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Reader Comments (37)

Posted: Sep 4th 2008 10:00PM (Unverified) said

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It's clear that this one was really made for the effect of Age of Conan and the amout of people that have complained about it's lying to the playerbase or whatever.

But, in the case of AoC, Funcom's developers (more specifically Earling Ellingson) actually did lie to the customers. For example, the Dx10 on the box, they admit that it was ment to be for saying "the game runs DX10 from the get go" but it never did and still doesn't run Dx10.

This one really got me: The PvP Gamespot Beta Weekend. Around this time we got a video from E.E. talking about the fansy PvP and the levels, XP, and gear. Come that Beta test weekend, we got to play the game and levels, XP, and gear were all in. When the game actually launched live...none of it was in....that was all a lie, but more so that was a bait-n'-switch. That's like giving a demo for Halo and releasing the product of Kane and Lynch; they're two completely different things and if the player buys based on a demo of stuff that's not in the real product, that's just straight out consumer fraud.

Posted: Sep 4th 2008 11:42PM (Unverified) said

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Tell ya what then... Sue them for false advertising and see where it gets you.

There is a big difference between "Didn't live up to expectations" and "Consumer Fraud"

Does the generation of false expectations engender ill will and bad reputation? Absolutely. Of course, if they manage to deliver on their promises a little later than "at release", in another year or so, nobody will care.

By the way, if you think I was trying to avoid mentioning AoC and Funcom, why don't you click the links "Buggy MMO's" and "companies that launch them" and see where they take ya.

-K
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Posted: Sep 5th 2008 7:39AM Crsh said

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How many times do promised contents have to be pushed back before it's considered a lie? Indefinitely I suppose; or until your business falls apart, allowing you to use that excuse to not deliver.
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Posted: Sep 4th 2008 10:45PM (Unverified) said

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Well... this article is about Age of Conan from the Funcom company. Their company sucks. I hope AOC burns with Hellgate...

Posted: Sep 4th 2008 10:48PM Russell Clarke said

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In other words, as the old adage goes, "Never confuse sales with delivery." Trouble is, people seem to fall for it again and again...and again. Perhaps there's something peculiar to the gamer psyche that means they blindly believe the marketing bullshit and fail to learn from their past experiences?

Posted: Sep 4th 2008 11:09PM (Unverified) said

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I feel somewhat taken out of context.

The line "How do you trust someone when they lied/misled you?" was in response to why people do not give MMOs a second chance. Not about the general hype. Marketers lie? No excrement, Sherlock, have a cookie...

There are some MMOs that DO live up to their hype, they DO deliver on what they promised (LotRO for example) and engender loyalty and trust from their players.

Then there are other games that outright lie about features and have broken missing features/content (oh AoC, where did we go so wrong? Be quiet Vanguard, I'm still not talking to you) that were promised and hyped to be in game. It's not about "You will be the awesome hero and it will be a mmogasm experience" it's about "You will have a purple pony in this game the second you log in" only to never get said coloured equine. That's a lie, a fail, a betrayal, not hype.

Games do not engender loyalty when they continue to fail to live up to their own promises.

I played EQ1 for years. I am used to a company failing to live up to it's myriad of promises, so many things were coming soon and fixed soon and trickled in 3 years later at best or were never ever fixed/appeared. I thus treat any SOE game with immediate suspicion that I will be similarly treated as poorly.

You asked why people dont give second chances? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. I'm not willing to continue to pay money and invest time in something that will not give me the reward I want. Or to a company I have no faith in (due to their own track record) to make good on promises and "fix" the game as they themselves promise?

Lupinus

Posted: Sep 5th 2008 9:35AM (Unverified) said

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I didn't want to take you out of context as much as I wanted to use your words to illustrate a larger point.

Acting "betrayed" when a game releases in a buggy or unstable state, indicates a lack of experience with software (particularly MMO) releases.

It happens. Mistakes are made. What I, as a consumer, am most interested in is the effort that companies make to address their problems.

WoW wasn't perfect on launch, but they busted hump to make things right. That kind of effort goes a long way towards making the consumer happy in the long run.

A game company that advertises features and enhancements and repeatedly fails to deliver? That's something else. Unfortunately for all of us, it is far too common to call a "betrayal". More like "industry norm".

It makes me appreciate a good game that much more when I find one.

-K
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Posted: Sep 4th 2008 11:13PM (Unverified) said

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OK, apparently I have 2 accounts for Massively ;)

Posted: Sep 5th 2008 1:05AM (Unverified) said

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Erling is the enemy of every single MMO player on this planet. That SOB brings the whole community down with his lies.

I would seriously consider returning to AoC if I saw a very public firing of him and the rest of the lead team on AoC, then I might start to believe that they are really trying to fix things.

Everyone knows MMOs go through "growing pains" but no one believes Failcom will make them with someone like Erling at the helm.

Posted: Sep 5th 2008 1:40AM Tinmanau said

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I think the column author hit the nail right on the head actually Lupinus.

You keep saying things like "broken promises" and "betrayal" and he's saying "marketing blurb" and "advertising hype".

You sound like AoC/Funcom is a lover that spurned you. They aren't, they're a software provider that you feel didn't deliver according to your expectations. They may, or may not, still actually deliver on those specifications, but because you were "betrayed" I doubt you'd even give them a chance (and yes, they have delivered before from the same position).

Early adopters get bitten by a lot more things than just games my friend, if you don't like it, wait a few months after something comes out.

Posted: Sep 5th 2008 2:12AM Greeen said

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Thanks to Funcom, SOE is looking good nowadays (thinking of what happened to SWG).

That aside, the line between fraud and not living up to expectations is imho pretty thin (think SWG NGE introduction). The thing is, if there is a big difference or not, no matter if it is a legal definition or whichever else, no one is going to sue a game company, because (the average) players couldn't afford to do so plain financially and time wise. And the companies know this, so they can continue to do without having to worry about committing fraud :(

Posted: Sep 5th 2008 4:09AM (Unverified) said

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There's a difference between marketing blurbs and outright falsehoods and fraud.

There's some definite correlation with the spurned lover analogy, trust is gone. I dont see why that analogy is a bad thing, it's the same as any customer service for example. I'll never use certain products/services ever again after being misled over them in the past.

I cant trust them not to screw me over again, whether it's my old ISP (no, Telstra! Bad Telstra!), DVD players (Telefunken is bad, mmkay?), food outlets (bus port chinese = 2 days off work...) or MMOs (SOE = Bad, Turbine = Good).

The food place sold bacteria ridden food, the DVD players are just terrible, Telstra is overpriced, awful service. I'm never going back to any of them, even if they try to entice me back with half price day or even free. I, as a consumer, do not trust them to provide the service/goods I want anymore, so I'll go to another ISP/chinese/dvd player.

Having bad service from an MMO company, in the form of broken content, or content that was promised and not delivered does not constitute falling for marketing blurbs, especially when it is black and white a lie, and NOT marketing spin.

Posted: Sep 5th 2008 12:52PM (Unverified) said

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What you're suggesting then, Kevin, is that in spite of someone's less than "legendary" experience with a game or company that espouses certain features for their products will, in fact, be available come launch, we as consumers should do our best to quiet our disapproval and take it in the rump.

Maybe you should reevaluate a few things, Kevin. You don't seem to understand what's going here. As a consumer, we have two tools to shape the market to our liking when we've been "suckered" or otherwise taken advantage of, even if the "betrayal" is exclusively a perceived, and not founded in actual intent. We have our dollars, and our voices. That's all we have. You seem to be misguided in telling us, as consumers, that when we feel mislead, we should suck it up and "spare [you] the melodrama." You're removing 50% of our capacity to reform the market to a better model of practice.

You see, Kevin, the voice of the consumer, even when ignored by the corporate ear, is a very powerful thing. I'm not saying that sometimes people don't go off the deep end and sometimes people feel mislead when the company's intention was anything but; however, these people still maintain their tools to use however they see fit.

Here's a scenario for you, Kevin. Let's replace the subject matter of your article with the other half of our consumer "power base." Our dollars. Would you then, after feeling a genuine distrust for the company in question, suggest that we just "spare [you] the melodrama" and continue to pay for the game in question? I doubt you would, as that would be silly.

This is also silly, Kevin. You're essentially telling every dissatisfied customer who has ever felt ripped off to shut up, because "they've got it wrong." Regardless of the aim of advertising, and regardless of any given consumers interpretation of what advertising should be, this is a horrible, HORRIBLE way to approach you're apparent distaste with the vocal consumer. Certainly some of them are cry-babies, and certainly some of them take things way too seriously, but who are you to tell them they shouldn't be crying, or they shouldn't be taking it that seriously?

No one, Kevin, that's who.

Consumers are a fair, even-handed lot, Kevin. Some of them will decry a perceived betrayal, but the majority will set the record straight. People will cry about damn near everything, for damn near no reason at all. This is the right of the consumer, and how dare you try to stifle, quash, or otherwise prevent its right to be exorcised.

You are now, as far as I am concerned, a horrible journalist. Why? Because you clearly misunderstand the consumer, and writing for a consumerist website as you do . . . that is a very bad thing.

Posted: Sep 5th 2008 9:38AM (Unverified) said

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Get this straight, and get it good.

I don't write this column to kiss your ass. Truth hurts, and the truth is that many of the fans in this business are lazy, spoiled, emo, whine connoisseurs. You want to do something about it? You want things to change? Stop crying, and start DOING. Write reviews that are more than "WAAAAH Funcom lied to me!" and start going into some details about how they failed to meet your expectations.

Speaking of expectations, stop expecting games to be perfect at launch. It doesn't happen, and it has NEVER happened. Stop crying about how the world should be, and learn to deal with it as it is. Don't be silent. Tell people what you think, but don't be so whiny about it that people tune you out after the first sentence.

I am NOT a journalist. I have never claimed to be one. I don't WANT to be one. I write and I give opinions because I have been there and done that to a degree that most of you haven't. I've seen things happen again and again and again, and I've seen fan reactions remain the same over the years.

I won't bother going too far into a resume, but I started selling and reviewing video games 20 years ago when they were shipped on 5 1/4 floppies and Fidonet was more ubiquitous than the Internet. I've played them, sold them, and even developed them. I know what works and what doesn't. I know what keeps fans happy and what won't.

I'm here to tell you, at some point it stops being "their" problem and starts becoming yours.

-K
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Posted: Sep 5th 2008 12:53PM (Unverified) said

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Way to dodge the issues there, Kevin.

You know, the same thing can be said about you and your approach to this topic, Kevin. Approach the consumer base with cynicism, roll with the punches, and "stop crying."

You sound like a spoiled brat, Kevin. "WAAAAAH! I can't handle the vocal consumer!"

They have a right to cry, Kevin. You do not have the right to redirect their voices, squelch them, or or otherwise dissuade them from their opinions, or their prerogative to espouse said opinion as they see fit.

Kevin, pack it up. You're championing a cause that will ultimately hurt the consumer base. I'll bet people like Michael Eisner and all opponents of Fair Use are pleased with you. They would desire nothing more than to silence the consumer in an effort to make money more easily.

But you're not going to hear any of this, are you, Kevin. You're going to continue to defend your undefendable piece, and all of your little lemmings who have not DAY 1 training in Business Administration, Advertising, or the mechanations therein (which you also have clearly not had, as evidenced by your erroneous statements) are going to agree with you blindly, bolstering your resolve.

You are all fools, Kevin.

Oh, and for the record, Kevin, Dictionary.com says you ARE a "journalist." Look it up.
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Posted: Sep 5th 2008 4:32AM SupahSpankeh said

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"Tell ya what then... Sue them for false advertising and see where it gets you.

There is a big difference between "Didn't live up to expectations" and "Consumer Fraud""

Ah, and because we can't (or can't be bothered) to sue someone we can't possibly have a case?

Face it, AoC was hyped and talked about with a series of key features that weren't in at launch, including but not limited to:

- DX10 support (on the damned box)
- Massive PvP (on the damned box)
- PvP reward system

The failure of Funcom to deliver these features at launch, along with their persistent inability to deliver these features 3-4 months after launch, makes them liars in my eyes. I'm not exactly in the mood to QQ all over my nice new shoes but yes, I do feel pissed off at them.

Why? Well, taking my money and not delivering those features listed on the box of their product and in the associated advertising, and in the repeated failure of Funcom to provide the features after launch in a timely fashion or support what they already have.

Also, relax a little. That last article and comment make "ya" come across like a first grade asshat.

Posted: Sep 5th 2008 7:53AM Saker said

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It's a funny thing about the "gamer mentality" (especially MMO's), people just keep buying these games at launch, or even worse pre-ordering them before launch when the history is pretty clear that they just aren't going to be what they've been hyped to be (assuming they work at all, or are "feature complete"). I find it hilarious the talk about AoC when funcom had a far worse launch with Anarchy online, it didn't run at all. This is all history, I learned a long time ago not to buy these games on the hype/lies. You wait till it's been out and been played/reviewed then you get a demo (free!) and see for yourself if it's REALLY something you want to play (and pay for)

Posted: Sep 5th 2008 9:21AM (Unverified) said

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Ding ding ding!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

A healthy amount of cynicism is absolutely necessary when faced with the mighty marketing machine. Some perspective (AoC went MUCH better than Funcom's first effort, by the way Anarchy Online just celebrated their 7th anniversary... hardly a dead game)

Decide for yourself and don't worry about what marketing (or "betrayed players") say about the game.

Would I take player's opinions into account before blindly plunking down 50 bucks for a game? Sure I would, but there is nothing... NOTHING like actually playing the game yourself.

-K
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Posted: Sep 5th 2008 9:14AM (Unverified) said

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Realistically, buying any based on a demo where the fine print (or the really big letters on the first or second screen) where it says that something is unfinished or that it may or may not represent the final product isn't fraud. Is it misleading? Not really. In fact in such a situation, you were warned it may not be the same come retail launch.

Is it annoying? Absolutely. But the alternative is pretty simple in this particular situation...

Most PC games run $50. Every MMO I've bought in the last 3-5 years comes with the first month as part of the purchase price. If I buy the game, play it, and decide I don't like it, I don't pony up $15 a month to continue bitching about it. I uninstall said application and relegate the box and disc to somewhere in my round file.

I don't necessarily cancel my account, I just don't renew my subscription. That way, if they fix the stuff or have a freebie weekend, I can just jump back in, try it out and re-examine my stance on it.

I didn't care for LotRO when it came out. I beta'd it for awhile and it just wasn't as fun to me as WoW was. However, I'm playing again because the game is much more fun now, for me, than it was at launch. The opposite is true for WoW now. I still my account, but the subscription isn't active. If something comes out that I want to try, I'm sure I'll re-activate it for a month or so and try it out again.

But really, while I understand everyone's, including my own, frustration with things... If you don't like it, stop buying. Or at least wait til one of your buddies ponies up the cash and try it on his box.

Or you could do like one poster here said: Try to sue them for fraud and see where it gets you...

Posted: Sep 5th 2008 9:49AM postman said

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excellent article, i couldnt have put it better myself. the face of the MMO community is changing, to a point that its becoming a skewed version of the amercias need for instant gratification.
im glad someone is finally telling the whiners to think critically and stop complaining about everything.

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