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Reader Comments (41)

Posted: Dec 1st 2008 11:30AM (Unverified) said

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A lot has changed in 2 months? Ya… like people’s faith in an NCSoft product. Like people’s opinion about how dedicated they are to their fans and the titles they’re willing to release. Tha’s what’s further changed in two months.

Gimmie a break. A decision like shutting down a multimillion dollar investment does not happen in two months coming from a “we’re dedicated to the title” standpoint. I’m not saying the choice isn’t smart, just that they aren’t honest and they’re not dedicated.

They lied. They manipulated the situation to keep as much revenue coming in as possible, and now they’re trying to save face.

Screw them. I’ll never buy another NCsoft game until it’s been out for at least 1-2 years. To make sure it’s established and not in jeopardy of being closed down. Even then, it’d have to be a really enticing game to me. Right now, an NCSoft stamp all but eliminates me from purchasing that title.


They’re quickly becoming the new $OE. It’s like the direction from their studio heads is all over the boards. “NClost” is more like it.

Posted: Jan 18th 2009 8:17AM (Unverified) said

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Yeah, they spent subscriber dollars to send the CEO into space and then acted like it was a big deal. That might have worked when space travel was "in" for the Western market, but it gains a big yawn lately.

PAUs? Still a myth, but potentially might see light of day. There was so much more that was promised and being worked on, albeit *very slowly*, even compared to Blizzard's lethargic manner of releasing content and updates, bug fixes, etc. The constant revamps of shoddy or broken systems like player crafting was a major detraction to progressive development, though highly needed, but should have simply been designed right from the start with a more competent design team than Richard was given.

PAUs might still be seen. On the PTR, that is. Or as a "Hah, see! We finally DID release what we were promising for months on end!"

Just like UO, all over again. At one point, I believed in Richard, as a mentor from back in the Origin days. Origin is long dead, and so is any faith of the consumers for a product with his or NC$oft's name upon it.
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Posted: Dec 1st 2008 11:25AM (Unverified) said

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That doesn't sound like much of an explanation... "Things changed, so we shut it down"? What changed exactly in the last two months that caused the game to suddenly become unprofitable?

Posted: Dec 1st 2008 11:45AM GRT said

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Yeah, I'd be very, very hesitant about investing my time in an NCSoft game from here on out.

And people love to bitch about Sony but christ, Everquest Online Adventures (for the Playstation 2) is still running. They don't just randomly pull the plug on people...

Posted: Dec 1st 2008 11:50AM (Unverified) said

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2 months ago, they thought they had a real shot at turning TR around. Its numbers were low (very low) but they had a whole expansions worth of content additions and bug fixes that they thought could change people's minds about the game.
That didnt turn out to be the case. I mean, when you look at the "market" they are competing against - with Warhammer and the WoW expansion just gobbling up the market share- its not hard to see that people wouldnt be lured back to a "failed" game so easily.
From a business perspective, they had a game that was losing them money each day it was running. They tried to correct that, it didnt work, so they dumped the loss. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Posted: Dec 1st 2008 12:07PM (Unverified) said

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Yes, Stefan. Business wise, it does. Just show me where lying and saying "we're dedicated to this Triple A title for the long haul" factors in there?

A more honest approach would have been "TR has some plans for the future. We're hoping that content pans out to draw more people in".

Instead of an outright lie about how dedicated they are.

They pulled the same bullshit w/ Auto Assualt. They care little about their players. So, I care little about their products.

(my gawd. I agree w/ Mr. Angry. It's like a sign of the apocalypse)
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Posted: Dec 1st 2008 12:03PM Mr Angry said

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I can't agree on this, the whole Garriot departure then wait a bit, protect revenue prior to closing the game, it's all been orchestrated over the last few months.

Garriot left because the game had no future and was being closed (not to be a spaceman, regardless of his father's experience)

They gave out a press release to protect revenue after he left, waiting a little, then they decided to curtail support for it in line with Aion Online beta, so they stand a chance of at least a small amount of customer retention.

Sure they can dump their losses, but this has a cost to their existing customer base who have invested both time and money in the product and something I'd like to see addressed.

So my question is, could NCSoft supply Tabula Rasa as an open source game back to the community if they were truly sorry to see it die?
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Posted: Dec 1st 2008 2:21PM (Unverified) said

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Just because a game doesn't have hundreds of thousands of players doesn't mean it's a failure, and they should have had plenty of money from all of their other MMOs to cover those updates they did to the game. From there, they could have moved most of the developers to another project and let it just sit and make money for them.

And if that wouldn't have worked, then frankly there was something lacking in the design.

And let me reiterate:

A successful MMO doesn't have to be measured by subscriptions. You just need to be pulling in more money than you're pushing out, just like any other business.
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Posted: Dec 1st 2008 12:48PM (Unverified) said

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Ok, lets say you own a business...selling...lightbulbs. You arent doing well. You invested a ton into a new lightbulb model and people just arent buying it. You make some changes to the lightbulb, shine it up a bit, make it prettier and get ready to launch the "new improved lightbulb model", knowing full well that if it doesnt sell well (and quickly) that you're going to have to close shop. Do you advertise with "OMG please buy this lightbulb or I'm going to have close!" or "Try out our new,improved Lightbulb! We here at Lightbulbs R Us are committed to this worth-while product and we know that you will be as well"

My bet is you'd go with the latter.

Of course NCsoft knew that unless things turned around for TR "sharpish" that it would have to be shut down. You say that to the public, however, and you've just shot any chance you had at attracting new players right in the foot.
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Posted: Dec 1st 2008 1:17PM Mr Angry said

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That's fine for them to protect their business by making those statements to drive players to a struggling game.

But seriously if that's what it takes and fails as a result, don't expect any sympathy here, when you value business management over customer satisfaction. We are the customers, not the investors.

If that interview was to 'clear anything up' it's obvious they want to try and appeal to customers to retain business. If they really want to appease their customers, make TR free to play, even open source at minimal cost to them. Will this happen, of course not, they just want to sell more boxes of their next game at a premium then go ahead and curtail it, rinse and repeat.

Let's face it, we are all customers here, not business analysts. From a MMO player perspective, a whole bunch of people got jipped out of some substantial dollars who decided to try a new game. I'm sure the time period for cancellation (90 days) nicely prevents charge backs for credit cards too due to failure to provide a service.

So they can go ahead and play business man if they want, but not when people have paid money to participate in a service, where they have had to pay an up front fee.

SOE have gone up in my estimations significantly following this news. It takes guts to stick to your guns.

MMO's are largely different from light bulbs, but I'm sure NCSoft see them as very similar, it's all too easy to switch them off......

Finally what is very amusing, a press release from their next AAA title, Aion Online, note the part about 'everlasting'...... well until it's no longer a business priority, remember, you have been warned!!!!


May 13, 2006 - AION stands for "Epic Everlasting World." Created by NCsoft's Seoul development studio, it is an MMO which looks to break from convention. According to Yong Taek Bae, Associate Producer for NCsoft Seoul, there will be none of the level-grinding which is common in Korean MMOs.
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Posted: Dec 1st 2008 1:54PM (Unverified) said

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Stefan,

Your light bulb scenario is only partially relatable. If the light bulb had a monthly fee ONTOP of the initial costs, and was presented as “in good shape” or “here to stay”, it’s a smart business decision, but it’s an unethical one.

If this were a stand alone game, it’d be different. It wasn’t. They have a base of people that had been promised for months, after speculation and articles were written of the games demise, that their time and investment into playing and progressing through the game would not be in vain. They flat out, unequivocally, lied to their players. And it’s the second time they’ve done it.
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Posted: Dec 1st 2008 11:50AM Mr Angry said

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No more NC Soft games for me I think!

Seriously, close the game down, that's your prerogative, but don't bullshit people to try and rationalize it by saying 'things change'.

These companies plan years in advance, or at least have a yearly plan, as a baseline requirement. What's more worrying is that NC Soft can drop a triple AAA title after claiming it's here to stay.

I don't know what's worse, Tabula Rasa closing, their complete inability to run their company for the America's or their lack of honesty when it comes to dealing with customers.

Either way, they have a lot less to worry about as Tabula Rasa was pretty crap, they don't care about the US market anyway and they have a lot less customers to worry about as a result of this.

Posted: Dec 1st 2008 11:55AM Mr Angry said

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If Mr Swofford reads Massively a quick question for him :

"Where can I obtain a refund for the boxed Tabula Rasa game I've purchased, seeing as it will be rendered useless in the near future? Is this something I need to bring up with my credit card company, or will NC Soft be dealing with this directly?"

Posted: Dec 1st 2008 12:17PM (Unverified) said

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You were way too easy on him.

>:)

Posted: Dec 1st 2008 12:29PM (Unverified) said

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While this + Auto Assault have killed my confidence in NCsoft, I still am hoping that Guild Wars 2 will be good. I love the first and still play it to this day.

Treating one's customers this way is simply NOT a good business plan; lying about it makes it all the worse. Let's see how long it takes them to figure these pathetically obvious business truths out, shall we?

Posted: Dec 1st 2008 12:41PM cray said

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Only thing I see that changed in the two month span...Richard Garriot returned from Space. They weren't losing anymore money than they already have...there wasn't a significant drop in those two months.

This is nothing more than getting rid of Garriot and ALL that is associated with him. NCsoft is not an American company, which would've been more forgiving of the association of Garriot to Tabula Rasa. Asian businesses do not forgive and forget very well. They need to slice the head off the infected person so they can move on.

Posted: Dec 1st 2008 12:47PM (Unverified) said

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"When you look at it from a business sense it was really what we needed to do."

Wrong, the only thing this says to me is that NCSoft is not that good at business. And or lying. mmo's are special, you can not just get rid of them like that.

And TR has a great foundation but it is just not complete and they needed to have earth but it needed to be complete and not just maps with ash fault. I expected earth to be coming out late 2009 or 2010 even. In fact TR was released to early, don't pay for a game with credit next time because investors wanting their money too soon, dooms an MMO imo.

They make SOE look incredible now, NCSoft never gave Tabula Rasa the chance to become a proper MMO world, IMO the Developers did extremely well with TR for what they were allowed to finish. NCSoft held TR's developers back & I will not be able to trust them for a long time now.

There were other options, you should have offered a full access pass like SOE. Other wise will continually be shutting down mmo in a year or so time even?

Posted: Dec 1st 2008 1:04PM J Brad Hicks said

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A lot changed in two months? Wait, they actually thought that Garriott's personal trip to orbit was going to be GOOD for the game? Are they seriously staking out the position that it came as a surprise to them that players and potential players didn't see it as a big positive for a game that their subscription fees were going to send the game's CEO into space instead of going into improvements in the game? They thought they could milk enough publicity out of this to rope in subscribers, and had to wait until THAT turned out not to be true to pull the plug?

That's /insane./

There was a good reason to pull the plug on Tabula Rasa. I brought it up in my semi-favorable review of it when it first came out, when I described it as a game that was, on the balance, a reasonably good game. But I then went on to predict that it would last about one year before pulling the plug, and I turned out to be right. Not because I predicted a year ago that Richard Garriott would waste a ton of money on a promotional flight to space station Freedom, but because I saw, going in, that both the character class designs and the mission structure were fundamentally broken in ways that would cost so much to fix that you could just as cheaply design a whole new game.

Fans: Remember Tabula Rasa's good features, but don't mourn its passing. Look forward to some future science fiction game that's got as much going right for it as Tabula Rasa had, but that isn't full of "kill 10 rats and then walk half a mile back to turn in the mission" so-called content and where all, or at least most, of the special abilities assigned to each character class are actually useful and actually work as intended, one that can support multiple alien races as player characters in ways the developer can afford without doing incredible violence to the story's internal consistency, one that can do the same thing with PvP. Might be Stargate Worlds. Might be Star Wars: Old Republic. Might be Mechscape. But solid technical and financial reality dictated that it was never going to be Tabula Rasa.

Posted: Dec 1st 2008 1:19PM (Unverified) said

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After this debacle, I'm doing something I never thought I would do. I dropped both of my NCSoft game subscriptions, and I'm trying out a SOE game.

Posted: Dec 1st 2008 1:52PM (Unverified) said

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I wrote this about 2 years ago...

NCSoft gave up on the western market a long time ago. They entertained Lord Brit and his vision then sacked his arse when it didn't work out like he said. There was a lot of bad blood between NCKorea and NC NA as Rich did whatever the heck he wanted. They trusted him and his claims about our market.
Now you are seeing the backlash. Tens of millions of dollars in failure and they are giving us a big "F" you west, we are going back to making games for our own market.

Just my Opinion :)

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