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Why we shouldn't expect a smooth launch of MMO's

pratikrathpratikrath Member Posts: 5

I have read a lot of discussions on how bad most MMO launches are. This has been the case for so many Triple A titles specially. I am going to start playing ESO in a few days time and after playing the last beta i had a feeling like i do in most last beta's of MMO, " this game is not ready for launch! there are still so many bugs!" I have taken part in such betas for many MMO's in the last 10 odd years and my first experience was playing Beta and then launch for WoW. A horrid experience to say the least. But in the past 10 years nothing much has really changed, most MMO still have "shitty" launches, bug ridden, server issues etc but there was another thread common to this and that was I was almost always there for all these launches having paid for my pre-order. Clearly these big game developers know how i feel so why cant they change it. People like me come complain on forums (i use to a few years ago not anymore) dont these devs know ? are they stupid ? do they want their game to fail ? An obvious answer is NO, so why do they still do it ? They have the millions and backed by major game distributors so why havnt they learnt in so many years. I am going to propose a few reasons why I think this happens, please feel free to agree or disagree.

I have always looked at the condition of launches from a player point of view. If i am game developer how would i judge a launch as a success ? Do we have different yard sticks to measure a successful launch of a game? 

Lets see from a developer point of view how and when a game should launch. So when a developer starts developing a game they are usually given a set budget, these budgets might be big for major triple A title and run into multi million dollars. So bigger the game higher the stakes. Higher the stakes it unintentionally makes a dev more risk averse(normal human response). And more risk averse a dev lesser chances of him innovating a product. This maybe one of the reasons why major triple A titles have very little innovation. Also bigger the game longer is the dev cycle. They start designing and working on the game on the best tech available at the moment so at launch they are already 3-4 years behind the technology curve. This maybe a reason why MMO's always look a few years behind other games that have developed and launched before them. But unfortunately quite often they get compared to the latest games in other genres.

Then to my last point of launching a product that is clearly not market ready. When as a developer one has already spent close to 300-400 million dollars (sort of range of investment that goes into new triple A titles) in the last 3-4 years and the studio has not seen a single return on investment, there can only be a certain stage one can perfect a product which can never be perfected till people play the game and also the competition is out there readying to launch their product. Should a Dev wait any longer? or launch  the minimum viable market ready product and improve the product with real feedback of actual gamers playing the product. Because no matter how well they beta test their product anything close to real feedback only comes at launch, which is true for any product in any industry out there. If we can give this opportunity to other new products in the market the time to learn and improve shouldnt we also give the same opportunity to MMO's? And so should we expect them to have a perfect launch which no other industry has ever managed ? Because every other industry launches products that are minimum viable market ready and improves on them as they learn from the customer. Version 2 of any product is always better than V1 even though V1 is still brought out to the market. No industry wants to get stuck in the development cycle of a product. Every successful product in history has been out there in the market with defects and people who try to perfect a product before launch are least successful because those products stay in development and no one ever uses it. The business thinking behind this is launching a product for "early adopters" (people who will buy anything to try it out) are the best feedback providers to sell a better product to the "followers" who come a few iterations later of a product. But to reach the early adopters of a product you have to launch it no matter how non ready you might feel. 

So finally i think we as gamer shouldnt judge a Dev on how good the game was in the first few weeks of the launch but how quick does a dev team change the game with the real feedback post launch. So if one developer fixes the product to our (the majority gamers) expectations in 1 month and another in 2 months then the game doing it faster has had a better launch, even if the later game would have had a better launch in the first few days. So i think we should judge a game on a new yardstick on the response time to most widely accepted change brought to a game post launch than least problems faced (or a "smooth launch") in the first few days.

Just my few ramblings on MMO launches. Please feel free to completely disagree and let me know why you do so :)


  • StonesDKStonesDK Member UncommonPosts: 1,805
    If Rift could do it..
  • KarteliKarteli Member CommonPosts: 2,646

    Ugh .. please break your ideas up into paragraphs, and if there is enough paragraphs, break them into categories.


    Anyways, some games are riddled with bugs, some aren't.


    FFXIV had a devent launch with the problem of too few servers for an unexpected surge.


    GW2 anticipated the surge, but had a data breach issue on their site or an affiliates in which passwords got stolen to ruin peoples day.  There was also a humungous influx of new traffic into the trade system, along with bugs.  The trade / barter house got shut down for a few days.


    Most problems in well handled games (whether I like them or not) get fixed in a day or 2, or a week.  But consider the impact of bugs in decent launches affect small amounts of functionality.  Those days are still "launch" IMO.


    In some "other" games, problems never get fixed .. which is the rise of your complaints, from what I gather.  In the big names, SWTOR comes to mind ....sadly the majority of MMORPG's get plagued with launch issues that linger forever.


    But not every game is equal, so saying all launches suck isn't accurate.  Depends on the game; depends on the dev and / or how much a publisher is financially involved with the dev's stocks.  No names, lol, but a good launch seems contingent on how well a company values the game experience over revenue.  A passion for gaming, if you will.  If a company loves what they do for a living, they show it.

    Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
    Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.

  • amalageramalager Member UncommonPosts: 15

    The way I see it:

    Yes they have a budget but they also have a time frame for it. So I think they launch games even though it's not 100% yet because of this. Another this is the game promotion. They should have an ample time to promote or "hype" the game before it is launched. This is common but misinformation also play here. They should not "over-promise" and then "under-deliver". (Game I have in mind: Eclipse War Online). Lastly, they should consider the other games being launched at the moment. If you plan to release your game, don't launch it at the same month where a better game is being launched as well.

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