Yes, MMORPGs should be “done” at release!

I keep hearing people say things like, “It’s okay that X isn’t in the game yet because this is a MMORPG!” or “It’s a MMORPG, of course it’s not finished”.  WRONG!

MMORPGs should be done at release.  I simply do not understand where people picked up the notion that simply because MMORPGs are ever evolving and changing worlds that they can be underdeveloped and unfinished.   Who here remembers Lord of the Rings Online?  I do not know if they have changed the game any, but in the first 6-8 months once a character reached level 35 it was obvious that the game seriously lacked substance.   There are plenty of examples but I’ll move along to the most recent: Age of Conan.  I remember looking at the long list of features and systems that Funcom advertised would be in the game which included a PvP system with ranks and exp.   It’s been a month and a half since the game released and the game still lacks said pvp system and more.  [/insert tongue in cheek here] But that’s okay, because this is a MMORPG – they’re never finished at release. 

I don’t care what game it is nor for what reason.  No game should be released before it is capable of providing a  polished and complete (read: living up to full potential) experience.  IE: If a game is being advertised to the prospective players as a 1-50 leveling experience with dungeons, pvp, and end-game raids then the game should be shipped as such.  I get such a laugh when I see developers releasing a game before the “end-game” (I hate that phrase) is in.  Do they think there is time to add it before the players reach the level cap?  We all know there isn’t.

Players, stop promoting the acceptance of unfinished games (namely MMORPGs) simply because something can be “patched in” later.

  • At this point, saying it’s ok the game will get patched up later is just plain insulting. Statements like that translate into wasting real $$ irl. The world needs a BMMORPGBB.

  • What are you talkin’ about Willis? We’re only paying monthly to play their game that we’ve ALREADY paid for…they owe us nothing!

    All sarcasm aside, people are looking at this the wrong way. They should be catering and dancing to OUR tune and to what exactly WE WANT. They’re trying to catch our attention, fill OUR needs and convince us to play their game. We need to start using this tremendous power we have in the industry to get whatever the hell we want, upon release or whenever it’s promised!

  • At this point I’ll settle for what they (they being whoever is making X game) advertise/promise. Until devs are capable of delivering on their promises I shudder to think what we would get by placing greater expectations upon them.

  • I’m ok if a game doesn’t have everything at launch, but it has to have something to do at every level. There is a difference to me between not having a ranking system and not having content for a large section of levels.

    You can’t pimp your revolutionary system and not have it there either.

  • I agree 100% Keen. I know in the earlier days of MMO’s games were expected to be released in a state of unfinishedness (I make up my own words). It’s amazing that nearly 10 years later with advances in technology and a bigger understanding of the genre (yeah I’m talking to you developers that have a previous MMO before the line of more recent ones), that people still expect games to be not in a state of readiness until X amount of months after launch.

    It’s not acceptable to me. That’s why I’m not playing AoC, and I won’t play any game that decides to release now and patch later. Finish (I know it’s a relative term in the genre)/COMPLETE your game before launch!

    This is why I respect Mythic and heck, even EA for having the PATIENCE to finish their game. If Warhammer has a large amount of bugs and missing content like AoC, man I will be disappointed – but it looks to be doing this the right way, opposed to FailCom.

  • There is some truth to this post… and some of it’s just not thought out.

    I agree that many people have the mentality that MMOs are OK to be unfinished/polished at launch. However, there is a good reason for that. None in the past or present have been. The problem is that MMORPGs are suck grand scale games that they cost massive amounts of money to produce. This is why games like Darkfall Online have taken so long. They are privately owned and since their income is limited, they have to slow bu surely produce it.

    Take for instance Age of Conan. Funcom released it for one reason, pressure. Funcom’s main stock owners and investors wanted income after its 5 years of development. So they had two choices… release with some missing content and gain money for production or lose most of their funding and possibly go out of business.

    WAR would have already been released had it not been for the merger between EA and Mythic. Once that happened Mythic had enough funding to continue production and polish. They have said in many interviews that EA has been extremely generous in allowing them time and money to work on their game. Even then, do NOT expect WAR to be finished out of the box. It will still take a few months to hammer it out after release. I doubt it will be missing any large content due to the EA merger, but it WILL contain glitches, exploitable areas, server problems, and various other annoyances. Why though with all that funding? Simple, MMOs are huge. Millions upon millions of lines of code and thousands of models with tons of geometry. All of this running on tons of different machines with different operating systems, different hardware, different drivers.

    Think of it this way, Microsoft is one of the largest companies you can think of when it comes to computer software and their funding is enormous. Still, Windows Vista was released with so many errors it made you want to cry. It has since gone through thousands of updates and a full service pack. It is now very stable if you are using a modern system.

    In the end, you need to realize that as software and hardware gets more complicated, it requires more and more code to produce. Which in turn increases your projects instability exponentially.

    I could go on and on and write about history and go as in depth as specific examples of various software using various languages, but then I would just need to make my own blog.

    I didn’t proof this, so it probably has a ton or errors… but I need to get back to working on my ATEC portfolio.

  • I agree Photonic, because I think there are two sides to this. There’s the content side and the glitch/bug side. I know there will be bugs/glitches/problems/you name it. But in terms of content I am not forgiving.

    It would be like Windows releasing without the Control Panel. It would be missing a key feature there.

  • @Photonic

    I think most people (myself included) expect there to be some issues with an MMO launch and throughout the lifespan of the game, however what I can’t accept massive holes in content.

    By a complete or finished MMO that is what I’m speaking of, content, and to add to that… massive game breaking bugs. The minor stuff is not a problem and can be overlooked.

    A mmorpg SHOULD (if based upon questing) have enough quests to get me from level 1 to endgame, without grinding at all. That is the bottom line. If it doesn’t, I will be angry and probably not continue to play that game anymore. Likewise, I will no longer continue to play if you have massive amounts of those little annoying bugs (and don’t fix them in a timely manner, ala Female attack speed in AoC which is still around and has been since beta), because it shows me you didn’t take the time to finish/polish the game, so it doesn’t deserve any more of my time or money.

  • I agree with both of you. However, I can understand it. Like I said, there is not much you can do without funding. Still, they should be more open and explain before the release that X is not going to be added until Y release date.

    I think overall it would be beneficial for companies to start working without such rigorous NDAs. One of the reason’s AoC felt so incomplete is because everyone except the people under the NDA believed that all the announced information from years ago was going to be included at launch. It wasn’t so much that it wasn’t in, more like, why didn’t you at least tell us it wouldn’t be in until a specific point later in time. They are deceiving people to gain money, and a company that has so little integrity doesn’t really deserve to gain a foothold in the MMO industry. Unfortunately, all of them are like this at this point in time (remains to be seen about EA Mythic and Aventurine). I think that is what can not be allowed, deceiving people, if your going to be incomplete because you have no choice, that’s fine… you had no choice. However, be honest about it.

    The real discussion is what lies behind people accepting and not accepting it. I mean, World of Warcraft is undoubtedly the most successful MMO in history at this point in time. However, it was advertised with Hero classes, siege battles and artifact items on release… and only now 5 years later they are adding them.

    I believe that the difference now is that, 5 years later, with so many new MMO gamers and such a HUGE community, news travels fast and is much more available through RSS news feeds, forums and blogs such as this. I mean, if you ask 90% of the WoW players, they will have no idea that it was advertised with that particular content in mind.

    This goes along with what I am saying about the NDA. If you don’t give out accurate and massive amounts of information to this huge following of MMO players now, everything is left to their imagination. This almost always leads to disappointment. You expect X to be like Y and it turns out its nothing like that at all. Had the community known that X won’t be like Y sometime during the 3-8 years the game was in development they could have spoke out against it and told the company to change it. Instead, these companies wait till, at the earliest, 2-4 weeks before the games release to finally release an NDA and explain numerous details. By this time it is impossible to change if the majority feels it is a disappointment.

  • Photonic makes a good point, MMOS are insanely complex and expensive to develop.

    Strangely you guys act as if it was the first time a product did not live up the hype. Gee, forgive me but that is par for the course.

    I have only played WoW so far but it has given me more fun for the money that all the games I have ever played before. I have yet to try AoC but I think if you walked into a gaming store and picked up a game for $50, you could do a whole lot worse than AoC, so why aren’t you riding those developer’s tails?

    Everything needs to be put in the proper perspective.

  • Had a funny thing happen last night. We were over at a teammate’s house watching Entourage and playing Beerpong when I noticed a blue glow coming from one of the bedrooms. It was coming from a really tricked out PC, so I asked the owner what games he played.

    He said he, his roommate, and a couple friends are currently playing AoC. I asked them what they thought of it and then listened to them rant about how horribly buggy and broken everything is for about 15 minutes! 😛 I mentioned Warhammer Online and they were all pretty pumped to give it a try when it comes out. I asked why they keep playing AoC and they said they’re done with WoW and there’s nothing else out they want to play.

    Kinda funny to listen to a few of crazy emo and Aberchrombie-wearing guys talking about overpowered Priests of Mitra, Rangers, and how broken PvP was! 😛

  • I agree with you. Whenever I read one these types of topics however I feel there is a slight injustice on the part of the developers. Why? Well I don’t believe that developers would release a game unfinished unless their hand is forced to do so. Making a game is an art form in itself. Financial or publisher (even both) problems can also play a factor in an early release.

  • Toothy:

    “Everything needs to be put in the proper perspective.”

    Exactly. This isn’t the space shuttle they are building, it is a video game. There is no excuse when it is only a piece of software. I know it is complex, but they have budgets in the 10’s of millions of dollars now.

    We are tired of products being released like crap, that is the whole point of the post. Release a game that has all the features advertised and could stand alone with no new content upgrades. The MMO industry has matured, we should expect more out of them.

    I don’t really care who’s fault it is, makes no difference to me as a customer.

  • @Werit

    You would be surprised how much work people who do computer programming, animation, modeling, or any other CG effects for the entertainment industry do.

    Trust me, it is the field I work in. Let me put it this way, the computer gaming industry gets paid less then the motion picture industry… and at the company I interned at, people working 80+ hours a week were only getting paid 50-60k a year in L.A.!. Dude, you can barely afford to live off that in L.A..

    Trust me when I say, they are almost always under budgeted and pressed for time. The only reason I say ‘almost’ is because EA Mythic is at least not under budgeted. Though… I would not doubt for a second that all of them are working 80+ hours a week for much less pay then that deserves.

    You got to love how actors get payed in the millions though… lets see how good a modern movie is without CG, Sound, Sets or anything extra… Yeah…

  • I think some people need to take a step back and look at trends in the software industry in general. As far as PC games go – shovelware is everywhere. Games are getting pushed out with ill-thought out features, laughable graphics, by EA/Sony/etc just to capitalize on a movie release or other event. By comparison, I’d say MMOs are doing pretty good.

    The poster above is absolutely right – software development lives or dies by funding and release dates. For companies without the luxury to base a budget around one product (Blizzard), there comes a time when the person funding them just says “it doesn’t matter what state it’s in, just ship it”. Many games that could have been great with a few more months of development time were shipped, not because the developers were lazy but because there was no more money or the publisher said it needed to go out (Hellgate London Halloween launch anyone?)

    My main point is don’t just slap around the developers themselves, because most of them have zero control over when their baby gets taken away from them and given to the rabid hordes. Publishing/marketing are the guys to blame.

  • Dorothy, click your heels together. =P

    I’m a realist.

    I expect a game’s worth of content for the box sale and I expect my $15 a month to pay for Endgame and content patches.

    None of these games will ever match everyone’s definition of ‘complete’ on launch. At most, they can be so-called ‘polished’ but that doesn’t impress me because slick doesn’t mean fun. I don’t want to be sold more glossy package than game.

    I’m more concerned with the ~direction~ and ~value~ of the Endgame than whether it exists on launch. I’m patient, I wait and see.

    I’ll keep promoting patience, because so far impatience and foot-stomping demands get met with crappy rushed Endgame where content is stretched for miles via mechanics like snail’s paced raiding progression. Or we get PvP focus because it’s just plain easier to do, but still doesn’t flat-cost games like good old Counterstrike, Team Fortress or even Halo. You think MMORPG players are complacent? Geez, most demanding sods I’ve met, at least the outspoken ones. If players are being reasonable for a change, THAT is an advancement I’d like to see more of.

    It’s like a child crying for candy, you get a cheap lollipop to shut you up.

    Ever been in a restaurant and some rich guy thinks it’s his right to get all demanding of the staff because he’s ‘paying for it’? Suddenly the chef that has passion for making great meals is spitting in the soup. You don’t get what you pay for, that’s a falacy. And when you get demanding, you get less, you get treated like a child.

    Yeah, that’s right, I’m blaming crappy Endgame on players like the ones demanding right here. It’s your fault. *waggles finger menacingly* =P

    Guess what, I’m happily paying Age of Conan, ’cause the game is damn fun to me. I’ve had more entertainment out of this first month in AoC than in any MMO since 1991. More fun overall? Dunno yet, first month for sure.

    Am I settling for a lack of features? The ones that have been so lame in all these other games, I’m supposed to miss those?

    Plain and simple, you pay for the core game. Endgame sucks, it always has. It sucks, sucks, sucks. It will continue to suck until a developer lets their passion filter out the demanding whining players and stops ‘listening to the fans’. The real fans just pay and play the core game if it suits them. AoC suits me, that’s all there is to it, Funcom deserves my money. They’ll get more if they keep it fun for me.

    IMHO You’re promoting something that will give you the results you hate.

  • I can acknowledge where you’re coming from Rog, but I completely disagree. I see your side as the feet stamping tantrum throwers who are too obstinate to see the possibilities standing inches in front of their nose. I see the position that I’m taking as logical and fair. If developers are advertising their game as having XYZ but only deliver X and Y then they have not delivered what was advertised. Solution: DON’T release your game still promising XY and Z! If you are releasing your game with X and Y then say so!

    In many other industries that’s considered bait and switch and is extremely frowned upon. In some industries it will get you shut down, fined, and even locked up. What I fail to understand is why there are consumers/customers like yourself Rog that truly find nothing wrong with such a practice in gaming.

    I don’t care about deadlines or funding as excuses. I play these games and I want to play what is advertised, promised, promoted, etc. I also want to play games that are complete and ready to be played at acceptable standards for a virtual world.

    Some of you are making it seem like a pipe dream or delusions of grandeur. It’s not!

    Oh, and I can’t let this go. Rog, you said “Am I settling for a lack of features? The ones that have been so lame in all these other games, I’m supposed to miss those?” So a PvP system where your character can progress and gain ranks/levels/pvp experience as promised is lame? I’m baffled by that.

  • As much as I agree with you, I can say (and I am a software developer), that it isn’t just games, it is the whole software industry that works like that: advertise and sell what you don’t have, never deliver on time, and release the first version with half of the features advertised.

  • Remember all those Sega and Nintendo games? They all had ending. MMO’s have no ending. You can keep playing and get bored out of your mind when you reach the end you get nothing but boredom give an ending damn it! Thats the reason why I quit WoW I did all the end game stuff and there is nothing more. I want an ending movie or something!

  • I agree.

    It’s time for the games industry, and the MMO genre specifically, to start taking responsibility for their releases.

    If WAR isn’t done when I install it, I won’t be playing. That’s why I’m not playing AoC…I’m so tired of wasting $50.

  • I agree with them doing away with false promises when they advertise their games. But people who “blog” about them need to take a few steps towards managing expectations as well. I see a lot of hype from this blog as well as others, talking about awesome features in these games just before release, as though it were gospel and set in stone, not enough emphasis on how little we’ve seen of said features so soon before launch etc.

    Then the game releases and we start reading posts about how horrible it is.

  • @Musachy: And that’s pretty much what I’m saying needs to stop – at least in mmorpgs.

    @Sam: Hey, check my blog posts here and scroll back through what I write about games that are in beta or coming out. I was as skeptical and cynical about AoC as ANYONE out there because I saw several issues that needed fixing before release and I received so much crap for it. Game comes out and what happens? I was proven correct at every turn. Whether or not you’re a player like Rog who still enjoys himself and turns a blind eye is irrelevant – the game was not “done” when it shipped.

    I speak highly of WAR based on what I’ve seen in hands-on demos and officially released information. I’ve been a fan of Mythic’s development for many years. I’ll be the first to call a spade a spade if it turns out different.

  • @Keen

    As I said before, it’s not so much about the game being unfinished. It is about not telling your costumers that X will not be in the game when it is released. It is obvious why they do it, money, but it needs to stop. If your game is good enough, a few missing features shouldn’t detour people from playing right on release and then wait for the other features…

    Again, I believe the first step in fixing this is getting rid of NDAs or at least make them more flexable. Your right, the reason WAR seems so good right now is because they have a good amount of information being put out all the time. However, it will still be nice for people to converse about features they know for a fact are in the game. The community should decided what should stay and what should go.

    This very much goes along with my encompassing beliefs that communities of people can make anything better then a single company. The future of software is open source or at the very least the ability to allow full customization via plugins. Take Google for instance, so many of its projects allow community sources. Firefox is the same way, community extensions. WoW, community UI’s and modifications. Half Life, community modifications and models. There is no way any company can compete with the world, its not possible.

    Seriously, how many times have you used software or even something as simple as your cell phone and you think, man wouldn’t it be easier if it had ‘this’ feature. If it was based on community sources it could, and you could share that ability with the world.

  • Selective accountability is not “logical and fair” to me, it sounds like bias. Deadlines and funding have very real impact, are more tangible and real methods of accountability, whether you care about them or not.

    Accountable for release dates? 6 months delay? 2 years? Selling to publishers after spending more on the game than competitors? Publishers with a history of burning your customers?

    That stuff doesn’t matter to you? It’s a big showstopper for others and will affect the game’s outcome, guaranteed. For me, being responsible financially means longevity. Persistence is important to my choice of MMORPGs.

    I’ve played these games with the same group of friends for years, they were happy at the prospect of a Mythic game in 2006, pre-orders were made– then cancelled, because they will not be playing an EA-Mythic game. Reassurances from Mark Jacobs would cut it if they weren’t deep into developmemt and overbudget (BioWare maybe gets more of a break, but that’s a very different story). I’m a little more forgiving than some of my buddies, I don’t have much love for EA’s profit-margins model, but ultimately I’ll try WAR because I am a realist. I expect WAR’s fun factor will be diminished for me without those friends along, so forgive me if my enthusiasm is low for Mythic’s find-bigger-pockets workaround to budgets and deadlines.

    I’d bet there are a lot more people who will quietly boycott EA than loudly protest SOE.

    With EA-Mythic’s trustworthiness a bit low on my scale, that affects my expectations of whether they’ll have an involving Endgame, aside from the basic PvP / RvR stuff we already know about.

    A lot of this ~is~ about faith in the company. Everyone turns a blind eye in some directions, then makes cries of alarm in others.

  • If they say there is going to be a dog show in Goblintown, there HAS to be a dog show in Goblintown.

    Especially if they promote the said dog show in their damn game box (* cough cough Enhanced for directX 10 cough cough *).

    Game experience may change during online play. 🙂

  • @Keen: “So a PvP system where” …

    I was talking about released games. As much as Dev & fan enthusiasm is infectious, enthusiasm isn’t a tangible game. I’m playing one that’s actually released, it’s fun, but the Endgame is lame like all the games before it. WAR doesn’t really have a place on that chart yet, I’d have to wait for release.

    To be honest tho, PvP as Endgame is gravy to me, not the meat. Again, there are plenty of games that do PvP so well outside of the MMORPG space. Good non-competitive Co-op is what’s lacking, not PvP, that’s so easy to find good quality entertainment for elsewhere where it’s much, much, better. PvP only MMORPG like Fury? OMG yawn.

    Integrate PvP in WAR? That’s more MMO-like, so we’ll see. DAoC never grabbed me, so I don’t have the same background of fan interest there. I had friends that liked it, but curiously none of them stuck with it for long. *shrug*

    Immersion might be an issue with WAR for me too, we’ve had this debate before but I’m very meh on the WAR visuals, especially animations. I was hoping for more interesting character movement and the grittier Warhammer art style, it’s way more cel-shaded than that. =/

    Getting back on topic, because I’m not trying to slam WAR, just being honest…

    So yeah, every Endgame I’ve seen so far has sucked for my tastes and I’m not talking about launch, I’m specifically saying long afterwards when they’ve supposedly gotten their mojo together.

    Now that’s compared to what I can imagine of course, so the funny thing is I ~do~ imagine things better than they are. I’m just have a different perspective over how it gets there.

    Can anyone here state a game that had Endgame that wasn’t stretched thin like butter on too much bread? Or was just PvP I could get elsewhere?

    I admit, there’s some that I don’t know much about, I have no idea what Eve’s Endgame is like for instance. Like you tho, I’ve tried more than my share and if I’d heard of something amazing, I would have been there.

    I’ll say this, and you’ll hate it– all of them have paled to the Endgame in the MUDs I experienced in the early 90’s. In several of them the Endgame players ran property, did real construction, interacted in actual player-driven economies. I ~do~ think that’s possible in an MMORPG space, just I don’t think anyone has the balls to match the MUDs feature for feature.

  • Wow, I need to grammar check more, lol lose my writing credentials if I keep posting incoherent sentences. I think you can decipher it though. 😉

  • For me the problem with AoC is, not that it is unfinished, but that it simply isn’t a very good game. It has little vision or innovation: The Conan premise is laughable, the sexual innuendo is pathetic and the much touted “story” over the first 20 levels is naive and linear (compare e.g. Baldur’s Gate II). I’d have been willing to put up with the bugs and crashes if the game had turned out to be fun to play.

  • EVe technically doesn’t have an endgame, because there are no levels. No levels mean no artificial cap that makes developers having to put in things to do other then grinding xp. Technically the end game is 0.0 space where alliances take control of systems and fight other alliances to get better mining etc.

    Anyway on topic.

    Yes it is annoying that people say “Oh its alright it hasn’t got x and y because its an MMO” Because if it wasn’t an MMO it would be slammed burned and pissed on. If it was a singleplayer game it would have x and y because again it would be put in the wheelie bin. Yeah sure producers are making the MMO companies release early because they want their money, but so are the producers for single player games and they are still coming out with x and y.

    I think we do need to have companies make realistic comments, but as a creative type myself it is easy to say it will have this feature in and delude yourself till it comes out and it doesn’t have the feature in it. But you still say to yourself, i will make this feature in the next patch, and so on.

  • It’s a question of funds and plans. If you can’t get your plans done, with the funding you’ve got, you will release an unfinished game. Releasing a unfinished game for the community to finance is a strong indicator of:

    -too ambitious plans
    -not enough funding
    -not smart enough to have plans, that can be realized with the given funds
    -working uneffeciently, so the given funds will never be enough to get the plans to fruition

  • @Photonic: I work in the industry as well, and our customers would be very unpleased if the product did not have a feature we said was going to be in it and especially if they needed it.

    I am not asking for perfection. I just want what was promised. So for WAR: I expect to be able to hit 40 and move on to sieging a city and successfully capture it, with the version they ship (barring bugs). If they say, ‘oh we will add that later’ I will be very displeased. If they can’t have that in by release, delay the release.

  • “…because MMORPGs are ever evolving and changing worlds that they can be underdeveloped and unfinished.”

    Something that is ever evolving and changing is, by definition, unfinished, and it always will be. Whether it is underdeveloped is purely subjective…we don’t all have the same perspective on that matter.

  • @Werit: You said you would be very displeased if WAR did not have the features you listed at launch and they should delay the release. But would you still buy the game and simply play until the new content was patched OR wait until the content was in the game before you brought it?

    I believe that as long as we players are willing to buy now and wait for the patch, companies will always think its ok to not ship with X and patch it in later.

  • @007deadlysins: If WAR were to release without Keep sieges or a PvP ranking system I would not buy the game. I don’t have time to buy games and wait for them to be developed while I’m playing and waiting.

    @Nafadan: I’m trying to convey my meaning of “finished” or “done” in terms of a mmorpg. I tried to explain that in the original blog entry. I’m not saying the game should halt development after release because it is 100% complete. I’m saying that the game should be a “complete experience” and matching the one that was advertised. If the game is 1-50lvls with dungeons, pvp sieges, dungeons with loot, etc then I want the game to have all of those things. If they left out the pvp sieges and only put the dungeons in without loot promising they would patch those said things in then they have launched their game as they advertised when it wasn’t “done”. Make sense? A more simple example is LOTRO where you hit this wall at level 35 with nothing to do because the game was underdeveloped.

  • @Keen: I somewhat agree on LOTRO, I recently got back into it on a new character and the leveling experience is going to be much different now Evendim and Forochel are in. However, I’d say AoC is still much worse than LOTRO was at launch as far as missing content walls. They can drop features before release, but I want to be able to level up without grinding. I’m deliberately playing alts on AoC so maybe they’ll patch something in before I hit the missing content.

  • @Kalath
    So, I can assume you did not hit level 30 in the first month of LOTRO.
    30-50 was a whole wall of missing content in that game.
    To say there was no grind either is a joke.
    I will guesstimate I decimated 1 billion wolves and boars by the time I was done with that game.
    I am not dismissing AoC for it’s issues, but I want to throw up in my mouth everytime I hear someone mention LOTRO as something it was not.

    So many lore dreamers.

    AoC, LOTRO, Tabula Rasa, and Vanguard have officially all gone in the same MMO boat. All talk, no game..
    At least I felt like the 50 I spent on AoC got me a good single player game.
    LOTRO on the other hand made me quit MMO’s for almost 6 months!

  • I think this goes for pretty much ALL video games at this point… ever since the advent of the internet and downloadable content and patches, companies have used that as an excuse for shorter QA cycles and less-than-ideal releases.

  • @Keen: I am glad to hear you say that, thought I was alone in my thinking that if certain, very important features are not in WAR at release I would not buy it. I am even waiting until the NDA drops before deciding to pre-order or not, got burned with AOC.

  • @Sylar: This is where I think it’s just a matter of people unaware of what’s involved. Even forgetting the amount of content difference between most single-player games and an MMORPG, there’s so much involved in dealing with infrastructure, network code, etc. and not least of which the problems associated with tons of players hitting the content all at the same time.

    I think it’s pure naiveté to compare the development cycle with single-player games or smaller online games with more singular focuses on content. And yeah, as you point out, those games still do face a lot of challenges to release in a timely fashion.

    When Ultima Online was in development, a lot of folks in the industry were shaking their heads and predicting it wouldn’t work, that the costs associated with the complexities involved would be too high to create and maintain a ‘massive’ online game. The press jumped all over UO’s server troubles in the first few months with predictions that it would just be shut down or burden EA financially.

    Of course, the blanket “I don’t care what’s involved, just get it done” from the customer perspective, well ~that~ is exactly what I call stomping your feet in a tantrum. These games are not made in a vacuum.

    If you demand that they manage it no matter what, you’ll be stuck with large corporation games. Some think those are the only ones that can handle projects of this size, that’s a shame, because those same companies without competition will gladly hand you a very generic product.

  • I think the missing factor in this discussion is the insane levels of hype that MMOs receive in the years before they come out. The same pattern of development pressure, lack of funding, shipping too early also happens in non-online computer games, but what happens? In most cases those games are roundly denounced for not delivering what they promised, they are extensively reviewed, and those reviews carry a lot of weight for a lot of people in terms of whether they will buy it or not.

    MMOs, on the other hand, spend years dropping tidbits and bragging about their insane new features, by the time the game comes out the level of hype is so huge that whatever state it is in, many (I would say most even) players are ready to buy the game instantly, without waiting to find out if it delivers what it promises, to see how the reviews pan out (if bad, they are denounced as idiots or people who hate the game,) etc.

    In other words, consumer behavior is a big factor in driving this. The game companies know they will get a ton of money from people buying the game whether it is good or bad because A) people have bought the hype and don’t necessarily make the most informed decisions about the state of the game and B) MMO consumers don’t hold the companies to the standard of what they have promised – Keen, despite your post, will you be buying WAR immediately? I’m sure you will!

    This pattern will only change when consumers put pressure on the game companies to do it – pressure of their dollars, to equal the pressure the game companies feel from their investors. Personally I doubt this will ever happen, because of the factors above.

  • LOTRO is prolly the nicest MMO around. Like all MMOs nowadays it got released with only starter content. Nowadays it kicks WoW out of the water in anything but Comic Look and Flying Mounts.

  • I absolutely agree with Keen’s original statement, games should be finished on release. You don’t go the bakery and buy half a bread either, hoping you’ll get the rest later…
    But Anakh hits the spot with his views on consumer behavior. I know I bought the hype around AoC, and I think now that the game is crap but will probably pay my subscription until WAR comes out. Same goes for WAR, I’ll buy it as soon as it comes out and I will be lost in the hype again… (although I have more confidence in it’s release than AoC)
    It’s us, the players, that create the hype, and the hype makes us buy the games, finished or not.

  • MMORPG’s should deliver what they promised upon release. Anything less is sheer deception.

    It is as simple as that.

  • @Sel
    LOTRO kicks WoW out of the water? Maybe because it is drowning and needs room to go under?
    The game is still a highly boring game. The PvE gets to be monotonous doing the same thing over and over. The UI is probably one of the worst besides DDO (whaddya know…also by Turbine)
    LOTRO sells strictly on it’s IP alone, not on gameplay. The “been there done that” feel is too reminiscent of every game that has already done all these things. They improved nothing, but luckily added housing and a decent fishing system. And housing is the only thing WoW is missing.
    I would rather slit my wrists and play WoW again before ever logging back into LOTRO….unless
    1. 100% revamp of models. The characters are ugly…period.
    2. Give me better classes to choose from…Tank/Spank/Heal takes on a whole new meaning of monotony in LOTRO’s limited selection
    3. Kill the UI, and make it modular. Their idea of a good UI makes me sick.
    4. Add 30 more frames per second to each models animation.

    Mines Of Moria better be it’s saving grace, as the population in LOTRO borders on Vanguard and EQ2. Empty areas and zones all over, and boring end game..

    I will take WoW anyday over that mess.

  • “Done” is most likely not a good word. However there are a few things that should be in place at release:

    – A “complete” and “consistent” PvE experience: This means you should be able to go from 1 to max level using at the same “quest-to-hunt” ration that you started. (Outside of “intro” or “tutorial” levels) So if you mix 80% quest 20% hunting at level 10, you should have the same opportunity at level 40. Now a game designer can make so that it may only be 50/50 though out the majority of the game, but that should be in the published design notes.

    – A “stable” client: A gamer should not have to do anything more than download the latest drivers for their system in order to play the game. Performance tweaks should be available in the game UI. Editing .ini files by hand may be faster for some, but not required expect to squeeze out that last few fps.

    – What is written on the Box (Crafting system, PvP, Sieges, DX10) should be in the game and playable at all levels.

    IMO, I think Pirates of the Burning Seas was one of the more complete games on its release recently. Granted there was a lot of repeated content, but it was all there. And they have added more and tweaked it since, but it was a playable game at launch. Also DDO was “complete” in that you could go from 1 to 10 if you repeated everything 3 times. But it was a consistent number of repeats.

  • @Bartlebe: What’s a promise though?

    This is part of the problem I have, because many of these expectations are from hype on our very own blogs.

    You know what, every summer I go to see a bunch of movies that are supposed to be blockbusters. They’ve been hyped, I’ve been promised they’ll be “spectacular”, that I’ll be “blown away” or that I’ve “never seen anything like it before”. And every summer I walk away thinking, geez, none of these lived up to the hype.

    This is not a loaf of bread we’re buying, it’s entertainment. And as far as entertainment goes, it’s dirt-cheap to us, the consumers.

    I paid much more for dinner and a movie with my girlfriend last weekend, I was more entertained by her presence than what I spent my money on. Afterwards we logged in and had a hoot in Thunder River.

    I think the scope here is way beyond reasonable expectations.

  • @Rog: A promise is something that is underlying and inherent in things like this.

    It should be assumed that the game features, as hyped by the games own websites/videos, will be fully included and of sufficient quality.


    “Hey, the siege features in your game really stink.”

    “We never said they’d be good! We just said we would have them!”

    Do you see how silly that sounds? A promise of quality is the very foundation of all games and should be assumed with anything people are expected to spend lots of money on.

    It would be like me marketing a movie. I market it as the most exciting, revolutionary and action packed movie ever but I show you very little previews and tell you nothing of the details. You must pay to see it in order to know. When you finally pay for the movie, all the action is done with sock puppets, the revolutionary stuff is actually old stuff that has been dressed up by CGI, and there is nothing exciting about it. When people complain about my movie and claim that none of the things I said were true, I can always play the “It’s not my fault your expectations were blown up” card.

    While essentially true, I have fooled you into paying for a movie that isn’t any good. This is a [b]cop-out[/b] and it is a shame that it has the power to work in discussions like these. This is also what is so frustrating about discussions like these. People can always play that card and it will always be true.

    Their is a discrepancy with having reasonable expectations. Take my stupid movie analogy, for instance. The hype I was creating and the quality that was [i]promised[/i] was totally false. I’m not stupid and I knew the movie used sock puppets, old CGI and had little action but I intentional told you NOTHING about it. You spend money to see it, you don’t like it but it doesn’t matter! I still have your money!

    This is where an issue of accountability comes into play that I believe Keen is hinting at. Tell the truth about your game and give people the information that they want so they can make an honest decision. Hiding the facts and tricking people into paying money is dirty and deplorable.

    I know I have totally rambled and not made a whole lot of sense but there was a lot floating around in mind head on this one. Sorry about the quality. I hope you can make heads or tails of it. 😀

  • All of this sounds nice and pretty in theory, but everyone here is forgetting something: If the game, regardless of whatever is missing/glitched/not good quality/etc. is better than the game the customer is currently playing – they will play it anyway.

    That’s why I play Age of Conan.

    I understand that it is not finished
    I understand that there are plenty of bugs and glitches still in game.

    Is it annoying? of course it is, but so is paying $15 a month only to see your favorite class get nerfed to hell, and that is intentional.

    AoC > WoW, so I’m playing AoC. Do I wish it was finished/polished etc? Of course I do, but as long as it has enough to hold my attention and is better (for me at least) than the competitors out there I will play it, and I think a lot of others will as well.

    And when a new competitor comes into the market (Warhammer) and if it is polished and complete, etc. you will see a lot of people switch, I’m sure of it. but right now there is nothing.

    Side Note: another reason why any consumer good / product is released at the time it is, is based on a number of factors, but chief among them is market conditions. If Funcom had gone head to head with warhammer and wotlk we all know what wouldve happened. And all those 5 years in development would have gone to waste.

    They released it at the perfect time: at least 6 month before any major competitor out there, and at a time when a lot of WoW players were really getting bored.

    Funcom’s job right now is to get a better hold on its playerbase before competitors come out so they dont leave, we will see what happens.

  • @Bartlebe: That doesn’t sound so simple. =P

    To put a different perspective on it, I mentioned my near-experience with Habitat on my blog recently. Decades of waiting for these games to actually exist beyond theory is perhaps where my patience comes from.

    I was already within the games industry when I met some of the UO team at E3 ’97 and I was floored by the scope and effort in development compared to everything I knew.

    I see the reasoning in the “what you paid for” arguments, but that’s an absolute lacking perspective.

    What Keen has asked for here to me sounds like some kind of lynching because he didn’t like a game. I don’t appreciate that, I’m a paying customer that’s enjoying this game, he isn’t.

  • @Rog: This was not aimed at AoC at all btw. I used AoC as an example of an incomplete game because it was the most recent. I mentioned LOTRO and made mention of there being several others. Heck, nearly every mmorpg releases like this.

    I have not asked for some kind of lynching. I’m not saying we should look back at the past and punish the crap called ice cream we’ve been served. No, not at all; besides, it’s too late for them. I’m saying we should look to the future and abandon the acceptance of incomplete mmorpgs simply because there is a patching process. The attitude many take (I placed it into context in the first line of this blog entry) of “It’s a MMORPG, of course it’s not finished” needs to go.

    You like being victimized, Rog. 😛

  • Well it’s reminiscent of the same rhetoric that led up to the UO and EQ lawsuits. I wasn’t thrilled with those either, tho that’s definitely far overboard compared to a blog post mind you. =P

    I don’t feel victimized, each of the MMOs I’ve played I’ve enjoyed more than what I’ve paid: I think my perspective leaves me less disappointed than you.

    Maybe I come across heavy handed on this stuff, but I respect the hell out of the effort that’s put into these games.

    This is going to go in circles though, because you already know what sort of game I think you’ll end up if it has to be “finished”. Either less ambitious, or with big corporate muscle behind it and a long long development cycle. And marketing that’s more vague, so they don’t make too many claims that could come across as promises.

    I don’t think we’ll get better games that way at all. We’d probably save some money tho, but considering the cost-to-value on MMORPGs, what’s to save anyway?

    Don’t let the publishers know I think we’re underpaying tho. 😉

  • @Canoris
    “Do I wish it was finished/polished etc? Of course I do, but as long as it has enough to hold my attention”

    With this sort of attitude, companies will keep making games half finished with the expectation that people will gobble it up.

    Thank God for WoW. WoW set the bar much, much higher with just its presence. Imagine what the MMO genre would be like WITHOUT WoW. I doubt we would even be discussing this at length or even be reading this blog!

    I know it is idealistic and unrealistic to ask on this scale but hey, one can hope.


    I was attempting to look beyond the scope of a single player, be it you or Keen or anyone else in the blogosphere, and take a stab at the gaming population as a whole. I know there are people out there that just like certain games and that’s great.

    I don’t think asking for an upgrade in the ethical standards of the genre is unfair.

    If im going to spend my money for the privilege to play your game, I don’t want it to be sub par. Not having promised features 1.5 months after release is sub par. If you’re okay with that, so be it, but it must be recognized that this stinks.

    “What Keen has asked for here to me sounds like some kind of lynching because he didn’t like a game.”

    This is shortsighted. AoC was simply the LAST game that caused this feeling. It is not limited to AoC, rather, it applies to all video games. AoC just happens to be the most recent.

    Good discussion. I like thinking about this sort of stuff and talking about it as long as we can keep our Nerdrage in check. 😀

  • @Rog: You’re making no sense, Rog!

    …you already know what sort of game I think you’ll end up if it has to be “finished”. Either less ambitious, or with big corporate muscle behind it and a long long development cycle. And marketing that’s more vague, so they don’t make too many claims that could come across as promises.

    That’s putting such an incredibly negative spin on what I’m asking.

    I’m asking for games not to launch before they are “ready” (I’ll start using the word “ready” instead of “done” because it’s confusing people who can’t read my mind) and for the players to stop accepting it. As Bartlebe points out, it’s not unfair to ask for an upgrade in the ethical standards of the genre either.

    You’re adding all these negative variables as though you LIKE unfinished games. You’re opposing the notion that games can release in a state of readiness by putting negative spins and attaching corporate stigmas. I don’t see it that way.

  • @Bartlebe: Well as long as people don’t mind our flood, lol nerdrage is easy enough to keep in check. We’re passionate, there’s a difference, to me at least. I respect that regardless if I agree, it’s what attracted me to this community of gamers / bloggers.

    “I don’t think asking for an upgrade in the ethical standards of the genre is unfair.”

    I’m going to suppress my initial urge and not cover the blankets of full ethical standards (I’d roast EA-Mythic and Blizzard too) and keep it to the scope… Ethics are a favoured topic of mine, I’m some kind of too-much-weighted moral compass or something. =P

    In advertising the game, it should be accurate.

    I’m not so certain on the box claims, I know it should be accurate, but it generally gets done early on and by marketing staff that doesn’t really have their ears to the development team. I’m a fire-all-marketing kinda guy anyway tho, goes along with my anti-corporate leanings.

    Using AoC as an example I’m pretty sure they were contractually obligated to have DX10 on there (the entire DX10 fiasco points more to Microsoft, but that’s a whole other topic). On the rest, I’m sure they pushed themselves to sleep deprivation because that was the featureset they were sure would be ready, I doubt very much they had an intention to deceive.

    I do think there’s a balance in the ethics in play on the release date, that’s what I’ve been arguing. Do they extend to be more feature-complete, but risk over-extending into financial disarray? I think the later is less ethically sound and the former is just a matter of how hard it is to estimate these things.

    NDA? I’m not even touching that, I so disagree with the conspiracy to whitewash conclusions. Keeping an NDA on beta is normal for many other good reasons. If you’re suspicious over NDAs, don’t buy.

    I’m totally aware that this probably sounds apologist to some, but these are views I’ve had before these particular games. My take after witnessing so much in this industry, is that developers generally love these games, while some publishers can be ethically suspect.

    In the case of self-published games? I guess it gets a little muddled, I’m having troubles viewing Funcom as an evil empire tho, more like the little engine that could.

    Overall, the entire games industry, and the media that covers it, does need an ethical makeover. Unfortunately in their enthusiasm I think blogs have made it worse with the dual-obsessions of hype and ‘the scoop’ mixed together with a heaping dosage of pride, especially when they think they’re whistle-blowing.

    Most of the ethics are broken with good intentions and unintended consequences, but everyone always assumes something more sinister.

  • @Keen
    But, do we know why these games are released?

    Because the Devs BELIEVE it is ready.

    The issue is EVERY game has not taken into account the player who will be so addicted or hardcore, that they blaze through the content.
    Take AoC as our example, because we all know it is the pedestal for this post.
    I took a sampling of players on the forums and asked them a simple question…
    Do you read the quest text or are you a “Press 1, 1, 1” and go player.
    Take a wild guess what the majority was?
    I told people what level I was (before I quit) and their comment? “Wow …you suck because you are behind us”
    The mentality is to rush through the game, and get to endgame, and the Devs believed they put a stop gap in, because they assumed everyone would READ THE STORY.

    Almost no one did.

    They also found Funcoms Achilles Heel. The end with nothing to occupy the player as they leveled!

    SOE was notorious for this in EQ2. Release expansions and then finish up the end content for that expansion as players leveled.
    Luckily EQ2 had so much downtime gaming built into the overall package, that this held people back as the final bits were added.

    But, other games do not have that luxury.

    Luckily AoC did help me see that the old way of MMO gaming is also not as fun, and I need a little more to keep me. I want faster combat, I want quick quests or long storylines depending on my time allotted.
    I want to go solo or team up depending on my needs.

    I said it before and I will keep saying it…AoC should have stopped at level 60, added more PvE, held back the promise of PvP until their first update..

    Then we all could have avoided these types of blog posts.

  • @Keen:

    No, what I dislike is what happens when budgets come too close. The two examples that come to mind are Vanguard and WAR, both of which drained their finances dry.

    WAR was at least a usable product that was attractive to significantly more investment, but at the cost of Mythic becoming EA-Mythic, something I find distasteful in regards to EA being the worst example of ethics in MMO history (do we really need that spelled out?), repeatedly.

    If games are to launch when ready or more complete, or however you put it, they have to be either more conservative with their features, or they need bigger wallets and more time.

    None of these guys spend their days screwing the pooch or mismanaging their teams. Well, maybe on Vanguard they did, but that fiasco was a whole other story. Funcom couldn’t have managed a clean launch if that was the case, nor a bunch of other things. They clearly got some things right, but obviously behind schedule.

    I want an upgrade to the ethical standards too, but not a swap of one bad situation to another. I agree with your change in the comments here: requesting honesty in advertisements, but I don’t agree with the OP.

  • @RoG: Just so that I can be clear, can I ask you a couple questions?

    1. If a MMORPG releases with 50 levels but only 35 of those levels have polished and developed content, is that okay?

    2. If a developer says their game will have a PvP system with PvP levels and abilities to earn but launches without such a system, do you care? (substitute a PVP system for any major feature in a game if that helps you)

    3. Do you feel that money spent in development directly = quality?

  • @Keen: This could go back and forth all day, I’ll give you full and honest answers.

    1. Screw polish, I want content.

    It has to work reasonably well and be fun. I hate being sold something shiny and tedious, that’s why I left WoW. Polish is worth about a dime on my 50 bucks. I loved the content from the original release, but since then they’ve done nothing but shine up the wax until it gleams, with crap like meta-game balancing. I feel tricked and ripped off with this polish so many people go on about, it’s been one hell of a slight of hand but I no longer respect the gleam. Not a whit.

    Give me immersion, good gameplay, and content, content, content.

    I don’t expect to get as much as I want, that’d be impossible. I do expect a reasonable amount and I’ve found that in most of the games I’ve played.

    In AoC I’m level 74, my quest log is full, I have never run out of quests. Immersion is superb, quest presentation is good. The quest areas above 50 I found actually to be more fulfilling, Atzel’s in particular blows away any zone in WoW (although Duskwood at launch was pretty damn good). Do I wish there were more zones? Yes. More quests? If they’re compelling. More content? Always.

    If I was experiencing what you describe in any game, maybe it would be easier to concur. If servers were down, that would be pretty troublesome.

    2. Honestly? I love a good PvP fight but I get it so much better in smaller online games, the results in MMORPGs has been– mixed to put it mildly, so I think it’s a foolish thing to bet my hopes on.

    Blizzard highlighted outdoor zone contesting, including siege weapons, prior to the release of WoW. They also pumped up the factions as an ongoing war. My PvE friends were actually concerned it was going to be all PvP, I had to show them flightpath videos to win them over.

    On release, WoW’s outdoor PvP had no real ‘contest’ except a zerg of guards from the capitol cities. Factions didn’t work due to imbalance, I’m quite convinced they’re a serious problem for any MMORPG that chooses to go that route. Battlegrounds came months later, but instanced e-sports were not what was promoted prior to WoW’s release and I’ve complained about that ever since.

    Why would I want to do capture-the-flag and arenas when I can play any Half-Life mod that’s better? The Hidden really rocks BTW. =)

    Would I hold them to task over these things? I could write a blog post over it, but try to make it an ethical issue? No.

    My expectations are My expectations, I understand who’s the owner of those. Most of the hype comes from players, most of the so-called promises are just bits of things seen during development, not all of them make it in. Sometimes significant ones fail at implementation. Oh well, the cost of innovation.

    That’s not an ethical issue.

    I’ll take a Peter Molyneux game over a Blizzard one any day of the week. Again, screw polish, innovate and make it fun. I’ll take a Funcom one over Blizzard too. Shiny toys seem to sell well, but the funny thing is, the way I see it, I’m buying the toys that actually DO work. More fun = works for me.

    3. A loaded simplification. If I did, I’d be thrilled with corporate-driven game development. It’s reasonable to assume that budgets include paying employees, regardless of bad or good development.

  • #1 we partially agree upon this one. I want content content content, but I want it polished too. Yes, I’m very picky.

    #2 It was less about the PvP and more about a game launching while missing a key feature. For me launching a game missing a key feature that makes the game what it is with hopes that it will be added later isn’t acceptable.

    #3 Not really a loaded simplification. Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision, feels that money IS directly related to quality. He says that it will take half a billion dollars to make a game that beats WoW. I wholeheartedly DISAGREE with him. I believe that a good game is tied to those working on it and the concepts pertaining to mechanics at the beginning of development. I’ve played Indie games that were made on extremely low budgets and they are far better (and “done”) than many corporate games with huge budgets and publishers. What I’m getting at here is that I truly do not believe that money is tied to quality as much as you’re making it out to be.

    Budgets and deadlines should not be used as a crutch to justify releasing a game before it is done. Releasing a game before it is ready always leads to the same results regardless of budgets and deadlines.

    I think that’s pretty much where we disagree. I was mostly curious to find out exactly where you stood on these issues.

  • Well back to #2 I’d say that completely depends on the feature. I think PvP is a priority for you, Immersion is one for me, I know it’s not for everyone but I do seem to run into a lot of people who agree.

    Blizzard started out with some good immersion, they added too many silly jokes, changed their core lore and ugh UI scripting so everyone demands meters and bars to watch instead of the action. I really hope WAR doesn’t follow too closely along those lines, but Paul Barnett rattling on about bears and gags scares me. =P

    So yeah, there are some showstoppers for me, but they just mean I may try it and not resubscribe. Who knows tho, the fun factor could trump a lot of things.

    #3 That context makes more sense and I vaguely recall that. It’s a buffoon quote from a CEO who’s been good at making Activision profitable, he likes to talk money. We both disagree with him, I can’t help but bring up Molyneux again but he started Lionhead out of his home.

    It’s a craft. Great games are made by great designers. Design by committee, or too much fan input, well I think it’s still possible, but it waters it down. I’ve never seen a great open-source game but I’ve seen fantastic open-source software, that’s significant.

    I think in relation to AoC, and my girlfriend brought this up the other day: Funcom’s biggest problem is they’re trying to please everyone at once. She compared it to a class, that’s jack of all trades, master of none. They’re lacking a singular focus or direction. Well, they had it early on, it was the combat system I’m sure, they’ve spent almost too much time on it. I sure hope they sort out what they want to do after that and start pumping out the content, otherwise I’m going to get bored in Kheshatta no matter how good the combat is.

  • Sorry, Rog, I’ve not read this whole conversation, just scanned and I saw this:

    In AoC I’m level 74, my quest log is full, I have never run out of quests. Immersion is superb, quest presentation is good. The quest areas above 50 I found actually to be more fulfilling, Atzel’s in particular blows away any zone in WoW (although Duskwood at launch was pretty damn good).

    What the hell? You and me playing the same game? I got to level 72 – now, about 25 levels of those (47-72 to be precise) involved an 90/10 split – 90% grinding, 10% questing. It’s not that I enjoyed grinding, it was just the only quests I had in my log (all 5 or 6 of them) were either grey, and would have given me less XP through completion than I’d have got from 20s of grinding, or were of the ‘Save the Cheerleader, Save the World’ type. I.e. Stupidly HARD and not worth the running from Graveyard to quest location. Are you lying or what?

  • @Gordo: I’ve seen mixed results for people too, I’ve commented on how my approach to the earlier levels seemed to have longer repercussions with my quest log. But people ~should~ be able to tackle them a variety of ways and not get bored, AoC does need more content to be flexible that way.

    It also depends on when you leveled, because I hit 50 right around the time they added a few quests and changed the exp rate, so I suspect that makes a big difference as well. They are improving, but that won’t help if you’re past it already. A new level 50 zone won’t do anyone at 80 any good now.

    Before then, the Eigolphian Mountains were pretty sparse on quests. Thunder River was short fun, but Atzel’s has a ton of quests and so does Kheshatta.

    My complaint is not on a lack of quests enough for leveling. Those ARE there, but pretty much you have to do all of them. 90/10 is an exaggeration, I won’t call you a liar, maybe you just suck at finding exclamation marks. =P

    Hard, is well, different for everyone. I think the dungeons have too fast on the respawn rates, but other than that, I’m finding everything right in my groove for challenge-vs-easy on my Guardian. My girlfriend has complained that it’s ~too easy~ on her Priest of Mitra, but more fun on her Herald of Xotli. I have another friend who comments he dies a lot on his Barbarian, but geez he loves the game more than I do, he hasn’t any complaints at all.

    I try to be thorough when I’m asked. If you can’t accept that other people have different experiences than you do, that’s your problem.

  • I don’t have a problem with what you said it just seemed to me maybe you were playing the role of AoC fanboy, denying the facts of the game. I guess maybe it’s changed a lot since I played but I know that time-wise, 90/10 split was about true, a maximum of 20% of the time questing.

    When I describe quests as hard, I’m talking about red quests in high mob density areas. Like ‘Kill 10 Bandits’ in a zone full of bandits 5 levels above me. As a Bear Shaman, it simply wasn’t possible solo. Not hard as in hard to devise a tactic, but hard as in, impossible to solo.

  • @Gordo: And I reacted a bit like you were fanbois trash talking back, but oh well, that happens.

    Explaining my questing / leveling approach:

    I never watch-the-clock so to speak, I have no idea what the actual exp number it is required for the next level.

    Usually I do quests that are closest by just jumping in. I will select a quest from my log and do it though. I really like AoC’s map-indicators, because I can immerse myself and select a quest without looking first at whether it’s still red, or green or whatever. I think tho, it tends towards green because that’s the way the questing zones are laid out, easiest quests closest.

    I’ll say, the exp from quests is still too low for most people’s preferences, even without paying attention to the numbers I’m not blind to see that ‘grinding’ mobs is faster than questing in AoC– although I like that actually, but it doesn’t solve that they need more quest areas.

    I realize I take my time questing more than the average. If there are mobs in front of a quest item, I’m not skirting around them, I’m fighting through the mobs. I may even switch to a less populated instance, or come back at another time if players have already wiped the mobs out, because I want that challenge, I want that immersion of ‘fight your way and get xx item’, I don’t shortcut that factor out.

    If I group, I tackle group content. Someone says “let’s get some quests out of the way for you” I’m responding “nah I’ll save those for later”. I want to save my challenge for soloing.

    I realize, that’s me, not everyone.

    Most people treat quests as something to get done. I think the whole leveling up mechanic is flawed from the way it’s such a task, even a chore for some. But that’s besides the point because every game that does use that mechanic needs to cater to everyone’s style of questing & leveling.

    That barbarian friend I mentioned, he’s like a dog with a bone when it comes to questing, he’s even more thorough than I am.

  • Sure I understand. I guess we have quite different gamerstyles. Nothing wrong with that at all.

    Personally I strive for efficiency. I gather up all the quests I need completed in a certain area, I may even research on Thottbot (when I played WoW) to ensure I was questing for the most XP per trip out of a town. If I read comments about a quest saying ‘XP reward is awful’ or ‘Not worth the time it takes’, chances are I’ll skip the quest. Unless I’m immersed by the quest. But that don’t happen in MMOs. I wrote an article kind of about this, and my views of quests on my blog. See:
    When playing single player RPGs, I quest for the storyline, for the fun, the immersion. I simply can’t do the same thing in MMOs, as they’re simply a mechanic to level, and they really do feel like it. That’s, I guess, due to the philosophy of quantity, not quality, that most developers swear by nowadays.