Graphics kill progress and potential

Upon further review this really should have been titled “Graphics are a barrier to gameplay”.

There has been a lot of discussion lately in the comment sections of our blog about stylized graphics vs. realistic graphics and graphics vs. gameplay in general. People seem to be split into two camps on the issues.

  1. The people who feel that stylized graphics are “cartoony crap”: These people don’t like WoW’s graphics or anything that looks remotely similar. They prefer realistic graphics and don’t mind having their games drive the hardware in their system.
  2. Those who like stylized and realistic graphics: They don’t mind the “cartoony” graphics at all because they see them as stylized and recognize the art direction. These same people also don’t mind realistic graphics but do not believe that games should drive the hardware in their system, rather the games should run well on reasonably up to date rigs.

I fall into the 2nd category. I actually LOVE stylized graphics because the art direction really allows the design team to take the game places it could not go in a more realistic environment. But I also don’t mind realistic graphics and can appreciate their style as well. There was a time when PC gaming drove the hardware market but I really believe those days are on their way out. Let’s look at a few very obvious indications that the PC gaming industry is beginning to change:

DICE – The guys behind Battlefield. They are now developing Battlefield Heroes and taking the franchise, for the first time, out of the realistic graphics and into a stylized “cartoony” direction that allows for insanely low comp specs.

EA Mythic – Although the decision on art direction here is strictly controlled by Games Workshop and the Warhammer IP, it can’t go unnoticed that a blockbuster mmorpg (WAR) is on the way that won’t be utilizing bleeding-edge tech or “realistic” graphics to achieve that goal.

Blizzard – duh. I don’t need to go into details here for the sake of details. WoW and likely Blizzard’s next-gen mmorpg in development will use stylized graphics aimed at allowing “everyone” to enjoy their game.

It’s time to face the facts group #1. Although your opinion still matters, you’re the minority by a HUGE margin.

By designing AoC to run on high-end specs Funcom has limited themselves from the start to a niche market. Compounding that fact with the lack of optimization and performance issues that still plague their engine it’s going to be a rough ride right out of the gate. We’ve seen something like this before. Age of Conan and Everquest 2 have a lot in common. Here’s a quick time line and comparison to illustrate a point:

-EQ2 Launched Before WoW
-AoC launches before WAR

-EQ2 went bleeding-edge tech, WoW went mainstream stylized graphics for gameplay over graphics.
-AoC is going to the hardware extremes and WAR is playing it safe by taking a more middle of the road approach.

-EQ2 took 2.5+ years to recover and remains a smaller playerbase, WoW has 10 million subscribers and topped all the charts.
-AoC’s future is untold right now as is WAR’s… but let’s face it, this story isn’t going to end happily ever after.

It is a fact and whole truth in the gaming market that betters graphics do not sell more copies. It’s also been proven and illustrated time and time again that better graphics actually decrease sales. The graphic whoring developers are starting to turn to the console market now where it’s easier to develop a game that runs well and even there they find themselves thwarted by gameplay trumping graphics! The Wii is outselling the Xbox360 and PS3. It’s poor business to design for tomorrow’s graphics on games meant to be played today.

You’ve heard this one before right? “I’ll play a crappy looking game that plays well before I play a good looking game that plays crappy”. Ready for a super secret tip? The key is to make a great game that runs great. Why is that so hard for some people? @Developers like Funcom still stuck on this one: Stop pushing graphics over gameplay potential. You’re pushing players out in the process! You’re creating very traditional and basic mmorpgs with a few innovations here and there while touting your game as the next graphical messiah. You should be focusing less on the graphics and more on the gameplay. You’re setting yourselves up for failure by ignoring history and the facts. When the appeal of the shiny graphics wears off and all you’re left with are the folks with 8800gtx’s and uber rigs don’t be surprised when they turn their attention to your gameplay and start jumping ship for “the next best thing”. It will happen.

  • Lol, Keen, enough with the AoC hate already. Drawing parallels gets people nowhere; you could say the Iraq war is a parallel of the Vietnam war in so many ways, but doing that condemns the Iraq war to failure (as the Vietnam war) and people would settle in their minds what would happen, and leave people no hope. That’s the beauty of not knowing what is going to happen in the future; it always leaves possibilities.

    Btw, I think I had a vision into the future… Yeah, I saw you reading an article in a years time saying that AoC has become the most successful MMO ever. Oh yeah, and I videoed it, and uploaded to youtube:

  • ^^^^

    Group #1 I take it? 😉 I’m sorry if you feel that my stating facts diminishes your ability to enjoy the game. But you are battling facts with opinions. That doesn’t work.

    /edit/ I want to add that this is not solely aimed at AoC. There are other companies and games pushing graphics over gameplay to the point of it killing their games and this is aimed at all of them.

  • Hehe; not really. I mean, I’ve played both types… I played WoW for a while and enjoyed it to an extent… but it was the grindathon that is TBC which peturbed me from it. I do like realistic games, but I prefer fun games. I probably will try both AoC and WAR, and I like the gameplay in AoC, though I feel unless the performance issues are sorted and introduces more scalibility, it will struggle to break out into the mainstream like WoW has. Although, what about LOTRO? That game has realistic graphics, but is very scalable – I think, if you can run WoW, you can run LOTRO. But, that has not led to LOTRO’s success – I know LOTRO’s downfall is the crappy excuse for content Turbine vomit every couple of months, but at the start, it wasn’t breaking selling records or anything of the sort.

  • You finally posted something I mostly agree with. 🙂

    I will say though that in some ways your not being 100% fair. Even though EQ2 went with the bleeding edge graphics if the gameplay were actually as good as WoW’s it might have painted a different picture. For instance. If the gameplay were just as good, but different focusing on other areas, and I had a computer that could run WoW at high settings, but not run EQ2 at high settings:

    If I prefer the EQ2 style of gameplay I might at that point opt to just run all the graphics at extremely low quality enjoying the gameplay and getting levels while looking forward to upgrading my computer down the road. This also lends itself to the graphics engine getting an odd false positive longevity because its ahead of the hardware curve.

    On the other hand if I prefered WoW’s gameplay (which was the case for almost everyone) then graphics alone aren’t enough to sell a game. This is probabaly why I own a PC and don’t spend my extra dollars on fancier paintings for my house.

    I don’t think AoC did it completely wrong, although the graphics requirements are steep, the minimum settings for graphics make a pretty good impact on gaining FPS while the game still retains a large amount of style and looks really good.

    I mean you have to look at it like this. AoC has superior graphics to Warhammer, style or no style. AoC has its own style although the character models are more based on human reality, it still has its share of lizardmen and fancy spell effects. I think in the end the game with the better gameplay supported by good developer polish will win the day.

    I mean, I wanna play the game that’s more fun, as you said, and I stated in the last blog, I wish I these companies would create games that operate as good as they look. It makes sense that this doesn’t happen though. The companies who are smart enough to create a game desired for strong gameplay mechanics, also is going to be smart enough to realize that as a company in the end of the day, making money is also important =P

    A good anology of that is in the console market, the very same reason drives third party game devs to make the choice of which console they will make the games for. It didn’t matter that Sega Saturn was more powerful then the Playstation, more Playstations were in people’s hands which meant more potential sales for the developer. Pretty simple in those terms when comparing a high powered PC to maintstream.

    I personally prioritize my PC and keeping it up to date so I can play the games with the killer graphics, I am in the camp that wants a company like Blizzard to make a new MMO with killer gameplay concepts that is a graphical marvel. Even if my computer couldn’t handle it on max, if I can find it “playable” on low, that much more to look forward to as I upgrade my pc.

    One thing positive to look at in the PC industry at the moment is the cause and effect of this DX9/DX10 condundrum going on. Developers have been optimizing their games for both engines. This is forcing a much larger scalability within a single game and hopefully even after we have settled on DX10, the benefits of scalability and backwards support will remain. Its a little more work but you get even more buyers in the end. Why not after everyone is on DX10, still give the option to lower your shader versions and so forth to make dramatic changes in graphics and performance?

    I’m tired of apologizing for my walls of text, its the way I am, deal with it =P

  • Keen you just convinced me to get a copy of Age of Conan. Hell I will buy one for each of my friends also haha

    What a bunch of nonsense 🙂

  • “’re left with are the folks with 8800gtx’s and uber rigs..”

    hehe how much is a geforce 8800 card these days ? 130-140 dollars or something. Uber rigs 😉

  • Absolutely friggin true. I woulda never gotten into lotro if it hadn’t run ok in low mode on my old computer and I never did get into vanguard cuz it was a chop fest and turned my computer into the chopmaster 5000. I think the key is to get to a point where a balance is struck between “looking good” and “fun to play” is what your getting at with “The key is to make a great game that runs great”? 🙂

  • @Veru: try 379.99. I said GTX not GT. 😉

    @Thallian: EXACTLY! It’s that happy medium that developers have to find between graphics and gameplay. If they push graphics completely to the bleeding edge (like Conan) then that diminishes the rest of the game for all but a lucky few. LOTRO found that happy medium. Their game ran great and played well. But they fell into a completely different trap with their lack of content. That’s another beast to address at another time.

  • According to the NPD group report that was issied last week, the three most popular MMOs in North America (in terms of subs) are:
    1. WoW (stylized graphics, very low system reqs)
    2. Runescape (horrific graphics, but anyone with a web browser can play)
    3. LoTRO (well optimized engine that runs well on a modest PC)

    I think I sense a pattern . . .

  • Precisely the facts that I’m talking about. This isn’t some big prophecy of new insight I’m offering here. This should be labled right from the start as “DUH!”. Yet… at the same time it’s not because some people and developers are still defending their losing battle.

  • My personal preference is something in between, something “painterly”, if you will. LotRO’s graphics pretty much exemplify that, though a bit on the realism side.

    EQ2 and AoC start to edge into the realm of the Uncanny Valley for me.

    On the other side of the coin, WoW just looks stupid to me now. Utterly Disneyland stupid.

  • Interesting stats Yeebo. I guess the key for any MMO is maximum coverage. I like to think of it as wallpapering a wall. The company (decorator in my analogy :p) has a roll of paper to cover as much of the wall as possible. They can either spread it flat, and get a huge area, or ram it into all the little cracks. Either way, they’ve done a good, a necessary job, but to the outside observer, who sees the general picture, the flat covered wall looks better. MMOs that are accessible to the mass market really can cover a huge area of the wall, like WoW; but MMOs that cover a crack can be just as good from an ‘art’ and review perspective, but never reach the everyman, due to the requirements. Although, saying that…

    AoC has built up quite a community over the last few years, built up quite a following among a hardcore of Conan fans and MMO fans who’re fed up with WoW alike. Many don’t mind shedding out the few hundred pounds to get a good system (not purely for AoC of course), and I think it will drag a lot of players away from Lotro. Most reached the end of the content cycle eons ago, but have no other big MMO to go to, until AoC launches.

  • So you’re basically saying exactly the same thing as I am in your analogy Graham. 😉 Now who is “hating on AoC”? 😀 You see my point now I hope that I’m not hating on AoC, rather stating facts that would actually help the game succeed. If Funcom focuses on the small little cracks (graphics) and fails to cover the huge area (gameplay, performance, etc) then they will not come close to being accessible to the mass market. Same goes for any other game in development. WAR, 38 Studios’ mmo, Red 5, etc. I hope for all of them and for the future of the industry that they realize the winds of change are blowing and nothing will stand up to them.

  • You know i had a wall of texted all typed up then i read KMXS post and all i have to say is ditto with regard to gameplay v graphics.

    In conclusion I have one question are we as a comunity of gamers here to embrace popularity or quality? If we are here to embrace quality then bleeding edge graphics should be apprciated, and as KMXS said play it low settings (it still looks great) and wait till you can or want to upgrade.

    The major problem with AOC seems to be it is unoptomized. I say seems because we havent gotten a look at the final client yet and are basising assuptions on a beta build. If AoC were as optomized as say LoTRO i dont think we would be having this discussion.

  • I’m shocked at why Runescape is pretty much never mentioned.

    So what is going on?

    The graphics suck hard, and the combat system is the worst I’ve ever seen in my life, so WHY is this second place?

    By Crom! How can a game with horrific graphics and terrible combat manage second place in North America!? Why has no blogger or professional taken any kind of analysis on what they are doing right?

    1) Graphics do not make the game the slightest bit better. You only get one or two moments to stop and say, “Wow, this looks really good”. After that, you just sort of get into a mindset, and only focus on the mechanics. The ONLY purpose that graphics serve is hype.

    2) Runescape is completely different from any other MMO. They do not have what we know as PvP and PvE today. Its gameplay and focus is funamentally different than WoW, and thus fundamentally different from all the games that copy WoW.

    3) It is shockingly less gear-centric than other games.

    4) It’s rare to actually see someone at the level cap.

    5) There are no classes, you can be a full-out mage one second, then switch to a warrior in an instant.

    6) You can level any and all professions to max


    8) You could hop servers at a whim. You could buy stuff on a cheap server and sell it for a profit on another server. This did not destroy the economy.

  • I think your missing a huge point here though. Some people want the kickass graphics. That is their preference. I personally don’t want AoC to be toned down so “more” people can play it. Don’t take that the wrong way and blame me for wanting to brag because I can play it and others cannot. I just want a game that looks really badass.

    As it stands from the last OB patch I can run AoC 1280×1024, 2xAA with max settings and still pull 40 FPS. This to me is not bleeding edge considering I don’t have a quad core nor SLI, and I bought my GPU based on the best performance for price on the market. I have a core 2 duo e8400 ($220), and 8800gt ($190) and 4 gigs of ram I paid $80 bucks for. Over all I think I paid around $650 for my last upgrade which I do about as often as a new console generation comes out. I don’t think thats a lot to ask really.

    Most importantly though, if your computer can run AoC and it looks great now, then whats the problem? There are enough of us out there with PC’s that can run to make Funcom some good profits. And aside from that, if they do the game right, more people will come as time passes. Regardless of how much realism they put into this engine, you have played the game as well as I have, and its not hard to see how this graphics engine is going to still be quality looking 2 years from now.

    I think a cleaner argument might go something like this. “If this game looked exactly like WoW and ran 100% stable, I wouldn’t play it”. I actually somewhat feel that way, I mean the graphics are making up for some lack of originality, with the hope that with such a robust content launch they have some promise of creating some interesting PVP and end game. I doubt that it will happen, I don’t trust game devs anymore it just seems like the price they pay to make the game go Gold is signing up for a lobotomy on launch day and eventually ruining their own project. But now I’m just bantering. Anyhow I really think the graphics engine has potential, it runs pretty decent for how good it looks, and it would be nice to have an mmo that looks really good with such mechanic potential for once.

  • I acknowledge THAT point kmxs, but THE point of this is a broader look at pc gaming in general. The majority don’t care about bleeding-edge. The majority want something that will run well AND look good.

    This point sorta piggybacks on my reply to Lawrence (#15) that quality is subjective. We all have our own tastes. But what matters in the end are the numbers. Yeah, sorry, the gaming industry is a business to make money and right now the majority are making money for the industry by playing games that appeal to the “Looks good runs great” crowd.

  • I know, I know… I’m just going through the 7 stages of grief… :p

    Though I don’t believe AoC will fail to the extent of EQ2. The market is ready for an MMO at the moment. Before the (recent) huge sucess of WoW, there was no more of a market for MMO than there is for poodle shampoo (ie, there is one, but its not a mass market). To many people, WoW opened their eyes to how fun an MMO can be; but many, just aren’t excited by WoW any more, and feel as though that feeling could come again with a new MMO – that could be Conan for many people, could be WAR, could be the new Blizzard MMO. Basically, I guess what I’m trying to say is, for many ‘WoW-addicts’, they might not be addicted to WoW, but simply MMOs, but at the moment, there is nothing to satisfy them to the extent WoW did. Now… AoC brings hype, brings a lot of content, and if it can fix it’s perfomance issues, it could drag people from WoW… kicking, and screaming, all, the way…

  • No, I understand that some people want the better graphics. It’s just a niche market.

    If you want WoW or Runescape numbers of subscribers, you do have to tone it down. If you can find enough people in that high-end niche to support your servers, by all means go ahead.

  • @Graham: Agreed. Can’t argue that point. Right now there really isn’t a MMO to satisfy the addiction and for many that will be enough to either bite the bullet and upgrade their comps or suffer through the game’s issues. ((Through all my BMC’ing I’m ONE of them for crying out loud, haha))

    I suffer from looking at the big picture. In 6 months where will AoC be? Based on the facts and analogy you used they’ll be hanging on to their subscribers while the mass market seek out other more accessible solutions. That’s pretty much the gist of what I’m trying to say.

    BTW, great discussion guys. I like stuff like this. 😉

  • @Keen – I don’t know why your beating that horse though. Sure that’s what the majority wants. But both you and I can agree that the watered down World of Warcraft trying to please way to me aspects of the MMO genre in 1 game is what killed it. You don’t like the PVE treadmill interfering with your PVP, I don’t like the PVP items being way to easy to get.

    So who cares what the majority wants, I want a game targetting a specific audience, focused on doing a very good job within it and not being greedy.

    For those who are tired of the WoW “Every-Game” feel I think we can agree that were very happy that AoC and Warhammer are getting more specific.

    Now to define it more and show you I understand what your saying. You are saying you think that AoC is defining itself for the wrong reasons, this is where I am much more of a graphics whore then you are =) Hey if they can make it play well AND have the sweet ass pixel-pipeline pumping polygons, sign me the fuck up.

  • I think you’ll find Runescape is EXTREMELY kid-oriented. The subscription is like £3.50 a month (like, $5-6) last time I saw; it’s the kind of game that appeals to like 12-13 year olds (couple of my little cousins play it) – its the kind of game they’ll play for several hours, chatting to each other, doing little tasks and quests, but playing to an extremely anti-hardcore extent (ie no solid grinding for an item, they might go do a quest or two, make a set of armour etc). They subscribe together to allow them a huge new area, and its the kind of figure most parents would happily let them pay, as as far as the parent is concerned, its better for the kid to be playing a relatively ‘nice’ looking game with their friends than out doing god-knows-what. People aren’t at the level cap because – literally, it’s like grinding a mountain into dust using a nail-file! 99 levels in each skill, and it can take literally months of solid grinding to get to the next level when you approach 80 – this place has a calculator:

    That said, it’s not a bad game; but to most people, it’d be like going back to toilet water, after you’ve had a drink from the sweet fountain of mineral water!

  • I think its all situational, if you look at SWG’s launch and how buggy it was at the beginning you can see that sometimes there are exceptions to the “Vanguard/EQ2 Sky is Falling syndrome.” I mean when I played SWG there were tons of glitches and weird problems, but you know what the market was ready for a Star Wars MMO and they were willing to suck up the problems at launch.

    Vanguard to me at least is riding off of a fantasy niche market and where you have to go digging for what their story was about. Age of Conan has a story that many of us can relate to growing up reading the novels, magazines, and watching the films. World of Warcraft for me at least lacked a story that I could connect with, LOTRO had a story but the PVP and PVE were totally lacking in fun and originality. AoC looks like it will bring to the table what WoW failed to do, and that is address PVP in a fun, focused manner. If you remember the Southshore WOW pvp days when the servers would crash almost everyday because of the huge numbers then you can recall how fast Blizzard had to act fast by throwing us into instanced battlegrounds. I dread instanced battlegrounds, and hope I will never have to suffer under their torture in a MMO again.

    So to sum things up, with cheaper prices in technology and also with the realization that once the game is polished a little better; we should be more focused on the good AoC will bring to the table at the beginning rather than focusing on the bad. I challenge you to take a risk here, not a blind risk, but a calculated one that may just surprise you Keen.

  • That is, after playing a more mainstream MMO (WoW, LOTRO, EQ, whatever), Runescape is like drinking toilet water after a drink from the sweet fountain of mineral water.

    And Keen, where do I think AoC will be in 6 months time? Personally, I think it will have a huge player base a launch, due to the hype it’s had, then a month or two in, it will suffer hugely, as people struggle with playability, and the adaption to a totally different style and environment, but from the 3rd month inwards, I think it’ll grow steadily, as issues are resolved, and people decide to give another chance. After 6 months, I think it’ll be comfortably above LOTRO’s numbers… maybe 600-700k?

  • You know, anytime anyone mentions SWG as a game to compare mechanics and gameplay to I immediately write them off as an ignoramus. Am I wrong there? I mean, was there anything good about that game at all?

  • After having played the AoC beta I think the only thing it has going for it are the graphics. They nailed the world, but lost me with the content and gameplay. I should say that I had no problems running the beta. I have a 3.0 ghz Dual Core with an 8800GT and 4 gigs or RAM running on Vista 64 Ultimate. I had no issues with running the game at a high frame rate.

  • I feel like I’m beating an undead horse. It just won’t die!! DIE DIE DIE *whack!*

    I know what I want. It’s neither WoW’s watered down gameplay or AoC’s bleeding-edge travesty. I want their love child.

    OH WAIT!

    Shameless fanboy plug right there. 😉 Anyway, AoC will be an appetizer. The point here is that it could have been more and games currently being developed have a chance to avoid the same fate.

    Great graphics – at what price? At the cost of performance and gameplay? No thanks.

    Innovative gameplay – at what price? Being different for the sake of being different? It didn’t work in AoC, for me at least. Your mileage may vary.

    (comment #27 got it right)

    They nailed the world, but lost me with the content and gameplay.

    Thus we enter the great debate of Graphics vs. Gameplay!

  • Personally, when it comes to single player games I want the kick ass high quality graphics. I want the Half-life 2s and Crysis’ whether they’ll run on my current machine or not. Eventually I’ll have a machine that can run them, and I lose nothing by waiting a year to play.

    When it comes to MMO games, accessibility is the key. I hate WoWs graphics. I always have. But everyone was playing it and it was easy to get into, so I played with my friends. What WoW does right is avoid using graphics as a barrier to gameplay. They exist solely to implement gameplay and the game will run well as long as you have a reasonably ok computer. For MMOs, performance > graphics. Having your computer choke while you’re playing with friends is not acceptable. Because of the nature of MMOs, having to wait 1-2 years for a computer good enough to play it is also not acceptable. You risk missing out on playing with your friends and you get into the game late when things are less interesting (like making a level 1 character in WoW 30 months after release).

    Age of Conan’s graphics ARE a barrier to gameplay. I simply can’t play the game at an acceptable level of performance, a P4 3.2ghz simply doesn’t cut it. With all the graphics settings on low the game looks like ass and still runs terribly. Despite my aging processor, my computer is still, technically, ‘better than average’. It’s not better than the average hardcore gamer (rather, far worse), but it is better than the average WoW player’s. The only people who are going to be able to transition to AoC from WoW are the hardcore, and so AoC is shooting itself in the foot right from the get-go.

  • @ kmxs

    If you didn’t play the game at the beginning then you sir are the ignoramus. SOE screwed the pooch with all of the horrible updates: NGE, PreCU etc, but they had an incredible game before their huge mistakes.

    Bar none some of the best crafting I have seen in a game was in SWG, the graphics were quite good if you had a decent rig but more importantly it played well on low end systems. The pvp was actually fun, because it was open world and wasn’t so gear oriented. In my opinion it took much more skill to be good in SWG than it ever did in WoW, aside from CM’s of course, that was just silly.

    I could go on about what was fun, but if you didn’t play it then I guess you missed out.

  • EA have butchered many franchises in the past… and continue to do so today; what’s to say the marketing arm of EA won’t interfere in the production of WAR and slap the makers around the face a few times until the dollar symbols in their eyes appear?

  • AoC can run on lower-end computers pretty well, on its lowest settings, which still beat out WoW’s craptastic graphics (and gameplay by a looooong shot). You have to expect the glitches and lag you’re getting at the moment with AoC in beta, its a high-end game and won’t be fully polished for another month or so after release (no, they should not have delayed release, they need actual real gameplay to hammer out these MINOR, yes MINOR, bumps).

    EQ2 failed for many other reasons other than its demanding graphics. WoW is successful for a few reasons, and none of them are good. It is successful because it can run on a friggin’ IBM from 1999, it’s so simple a toddler with downsyndrome can play and get max lvl with epics and such and half of the population is consisted of asian goldfarmers.

    I looked into WAR, and even pre-ordered a copy early on, but then found AoC. WAR is pretty much a WoW re-make, AoC is fresh and doesn’t make your eyes bleed because of the horrendous graphics while playing it, needless to say I cancled my WAR pre-order. Be patient, no MMO launch is smooth, AoC is worth the wait.

  • @C788: 5 days from release bud. The “it’s beta” defense does not work anymore and loses ALL credibility when the company hides behind a NDA until their customers give them the $$$. It’s more than safe to assume that the release client will be no different than the late OB/CB client.

  • @Keen – I honestly want to believe Warhammer will be a great game, after DaoC I am just very skeptical that a PVP endgame can offer longevity. I might be stuck in my old raiding mentality, but hey, I like raiding =)

    @Graktar – That is such a well written post that you actually made me feel guilty for pushing my guild into AoC =P You need to post more man your logic is infallible.

    @Subtrahno – I did play it a bit in the beginning. I thought the PVP was horribly imbalanced and everyone played a bounty hunter proving the point. The graphics seemed like they used a ton of technology but completely failed on the style and animation end. And the clincher for me was watching people stand in town raising retarded skills like entertaining.

    I can handle being an ignoramus if I am one, it just seems to me the only people that think it was a good game were first time MMO’rs who had nothing to draw a comparison from. DaoC was popular at the same time as that game and pound for pound beat the hell out of imo. Daoc had its flaws for sure, but to me it was a no contest for actual gameplay enjoyment.

    Another funny note, whenever I see banner for Second Life I think of SWG, no idea why =P

  • Im a #2. I love the style of WoW. Cartoony ftw. I want to play a game not be immersed in a world. If I can be immersed in a game, all the better.

    But AoC isnt that bleeding edge. I have an earlier core 2 duo, GeForce 8600 GTS ( ~$100), and 2 gigs of ram. Its about a year old, and wasnt bleeding edge then. I can run on medium, with 4x AA, all textures to high, shaders 3.0, alpha blenders on, etc. I cant max it out, but it looks damn good.

    My wifes PC is about 3 years old and can run it on low. And it STILL looks great.

  • @Jusk – Yah I agree with that somewhat, I think AoC is catching to much of the PC reqs flack because people are looking at what it can do at its most optimal. I have a few friends with pretty hold PC’s that run the game pretty fast after that big patch on the 9th.

  • @KMXS

    SWG when it was orginaly release was an awsome open ended game with tons of potential. It needed to be ballanced and tweaked a bit after its luanch. However SoE decided there was no room for orginality in MMO design and the proceded to gut it. SWG after the NGE and CU literaly killed that game.

    SWG interms of ORGINAL design is still one of the most inovative and uniquie MMOS ever tried. It did well for awhile but it was another game released to early. Instead of patching and fixing like most other MMOs, SoE seemed intent on killing SWG from a prety early on.

    As subtraho pointed out excelent crafting system, a real economy that was 100% driven by the players, real non combat classes were all highlights of orginal SWG.

  • I loved SWG at launch too for all the reasons above. But yeah, it suffered from lack of ongoing development.

  • @ kmxs

    So you played it at the beginning and can sum all of your opinions just like that eh 😛 SWG wasn’t my first mmo, for I started in WWII Online and played that for over 5 years, heck I still go back and check it out from time to time.

    I also played World of Warcraft for 3 years and LOTRO for 1 year, so your point of people thinking its great because they can’t compare it to anything is mute. I tried DAOC when the catacombs expansion came out and couldn’t get past the horrible graphics, it was… just bad. I’ve heard great things though and don’t go as far to say that it was bad game, it just didn’t keep up with time.

    But back to what you were saying, you thought pvp was imbalanced because everyone was a BH… I don’t remember that EVER being a problem. BH’s were good at killing Jedi and good in groups, but they weren’t the end all profession. TK’s, Rifleman’s, Swordsman’s etc were much better, so I would beg to differ in your early analysis. The graphics to me at least felt good in the game, they looked incredibly smooth and really hit the nail on the head when it came to putting you in the environment. One of the biggest drawbacks I had though is that you couldn’t go under water! Lastly, you make a point that people were retarded for sitting in town raising their skills… To me if players want to raise skills in the city or out on their own, let them! I loved seeing hundreds of players in city because it added to the feel of the game, you actually felt like you were in a crowded city. You could talk with people, trade, go to the cantina, have large scale fights in the middle of a crowd etc.

    If you ask anyone who really played the game, they enjoyed all SWG had to offer. Again I’m not saying its awesome now, or even to go try it out. Just that it was buggy in the beginning and that it actually turned out to be a really great game (then bad again lol).

  • I meant skills like entertaining specifically. that stuff just seemed really time grind to me. A problem created with a fix which both involved aspects that didn’t seem like a reason to log on and play.

  • Anyone this argument is kind of lame, I was being a jerk more then anything. Not that I don’t think SWG was a crappy game, because imo it was. But hey thats me, back on topic =)

  • Entertaining had its benefits though, from what I remember if you wanted to do large scale pvp you needed a couple of entertainers to buff your groups mind pool and its regen rate. If you didn’t then your group would suffer to Cm’s poisons and Rifleman that would target the mind pool.

    Heck if you wanted to be an entertainer just for the economy of it, there were several that could make a decent buck by giving private shows and earning profits to fund their other interests.

    People would also role play more than I ever saw in any other game in the cantinas, mostly because there were half dressed alien women dancing in front of them, something for all I guess but not my cup of tea. It’s interesting to watch though and adds to the idea that you are playing a game and not grinding out instances day after day.

  • @ kmxs

    I just dont get the disdain for non combat classes, if you didnt want to play one you didnt have to. Im not sure how many people found it fun to be a dancer/musican or even a doctor in SWG but if they did find it fun i for one wont fault them for it. There were plenty of combat classes to choose from if you were so inclined.

    The only game mechanic i hated was the force attunment mechanic where you had to master random profesion X if you ever wanted to be a jedi.

  • @ subtraho

    Couldnt have said it better with regard to the actual RPG aspect of the game, something that IMHO is sorely lacking in most MMOs these days.

  • @C788 “(and gameplay by a looooong shot).”

    I’m astonished that you make that assumption before AoC has even gone gold.


    Personally, I can handle a buggy MMO release, what matters are the first couple of months – where the patches are trying to push/fix the game.

    I absoultely agree with you though. Gameplay > Graphics

  • Oh by the way, here’s the #1 reason i’m looking forward to AoC being a success:

    An interesting End-game: the guild vs guild warfare.

    WoW drove me away once i realized was for honor/arena farmers and raid fanatics, others need not apply.

  • @Keen

    Regardless, the client may be the same or it may not, whatever, thats not what I was getting at. Ur playing on an overcrowded beta server and before the retail game launches I am 100% certain the AoC crew will make the adjustments needed. Look at what they have already done from early beta till now, especially on Closed Beta. The game is on such a higher level than most other games, these glitches other bumps are to be expected and pretty easily fixed. TBH, I’d rather play a bugged out glitchy AoC than WoW any day.


    I’ve seen enough gameplay to know. And WoW is complete crap, it really hurts my brain trying to even comprehend how people enjoy that piece of garbage. Yes, I’ve actually played WoW, albeit for about 2 weeks, so this is not just mindless bashing, I truly feel it’s a horrible game.

  • There was another patch for the closed AoC Beta and it seems pretty rock stable now. Zero crashed for me so far and no memory leaks.

    And the whole AoC will fail I seriosuly doubt. It already has more preorders than wow had when it launched and it is imho the best mmo on the market (until war atleast) so many more will probably join after launch.

  • I like WoW’s style well enough, but don’t kid yourself – it didn’t run well on underpowered systems when it launched almost 4 years ago now either. Time is what has given WoW this huge system spec edge, and it’s the same mistress that makes WoW’s graphics look so dated. People seem so quick to forget this.

    Consider – WoW’s *minimum* requirements (when released in 2004) were a P3 800 (first available as a high end part in 2000) and the GeForce 2 (also high end in 2000). So, if you had a high end system from 4 years prior (or a pretty low end current system) you could run WoW.

    But what are AoC’s minimum specs? A 3 GHz P4 (avail 2003, as “high end”) and the Radeon 9800 (also 2003 “high end,”). So, AoC’s min specs are for a high end machine from 5 years ago, or a low end machine now.

    So, at day of release, AoC is actually *kinder* on system specs than WoW was at its release.

    Not that this helps AoC in any practical way – it has to compete with the WoW of today, which runs on pretty much anything. But to slam it for not supporting lower end systems is pretty harsh, when it’s actually doing a better job of it than WoW did.

    The fact is, though, that WoW’s graphics don’t just look “cartoony” anymore – they look flat out dated. I’m OK with that if the gameplay is good enough, but there’s no reason for a new game *not* to look as good as AoC at this point.

  • Ok I only got into MMORPG’s because of WOW and don’t have much experience with anything prior. WOW was and still is a great game for the simple fact its accessible and timeless. But it has gotten boring for me, going on 3 years now has been a pretty good run I reckon.

    AOC seems pretty well differentiated from WOW imo from lore and gameplay aspects. Having dealt with WOW’s graphics for so long, this is a welcome change and yea I did upgrade my comp in the past week specifically for this and also to migrate to the Vista platform.

    I will continue to show up for raids in WOW just cuz there’s a real sense of community you build up there. But I’ll be getting my real kicks from AOC.

  • Good post Keen, we seem to think on the same wavelength 😀 It will be very interesting how the AoC release will go. Those claming it will “OMFG ROCK LIKE CRAZY” or “OMFG DOOM DOOM DOOM”…. really don’t know what they are talking about. AoC more than likely will end of a niche MMO. I was going to go out and preorder before the beta, but the beta actually mayde me hold off until the reviews are in…

  • I agree with you. I’ve said all along that Mythic is making a game that doesn’t look as good as Conan, or LoTRO, or other current mmo’s, but I suspect they’re also making a game that’s going to perform well when there’s a big keep siege. They learned a lot of lessons in Emain Macha when the Albs and the Mids came to visit in huge numbers.

    I’ve seen enough of how AoC performs when it’s just me on the screen to suspect that things aren’t going to go well in large open-world PvP battles. I’m going to hold off and see what the reviews say. If Funcom surprises me, I’ll drop $50 on them. I suspect that AoC’s not going to end up on my played list, though.

  • I am NOT being a jerk here. However, if your facts were correct, they would be SELLING Battlefield Heroes. They are not. It’s a fun little project. I grew up on “Stylized” anime style RPG games AND realistic shooters. I love BOTH.

    Still, if stylized was the way to go, games like Medal of Honor(war games), Devil May Cry, Metal Gear and others would ALL be under-sellers. Yet they LEAD the market. Why? Because they appeal to the majority of gamers(17-35 y/o). WoW however, uses it’s gameplay (mindlss grinding), and graphics to appeal to ANYONE with a brainstem and a keyboard. THAT is why they are successful. They built upon an already successful series and turned it into grindfest.

    Should WAR do the same as WoW, they WILL MOST DEFINITELY meet or even SURPASS WoWs popularity. Kids want to feel older, and they feel that way by playing with the big boys on thier 5 y/o laptops. I am not trying to be elitist, it may seem that way. I got sick of WoW when they started to cater to people who had JUST purchased the game and could see content and recieve the rewards that I had worked MONTHS for in only a few days/weeks. I guess that IS elitist afterall.

    Imagine playing a new Final Fantasy game. It takes you 3 weeks of dedicated gameplay to reach the boss and beat him, thus wining the game. You friend buys it, they patch, and he is able to clear it in a matter of hours. Tell me you would hoestly not feel shafted.

    However, AoC is NOT doing that and will most likely not be anywhere NEAR as successful, but will overall be a better game for it. They will have no reason to dumb the game down for everyone, just to appease the masses. I hope this is the case to an extent. New content requires income, and I am optimistic that they will have enough to continue to make a great game, though it be geared to a smaller audience. innovation may have it’s price unfortunately.

    As you have said, a game that looks great and has spectacular gameplay(Oblivion and its ilk) will be accepted, be outstanding and will go down in the hollows of gaming history. I do not believe it’s all about graphics.


  • Oh, and I WILL be playing AoC on a low-end(for AoC high end for WoW/WAR) PC, and will have a blast. Should I not, I will NOT be buying a game that looks like a WoW clone. You can say it has a deeper story, more lore etc., but it LOOKS the EXACT SAME and I will have HORRIBLE memories. do not want to return to that grindfest even if it’s in a new package.

  • While i do agree with you that really high end graphics really kill sales, that it would be better to have games that scale better to hardware and that developpers shouldnt always focus to push the limit of good graphics

    theres a few problems with that. first of all its less and less easy to be able to accomodate everybody now because the differences between computers is so different than it was lets say 10 years ago. 2 people could have really similar computers except one would have a 8800GTX in it and the other would have a integrated intel graphic pos and one of the 2 could run any game and the other not at all. It wasnt that much the case when the disparities between machines wasnt as big. Its really hard for developpers to make a game that will scale down alot to play on many kind of machines. That leaves the option for developpers to just give up on graphics and try to focus on gameplay. but at the same time graphics are a really important aspect, they give you a first impression, an image and they are what can charm you into a universe.

    The other thing is that MMOS are intended to be played for a LONG time. When youre into a game youre not really thinking that youll stop one day, even if its what usually happens, you just dont figure it that way when youre playing it. That being said, you want the mmo graphics to be good looking for a long time before they become really outdated and ugly compared to the mainstream stuff. So you wanna make good graphics that will run well in the future. Take SWG for example, w/o being the nicest looking game ever, its only a few years after its release that most people were able to crank the graphics up a little, it didnt stop many people from playing the game and now that people updated their hardware they can now look at the game from a new eye.

    This is probably what will happen with AoC, not many people will be able to run it well at first, but slowly with the years people will get better hardware and be able to play it on higher settings. On the good side too, we noticed that they are optimizing Aoc for lower end machines mostly (single core, shaders 2.0, dx9) and were all seeing how AoC can give good performances to many people with using only 1 core and older technologies. so while the new kind of low end machines can run AoC with acceptable and playable framerate on low settings (i think a geforce 7600/radeon x1600 is the minimum playable), we can also be confident that the game will run nicely on dual or quad core cpus and dx10 settings. In the end, unlike my SWG example, where the game simply couldnt be run well by high end hardware when it was released, AoC might be, as well as being optimized for low-end machines, and will run nicely on the hardware of the future and will also probably run nicely on the future low end vid cards (radeon 4850 for instance).

    Basically i think AoC is going the right way with their graphics optimization. It is guaranteeing good graphics for the years to come and good performances for lower end system of today and at the same time good performances for low-end system of the future.

  • Should WoW overhaul the gameplay, and REDO the ENTIRE engine as EVE has done, then I’d actually think about playing the game again. They won’t though, the’d lose too much income and that’s something Activision Blizzard will NEVER do.

  • i really dont care about graphics at all my one true love in mmorpgs will always be AC1

    i loved WoW for almost 4 years till the game got boring

    i have beta tested War and AoC i cant say much on this but i will be buying AoC and not War as it is right now as nothing to do with graphics

  • “Should WoW overhaul the gameplay, and REDO the ENTIRE engine as EVE has done, then I’d actually think about playing the game again. They won’t though, the’d lose too much income and that’s something Activision Blizzard will NEVER do.”

    There is no reason to redo anything. You can’t fix something that isn’t broken.

  • That isnt broken in a financial sense sorry had to rephrase what you said bart :D… Sorry cause imop wow is broken beyond repair add some originality to wow and it might actually hurt it….

  • “There is no reason to redo anything. You can’t fix something that isn’t broken.”

    True. Just as McDonalds has been serving HORRIBLE food that is TERRIBLE for your body. Yet due to easy of purchase and consumption, people will continue to buy from there and could care less how bad it is for you or how it tastes. Call me elites/having a more sophisticated taste, but I don’t want whatever they throw at me. Makes me sad people still chew it up though and salivate for more 🙁

  • Keen about warhammer there are some people i know that arent to happy with whats going on with war and its kinda scary I myself cant wait to play warhammer but I feel like they are putting to many eggs in a basket I mean so much stuff and so many new ideas it just sounds to good to be true…

    But this is mythic we are talking about a new rich mythic I dont doubt there ability not one bit. Plus paul owns lol

  • I think you have to be careful not to fall into the trap of taking something subjective as the art of visuals and then correlating mass-market or niche to it. Statistics favours whomever is citing them.

    Does pushing the hardware envelop still sell games? I’d say Crysis’ continued success says that it does. Don’t forget, people buying new systems are much more likely to buy games (this is true for PCs and consoles), which is the overriding principle of that strategy.

    MMOs have proven to be a completely different market. There’s overlap in consumers, but the subscription model dictates different purchasing incentives.

    On that note, I fail to recognize the comparisons with Team Fortress 2, Battlefield Heroes, etc.. Compare those instead to Crysis, BioShock and Portal and you’d be painting a much different picture.

    I think you’ll find that while many people like myself will say that we’re tired of “cartoonish” for MMORPGs and it has a lot to do with the genre (and dare I say immersion).

    And finally, I’ll hammer this home again:

    You do NOT need cel shading or otherwise bright coloured “cartoonish” graphics in order to have stylized graphics.

  • @trixlixmy

    “orry cause imop wow is broken beyond repair add some originality to wow and it might actually hurt it….”

    Originality? I think its safe to say that WoW invented the mass market, MMO genre and carved its own niche out in the world. A lot of other games should be concerned with originality. It would like me going out and starting a fast food service called McDoogles and selling hamburger and french fries, then turning around and telling McDonalds to get original.

    I enjoy games for their artistic merits, design and creativeness. If people are pushing for a game that looks JUST LIKE the real work, where is the fun in that? I live in the real world! Give me something I don’t see everyday. Something that has been created with some imagination and out-of-the-box thought.

    Hyper realistic graphics have their place, without a doubt, but in a genre that is so focused on drawing tons of players, like an MMORPG, I believe it is out of its element.

  • Well, in WoW I can farm anything solo and sell it to the computer. Where’s the MMO portion :S

  • I predict a discussion on a similar topic like this in the future, for Kingdom Under Fire 2. However, this time, the antagonist has to criticise Unreal Engine 3. But it doesn’t make sense due to the all excellent market sales. What AoC basically didn’t have is a market acclaimed game engine.

  • @Bartlebe I thought everquest carved that this is what I dont get people look at numbers and use that as a basis Lineage was a game with a huge population and a hit in the asian brackets but to us western it lacked and lacked badly

    Mcdonalds actually used some originality in aqcuireing more sales with the mc salads the introduciton of the bigmac you can actually go to wiki and see some of its innovation really now if it just sold burgers and fries it wouldnt be as big as it is and people will eventually get bored and lose taste.

    This is what is happeneing to wow IMOP it keeps doing the same thing each patch each expansion more catering to raids and more catering to arena gameplay leaving out all the amazing content it can produce. I get tired of grinding to upgrade my gear I just want to logon and play without thinking about it but cant progress if you gear doesnt.

    Wow amazing marketing and timing is what caused its initial success add in the amazing ease and fun gameplay and leveling experience there is no game on the market that can beat it but once you reach high level gameplay it becomes a job:(

    Everquest 2 is actually a success for soem reason people think you have to have millions of subscribers to have a good mmo. I was immersed amazingly when I loaded up in aoc and saw the bueaty of aquilonia it was the most amazing city i have ever seen in a mmo it felt right.

    But again back to the topic your right you dont need amazing graphics to have fun gameplay but it sure does look good. Dont forget lord of the rings is very pretty and you dont need a high end rig……

  • @Horpse: It’s not always the engine’s fault. Vanguard was on the unreal 2.x engine and was a horrible anomaly in that engine’s track record. But I do agree that AoC lacks a market acclaimed engine. The Cheetah engine isn’t exactly the greatest engine out there either.

    @trix: Correct. LOTRO is a great example of a fantastic looking game that doesn’t require cutting edge systems.

  • @Bartlebe: I don’t think you could call mass-market popularity “inventing”. It’s more of a breaking through. WoW did not gain mass sales within a vacuum.

    Timing had a lot to do with it. Blizzard’s reputation had even more of a push. There were a lot of players waiting for an MMORPG that actually looked and played well and when Blizzard indicated they were giving it a shot there were a lot of “hell yeahs” to be heard ’round the world.

    @Keen: LOTRO took its share of gaming blogger flak for system requirements during its beta too, though not as much, but it’s all relative.

    Flat out, having a game that looks good with low system requirements ~is~ a good strategy for any MMO. But I disagree that it’s a make-or-break, in fact I think we ~need~ games like AoC to fill the niche.

  • Good post, but I still prefer realistic graphics))
    People mentioned the level cap.

    1.Keen, What do you think of the “quick” level cap in MMOs?

    For example i would rather stretch it.
    I remember in D2, there were very few lv99’s on the Hardcore ladder and everyone knew them)) It was sad when they died.(((
    I think max lv made people distinct.
    But the difference is that in AOC (for example) level makes a big difference in pvp, whereas in D2, lv 70-99 made almost no difference.

    2.And when is your next podcast?

  • The worst thing about Wow isn’t so much the graphics as it is the huge amount of emptiness (think Tanaris or Hellfire Pennisula) between points. Runescape has better content and if it weren’t for the new games coming out I think I would rather go back to RS. I’m 40 and have only played MMO’s for 2 years starting with my son on RS. I did enjoy Wow until I realized there were new options coming out to peak my interest.

    After seeing videos of AoC, I found myself more interested in reading about future mmorpg’s than playing Wow and I won’t go back. After thinking about Outland, I feel kind of ripped off by Blizzard (you had a good run going Tigole!) Going from Hellfire Pennisula to Zangamarsh makes me feel like I’m a little kid.

    I feel that if you are a MMORPG company, keep it interesting without insulting me. Elwynn Forest, Westfall and my first time into Deadmines were amazing! If AoC can raise the bar and keep me entertained for 10 hours a week, I’ll play it. If WAR sounds like a lot of fun when and if I’m finding myself bored with AoC, I’ll play it. Give me good gameplay without it being too childish (for me that is the immediate transition from hell like surroundings to climbing a little hill and ending up in this huge marsh that’s the polar opposite of where I just had been 25 meters ago) and you could probably even get away with Runescape type graphics. Keep me entertained and suck me into a story I can navigate by myself or a battle I can join in with my son and his friends where the outcome has some impact (WAR’s 5 years of numerology and stroy sound good) and I’ll play.

    I hear a lot of interesting things about DAoC, EVE, EQ, etc. but I don’t want to go back in time and gameplay. I’m trusting that the new mmo’s will learn from the old ones and they will be better. Let’s giv’em a chance!

    Here’s to playing Darkfall when I’m 70! Long live mmorpg’s!

  • @Nassir: Level caps and the time it takes to achieve them are a great topic. What I think matters most is not how fast or slow it takes to reach the cap, but how the game is designed around it. If it’s a quick trip from start to finish then I would expect the content at the end to be dynamic and have immense longevity. If the trip is a slower one with higher levels being distinct then the game must be designed to reward and support the process.

    When you mix PvP in then things get even more tricky. I prefer my pvp centric games not be a long drawn out leveling process because I like reaching the “end-game” pvp content of taking keeps, cities, etc.

    So I guess here’s how I like it:

    PvP centric games – “Medium” amount of time to reach the level cap with a very, very long term “end-game” content design.

    PvE centric games – A longer more involved process that takes time to show players the world, involve them in dungeons and quests, and really show the player more than grinding of treadmills.

    As for our next podcast, it will be when we have something to talk about. 😛 Vague I know! Expect one probably next week.

  • @ keen at PvP centric games – “Medium” amount of time to reach the level cap with a very, very long term “end-game” content design.

    now what if you added that type of end game content throughout the leveling experience the sieges the the taking of towns and cities the world pvp and not kept in a instance but make it part of the world. And when you reach the level cap there is a whole new level of content man such a dream such a dream….

  • I may be in the minority here, but I disliked AoC (closed beta) BOTH graphically and gameplay wise. There is so much more to graphics than pretty ferns and a realistic skin tone. I haven’t seen much high level arnor/weapons. What I have seen are, whether because of or despite the IP it really doesn’t matter, very uniform and ugly. Warhammer on the other hand, has fantastically unique and distinct art for every single class, regardless of what eventual gameplay it will tout. Most of the skills are pathetically represented graphically. The class I had the most experience with, the HoX, merely added a few lackluster flame effects to some combo animations, and normal spells are unimpressive. The only redeeming factor are the animations, and even the fatalities are little more than a novelty.

    The single player element is admittedly quite good, but what the hell do I want a single player RPG for when I’m paying for an online experience? Rest assured that well crafted experience does not extend far at all into the multi player aspect (the only part that matters).

    The massive red flag for me however, is the fact that two MAJOR aspects of gameplay, spellweaving and sieges/player cities, have not been tested one iota, nor any information released besides the most recent movie released showing a building animation less impressive than any RTS released in recent memory.

    My hopes rest now in WAR, and if that makes me a fanboy, so be it.

  • Now there’s an interesting question.

    Is there anything that Blizzard would have done, that Activision Blizzard would not?

  • AOC has really screwed the pooch today! Check out this thread on the public boards:

    So much for massive battles with hundreds of people. DAOC was doing that effectively 6 years ago. This appears to be a great leap backwards, for a supposed mmo…

    Yay for instanced limited numbers pvp! Hangon a sec – isn’t that WOW?

  • AoC forums down 🙁

    Still, even if they:
    1. Limit the players in sieges
    2. Take 2 months to fix it up
    3. Cater to a hardcore crowd

    There are a few dozen, probably more that are going to AoC just because WoW has shifted gears toward not caring anymore. Also, the majority of us have seen WAR but aren’t even interested just because it “LOOKS” like WoW 1.5 and we are NOT going to play WoW 1.5 for 3 years.

    WAR could have used or made a FAR better engine…but for some reason, poly counts, meshes, lightingis ALL THE SAME AS WOW! IMO, they did this to PULL some WoW kid Vets away to thier game. KUDOS to them if it works. Glad I am not playing that…

    Again, all just speculation based on what I’ve seen and read.

  • Ouch, limiting these sieges to 48 players definitely sucks. 🙁

    But really, this is the tip of the iceberg. You have to expect stuff like this from a game with the NDA staying up until release.

  • Wow, that does suck. Still, not playing a WoW clone for another 3 years. Just dont have it in me.

  • I was playing Oblivion today, graphics maxed out and I thought “Man.. this looks better than the AoC screenshots i’ve seen so far. But my rig could never handle it.”

    Sad, really.

  • Using EQ2 in the comparison seems sort of unfair, considering they possibly did every thing they could wrong with that engine, and I think the lack of subs for EQ2 had more to do with the lack of solo content and death penalty . Btw, the performance of EQ2 isn’t all that different from how it was at launch, eventhough my computer now is much better.

  • Keen in witch category u ll put Lineage 2 and Assassin’s Creed?
    hmm i suppose this question goes for all of the readers.

  • Keen, don’t you rush to blame Aoc’s requirements? The game is still in beta and rly we don’t know what will happen at release and even after 1 month. Just a little patience, after 1 month release, if we see that there is still something wrong with performance issues, I think then we can blame them…

  • It’s not ‘limited to 48’, it’s 48 vs 48. Perfectly respectable number for people who have a concentrated target (a keep.) I don’t want to be server lagged, thanks.

  • One thing for certain I realized is that I will play WAR, not because its gonna take over all the other mmogs out there, but its meant to do justice to the silly WoW mmog I played before. I’ll feel better I guess. Three months after that, I hope to be playing Huxley in December.

  • For the love of all that is good & holy why do people keep saying that WAR is a WOW clone JUST becuase it has the same “stylized graphics”?! Razorback? People please read more about WAR before saying that. Keen’s blog has all the info you need if you would just read it! Graphics does not make a game the same.

  • I honestly think that most people don’t make an important distinction when they talk about the visual quality of a game. Graphics and Art.

    Games like WoW have great artwork. The haters will disagree, but most folks who have never played, can look at some screenshots and think “Well, now there’s something special”. Everything is so bright and colorful – the world seems alive and vibrant. Magic is everywhere, simple objects glow with holy light, or burn with arcane power.

    Now, point the same person at some screenshots of Tortage and Cimmeria and they’ll probably tell you that it’s all just shades of some brownish color. It looks like someone took some screenshots of Kuwait and added some generic buildings and swords.

    The average person will not notice that AoC has a poly count way higher than WoW, or that dynamic lighting is so much better or that the shading is more accurate. This stuff doesn’t matter to the average person, and is usually overlooked.

    Now – move beyond just screenshots. Just run around a little bit. Jump, attack, sit, dance, and just enjoy the physics. Does AoC seem forced or clunky? WoW surely doesn’t. The movement might not feel majestic or graceful, but it seems solid. You don’t need tendons moving like they do in real life – nothing epic or used by the NFL to train athletes. You just need a basic means of movement that doesn’t feel forced.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a big WoW fan. But I think that the main reasons it does well is that the first time someone logs in and looks around they’re impressed with the art, and movement feels normal. Ignore everything else. After just an hour screwing around in a noob area, most people are sold and the addiction slips deeper. It doesn’t matter much what happens later, the hook is in.

    Unfortunately, I could never get into LotRO because movement felt so … horrible. How can you develop a game for so long and think “God damn, that looks like complete ass when I run around, I’m sure no one else will notice though.”

    If AoC wants to deliver, they need the first thirty minutes to be mesmerizing – nothing else. If they have a good newb experience, the game will sell. The rest is just for retention. Get their foot in the door I say, and then feed them the crap sandwich later.

  • @Adamn

    Oh man, this is so true. Right on the nose!

    “Now, point the same person at some screenshots of Tortage and Cimmeria and they’ll probably tell you that it’s all just shades of some brownish color. It looks like someone took some screenshots of Kuwait and added some generic buildings and swords.”


  • @Adam: This brings up an old thorny problem with games that harkens right back to the Atari days and beyond: Selling with screenshots.

    Art direction also deals with animation, which gets completely lost in most screenshots. We’ve gone through several eras of games that have sold well based on screens.

    While I’d agree that WoW looks great in screenshots, I’ve never been a fan of Blizzard’s animation, which I just find passable. Now this next Penny Arcade quote I’ve used before, but I think it illustrates the point of why I think AoC looks good to me:

    Tycho @ Penny Arcade:
    “I was pulled into his work by a single animation from the game, which I will admit sounds ridiculous, and even more so when you understand that it was an idle animation: it was the player character from the back, leaning heavily on one foot, one shoulder held higher than the other. The way he – I have already admitted this is ridiculous – the way he shifted his weight communicated that this was not only a bestial sort of aggressor, but that he was bored, the way a great cat can become bored, ready to kill for sport.”

  • My turn to put in my worthless two sense. And, get ready, it’s a tangent.

    The “stylized” vs “realistic” argument is starting to confuse me; I don’t want to sound like a complete prick, but stylized as defined by Webster’s is:
    ‘to design in or cause to conform to a particular style, as of representation or treatment in art; conventionalize.’

    Therefore, both “realistic” and “stylized” are two different styles, they’re both stylized. Ok,enough of the retarded English lesson.

    The argument seems to be more about easily accessible vs system pushing. When Keen made the point to say that the Wii is out-selling the 360 and the PS3, which is completely true, but I don’t think enough of that argument was focused on another important reason: the Wii out-sells because the games are just more fun. Style is only a small part of the equation. Nintendo focuses on several key factors:
    1. Games should be interesting and engaging to play. This counts for a wide variety of factors: graphics, style, game-play, story, characterization, etc.
    2. Simplicity counts. When games and media in general become convoluted people lose interest.
    3. Originality. Sometimes being novel counts, ie. Boom Blox.

    I know, I know this is a drop in the bucket. And, as lame as it makes me sound, I will be playing both AoC and WAR mostly based on the novelty factor; then if the first two constraints are met by either game that’s what I’ll be playing. Since MMo’s are long term games I don’t think that judging a game based on a week of OB play is enough for me to discount AoC, and, by the same token, looking at screen-shots and Zapruder-esque film doesn’t make me jump to love WAR.

  • hmm? *ponders* graphix vs gameplay, *roles eyes* ok,ok,ok,ok… If Wow lets me pop the heads off of trolls I’ll go back. Is that selling out?

  • @keens blog
    i guess why i dont like to read ur thoughts on AoC is because u say (roughly) “AoC has high end graphics and there for will not be has good as -insert w/e-” or “AoC has something new to MMOs and i dont like it because…”

    AoC brings something new to the table. WoW brought something new to the table as well. it wasn’t accessibility either. it was name regonintion. Blizzard got big durring the RTS “revolution” (if u dont know what im talking about that means u where still playing FF7 or Tekken on ps1). Blizzard gave birth to Warcraft 2. Warcraft 2 was giant back then. in fact Red Alert 2 is the only other game even thought of as on the same level back then. when star craft came out i think (not sure about this but i think i read it somewhere) it was the best selling pc game of all time, right? so what did Blizzard bring to the table? the same thing everyone else brought. WoW was bacily just like EQ2. Blizzard had name recognition. nothing else. WoW is not some awesome game that makes all other mmos look like they where made in the stone ages. people liked there past games and thought “well ill give it a shot because StarCraft was awesome!” and THAKFULLY brought MMOs into the mainstream. they brought the MMO market to its full potenchal (are we at our full potenchal?). i know ur a big fan of DAoC Keen, and im a big fan of old school EQ (fing grind). those 2 games, however much we enjoyed them, sucked. EQ wasn’t fun, it was work! i wont comment on DAoC but im sure u have ur gripes. i am looking forword to AoC because of the action it offers. i am looking forword to WAR because of the RvR it offers. there BOTH great games. Keen smells like feet.

  • o and Keen ur “history” argument might be hard to argue for some but not me. have u ever purchested stock? ever heard the term “past performance does not guarantee future returns”???

  • have you ever spelled purchased right? try not to lecture on someones opinion…

  • @Adam

    Well put. I’m not a WoW fanboi either, in fact, i fucking loath it after playing for a long time. But I can’t argue with how WELL done that game is. The artwork, the seamless graphics, the design.

    I remember when I first needed to break away from my wow habit, i tried EQ2 and i was so damn disappointed. The game felt clunky, unfinished, unpolished, thrown together.

    I remember specifically, in the starting zone, it felt like you were in a sandbox – walls everywhere. Trees looked like plastic props stuck into the plastic-mat grass.

    Wow, at least, suspended my belief. The world was beautiful and you can tell the artists didn’t just design the textures, they designed objects and how the objects interacted and were put together, the ambient light, the ambient music.

    Wow is a pearl, but i’m sad to see that the end-game is such a rotten mess (eSport/uber raiding), and that it’s such an arcade game (easy mode).

  • @ bigredjeff

    The phrase “past performance does not guarantee future returns” is true to some extent, though any broker will tell you to investigate your chosen company and similar companies well. And, the phrase is based more on not expecting positive returns, not assuming negative ones.

  • @ bigredjeff

    I totally dig. But, as stated earlier, I am reserving my judgment till I’ve played a month both. Though, that doesn’t mean I won’t espouse poorly lashed together thoughts and terrible wisdom.

  • I guess I’d be an in-between. I played EQ2, just because I loved EQ and wanted to continue in that world…the graphics to me were great, but the major flaw with EQ2 at launch was the lack of solo and duo contect. my wife and I pretty much duo all the time, and dont group all too often.

    So we moved to WoW…and there was much rejoicing. got many characters to max lvl. but going on 4 years now takes its toll….and with no date set on the new expansion, I am getting antsy. I need somthing new.

    in comes Conan and WAR.

    warhammer at first glance looks to be a great game. i liked daoc ralm vs. realm combat, and am excited about it being re-vamped so to speak. but one major thing irks me…the graphics, the UI, heck even the placement and look of the buttons and map look almost EXACTLY like WoW. sure there are some distinct differences, and ill probably pick it up…mainly because even though it LOOKS like WoW, im praying it doesnt play like WoW.

    Conan on the other hand for me is the change ive been looking for. (at least for now) the graphics are outstanding, the gameplay is wholly different from your standard click and wait MMO. When i first got into beta, I was running an e6300 core 2 duo…(ya the slow one)Geforce 7950gt, and 2 gb ram. when the game didnt crash every 5 min, I could run it on low-med with rather desent fps..25-30 with some insane dips into the single digits. Ive decided that I want to play conan the way its meant to be played…

    So i picked up a 22inch monitor. 3.0ghz wolfdale core 2 duo, 4 more gigs or ram and a 9800gtx. (about $1k total) now the game runs on high graphics settings, “smooth like buttah” at 50-60fps. and its GORGEOUS.

    so yes I play all sorts of mmo’s .. i like the stylized ones that can fun on an ibm tandy machine, and i like the ones that need a supercomputer to run.

    sorry for rambling on, but my point is this….

    I dont wish to take any sides in the “whos or gameplay” deathmatch. in my opinion both have their pluses and minuses. there will aloways be fans of each type, and like myself there will always be people that just want to have a good time, and dont care either way. I dont make a ton of money, and yet i still find a way to keep up with my hobby. some people spen hundreds on model planes, or coin collecting…im a gamer.. i spend my “hobby” money on my 360, on my ps3 and on my computers. if there is a reason for me to upgrade something, and if i find that its worth doing, ill spend the extra cash to get the best possible experience that i can afford.

    once again..sorry for the wall of text 🙂

  • I like how AoC fanboys say that end-game will be great etc. while nobody ever saw it.

    Actually there is something more funny. Nobody I think argue about end-game or gameplay – people are rather worried about stability and performance (myself included) seeing what happened at OB and PvP weekend.

    The game can have best gameplay in history but when it will crash every hour and run with 15 fps on decent rig I will be forced to show middle finger to it.

    I think those who believe in AoC should have played Hellgate beta – I was optimist back then! And believe me when I say that Hellgate was my worst spend money for past 5+ years.

  • Spot on Keen. I doubt the Funcom crew have been living in isolation and not seen how this impacted EQ2 and Vanguard. So I can only assume they have intentionally aimed for a smaller niche player base. There’s nothing wrong with that, as I’m sure they will have some players. But they’ve really limited their potential profit.

  • Yeah, I mean really if this is what they want then they’re doing a fantastic job. But their graphics (and the baggage that has come with it) are a barrier for gameplay in a market that is showing an overwhelming desire for accessibility. I personally find it unappealing.

  • @ keen

    From a developer point of view though cutting edge graphics are a life extending feature. People will eventualy upgrade into them. However, if you promote graphics over gameplay you may not have a game for people to upgrade into.

  • going to half to disagree with wows game play being good:( all you do is farm boss’s over and over for 1 item(maybe 2) and the boss fights havn’t really changed that much. and all the gear you get from pvp is threw arena’s that aren’t all that balanced either.

  • @Keen

    The graphics are not a barrier to gameplay. Not in the least bit. Quite a few people have responded and listed their very low end computer specs and flat out told you it runs wonderfully, which means one thing, if you are experiencing difficulties then it is directly related to YOUR computer hardware OR you’re just plain unlucky and you’re hitting a few bumps in the client (7950’s are crap and ur processor may be out-dated). You are in the minority of people having trouble with running AoC.

    I know it’s your job to be critical and analytical, but your going overboard. Everything you are complaining of is easily fixed (bugs, glitching etc…), and yes, it is very close to launch, but it is still a beta, and this shit happens in betas all the time. For how high-grade this game is, this stuff is expected and for the such minor things you complain of I’d say the launch is going pretty smoothly.

    For the people jumping on the WAR wagon, do yourself a favor and research the game, check out videos (the screenshots are touched up and barely resemble the in-game graphics). The gameplay is going to clone WoW, the only thing fresh in WAR is the PvP games they have added in, other than that it pretty much mirrors WoW completely.

  • Well if WoW end-game would be good we would not wait for another MMO isn’t?

    WoW superb end-game:
    1) “E-sport lol” arena which is just not fun.
    2) “Raid-work” most days a week on 7-12 PM.
    3) “Daily grind” which is actually quite fine but not enough alone.

    Basically if you dislike arena and finished with “raid-work” there is nothing to do besides doing dailies and leveling yet another alt. Is that enough to cover the fee? I don’t think so.

  • @C788

    WAR is supposed to be “fixed WoW”. That is at least what I expect from that game. I want WoW with proper PvP end-game and with some nice fixes like no mana.

    If anyone expect “next-gen mmo” from WAR then… why do you? WoW with different end-game is what it will be – and I am perfectly fine with that.

  • In defense of Keen from someone who is still fairly excited to play Age of Conan: Keen said he finds funcom’s approach to less playable high-end graphics unappealing. That is all he needs to say. The argument that he presented, though specific towards one style of game consumer (more popular or not is irrelevant), is a fine argument. Honestly, this is all about preference. Keen is providing us his opinions and informing himself with the evidence around him and his past game experiences.
    I lucked out, I saved for a while and upgraded my computer very recently, and if I hadn’t have done that I wouldn’t be able to play the game at all. But, I did and I’m excited that I can. Who knows? My tune may completely change after the first month, but I’ll burn that bridge when I get there.

  • Look, there has to be a balance between graphics and gameplay.

    The graphics could be insane and the gameplay could be excellent, but if 20,000 people play it, than its not going to get the content updates, etc, required to keep the game alive. Not enough cash flow for the company making the game will ultimately “hurt” the game, by inhibiting its growth.

    Games like WoW that are both polished and have at least decent graphics, are able to straddle both worlds. Gameplay feels alright, graphics feel alright, more people play.

    More people play, more money for the company that created the game…more new content (at least theoretically).

    Keen isn’t saying anything new, as he’s already had to argue a few times now. His “hate” for AoC isn’t hate, its more along the line of contempt.

    Which is what I have for AoC. The graphics are just a gimmick. How long do you really admire graphics? The first 20 times something interesting happens. After that, you’re looking at the tv for the score of the game.

    Same reason why people who are “beautiful” by society’s standards cheat on each other. Looks are important at first, but over time, substance is always more important than form.

  • It’s not entirely true that Dice focus on stylized graphics.

    Yeah Battlefield Heroes is going to have it, but Battlefield Hero is a side project for Dice, a free game they are trying out to see how it works. They are also working on both Battlefield Bad Company and Battlefield 3 which got realistic graphics and I bet BF3 will shake most of today’s systems quite a bit.

    Saying one is better than the other is plain stupid..
    It’s a matter of taste, someone likes realistic graphics and some likes stylized. I’m on both sides, as I like good stylized games and realistic games.

    To me it feels like Keen is saying that realistic games sucks big time because they require too much hardware, well that might be your opinion. But to be honest I don’t really think that it’s a matter of performance which makes a game good or bad, nor the graphics in itself either. A good game will always sell rather good no matter how bad optimized it is, is the gameplay and the game really good, then it will sale a lot!

    There are tons of bad stylized games, and there are even worse realistic games. But saying that you prefer on over the other is quite stupid, if you decide if you like a game based on weather it got stylized graphics or not, then I feel sorry for you.

  • @N1ck

    Funny thing is, AoC has amazing gameplay, so there is no argument there.

    Amazing graphics + Amazing gameplay = win.

  • Personally, graphics is an extra for me. I like a “pretty” game and I have to give Vanguard points for how all the landscaped looked. (I actually stopped one point to catch a sunrise over the plains.)

    Good graphics require better systems. And it is fairly safe to say that the higher your minimum and recommended system specs are, the smaller you make your potential market.

    I don’t think the system requirements will be the downfall of AoC. It will all come down to how frustrating the game will be to play. I had a bear of a time trying to get the OB to work on my desktop. I really don’t want to do that for the release.

    From what has happened already, AoC future does not bode well. It will still have some good initial box sales, but what will be its one month retention. With the early Access, I will have 45 days to see if the games hooks me or not.

  • I keep reading and reading.. I don’t think i could ever keep up with a blog site.

    Anyways, I am in the Open Beta for AOC. I have played a Dark Templar, Necromancer, and Barbarian.
    Here is what I like:
    Nice Graphics
    Interesting combat system
    ability to PVP
    talking NPCs
    Map tells you basically where to go
    Good immersion into the world of Conan

    What I don’t like:
    PVP (it is so fast and I don’t see any skill involved just mass grouping)
    Game UI – pet button is supa tiny, layout really sucks IMO.
    Glitchy – I crash and I get stuck in random spots mostly around ladders. I have an 8800gt with an e8400.
    Quests are JUST LIKE WOW quests.. very dissapointing after being told it was NOT like WOW.
    Talent trees are just goofie.
    WTH is up with skills, are there going to be more or something I have more points than I can spend..
    Game is linear, go this way.. tunnel vision. I don’t feel I can “explore” I basically go where everyone else goes.

    I do not know if I will play AOC yet. Right now with the issues I think I should wait 3 months for a stable version of this game.

    Oh and it sucks to expect NPCs to talk then they don’t anymore in the starting cities. BLEH!

  • TroyTanning and N1ck understand it perfectly. Thanks guys. 🙂

    And I encourage anyone posting to read all the comments. Discussions like these really bloom and develop in the comments section. If you simply read my blog entry and then skip the comments you could easily be saying something that has been addressed already.

  • “Upon further review this really should have been titled “Graphics are a barrier to gameplay”.”

    Well, upon reading your blog entry, I’d say a better title would have been “Sucky games don’t sell.” And we all knew that already.

    A great game with great graphics will have a smaller potential install base, because of the required hardware, but also (in part) targets a different demographic.

    Examples of great looking and playing games, that do not play well on low end machines (like WoW does) are Bioshock and Assassin’s Creed.

    In short, gameplay and graphics are orthogonal issues, while the latter will impact potential sales.

  • Your comparison is a bit skewed.

    a1 people who like cartoony
    a2 people who do not like cartoony

    b1 people with modern hardware
    b2 people with sub modern hardware

    option 1) a2 && b1
    option 2) a1 && b2

    this leaves no room for people a1 && b1 etc..

    Just like every other MMORPG, they are planning ahead, this game still has to be fun and cool to play in 3 years. When i first played WoW i could not play smoothly with everything on high, but when i see someone playing it now, the game looks very outdated.

    Also no one orders you to set everything on high… FC tells us that the engine should be able to scale very well.

    I am looking for fun, adventure and exploration. If AoC can give me this, i will enjoy playing it.

  • @Green

    You fail to understand that developers can easily update graphics engines.

  • @ Pelkor

    No they can not, and nor has this ever (of that i know of, that is) been done. LOTRO added a DX10 pathway that added some nice shaders, WoW added some weather effects, some shaders and increased the poly count a bit. They only polish, tune and tweak a bit. Resulting in no mayor increase.

    I rather play a game on medium for a while and get new hardware later on.

  • @Keen

    This is an entirely new post, and I’m sorry for starting a new fire:

    Do you feel that some of the larger companies (how do I put this) money grubbing tendencies are a tad repugnant? It seems to me, though I respect blizzard, I feel like now they’re just keeping things going all for the dolla-dolla bill. I found the gamespot interview with Paul Barnett extremely off-putting due to the frequency of comments on how he could be super-rich.
    Now, I understand that part of making and SELLING games is about the financial gain. I would love to work in the game industry and make my living writing for games. However, the games that are produced should be made because the designers believe them to be fun and engaging, not to just bring in a boat load of cash.
    You know, maybe this all stems from the fact that I’m relatively poor, and I don’t like to be reminded that I pay monthly for my favorite hobby. It’s akin to rubbing salt in my eyes. Sort of. Maybe. Probably not.

  • I’ll probably steal this idea for a blog entry later this week. But briefly to answer your questions:

    I really feel that the cases where the companies are truly money grubbing are obvious. Blizzard’s e-sport mass market appeal at the cost of gameplay is a no brainer. They’re charging entry fees to participate in the arena tournaments and really abandoning their promises they made when they set out to create a mmorpg. This is true for a lot of companies out there. But that said, it’s also very apparent which ones are in it because they believe in their product. I think Funcom must truly believe in their product if they’re going to shoot for such a niche market. They’re either crazy or passionate, and that’s commendable. At the end of the day it’s still sadly all about making money and that often stifles creativity and innovation.

  • Ok so what your saying is Pong or maybe on the high grphics end Ataris Combat are the 2 best games ever? If you boil it all down all MMO’s are basicaly the old game of tag you playen in your back yard when you where a kid. A little bit of skill and luck and you play from there. So why play an MMO? You could be playing Columns or Scrabble now as they are “skill” games or maybe Monopoly is your cup of tea if you like some randomness? All these rules that make an MMO a structured game are basicaly the same sorts of things that can be boiled down just like you and I did with the graphics. Good games are good in 2 areas they get you to experience and percieve a world so that you care what’s going on and in good gameplay that doesn’t get in the way of that immersion.
    Take Alone in the Dark a great game for it’s time. OOOOhhh it virtualy required a 3d accelerator that very rare thing. So no one bought it of enjoyed it right? No, graphics and sound did not get in the way of gameplay and rules engine did not get in the way of graphics. I am sorry but personaly the NUMBER 1 thing MMO’s need is a better interface period. Not feats not talent trees not better graphics. Joysticks and keyboards suck. They ruin gameplay but the time it takes to make a truely invisible ui is immense. No one ever whines about this though. While AoC is not pushing the envelope here by any means it’s at least trying. WoW’s lowest common denominator approach to graphics and WAR’s 3000 classes are NOT making the genre better just polishing smooth stones a different way. Unless you push everything in a game why make a new game Atari’s Combat’s been made why bother?

  • One big factor with AoC’s graphics that I’ve seen little mention of is influence being a “Windows Vista Showcase Game” must have had on Funcom’s decision to pump the graphics detail up during development.

    There’s been talk that some of the games on that short list received invested funds from Microsoft. Or perhaps even just Funcom, because it was odd that Age of Conan made the list early. At the very least Funcom has had some contractual obligations for the ‘distinction’.

    Although I doubt Microsoft is holding them to it now since they’ve died down significantly on the entire Vista / DX10 hype (not to mention they don’t need more fodder for the related class-action lawsuit). It does explain some of the high end push early in development and now the lagging behind of the DX10 client.

    I’d still say though it’s also just part of Funcom’s strategy, they figured an adult game needed adult graphics.

  • I think being a Windows Vista Showcase game just ment Microsoft just throws money behind AoC’s add campain and marketing on a crossbranding thing.

  • There is no best, there is just one way or the other. As long as they have a big enough market at launch to keep their dev team paid up and servers running then the rest is up to how good they want to make the game. The better it gets the more subscribers it will get. MMO’s have had varied histories with subscribers and there is no “sure thing” only some loose guidelines and not shirking on good gameplay. Besides on low settings AoC isn’t that demanding considering how great it still looks. I think there is a lot of bad opinion going around based off the pre-patch OB performance, that just isn’t a realistic way to judge the game. Once it releases and 500k people buy it that will be the sink or swim, if 100k of those folks can’t run the game due to harsh requirements you can bet the bad press will go a long way to hurting its growth. Vanguard, EQ2 and SWG all made major improvements within the first year, but not one of them ever truly recovered and have been on a steady decline of subscriptions since launch.

  • I think the problem is that many times developers substitute pretty graphics for gameplay. Add that to it limits your audience if your system requirements are high and you have a mess.

    As others have stated. Good gameplay trumps graphics anytime. I still play starcraft. I even have few old dos games I pop in and mess with sometimes because they are fun. If your game can’t do that 10 years from now its flawed.

  • @sam yah I’ve been using “home of the underdogs” for years for the same reasons. My thinking on the whole thing at this point tho, is that once you’ve had a taste of a game or 2 with both the graphics and play…. Its really hard to go back a game which only does 1 well, no matter which one it is. That being said I am more prone to hit the gameplay games, I’ve played DotA for 5 years now for that reason. Which if some company would make an entire game based off of DotA with some kickass graphics, that would sell motherfucking HUGE!

  • Numbers alone is not the proof of the better game..
    By that measure we should all be playing wii games that targets non gamers.. with its exercise games.. 🙂

    WOw stylize or not… its outdated in technology.. i love good graphics.. stylized or real.. but Wow doesnt look like modern stylized games.. that use directx9 and directx10 graphics. Shrek is an example of how stylized graphics should look in today movies.. in games we have TEAM fortress2 that also looks more advanced in graphics than Wow.. and there are many xbox360 that have perfect example of “Cartoonish graphics” but updated with today graphics. FOr the only reason WOW doesnt look better is because their developer wants anyone with a PC to play it. and increase their possibilites to make money.. good for them.. but not for the majority of hardcore mmorpg’s gamers that wants simply the best in everything.

  • Instead of complaining for progress ,we whould be all thankfull to AOC developers for providing so excelent MMORPG that can be played in any moderately decent PC ,of people that really care about gaming. Pc’s are so cheap these days between $500-$700 ..and there are wonderfull things like credit cards these days that make very easy to get a decent pc to play AOC.

    just get a $500 refurbish pc.. buy in a $99 refurbish directx10 card a $150 monitor ,steal your wife creditcard and you are set for AOC. LOL

  • and finally.. it is true..
    Graphics alone does not sell games.. But it HELPS !!

    unfortunately the far far majority of people outhere buying a PC doesnt know a jack about computer or technology..not even where to conect the cables. So they are forced to play the games that their pcs can handle . if we had more educated people about technology ,graphics will matter more ,since people will finally have machines to run almost anything outhere.

  • Ups.. forgot to say.. that in now way saying WOW is a bad game. never played it.. cant comment.. But THose NPD sales numbers does not show all the story of the quality of a game. aside of gameplay and graphics there are things like marketing that also helps in game sales… the best game in the world without a proper marketing will have poor sales.