There is a great deal of backward thinking in the MMO industry. I’ve written about (and plan to again soon) my thoughts on how we’re actually seeing games released that are not nearly as developed, fleshed out, feature rich, or on the same level as games of old. In essence, we’re seeing games released today which should have been released as stepping stones to what released back in 1998-2003. Another form of backward thinking, and the one I want to focus on today, is that bad games should be released regardless of their issues either by simply releasing them straight up or doing whatever it takes to cover up the blemishes long enough to grab the cash and run.
The fact is, good studios cancel games and the bad ones are akin to con artists. When a game is that I was looking forward to canceled there is always an immense feeling of disappointment followed by an equally profound realization that it must have been for a reason. That reason, whatever it may be, would certainly have impacted the game had it been released.
There are several lists out there that you can search for but there is one great example, the king of quality assurance: Blizzard Entertainment. Blizzard canceled Warcraft Adventures, StarCraft Ghost, and has delayed Diablo 3 (and likely will continue to like they do all their titles). Regardless of whether or not you like World of Warcraft, if you try to speak out against Blizzard’s ability to control the quality by either delaying or canceling their games then you shall be verbally flogged.
Not scrapping MMO’s and releasing them anyway is a huge problem. It’s doing several things.
1. Screwing players over who buy the game thinking that it’s going to be a quality title.
2. Inflating the industry by bringing in players to try games who would never have tried them before. This problem directly leads to a player base that does not understand what traditional quality and stability are, so they run their mouths without a clue.
3. Creating a false sense of failure in the industry leading players (likely the ones brought in from #2) to speak doom to the traditional style of MMO games and for the clueless corporate side of the companies to think that a change is needed — like a change to the F2P model.
The reality is that these problems can be avoided if these bad games, which I believe are known to be bad by the developers prior to their release, never make it to the shelf.