Stability is the cornerstone missing in recent MMO’s

Whenever I go without a  MMO for long periods of time the first thing that always comes to mind is how I need a game that I can invest myself into.  That’s what sets MMO’s apart from other games for me.  A MMO character is something that the players should feel committed to in a good way.  It’s a time, emotional, and monetary investment.  I see building up a character and spending the time playing him as a positive form of investment that brings with it a certain level of fulfillment.  That feeling is one of the main things that keeps me playing a MMO.

What happens when that feeling is not present?  It can be missing in various ways from the start of a game.  It can also be present but then be removed or destroyed.  In the case of Allods, the feeling that I was committed to my character was definitely there until the rollercoaster of bad news/good news began.  The most recent bad news has been that, while perfume costs are down, the mechanic has been changed so that you must consume many of them at once.  Without burdening you with too many unnecessary details, it has effectively made me no longer think about the future — I’ve stopped caring.

I heard the following analogy that fits:  It’s like knowing the train you’re on is going to crash later — you’re going to get off before it does.  There are several things to note about this.

The game is not even broken -yet- but people will stop playing because it’s going to be.  Those that do keep playing will be depressed (unless clueless to the whole situation) and will likely not play the same way.  No matter what, the community shrinks and begins to plummet.   At this point, even if the future problem is averted, people have already detached themselves from their character and the game to the point that returning is easily overlooked.

It’s probably the absolute worst position that a game can be in because no matter what happens you’re screwed.  The only way to avoid it is to not let it happen.

Perhaps one of the most sorely lacking qualities in today’s MMO’s is stability.  I haven’t felt stability in any launch for many years.  Is the game going to suck?  Will X ruin the game down the road?  Will the company survive or go bankrupt?  Bottom line: Is this game here to stay?  There is a definite loss of faith in the companies and/or games being released that is squashing our ability to commit to these games.   Not even studios that have released gems in the past are able to replicate their success.  What a horrible state the industry has sunk into.  In many ways this is exactly why World of Warcraft remains the #1 game of choice for most people.  Regardless of their meta-game end-game, they’re stable and you know what to expect and that they’re going to be around.  This stability will transfer over to their next title.

We continue to place our trust in new developers and old developers nonetheless.  Unless we stop getting burned, and feel like we can trust the developers again to deliver that stability, companies like Blizzard will remain as the providers of a dominant gameplay style.  The resulting “clone” effect is then expectable and the cascade effect of that puts us into a vicious cycle.

The cycle can be broken.  No, the answer isn’t to stop playing new games or to stop playing WoW  as many will quickly jump in and proclaim.  This whole “the players are in control” stuff is nonsense.  One way, perhaps THE way, that the cycle can be broken is if someone will develop a polished MMO that provides a feeling of stability — a feeling that is a direct result of quality and common sense from those who have a clue.

  • Good post, I think that is what I’ve been missing from a MMO lately.

    I just don’t see myself playing any of them 3 months from now so I can’t get past any boring humps in the content.

  • being a hype player such as yourself leads to the problems you are having with trying to find a MMO to invest time in and have fun with, thus making up all these delusions that games dont have “stabilty” or they arent “sandbox” style enough.

    it seems since the time ive started reading your blog that you play one MMO to just wait for the next launch of another title and with that in mind no matter how much you BS around the fact that you are “going to stick it out with this one” you never do and just move on to the supposed next greatest game.

    the problem with people like you is you want everything from the MMO genre now, a state of mind that was more or less brought in with World of Warcraft and that people like you dont like to settle into a game no matter the flaws and try to be a part of the community that which makes MMOs, well, MMOs.

    No game is perfect. If you want to make the perfect game there is nothing stopping you from developing the game that in your eyes will have everything you want and more. In your eyes.

    there are plenty of MMOs out there right now, either free or subs modeled ones that are stable and have growing or stable communities – you just have to actually PLAY them and INVEST TIME to see that. The mindset that you have to move from MMO to MMO because the last one just “wasnt that good” or “to grindy” or whatever the reason is just a trend and i find that most of the people with that way of thinking never get far thus never seeing the game in its entirety and labeling it “sux0rz” because they couldnt progress or didnt make time for it.

    So I disagree that stability is the cornerstone missing in recent MMOs and I think its more a lack of stability coming from the player base with an “ADD” style way of playing thats ruining the genre…well “ruining” the genre (i think its just fine and growing)

  • Excellent post and point Keen. I would totally agree with you that stability is exactly what I’ve been craving from an mmo, and the thing that the most recent crop of them has failed to deliver.

    AoC, WAR, AION, all had tons of hype and released a good game but were plagued by uncertainties. Will they improve stability, PvP, raiding, the grind? All of these questions deteriorate the resolve of the mmo gamer and often we retreat back to the game that had (for the most part) already dealth with those issues. Be it WoW, EQII, LoTRO or what have you it’s easier to go back to our established stable environment than to wait for the new one to catch up. The fixes that players think a new game that just released need simply can’t come quick enough to satisfy, so we retreat.

  • @JT, do you even hear yourself?

    I agree with you Keen, developers have been lacking in the sense of giving a person a guaranteed persistent world that we were used to before the cash-cow conglomerates decided to take a piece of the MMO pie. When I played SWG for 5 years, I had the feeling of a family, friends, and an overall gigantic social community that not only did the players support, but also the developers of the game itself. I moved on to World of Warcraft and even though the social aspect of the game was not on par with SWG, the overall feeling that my character is worth something and will be there if I decide to take a break kept me coming back.

    This is what the new cash-cow companies are missing: they need to focus on the social aspect of multiplayer rather than what they can innovate or what they can sap from the players. New P2P mmo’s have the plague of believing that in order to survive and been the behemoth that is WoW, they have to come up with some dramatic change to the genre that will entice people to keep playing. Wrong. Let’s not even talk about F2P MMO’s that are plagued with the sense of sap all the money out of your playerbase as soon as you can while releasing lack luster updates to keep them feeling satiated.

    It’s horrible to think that if I didn’t make the promise to myself and my wife not to play WoW again, I would be right back there doing exactly what I have been for 5 years, and the reason that is is because developers just do not understand that all we want is a second life that we can log in and out of. Have friends, do activities, be creative, and whatever else we want.

    I doubt that will happen, ANYTIME, soon.

  • @jt

    I think you miss the point. Keen played WAR for a solid amount of time, that is about the time I started reading him. Since then we, the MMO communities, have been plagued with unfinished products. The vast majority of MMO bloggers are either playing WoW or doing what Keen and I are doing and that is bouncing from one MMO to the next.

    Personally I’ve seen the end content of some of those other MMOs and it still isn’t keeping me playing. Further more the “you didn’t give the game a chance” or “you didn’t play long enough” are some of the stupidest arguments I have read on MMO blog posts. A game should be fun from day one until the last day you play, the end. It is a game and it was designed to be FUN. I understand some risk and punishment is needed to give your decessions validity but to say you have to play farther into a game to really enjoy it is stupid. I think THAT mentality is more an onset from WoW than anything.

    Back when we played EverQuest, and guess what Keen played that too, the game WAS leveling not end game or some fabeled later content.

  • I agree wholeheartedly. With regards to Allods, I’m in the same mindset. I’m leveling still in the game but just don’t have that same enthusiasm that I once had for it.

    It sucks to be ‘fearing’ the next patch instead of anticipating it. And with the gpotato devs closing down all threads pertaining to it, citing “we have not yet decided on the implementation of said patch”, yet not even implementing any chat filter (probably because they can’t), the future is looking bleak.

    See that? It’s the storm coming with the upcoming patches. If they thought the furor over the CS was bad, just wait till these storms hit…

  • This comes very close to my own thoughts these past few weeks, and while I’m not one to pass up a train analogy, I think that what we are really looking at here is more akin to a relationship.

    Consider the 5 stages of relationships:
    1. Romance – buy in to the hype
    2. Power struggle – realize the image you had during the romance is different from what you are faced with
    3. Stability – aware of and accept the differences
    4. Commitment – this is where you have settled in for the long haul
    5. Co-creation – here you are probably planning in-game events, perhaps in participation with the developers (not sure how many games have made it this far)

    Just like a relationship, we can break off our involvement at any stage. If I avoided games because there was a chance that they would turn out to be bad, I would have a lot more free time on my hands. The same holds true for dating.

    As far as Allods goes, I am having (mostly) fun now. I am aware that there are changes that may or may not be introduced to the game at some unspecified point in the future. This is unlike previous MMOs that I have played where I was not aware that changes would be made (but they still were). So I’m going to take a chance. Maybe it will work out, maybe it won’t, but I’ll be certain to learn something along the way.

  • I agree with JT that today’s gamers are part of the “ADD” generation and that no one game is going to be perfect for everyone. There are simply too many easily accessible alternatives to choose from and WoW (now that it’s developed) has established some sense of entitlement in many of us.

    I don’t agree that the solution is to put in the time and accept the status quo though.

    It’s time for MMO studios to realize they can’t release the same derivative WoW crap we’ve already seen and done a thousand times before. If they are going to go the WoW-mod route they really need to be bang on in their execution. That means no bugs or lacking content.

    If you can’t get on board with this line of thought, you might as well get on board the unemployment train because gamers have evolved (positively or negatively is undetermined). If you aren’t going to feed them what they want to swallow you’re wasting your time and money.

  • Which is the whole reason I decided to try out Eve, and I’m glad I did. You want to talk about polish and a true sandbox environment…

    I’m splitting time now on Eve and Global Agenda, basically biding time until ToR comes out. If Eve stays entertaining after I get past the whole “honeymoon” phase I may even keep it subbed while I try out ToR.

  • Equally as much as this sort of “motivation void” leaves me jaded … when everyone else who I play along with and enjoy the game with starts to feel like there is no hope (and stops playing) that motivation-void dilates.

    I’m a bit of an old school gamer (though still in my 20s, barely) and I simply can’t enjoy a game by myself anymore. Even if I enjoy the game a lot & feel I can survive all the doom-and-gloomsayers … if everyone else I play with succumbs to it I end up giving up as well. When a game even begins to head down this ‘train-wreck railway’ it’s a no-win situation because as soon as the first person jumps off the train the rest of the passengers are an inevitability.

  • @Snafzq

    I don’t think it’s fair to blame our lack of interest on the “ADD” generation of gamers. I’m like Qpon, an old school MMOer in his later 20s.

    Can you honestly say that in the last 24 months we as a MMO community have gotten a game worthy of dedicted play? The stabilist MMO was Aion and due to it’s immense Anime art style was doomed to be niche.

    Unlike Fyzzle I can’t play a MMO for 6 months if I know I’m just waiting on another one, that isn’t how I work. I just spent 30 minutes at Best Buy looking at all of their video games trying to pick one to play. I just didn’t find one that was interesting.

    It was interesting though, most games were jumbleded together with 2-3 copies of each. Battlefield and the Call of Duty franchise had 1/2 a section to their selves which was shared with Sid Meier’s Civilization series.

    Sims had an entire section and so did Blizzard. They had 20 copies of Wrath and 5 copies of Diablo 2 Battle Chess and 4 copies of StarCraft Battle Chess. They had more copies of StarCraft on hand than EverQuest 2’s newest expansion, Crime Craft, WAR, AoC, Aion, Champions Online or LoTR. I was surprised to see that they had 2 copies of EVE but sadly no Gobal Agenda’s.

    Blizards games that are over a decade old are still being stocked in higher quantity then these crappy MMOs we are getting and you are telling me we have ADD?

  • Cheer up, Emo Gamers. Play and have fun, stop running around listening to the doomsayers.

  • I think all this takes the whole thing way too seriously.

    Yes, games need to be stable to the point that the servers stay up and they retain a critical mass of players sufficient to ensure the game isn’t closed down. That’s about all that’s required, though.

    Beyond that, all the commitment and fulfilment is in the player’s head. The game doesn’t provide that, you do.

    In the ten years I’ve been playing MMOs very, very few have actually closed down. Of the games I played I think only Rubies of Eventide and Endless Ages no longer have a server up. There have been a very few high-profile closures, like AC2 and Tabula Rasa and a few more of games that never really took off, like Auto Assault and MXO.

    Most MMOs, however, just keep on going. Even games that seemed dead in the water like Horizons are still there. Some, like Saga of Ryzom and Myst Online, even come back from the dead. MMOs are really, really hard to kill.

    Whether a particular MMO is going to be a good investment of time for any particular player is very hard to predict. The risk of becoming invested in a game that goes belly-up in a matter of months after launch, however, looks pretty low.

  • “it has effectively made me no longer think about the future — I’ve stopped caring.”

    Glad you wrote this post. I feel exactly the same way. There was a very strong momentum when I first started playing Allods. It felt like I was on a “train” that was on the right track and it was going somewhere. Now it’s seems to have deviated and it’s on a different track that I have no idea where it’s going. There are probably a handful of things that frustrate me about the game in particular. Each one of these things, if changed and addressed, would help increase that momentum again and make me feel like it’s getting back on track. That said though, there are few certain issues that I don’t think can ever be addressed, primarily due to the way the game was designed.

    “This is what the new cash-cow companies are missing: they need to focus on the social aspect of multiplayer rather than what they can innovate or what they can sap from the players.”

    Sweetix nailed it. It is the social aspects of the game that entice us the most and I think this relates somewhat to what Keen was getting at about an “investment” (at least to me). When a new game comes along, each of us are checking it out similar to how we would check out a new home and surrounding neighborhood that we are planning on living within. We are asking ourselves “Is this a place I can set some roots down, build a home (a foundation), and be a part of the community?”

    “what we are really looking at here is more akin to a relationship”

    Exactly Jarovit. I’ve used this same comparison lately as well. From my perspective, I’m just no longer caring about the relationship that I once did because my “partner” in this relationship seems to be doing some very weird things and doesn’t appear to be listening to me. 🙂

    “I don’t agree that the solution is to put in the time and accept the status quo though.”

    I agree 110%. This is why Allods is so frustrating. Unlike the usual MMOs where the beta sucks because they haven’t polished things, Allods stood out because of the exceptional polish on the initial experience. That’s why it’s so frustrating because you can see the potential the game has. That said though, certain aspects of latter game and end-game need to be improved though and this is what the open beta should be addressing and fixing. Yes the cash shop is an issue and it still needs to be adjusted (at least a 30% additional decrease IMO) but if people don’t see a solid foundation to invest their time within the game, they still won’t spend a dime, even if the prices are reasonable.

    Basically like others, I’m still playing…but there is this empty feeling inside now (lack of caring about it) and I could probably just drop it suddenly one day very easily.

  • The new generation of MMO is already on the Horizon, hell, even BLizzard has seen it coming with their talk about Farmville and how its social gaming is encroaching on their turf.

    I think MMO’s need to move away from the massive “End-Game” for hardcore raiders and make it more social for people. A PUG of players, that play their class well, should be able to join forces to take down a end game encounter. Sure, you need gear sinks and what not… but make it more social.

    MMO has always been about the multitude of people…but those multitudes always break down into guild or smaller groups and seperate themselves from everyone else.

    It’s going to take another DAOC type of game where what EVERYONE on your realm does affects your side.

    SWOTOR has a chance if they play their cards right but with the recent launches of great IP’s being so…bleh…I am on standby right now and just enjoying LOTRO for what its worth…a decent game with a great story/enviroment/community.

  • @Epiny –

    I’m not blaming “ADD gamers” for the state of the industry. I’m blaming MMO developers for not releasing good enough games to satiate their tastes.

    And I’m not saying gamers have become ADD solely because of a lack of quality games. Gamers have become ADD due to quantity, accessiblity, marketing, and a number of other socioeconomic reasons too.

    The truth is we haven’t gotten an MMO game worthy of dedicated play because there are so many other options out there for us. That and because the titles have been poorly designed and polished and/or technically unstable.

    Now that everyone is so connected, I’d be interested in seeing a study on the impacts of hype and hate waves in MMO communities. Leading up to release, hype seems to be getting bigger and bigger for each new title. This appears to be leading to massive initial sales. Unfortunately, the impending hate wave each new MMO experiences about 0-4 weeks after release has an almost equally opposite effect.

  • I think the big problem MMO Development has these days with the hype/hate relationship is that they promise something new. Something no one has ever seen. Or something that people have seen done in an “innovative” way. The general problem with such a promise is that few ever implement with a fresh feel. Or even a feel that it was worth the hype. Hence the backlash.

    Allods is a prime example. It offers the fresh, new style of combat. Astral-Ship warfare. While, in reality the only people who will ever see it are the people willing to drop serious coin and time to getting it up and going. It tends to leave the casual gamer, which is the majority in MMOs these days, out flopping in the wind wondering where their promise of innovation has gone.

    The only truly unique titles that will release in today’s gaming age are games that do cater to that majority. Niche titles like Darkfall and Mortal Online will have their share of the market. Yet, they’ll always feel a little lacking because the MMO aspect isn’t really there. It turns into small little cliques that make it feel more like you’re playing Halo on XBox Live than World of Warcraft with thousands of others.

    The true test of an MMO isn’t what they bring to the table. It’s the atmosphere that their MMO opens to the community. I personally think Allods has so far struggled in that regard. Of course, I felt the same about most MMO titles that released over the last two years. Aion, WAR, AoC, VG: SoH and a few others all release to cater to their niche. Most fail to see that while we would like innovation, innovation at the cost of experience is a price too heavy for most of us to pay.

  • Even the “hardcore” players will leave at a certain point. Even those players which invested around 50 dollars so far in Allods will leave at the point where you dont find any other players to play against or with them.

    And the social point is a good point. Look at Second life. There is no “WTFPNWED” item to buy in an item shop. But they make there money….

  • That’s because in Second Life you’re paying for things that enhance and open more possibilities to interacting with people. You’re not paying for something that the only thing it really does is finally make the game accessible on all levels. That’s the problem with most CS-based games. They think it’s all about forcing you to pay just to make the game enjoyable. When they fail to realize that if it’s enjoyable from the beginning then the money kind of just falls into place. Companies have no actual faith in their consumer base anymore. They would rather take it on themselves to punish their consumers in a chance to make money. Instead of rewarding them with the guarantee to make money.

  • @Shadrah
    I completely agree.

    I would like to add that I think what everyone needs to do is consider the amount of BAD MMOs that have come out and how it is altering how future companies make and market new MMOs. Developers still know there is a market for MMOs but they don’t seem to know how to tap the market anymore. I think that is why we are seeing games designed around the bang then bust model. Pray for alot of box sales, or a CS shop that robs your customers quickly, then let your game fade away.

    Developers seem to be looking at the community as the problem with the failing games rather than the poorly developed games being the problem. I think alot of developers are going to be shocked how much the MMO community will rally behind a good game once it is released. The problem is we haven’t had a really good game in 4 years. Right now Blizzard’s new MMO is the most likely to rally us or BioWare’s Star Wars The Old Republic.

    I want a MMO to sell 1-2 million copies in the Western Market now just to give the middle finger to all the dev’s saying WoW has jaded the market. WoW has only made us have a higher expectation of quality and polish.

  • /agree with Epiny

    Show me an MMO that has released in the last couple of years that wasn’t plagued by the following problems:
    – bland combat mechanics (faceroll 1 2 3 4 repeat) where it takes 1 minute to slowly kill 1 mob, aka warhammer and Aion.
    – bland grindy pve quests
    – buggy releases
    – missing content
    – small instanced world

    Only BioWare that shares the same ‘Release it when it’s done’ philosophy has a chance of getting a decent number of subs.

    You give me a game with an enjoyable combat system (enjoyable for me means a more action orientated combat system), with fun interesting quests, with a big open world to explore and it doesn’t stutter or crash, and I’ll be there with my $15 a month.

  • The most recent bad news has been that, while perfume costs are down, the mechanic has been changed so that you must consume many of them at once. Without burdening you with too many unnecessary details, it has effectively made me no longer think about the future — I’ve stopped caring.

    Can someone provide a link to what Keen’s talking about here? I’m curious.

    The game is not even broken -yet- but people will stop playing because it’s going to be. Those that do keep playing will be depressed (unless clueless to the whole situation) and will likely not play the same way. No matter what, the community shrinks and begins to plummet

    I followed Keen’s articles about Allods for months but didn’t bother to try the game until the latter part of Closed Beta. So I probably have a different level of disappointment compared to folks who adored the game in Closed Beta.

    I’m certainly concerned but not depressed 🙂

    I’ll continue playing and steadily leveling – because the PVP in this game aside from the ganking is the most fun I’ve had since Warhammer – until there is clarity around what will happen with the game mechanics and Item Shop.

    If gPotato can turn the situation around – and IMO they re-gained some credibility by addressing the Item Shop pricing in a relatively reasonable timeframe with a reasonable response – I’ll continue playing, blogging about the game, and yes, even paying for it for things I deem as reasonable such as items for quests that can be grinded for. If not, I’ll move on.

    I’m sure folks at gPotato are reading Keen’s blog, so they’ll see all his articles and these comments. And I can tell even from looking at our guild and my friends list that the number of active players has dropped steeply in the past two weeks. They have access to all the data as well. So hopefully gPotato has an appropriate sense of urgency given the situation.

  • Allods Forum: (For russian patches)

    I really don’t see how gPotato will require 2 code branches for a game they only publish.

    Without a direct feedback loop with the devs (not the publishers) I don’t foresee happy things for Allods.

    I think people are too ready to mistake growing pains for a stillborn.

  • On the subject of stability, it would be awesome if Blizzard would license their network code out. They could charge a lot for it and it would still be worth it.

  • @Taugrim

    Patronage has now points. 30 points for one unit of Perfume. 1 point = 1 minute. You can not just activate it by perfume, you can now stack it over up to level number times: some people told they’ve seen one 40-level

    It was posted by a Russian player that came across our forums in Keen’s last blog post about Allods (prices coming down)

  • As it stands right now in the RU patch Perfumes are no longer a 30 minute buff. Instead, each perfume counts to 30 “Patronage Points” as I’m going to call them. Each point equates to one minute of Perfume time. Multiple perfumes can be stacked at a time to generate more points for use. Each Patronage Ability requires those points to work. The mana regen ability required one point. The rest require 10. Meaning for any given night of PvP or raiding prepare to be throwing away a few cases of Perfume. One case of Perfume would effectively allow you to use the movement impairing removal a total of 60 times in a night.

    Now, that is a stretch but still possible. Couple that, however, with the mana regen. Or the energy restorer. Not to mention the heal. It’s easy to assume that you’re going to be throwing away perfume without much thought to the matter.

  • First comment, WoW has changed a lot, so much that I went from hardcore enthusiast to fairly cheesed off with it by 2009. Like many modern games they just make too much of it easy (nothing outside of raiding offers a challenge) and they focus on gameplay over world.

    STO summed it up for me in that regard, I played the beta, and for hours I flew around, did away team missions and just plodded through tedious easy mode content.

    Imagine now that back in 1985 a double dragon machine appeared in your local arcade. Imagine now it had the same difficulty as WoW/STO questing, would anyone seriously play that? I’m calling no, that machine also wouldn’t last 1 day in a 1985 arcade too if you could start at any level you wanted just because the developers wanted you to “see all the content”.

    So new games have either had sucky game design like this (STO,WoW now), or no story+content for later levels (WAR,AoC,Aion) due to deciding to skip it and replace with PVP instead, those games were doomed to not repeat the EQ1/WoW success by design.

    Even worse taking the example of STO (32 player instanced content) or Global agenda (10v10 lol) instanced content these games are just not massive, I can get 13 people in just one vehicle in Planetside and that game came out in 2006.

    Sadly on the horizon are just more easy mode looking games, a bare veneer of a world to play in with very little depth, immersion or innovation. One day though someone will release something good, until then I’m sticking with 2005’s offerings of EQ2 and Planetside here. No one yet has had the vision to put something together better yet, although I dream of a perfect EQ3 I fear that SOE will chase Blizzard’s design for WoW… Still until they do release it there is hope 🙂

  • I agree. I was so excited about Allods until the recent cash shop problems and news about the patch. I loved the game enough to try to convince friends and family to play with me – even the non-gamers in the bunch. And now? I haven’t logged in in about a week.

    There’s no point. I know what is coming, and I won’t invest the time. Also (for me, anyway), there is an additional element: at this point, I view all companies associated with Allods as being greedy and money-grubbing. I don’t want to support them in any way. And yes, this will apply to all their other titles.

    I bought items from the shop in Runes of Magic – I didn’t mind supporting the game, and the items were reasonable. I won’t spend any money with gPotato.

  • I think MMOs are put on too high of a pedestal. If I walk into any game shop and look at the shelves of PS3, XBX and Wii games there are only at best a few games on each system worth playing (maybe less for the Wii). MMOs are no different yet the expectations just keep skyrocketing for each new MMO release.

    When I look back over the last couple of years at my MMO hopping I paid anywhere from 0-40 for the initial box then $15 per month. I usually play for a couple of months so over a year of playing maybe 3-4 MMOs it is not much more than a console gamer would pay. How many console games can you remember playing for more than a month or two?

    I think STO is proof of a MMO model where you develop for 2 years and hope you get the box sale and 1-2 months subscription per customer (more from hardcore fans) rinse and repeat.

    TOR might go the same direction albeit you will need to re-roll a new class every 2 months. It is scary to think that people have been avidly following TOR longer than they will actually play the game.

  • The lack of stability comes from the choices Keen. You always know you are going to have more choices and new shiny games coming out, so if you aren’t 100% happy with what you are playing (and I mean “you” in the general sense, no you as in Keen necessarily), you always have that next big release to look forward to. Rewind a decade and you had only a handful of MMOs really, and you were pretty much going to pick one and stick with it.

    The players need to take some heat for this too, is my point, not just the developers, though surely both are in part to blame.

  • Excellent post and this is why I halted playing Allods when I heard about perfume and the fear of death. It was a big-time “UH-OH”. And then when the cash shop prices came out, I immediately uninstalled. I also felt the same way about Cryptic and how they jerked around their community with Champions Online. These companies need to get it right the first time or there won’t be a second time. The investment of time, energy, and money is too great to squander on these devs/publishers who will jerk their community around like we are a mindless fools ripe for the fleecing.

    If any one thinks that GPotato/AN will finally get a clue, you are kidding yourselves. The thing is the Titanic and you owe it to your sanity to get off before that game implodes. Don’t waste your time on “potential” or a few rosy memories of playing this game. Allods is a certifiable trainwreck and goes down in my memory as one of the most frustrating missteps in MMO history.

  • @Cassano

    Your analogy is incorrect because you assume the MMO genre is equal to an entire platforms library.

    MMOs are more like the FPS genre than anything at this point. Yes there are alot of bad ones but like any of community who loves their specific genre each new game gives us hope of improving upon the last. Up until Halo I honestly though the FPS genre was starting to die out.

    The MMO community has just been lacking a quality game by mismanaged or ill informed publishers. I don’t think it’s fair to blame it on the developers entirely.

  • I think you have far too much expectation from just a game… When I tried a new MMO, I never looked for anything that has been said in either the blog post or the comments; I was just expecting something that could entertain me and have fun while playing. The hype around a game left me completely neutral, it only kicked in during the decision about which game to try, then I’m usually on my own.
    I don’t read the forums, and frankly I don’t care what OTHER people are saying, I play + I have fun = stay, else I leave.
    Rumors are exactly that, rumors, hence I don’t pay attention to them (not even those spread by the devs themselves) until the devs release a patch, then I download it, I read the patch notes, I TRY playing it and if I still have fun I stay, else I leave.
    I consider it stupid to leave just because someone (even a whole community) said this or that would happen in the future, I usually SEE for MYSELF WHEN and IF it happens, and ONLY THEN decide once again if the game is worth my time.

    During my Wow time, many game changes were frowned upon, sometimes even by me, but after trying them out, most of the time I actually saw it was either a good thing or a harmless one, the few times it was a bad thing (in my opinion of course) I usually decided it was something I could ignore because I still had fun playing. But all of this AFTER I tried it out; I would have left a lot earlier if it was just because of something I read here and there and I’m actually glad I didn’t pay attention.

    Right now I’m having fun playing Allods (efen if I consider it to be a bit easy right now), much more than any other game I tried before, so I stay. Will I be faced with something I don’t like, I will probably quit but so far so good.

  • Gamers have those expectations because they remember what it was like for a game to release that really was just good. No catches, no outstandingly big problems.. just a solid game that they could enjoy. Why should we, as gamers, lower our expectations in a game when the market demands that those expectations be met to consider it quality?

  • Those are fake expectations that the market put up for you so they can sell more, my one and only expectation is that I have fun playing. I’d play ascii art games if I have fun, and in fact I am doing, I play roguelike games since I was 16 and still have lots of fun. I also played Diablo II for 6 years straight and I still fire it up at times when I’m bored.
    Today gamers weights things like fancy graphics, no bugs WAY too much, graphics is marginal and bugs can (and most of the times will) be corrected later on.

    That said I agree that there should be more content than bugs (Early “Gothic 3” springs to mind as an example of the opposite) but nothing is perfect and things are to be made better with time, it’s a bit closed-minded to turn down a good games for a few bugs, especially since it’s still BETA phase, the last time I checked Closed Beta is the phase where most of the bugs get corrected while open beta is for stress tests AND still bug corrections.

  • Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about the expectation that the game is going to be unique. I’m talking about simple things that should be staple to new MMOs. Things like:

    – Polished Graphics
    – Smooth Gameplay
    – Varied Content
    – Complimenting Game Mechanics

    First foremost, however. The game shouldn’t feel like you’re being punished for playing it. It should feel enjoyable on all levels without actually having to work around things to make it so. It’s not too much to ask for things that, with the sheer evolution of technology, should release with any game in today’s market.

    That’s not the fault of the consumer that the company can’t keep up. It’s the fault of the company itself. Far too many companies today either try to ride on the coat-tails of their former success or feel they can slap something pretty together and make money off of it. When, in reality, they make box sales and then the game dies because of mismanagement and poor development schedules.

    Demanding that a game meets the quality that today’s technological market can produce is not false expectation. It’s something we should get no matter what. Company’s that can’t keep up with the pace of technology really should step back and re-evaluate their positions.

  • I think my gaming life will make for a point to uphold Keen’s point: stability.

    In brief: 4 year wow player; i turned on Blizzard after BC, because i thought it was cheaply, poorly done; I started reading this blog – I got on the aoc and war band wagons, bought both, played both for a couple months. Both had some good points, but they lacked the wow effect, and i went back to playing wow within a couple months of each; Now I will read about others like Darkfall, Aion and Allots, but, until i see that people are still really excited about a new game after a year has gone by – I’ll try it! Otherwise, I feel I’m wasting time and money on something that the odds predict will fail.

    I’m looking for STABILITY! Every time I went back to Wow, it was a little better and, there are always thousands of people to interact with. These people run the gambit: Hard core ones, casual ones, socialites, players you wish you could virtually strangle, noobs, gold spammers, etc.

    Another point: I’ve invested over 100 days (total time played) into my 18 wow toons. Wow can change, add, subtract, whatever from their game a lot quicker than any other company can make one from scratch. And they do! (I currently wonder what’s going to happen with all by bg marks after 3.3.3)

    I see no point in playing another mmo until it is a proven commodity. The only game I’m looking forward too is Starcraft 2. Why? Because even though I don’t always like what Blizzard does, I trust them, they are not afraid to make change and they’re stable! =)

    My prediction: Wow will still be on the top of the mmo pile 5 years from now, and most likely even 10 years from now. How can we make a friendly wager out of this??? I would love to admit I’m wrong to someone in due time! But I doubt I will!

    Todd =)

  • Also, to add to that. In terms of the beta phase argument. Unless you were there for the early beta’s of Allods it would be pretty simple not to understand where most of us are coming from. There was no FoD or Perfumes, or any of that with the original release of the game. Those were implemented through a patch that we didn’t even get until most of us were in our late 20s or so in CBT3-4. We watched a game take a drastic step from being fun. To it’s current place. Which is naught more than a slew of mechanics all designed to force you to pay, or force you to quit from sheer boredom.

    The game has been heavily mismanaged by all parties involved. We have such bleak outlooks because we remember when the game felt solid. Then we remember how it felt when it started to be picked apart for what profit could be made from it. It doesn’t give most of us high hopes or faith in either company.

  • Ok – before I derail along some tangent I´ll just comment that I believe that you are right that stability is the missing foundation preventing a lot of these new mmo’s from succeeding. Blizzard is basicly providing a product that works and when it doesnt they fix it. We believe that they will fix issues, when they arise, and they nuture that belief by never stopping to care about the state of their games. Add to that an upfront and honest business model and the groundwork for a game you can faithfully invest in is there.

    MMO developers need to provide gameplay that works and if they cant manage the big scope of WoW, then rather a small polished game than a huge buggy one. Anyone who wants to build their MMO brand need to treat the players as investors, listen to them and never… NEVER EVER try to scam them for quick profit.

    This last part says a lot about whats wrong with the genre however (tangent incoming). Quoting from blog.

    “A MMO character is something that the players should feel committed to in a good way. It’s a time, emotional, and monetary investment. I see building up a character and spending the time playing him as a positive form of investment that brings with it a certain level of fulfillment. That feeling is one of the main things that keeps me playing a MMO.” – Keen

    This is exactly what is wrong and least positive about MMORPGs. This is the source of the addiction, this is why MMORPGs isolate the players from the real world. Because you start caring about maintaining a certain status of power within the game that isnt connected to you. It creates a parallel society, that you cant just switch off without consequence. That is not healthy. A (multiplayer) game should be about learning more or less complex gameplay mechanics and employing the skills learned in cooperative or competitive play. The skills learned should be the value craved when playing a game not virtual property.

    What is positive about the RPG element (and thats really what we are discussing here) and the potential it has, is the way it applies a gentle learning curve to very complex gameplay mechanics by slowly adding abilities to your character as you progress toward full knowledge (if not mastery) of your class. That coupled with the teambased playstyle where you assume a class role in either competive or coorperative play is what makes it a strong and unique gameplay experience.

    Sorry about the wall of text, but I hope someone enjoyed reading it.

  • I think that’s a good outlook on the MMO world. While I can admit that sometimes people take their games too far, you have to look at it from this standpoint. An MMO, especially one with any significant monetary investment should have some level of emotional/personal investment into it as well. It just like purchasing a car, or even a house. Its yours. You want to take care of it and enjoy it to the best of it’s ability to give. Such is the life of an MMO gamer when inside that virtual world. Not to say that all of us take a healthy look at it, but it is true.

    I can agree that turning your life into an MMO is not something worthwhile. Though, having a second life inside of a virutal game world isn’t exactly unhealthy either. It brings the promise of friendship and comradery. In that regard, I could argue that for some people having a life inside of a game can be quite healthy for the person. Even therapeutic in some situations. Not all, but some.

  • Just like those who took DnD too far there are those that do the same with MMO’s. Darwin predicted it.

    But whole point of an RPG is role playing. You want to get immersed into your character. Other wise it’s just a MMOG which there is nothing wrong with.

    I play games for entertainment, I hate television. And if you want me to stay entertained with a single game you will need to ensure there are ways to keep my character busy and developing.

    I played WoW for 3 years, EQ1 for 3, SWG for 2 and countless others for a month. I have no problem unplugging, I can have one drink and stop, and I don’t smoke anymore. Don’t blame the game because a person gets addicted, if they want to quit they will. People got just as addicted to pinball and donkey kong long before WoW came out.

  • I think the issue with stability (in terms of gaming rather than servers) is that we’ve seen so many highs and lows with big titles in the past few years. IMO, both WAR and AoC was a huge blow to our confidence in MMORPGs because not only did they fail to deliver what they promised to the players but also because they’re future is very questionable. I wouldn’t be surprised if both titles got canned within a couple of years.

    Something I liked about the original Everquest was it’s consistency. It was popular (500k players at it’s peak which was hugely successul 10 years ago) and released an expansion every year. We knew the game was there to stay and it allowed players to commit to it.

    Do I feel this same way about STO or Aion or CO? No.

  • @Shadrah
    Good post. I think what I am opposed to is not immersion or the emotional link you get with the game, which sometimes can be equated to the emotional link you get with a character in a book, but rather the way that this emotional link is sometimes achieved or I should say maintained.

    Are you sure Darwin predicted that :p

    You say the whole point of RPG is roleplaying – I agree. Roleplaying from a gameplay standpoint is to assume a class role from a number of possible options, but furthermore its about character development, because you are a hero in a telling and as the story progresses our hero grows.

    So what does character growth mean?

    Is character growth me updating my season 7 pvp gear to season 8 pvp gear? If so what was the point? Does this new tier of gear that everyone now has somehow change the game, and in what way and why? I would argue no – this is not character growth, this is just a way to keep me in the game when I would rather not.

    So I would argue that character growth is whenever you add new gameplay mechanics to a class and this is what I feel is so strong about the RPG genre, because you can design games with very complex mechanics, at what you would call “the end game”, but what I will call “the actual game”, because you have the luxury of adding these mechanics in small increments.

    You know I played pen-and-pencil RPGs as a kid like the good geek that I am, but when I first heard of games like Ultima Online and Everquest, and what people where doing in those games, I couldnt believe my ears. I couldnt fit the concept of mining, picking flowers and something called “grinding” into a RPG game or any game. Also the concept of people paying real money for virtual property was absurd to me, and in a way it still is.

    Its not something that is inherently connected to RPGs I would argue.

  • First of MMO aren’t the cause of addiction. Some people just have addictive personalities. If a MMO was the cause of addiction then every person who played one, or at the very least the majority, would show signs of addiction. They don’t. MMO addicition is the same scape goat that school shooting have been blaming on FPS games the last 6 years. If FPS games caused violence then the majority of people playing them would be violent.

    The fact that a small minority of people who have a mental instability play a game and that game acts as the catalyst for their instability to manifest isn’t persay the games fault. Road rage, alcohol, drugs, or being fired from the Post Office could have just as easily been the trigger.

  • If not an addiction then atleast a parallel society, that encourage you to invest your time and money in virtual property rather than real property, which changes it from being a game to being a second life.

    I understand thats what a lot of players want now, but the idea itself is a little absurd and has little to do with gaming even roleplaying games. Games like all media can offer escape from real life and thats fine, but punishing players for not staying in the virtual world is wrong I would argue.

  • @Shadrah

    Now, don’t get me wrong too, I’m not judging you, you do what pleases you regardless of what pleases me, and that’s fair and normal; what am I trying to express (and the language barrier starts to get big even if, if you let me say it myself, my english is not that bad) is that this discussion focused on objective features but some subjective ones entered the mix. Those, in my opinion shouldn’t be there. You said:

    “simple things that should be staple to new MMOs. Things like:

    – Polished Graphics
    – Smooth Gameplay
    – Varied Content
    – Complimenting Game Mechanics”

    I disagree, Polished Graphics can please the eye but they adds (IMHO shouldn’t) nothing to the gameplay. A smooth gameplay should be worth more than smooth graphics (Demon’s Souls is a brilliant example, so-so graphics but gameplay over the top that allowed it to be RPG of the year).
    Smooth Gameplay, i agree on that and I don’t think Allods’ gameplay is “chunky”, in my experience it flows normally (at least for the warden)
    Varied Content, i agree but a game isn’t necessarily born with it, it can be added piece by piece, I don’t see why should it be a prerequisite.
    Game Mechanics… now, as I said in a previous blog entry, Allods failed on that: FoD, ugly crafting system, but yet it’s a new game; they tried something different, maybe they will change it, maybe not. So far I’ve not been bothered by it, I will decide when time comes, should it come at all.

    As for the changes from the CB, I don’t know since I began during OB but I really don’t care what they did when I didn’t play. I judge the game for myself AS IT IS NOW, because it’s now that I play, not before.
    So far all went well; I was not forced to buy anything and I didn’t suffer from it. I found some closed chests, I kept one since I knew there was a quest that gave me a key, I dropped the others, i honestly don’t care if I lost an item or some virtual currency. I didn’t need any perfume yet, but I will bother myself with it when and should the time come, I won’t judge an aspect of the game I don’t have to face yet based on someone’s else opinions. I have a brain and it works, hence I will make up my mind when facing the issue.

    As I said, i think that what a gamer should ask himself while trying out a game is: “Am I having fun?” Rather than asking “Is the graphics pleasing?” or “Is the gameplay smooth?” or anything else; those other questions can come later after I answered the first and may or may not weight on the final decision. I don’t care if a game with years of experience, patches and expansions is better, well, it better is!!! I’d be surprised if it wasn’t.

    So: “Am I having fun?” Yes for now -> I continue playing.

  • Nice analysis Keen – it kind of described my thought process with so many of these games. You just don’t want to invest/waste your time in a game that you know will go down the crapper soon. That just comes from experience – there are just so many times where you can get all hyped up about a game – invest a ton of time at the beginning and then be disappointed later on.

    It is this thought that this game wont be around very long that makes it hard to justify investing time into it.

  • This was a great post. And it’s nice to see some other people in the same stage as me about Allods. I simply stopped caring after that debacle. Which is a shame since i found a nice guild in that game and all.

    But i am not willing to invest dozens or hundreds of hours in an MMO if i am not sure it will have a solid future, a dev team that actually works to solve the problems with the game instead of trying to milk your money and decent support.

    And from the most recent crop of MMOs i don’t see any that released with this. Either the games come out unpolished and unstable and take months to fix those issues, or they come out with cash shops charging for things that should be included in the subscription fee, or they offer poor support and undecisive action to fix issues like gold sellers spam/hacking etc.

    Quite honestly i am getting more and more tempted to leave the genre altogether and dedicate my time to other forms of entertainment or linger in one of the old school MMOs out there waiting for one that finally hits the sweet spot. Heck, i’ve been contemplating returning to WoW, a game i swore i wouldn’t return to.

    The saddest thing is: this industry has reached a point where the thing disenfranchised players wish the most from an MMO is stability.

  • Although Epiny it feels like you are giving me “the guns dont kill people …” rutine. Which is ridiculous by the way.

  • Guns do kill people. Just like people can get addicted to video games. That doesn’t mean the gun forced someone to kill or that a video game forced you to become addicted.

    People refuse to take responsibility for their own actions. This is turning into a debate about society now. A gun or a video game may enable you, they don’t force you to do or be anything.

    Using the anti-gun legislation motto on me was a bad choice because I’m in the US Army and the NRA. I was brought up to take responsibility for my actions and I personally feel that is missing with younger people today. Every new solider I get has troubel admitting when something is indeed their fault. They like to blame the situation and not admit they could have prevented it.

    sorry for typos and the rant

  • @Epiny

    First of all, EVERY GENERATION has said that about the generations after them, it isn’t that generations are changing that much, its that older people look at things different than younger people.

    Second of all, personal responsibility is incredibly important, but to ignore the entire picture just for “oh, people just need to take more responsibility for their actions.” Its both a cop out answer AND actually detrimental because its so easy to say, but doesn’t actually help to solve problems very often.

    Its almost certainly a result of being raised in the US, where the fantasy is that everyone can do anything they want, nothing can hold someone back who tries their hardest, and so forth. It sounds really great, we teach it to our kids, only problem is, its basically false. It happens sometimes, but its no way to structure your life, let alone your society.

  • “Using the anti-gun legislation motto on me was a bad choice because I’m in the US Army and the NRA.”

    – Yea I figured as much and since the people here are mostly american I wont follow this analogy any further as there is no point. I urge you compare murder statistics between europe and us, or maybe even better between sweden and finland. Being army is no excuse for ignoring statistics (former army sergeant myself) being NRA might be.

  • Sure it may not be a generational thing. It may just be a youth thing, I can completely understand that.

    I think the guns is getting us off topic, btw Dispair brought it up. I’m not ignoring statistics here and I find it insulting that you insinuate that I am, though if it helps you take a shot at the NRA go for it. I think we should just drop the gun comparison.

    The point is that yes MMOs can be addicting, that doesn’t mean they cause addiction. I think the distinction needs to be drawn.

    How is believing people should take responsibility for their actions a copout based on being in the USA. If I live in Korea and play video games for 50 hours straight and then die isn’t that my fault? Or I guess since believing that you should be responsible for your choices means that it was the video games fault?

    I agree that simply saying taking responsibility isn’t the answer however blindly blaming games, or guns, isn’t either.

  • I would honestly have to agree on the addiction argument. Yes, there are those gamers (just like any other addict), who take their habit to an unhealthy level. However, that’s not the fault of the product. That’s the fault of the person. Be it using said product, or taking gaming to an unhealthy level. I think the truest statement that could be made on the subject is this:

    Just because it’s there to do, doesn’t mean you should.

    That comes to personal responsibility. I’m in high agreement that such things are the scapegoat for many of today’s social issues. Now, this doesn’t mean I advocate the use of drugs or even the owning of a weapon. I do, however, hold no prejudice against that drug or gun for the actions one person took with it. I blame the person. After all, it was their choice.

  • What annoys me the most is that the elements that encourage players to take this game type to an unhealthy level are basicly bad gameplay mechanics (pointless timesinks etc.), which any player who wants to be competitive regardless if he is an addict or not must endure.

    Yet players (such as Keen) will continue to ask for them because they are addicted to them to some extent, but is that really where we want the genre to go? More grindheavy without any justification, less even playing field type games where you must invest and maintain your investment to enjoy the game?

  • Odd… I can’t recall a time where I have ever called for more grinding without justification or uneven playing fields.

  • See, I want to maintain my “investment” to play the game. Because the moment I feel I’ve stopped progressing then it becomes boring. I want to feel like I continually have to work to keep going forward. It’s why I didn’t like games like Guildwars. Small level caps and not really having to work for anything in the end. Other than the territories I guess. But I’ve never been a heavy PvP gamer. The moment I stop feeling like I’m moving forward in PvE it feels more like a console game with a static end. I’m just not a fan of that. I need a reason to keep playing. When I hit a wall, I no longer have a reason.

  • @Keen – Well then I’ve possibly read too much into your blog entries. Please forgive me.

    @Shadrah – Does it really have to become boring? Or does it usually become boring because you’ve run out of content/story/etc way before you ran out of character development? I mean you’ve probably played lots of games that doesnt feature character development, but that was so good that you still played them a ton. Ending/capping character development at some point doesnt have to lead to a boring game or limit an ongoing multiplayer experience.

  • @Dispair

    Keen has stated before that grinding “as long as it’s fun” would get his support but not mindless grinding like most games that come out.

    “Fun” is kind of subjective(one person’s fun is another’s nightmare). But I would agree for the most part that players overall won’t play a game that’s not fun.

    @Gun Debate

    I’m not going to judge either side of this debate but argument that FPS games “make” others kill people in real life is a load of crap. Just like this
    discussion where I’m sure some groups are going to be going after Nintendo for being at fault.

  • Well I am looking for more justification than just fun to allow grinding, because if you allow fun alone to be the justification for grinding then the game has to revolve around it, and the competitive element has to be about who can grind the most the fastest and thats fine. It works in EVE and I could envision lots of these economy type games.

    The problem as I see it is when you have a game thats about competitive pve or competitive pvp. The playing field quickly becomes uneven and being competitive becomes more and more inaccesible to new players, and staying competitive requires continued maintenance (you know besides practice). Try imagining how much harder the competition would be for those world firsts or for those tournaments if people didnt have to overcome the gear barrier, and how easier it would be to motivate players to be competitive if they werent distracted by the gear incentive all the time.

    To use a raiding example since some people here seem to think its so different to pvp most raid leaders probably know the problem of having motivating players to keep trying to beat a new encounter when there are still loot to be had on farm status content. Lots of players after wiping a few times on a boss will default to the attitude that they dont have good enough gear or that they are missing X class to be succesful, when most often the strategy is wrong or X player has not gotten enough pratice on working strategy. Same applies in pvp – push for rating or grind that pve piece that might change everything.

    The justification for grinding in MMO-RPGs that I am looking for is: 1) leveling to cap is justification for introducing new gameplay mechanics at small increments and tie in well with story if done right. 2) playing for gear rewards up to a cap is justification for introducing players to how certain stats translate into damage, mitigation or healing, and how these things can be customized through crafting. The minigames of spending your talent points or customizing your gear set is endless, but thats all they should be. Not objects that mess with players motivation for playing forcing them to do an immense amount of upkeep to enjoy the game.

  • Interesting OP. I’ve given up on Allods now as well, too much Schadenfreude watching the developers invent new ways to destroy the community’s goodwill….

    I actually look for depth in content more than anything else in a game. WoW and LOTRO have a ton of content to explore and a steady supply of new content too – that’s stability to me.

    I have a big concern that the industry in it’s rush for quick return on investment is more about flashy graphics, ‘neat’ new concepts now (e.g. Astral ship combat!!) and much less concerned with producing solid games with *depth*. STO had one of the richest IPs going and it’s a space combat and ground combat simulator stuck together. I very much fear Warhammer 40k will be similar. The current talk about Farmville and other facebook type games being the future fills me with abject horror – let’s dumb everything down and make mass-appeal dross with no real depth at all…. :-/

  • Kind of degrading to have an interesting OP reuined because someone overseas has to let out some steam about their hatred for Americans and their values. Makes this entire thread worthless now.

    Way to go.

  • If you notice none of my post are anti-american and I sorely regret bringing up the gun analogy. I havent written more than 5 lines about it – rest is just people getting fired up about nothing.

    Considering how much I have written about the MMOs in this comment section I feel Ive wasted my time since all the focus when to this gun debate.

    If anyone else wants to flame me and call me anti-american please do it in this thread, where I’ll happily take a beating.


  • @Dispair

    I thought we moved past it and I hold no grudge. I was sitting at my comp last night and started thinking about motivation with MMOs.

    I also agree with your post that companies are looking for a quick return. I think MMOs are now expecting a 75% drop in subs after the first month and building their game around that. This is the very reason why I think we need another MMO, preferrably not Blizzard, to make a multi million subscriber game. Someone needs to show these companies we will be loyal to quality.

    I just want to play with my friends. That is really it. The problem is that if I don’t start playing the game at the same time as them and I don’t play as much as them I get left behind, thus not being able to play with my friends. I can’t just be elivated to their level because then what is the point of having teired progression. So what do I do? I must grind hard, effecient, and late into the night to catch up or quit. That is the problem with 99% of all the MMOs out is it splits up friends and groups when they should really be bringing them together.

  • We have I just wanted to create an outlet somewhere else for the derailing I admittedly caused.

    I think you touch on something very basic though about playing with your friends and fearing to be left behind. Thats why I am a little bit excited about how the buddy system will work out in Guild Wars 2 and how they will level out the playing field in organised pvp, while keeping the it uneven in the roleplaying section.

    I too really hope that Blizzard will get some serious competition soon although I think their game is very enjoyable, and that they are very good at competing with themselves.

    The reason I hate so strongly against addicts is because I feel addicts have ruined my gameplay experience so often. It may not really be addiction, but just good old human greed that really comes out in some people when playing MMOs – I still hate it, but even if human greed was nonexistant gear as a timesink and how gear is rewarded just ruins whatever gameplay experience I seek.

  • Sounds like Derek Smart is trying to stabilize Alganon. Something I’d probably normally laugh at but his no bullshit (non PR) talk is really intoxicating. Wish more execs at companies spoke this way. Hell, after they fix things, I could actually see myself trying Alganon out (assuming they clearly communicate what they’ve improved).

    I mean this is one of the original things that enticed me about Alganon was it’s back story and “vision” of what the game would be. Unfortunately, as many people easily proved when playing the beta, it didn’t live up to that vision in the slightest. If Derek can turn this around and return the game back to its intended roots, making the vision a reality, kudos to him.

  • Any developer that would allow rubies to be sold in the cash shop or perfume to be even conceptualized should be fired. Any idiot could see that it would destroy the game.

  • To all the Allods newbie garden /zoners who argued in /zone saying Cash Shop wouldn’t ruin the game: ……

    Get Rocked!

  • ah I hit submit too fast –

    what is with people saying we have a sense of entitlement? Maybe it is just common sense post-1999 EQ launch, that there are specific things that work in a game and things that don’t.

    Keen is right.

    Great example of stability, I went back now and playing Twilight Princess for Wii, why do all the Zelda titles work so well? Because it is a similar mesh but different story mechanics. Stability. We can always trust Zelda titles will be great.

    These game studios like Sony and Mythic must realize their old titles rocked because they hit the right buttons. Instead of launching new titles with new “fail spins” how about they just repackage say Dark Age of Camelot, but add minutely new bells and whistles? Warhammer was so amazingly far off from DAoC I was crushed hitting 40; Knock back, knock down, fetch, disable weapon…

    If people complain about those things in OTHER pvp MMOs why would they be acceptable in new ones? Ridiculous.