, this does not make any sense at all".

    Actually, from a business perspective it makes perfect sense if you can get enough suckers to buy into it.  How many fools are still waiting in line, frothing at the mouth to pounce a game on launch day?  if we all took a wait-and-see attitude when it came to the release of new MMORPGs the developers would stop releasing "not ready for primetime" games immediately.

  • SBE1SBE1 Member UncommonPosts: 337

    People don't like to be called out when they write an article for MMORPG?  Really?  Then don't publish.   Geez, you want to publish stuff on MMORPG then I should be able to call you out on it.   You can't write stuff and then hide.

    Anyway, my point isthat the vast vast majority of games get glowing reviews on this website, and yet your article is about how terrible it is that games are coming out that are not complete or published to early (same thing really).   All I said was perhaps you should write another article discussing the disconnect between your column and the reviews by this website that are almost always glowing reviews.

    If that upsets you that I pointed out the discrepency, well so be it.  If you think "i'm calling you out" on this, then I suppose I am.  I've done the research.  I've looked at all the scores on MMORPG ratings on the game list, and RARELY is it under 7.5.  If games are incomplete, and it's quite common, and you say how bad it is, then how do you guys reconcile it? 

    If all you want to reply is "i'm calling you out" and that's your argument, pretty sad.  You can issue me a warning or ban me.  I'm trying to have a discussion about your attitude about incomplete games and the scores those games recieve when reviewed by this website.  Heck, I agree with you on your points about how incomplete games are so terrible and a disease to the MMORPG genre.  All I'm asking is that it get reflected in game reviews by this website.  If that somehow offends you, calls you out, or results in me getting a warning/ban from MMORPG, so be it.  Geez.

  • FikusOfAhaziFikusOfAhazi Member Posts: 1,835

     Better late than never i say. Let's see how the future goes rather than hold the past against people. We need more articles like this.

    Thanks for a good article. Hopefully it's followed by more. Sure does generate a positive response from most. Looking out for your community makes people click more.

    See you in the dream..
    The Fires from heaven, now as cold as ice. A rapid ascension tolls a heavy price.

  • KrinusKrinus Member Posts: 11

    Originally posted by Techleo



      Lets be realistic here. Games cost as much to make as major movies and continue to cost money over the long haul due to advertising and upkeep. Given the state of technology, the corporate structure and the way people behave its unlikely any of the things listed above will change. Players may be dissatisfied but companies are making money. That is the bottom line. Not whether something is being done right, is it being done right enough? THAT is the key. 



    Eventually a radical change in the way games will happen, but only when its needed and only when some major disaster occurs. Thats human nature. :)



    Other then all that, yeah, I am sure it could all be done better.  The worst usually happens first.


     

    Tha's another crap argument that pops out in discussions about the article topic.



     Sure, there are companies out there in any business that makes money releasing bad products. But its a fact that good products ALWAYS gets noted by the consumers and makes A LOT more money!

    When you go to the market and tries a new label of some food, if its bad you will never buy that product again, if its good enough you will gladly change your previous label for the new one.

    On the main topic, the new game argument is stupid beyond limits.

    In the times of Everquest or WoW launches, lack of content or serious bugs were allowed to be present and fixed 6 months-1 year later, because that games were really BUILDING a new game genre. There were big MMORPGs before them (like Ultima Online and others), but not really big persistent world 3D monsters in the genre.

     

    Nowadays, with all the technology advance and the know-how on MMORPGs making, there is really no excuse for releasing unpolished, end game contentless games.

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