May 16, 2008

How NOT to launch an MMO

Mood: Still pretty happy.
Music: Wave of Mutilation, The Pixies.
Game: Rock Band (360), Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (360), Team Fortress 2 (PC), MMO Beta (PC), Warhammer 40K (Tabletop), Age of Conan (PC)
Book: Orks Codex, Warhammer 40k
Watching: Nothing.
Weather: Warm, Sunny.

So, last week, Funcom ran an Open Beta for Age of Conan.

Frankly, the game isn't even close to ready for prime time. Crashes, horrific lag, and all sorts of bugs and quirks (NPCs that lock in place or won't talk or you can't kill locking you inside an instance...)

But wait...there's more. At the end of the beta period, they advanced everyone to level 20, placed them in a free-for-all PvP server, and let them go for a day or so. Literally the second you ended up outside a town, you were killed. You couldn't talk to any quest givers, because if you turned your back, or locked yourself up in dialogue with an NPC, someone would kill you.

In addition to this, it came out that the list of servers was posted on a Gold Farming website before they were announced to the public.

The guys I game with were largely so pissed at the state of the game and the overall experience that most of them decided not to play it after all.

Now, this right here is exactly what I've been saying: If it isn't ready, don't launch the fucking thing.

The guys I game with have limited gaming time, and if they perceive, even for a minute, that they'd be wasting their valuable time with a game that was annoying or frustrating, they'll just skip it. And I strongly believe that once they've made their minds up on a game, they're extremely unlikely to revisit that opinion.

Not because they're stubborn (although they are...) it's just that there's ALWAYS a new game coming out. Why go back to an old game?

And MMOs are notorious for being difficult to deal with once there's a stable, mature population on a server. The economy is locked already, the early zones are usually unpopulated, or populated with people on their third or fourth character, and they usually don't have the desire to deal with new people/players.

So, I've pre-ordered it...and actually, I'm looking forward to dealing with the game at my own pace on a PvE server. I'm still looking forward to the game...but I think I'm a little less excited now that my friends largely won't be playing. Which is unfortunate. I honestly feel like I'll end up playing a lot by myself...which isn't really all that unusual since I've moved to the west coast. I miss playing with a regular group of guys, but I suppose between time zone differences and other factors, it just works that way sometimes.

My brain's already set to: "Looking forward to six months of beta?"

Posted by Glenn at May 16, 2008 10:18 AM

1) The Pixies rule, great song.
2) It sucks. I want to play but the reality is the game is so not-ready that I'd rather play an old game like DDO than deal with this mess. Yes I went there.

Posted by: Firethorn at May 16, 2008 01:57 PM
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