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Reader Comments (20)

Posted: Jul 25th 2009 6:13PM Nadril said

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I guess I could be considered an early adopter. The thing is is that I know of no MMO that magically got more fun for me after 3 months. Age of Conan still felt terrible even a year later. When I tried Warhammer Online again 6 months after I had first played it still felt the same.

Sure, polish is expected to happen to a degree. I don't think that any game has changed so drastically though that a time period of three months, or even a year in some games cases, could change that.


An MMO needs to be solid on launch if it wants to survive these days. You need to have stability, you need to have content planned for the guys who rush to the end game. Else wise players will just pack up their bags and go to another MMO, or might just go back to WoW. Companies have to realize that even if they don't want to compete with WoW they are, players don't want to play a big buggy mess of a game when they could just play something that was stable.


I've been through plenty of rocky launches. I've always given MMORPGs the benefit of the doubt too. Age of Conan I gave 2 months. Warhammer Online I gave 2 months. I figure that the month of free time and an extra month is enough time to see where the game is heading and if I'll be interested.


The 3 month rule can hurt you too though. In Warhammer Online's case if you would have waited three months you would be stuck in the middle of a bunch of server transfers, no RvR and a multitude of problems that crop up due to over half of the original player base leaving. In WAR's case it truly was better to play it on launch then a few months later, even with the bugs. (Which in WARs case it was less bugs and more of not enough polish in combat.

Posted: Jul 25th 2009 6:18PM Holgranth said

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I'm a cynic I let other people do the paid beta testing that goes on in the first 3-4 months for me now.

Posted: Jul 25th 2009 6:19PM Minofan said

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I'm invariably an early adopter, but ironically only because I'm so picky about games - I play so few games zealously that I'm usually all out of distractions by the time a shiny new MMO limps on to the horizon.

If two MMOs (/MMO & RPG) I'm interested in were to ever launch close to each other I think I'd be fine with 'three monthing' one of them, but it just doesn't seem to work out like that in practice.

Posted: Jul 25th 2009 6:35PM Graill440 said

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You are much more forgiving than I. 3 months? why? If you follow the current thinking that releasing patches at launch and for several months after is the norm then you simply have low standards and permit devs to continue thinking it is alright to do this. Do you think beta stage is even the place to be dropping huge patches? If you do then you are being led around by the current generation of devs feeding that crap to you.

I can take or leave a game, using streotypes alot of folks cant and forgive devs the many many patches that follow a launch in hopes they will get to play a working title. Sadly that is seldom the case.

I watch a title, most of the time i can visit someone in an alpha or beta stage and evaluate from there. If not i wait for a free trial, no free trial, no interest, regardless of how nifty i think it is. something else will always come along, and there are lots of other things to do than play a sadly made game.

Posted: Jul 25th 2009 6:36PM Mr Angry said

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I'm an earlier adopter, because if the game is good, it's a fantastic time to play with friends, and no amount of bad games are going to ruin the highs, when they are there.

To have played WoW from day one and a few others, it was a real buzz to do things first. Sure there are a whole load of shit games out there at release, but I don't want to miss the good ones!

Posted: Jul 25th 2009 6:46PM elocke said

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I'm an earlier adopter, because I have NO patience. I can't stand waiting for anything to come out, whether it is done or not. So, because of that, I also don't complain if the game isn't perfect right off the bat. I may complain about lack of fun, or other gameplay aspects, but that would be something anyone would complain about on any game, ever.

Posted: Jul 25th 2009 6:50PM Renko said

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I blame the fanbois for the state of MMOs at release, if you put up with crap and make excuses for it, you'll always only ever get crap.

Posted: Jul 25th 2009 9:12PM Saker said

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I strongly agree!
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Posted: Jul 25th 2009 10:13PM LaughingTarget said

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I give them a month, which usually comes during the BETA testing phase. If they can't hold me, I'm not playing. A game has to be fun within an hour, if it isn't, I move on. Why? I don't pay to work, I get paid to work. Since they're not paying me, I'm supposed to pay them, it isn't going to fly.

I look at the core design of an MMO. Yes, I know "things get better", but those are usually tweaks and stability enhancements. I can understand crashing, but I won't deal with a boring game design. I can tell in that first hour if the game works at its core level or not, no amount of waiting and seeing can fix this, no amount of time can fix it.

Games like AoC, WAR, etc have broken foundations. They need to tear the entire game down and start over from scratch to get them to work right. That just won't happen, so I'm not going to come back to see how things have changed.

Posted: Jul 26th 2009 3:22PM (Unverified) said

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AOC had a great first 2 or 3 hours (perhaps the best ever?), its the rest of the game that stunk and made us quit.

Is it just me or does the last big crop of MMOs that have been released seem like marketing tools where they expect people to leave the game quickly? That they will try and make as much as they possibly can in the first 3 months, fire off 90 percent of the development team and then just try to keep people placated enough so that 20,000 or so people keep paying the subscription..

Example.. I really wanted to try DarkFal but I think AOC killed it for me and others. After Funcom proved it couldn't create a compeling game in the end I was really hesitant to invest my time (the money is really nothing if you think about it) in another small shop/european mmo. Im not really sure if I made a good choice (DF is a Love it! or HATE IT! game), but I'm going to keep with the.. "my next full-time mmo is going to be whatever Blizzard comes out with next" philosophy as I know they have the resources, talent and experience to come up with something fun that will last.

Another thing I hate about the recent batch of games is that they are all trying to come up with small niches to take on WoW and this is the very reason they fail?

Example.. PvP

AoC, WoW, Darkfall (and shadowbane even) all pretend to be the big PvP bullies on the market yet none really deliver because they lack enough incentive to the non-pvper community to provide a constant flow of victims.. All 3 games claim to have kinship with Ultima Online but UO was a great PvP game because it was a great game in MANY areas.. Crafting, PVE, House-building, RP, etc.. were fun in UO and it gave a place for PvP to be a fun and meaningful part of the game.
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Posted: Jul 25th 2009 10:25PM Sente said

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Will we ever get to a point where we could expect almost perfection in a title at release with lots of features that appeals to a lot of different people? I don't think so, at least not with large multi-year projects.

The software industry in general has problems with that with large projects that are ongoing for several years. Trying to provide the essence of a quite vaguely defined feature called "fun" becomes quite challenging.

Rather than big projects actually succeed directly I think one may rather see different approaches how and what is released. Take any piece of complex software aimed at consumers/mass market and it probably sucked somewhat or was limited in working features at its 1.0 release.
If it was actually working well at 1.0, it was either because it had a rather simple feature set or that 1.0 was just a marketing rebranding for something that had several releases in reality.

There are exceptions to that in the software industry, but in many such cases cost and time has been secondary to quality and those products would not be mass market products. For something as fickle as consumer entertainment, that will probably never happen.


Posted: Jul 25th 2009 10:40PM karnisov said

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i generally wait a year after to release to try a new mmo, if they're charging money for it. free to play i'll try earlier cause i've got nothing to lose except time.

Posted: Jul 26th 2009 12:16AM (Unverified) said

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I can usually tell in the first few weeks of a games launch, whether I will want to continue playing it, ever. Bugs don't bother me, I'll play a game with bugs, maybe even game breaking ones. I'll stay loyal to a title I genuinely believe in. It's when I see fundamental flaws that I decide to leave for good. I saw it in WAR, when I realized even though it had some ORvR, the majority of my time would be spent grinding scenarios. In AoC, its when I realized ranged combat was vastly superior to melee due to tactical and technical reasons. In LoTRO it was the realization of the slow paced combat and leveling, class customization via grinding, and finally the horrendous PvMP.

I don't care to do testing, or paid testing, as long as I'm having fun and don't feel like the game is structurally flawed. With that said, the only MMO's I've stuck with are Pre-NGE SWG(yes, even after CU), and WoW. Right now though, my options seem to be fewer and fewer. I just can't find a game I can enjoy, or a group to enjoy it with.

Posted: Jul 26th 2009 1:50AM Valdur said

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I'm an earlier adopter too and I mostly give a game 3 months.It's quite enough to see if the game is working "as intented" or not.But all the recent releases was a "fail" even if they get it back on track after nine months,it's always too late because the community feels betrayed and never come back.

The industry has been fooling themselves during the last 5 years,some seems to have awaken from their "lethargic WoW coveting syndrome" and looks like they have learned from the mistakes of Vanguard,AoC and Warhammer Online.

Posted: Jul 26th 2009 4:10AM (Unverified) said

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I think it's better to take it on a case by case basis, rather than applying a generic rule. To picksome examples:

LotRO had an extremely clean open beta, and was just fine from day 1.

Vanguard... well, charitably, three months wouldn't have helped much.

Horizons (then, Istaria now) had technical problems the first three months, and for a long time thereafter, but some extraordinary world events happened in that early period, before more of the staff were laid off. I'm glad I was there.

Posted: Jul 26th 2009 5:59AM (Unverified) said

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I have been an early adopter ever since leaving WoW, which I joined halfway through vanilla and up to tbc.

I think a lot of the problems the current crop of mmo's are facing, ie AoC, Warhammer, is not so much that they lack polish or were overly buggy at release.

Both titles made critical design mistakes that lead to an insipid and stale end game. That ultimately drove away the subs more than bugs or game instability.

I think the mmo playerbase has evolved to become much more demanding than in the past. A lot of new players come from console backgrounds where products tend to ship with less bugs. For others, computer games are an entirely new experience and they expect games to be like products in real life, ie working out of the box. Unfortunately that's not the way the industry works...

For the mmo veterans, some of us will probably be willing to put up with bugs up to a certain extent. If the game is actually fun.

Posted: Jul 26th 2009 6:59AM (Unverified) said

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Last year I got AoC as my first real MMO experience. So when I managed to have great fun with it for 2 whole months, I was quite pleased. A typical singleplayer game would only hold my attention for a month at the most. I found it surprising that half the promised endgame content was not even finished yet. So this 3-month rule sounds like a good idea as far as the game itself goes.

Unfortunately, playing other MMO's that have been out for a while I've found I miss out on most of the excitement since I'm not leveling up with an active leveling community. Most everyone's already hit the endgame. So it's a trade-off.

But yeah, MMO's have some bizarre expectations built in, thinking that it's ok not to have a complete game at release, and also thinking they are somehow a "failure" if the average player only sticks around for a few months.

Posted: Jul 26th 2009 7:11AM (Unverified) said

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I can completely understand the sentiments expressed in this article, but I'll have to admit to being an early adopter.

I really like the first few weeks of a new MMO, when everyone is out there discovering stuff and finding things out for themselves, and not simply looking up each quest on the internet and picking the current flavour of the month class that's being lauded on the forums.

When I was younger (ah, those heady days!) I'd often dive right into whatever new MMO was coming out. Now I'm a lot more discerning, and tend to research upcoming releases to try and get a feel for them to see if I'm going to enjoy the world and the lore, as well as the classes.

In the days of AW ('After WoW') it seems like pretty much every games company wants to get their hands on the huge piles of MMO money. In the glut of releases, I'll just go for the ones that really grab me.

I'm going to be an early adopter in Aion, but that's already been live in Korea and China for some time, so that's not really a 'fresh release' for the NA and EU areas.

Posted: Jul 26th 2009 8:13AM nevin said

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Was typically an early adopter and am more so of those that I have beta'd or have been able to trial early on. Pretty much everything I have been in beta I have subscribed to.

That is except for Funcom. After the AO debacle, I now wait 1 year+ for their stuff (ok that only means AoC so far but it will apply to anything in the future). This cynicism (realism) obviously paid off with AoC. I don't/won't even bother to apply for beta to Funcom.

Posted: Jul 26th 2009 10:50PM (Unverified) said

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I loved Anarchy Online, its sad that they havent yet solved the server lag associated with the game, that and, its a difficult game to understand when 7 out of 10 items are useless or nearly useless, I still love it though, I love to reminisce on it, but Ive never been able to go back... mostly because I cant remember all of my twinking buffs! I would never be able to take anything off without dinging a couple times MONTHS later.

And that would even be, a stretch.

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