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Reader Comments (40)

Posted: Nov 7th 2009 8:19AM (Unverified) said

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For me, absolutely. If something appeals to me in concept and looks pretty decent throughout development, and unless it is completely horrible at the end of beta, I'll give it a try at least. If however by the end of the free month it has failed to impress I'll drop it without subscribing and probably not give it another chance.

Look at Age of Conan. Apparently now it's a pretty solid MMO, and there are people really enjoying it, but I hated the launch, hated that the publicity and hype at launch was mostly bullsh*t and dropped it. I'd never re-sub to it, I can't even bring myself to try the free week.

Childish? Maybe, but in my opinion beta is for solving bugs and completing the game, not the period immediately after launch when people are paying to play (that includes the "free" month that you pay for when you buy the game), Iv've also dropped Champions Online for the same reason, not enough content and a pain in the ass unstable release period. I'll probably never resub to that either.

But, saying all that, it's not just about stability/bugs/etc. It's about gameplay, fun and content, I can look past all the bugs if a game is just plain awesome, as the bugs in time will gradually be fixed. If the gameplay is nothing special and there isn't enough content, why bother waiting and putting up with bugs and stability issues in the vague hope that maybe one day they'll improve on the game itself?

MMO's, you have one month from launch, and you can only launch once, make it count for a change.

Posted: Nov 7th 2009 8:36AM archipelagos said

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I believe that an MMO can mature over time and provided that the developers don't make fatal mistakes (which seems to happen more often than the industry seems willing to admit) it can blossom into something no one could have predicted in those early days after release.

Having said that the MMO community is built largely around momentum and word of mouth and that first month is so utterly incredibly vital in that respect that irreversible damage can and has been done. They key thing here and I know that this is probably an obvious comment but from the recent releases it makes me wonder: is the game good? You can have a bazillion features and a bug-free launch but if the game simply isn't fun then your goose is cooked; the old polishing a turd analogy works pretty well here and if you think the community at large won't call a turd a turd you are delusional.

As unforgiving as the MMO community can be if you release a game that is genuinely good from day 1 they will forgive many, many other shortcomings.

Posted: Nov 7th 2009 8:37AM Wisdomandlore said

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The "Give it time!"and "You can't possibly judge an MMO in a month!" crowds are the fallback defense of fanboys and lazy designers. Certainly many MMOs get better as you progress, but that's exactly the problem in the industry. I shouldn't have to grind through 25 boring levels in Aion to get to the real fun. I shouldn't have to wait weeks or months for bugs to be fixed or a promised feature to be implemented. Developers need to treat an MMO launch like any other product. 95% of things should work. Players should actually be able to log into the game. And the things promised on the box should be available from day one.

The sooner we can get away from the "Give it time!" argument, the sooner we can have quality MMOs again.

Posted: Nov 7th 2009 10:38AM MrGutts said

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Well said. Way to many people are taking the "Give it time" as the norm now. The paying customer base is now brain washed into thinking it.. Sorry but if your selling a product as a business, then your product needs to be at ready to go, if not then push the release and wait till it is.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2009 3:55PM (Unverified) said

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My 2nd fav MMO of all time I did not get into until a year after its release. LOTRO really took time to mature, but I also think it had a solid base built into it. I have played alot of MMO's in the 10 years I've been an MMO player, I feel that I have a pretty good handle on what I think works for me. I think Warhammer has extreme potential in being a good game, will it ever draw the crowds they hoped? I don't think so. The game itself is not so flawed.

Age of Conan on the other hand is nothing like they advertised it for so long. Do they have a working game now? Apparently. Though if you compared what it is now to what their websites were hyping a year before it was finally released, you will realize its a flawed base with band aids.

While I think there are many people who give a game the first month and leave it for silly reasons, or because its not as polished and content heavy as a 5+ year old game, I think there are several veterans out there now that can just judge a game by their experiences. The market IS getting mature, there is no longer any room for the "get whatever out there" guys like Funcom. Its antiquated business tactics that used to work in this industry.

With the increase of veteran players choosing their games wisely for the right reasons, also comes the rise in percentage of people choosing to leave games for the right reasons. For every person playing WoW just because they've invested so much time in it, there's people playing WoW because they actually love the mechanics. For every person that left Warhammer just because it wasn't polished as much as WoW, there were people leaving Warhammer because they did not like the look of a PVP grind. For every person that left Aion because it was too cartoony, there were people that left because they disliked the narrative.

Its reaching a point to where I really do think there can finally be games that pull people away from WoW due to the fanbase of MMO's finally re-maturing. The sad part is that there are not alot of developers that believe this. There's still alot of Atari ET's coming down the road. MMO's take so much resources, and it seems like they believe they can just throw whatever they want into a game, add in a long experience progression and boom they'll have a success. Sadly instead of improving their game concepts, people like Bill Roper seem more interested in maximizing the amount of money they can squeeze out of their subscribers in a short amount of time, instead of trying to make new games that are good enough to keep people loyal.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2009 8:42AM Scuffles said

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Well nothing sours a game quite as much as pushing it out the door without its coat and umbrella and I am willing to forgive some lag issues initially and the expected overpopulation in starter zones when a game first comes out. That usually buys them a week or so at most to get their ducks in a row with me.

Honestly tho they don't even have a month with me the impression is within the first hand full of hours, now a game can still be good and hit that content wall sad to say. I also guess a few iffy games have made up for themselves and won me over within the first month.

And with all that games I have loved to play for years have managed to undo that winning impression by going and taking everything I enjoyed about the game and throwing it all out the window with their latest patch..... usually after the company gets absorbed by EA .... but that might just be freak coincidence?

Anyhow I would say with myself the window of impression is short there have been games that didn't even get past the character creation screen they were just that blaw, Of course a majority of them were F2P I have honestly made my peace and parted ways with P2P.

Posted: Nov 7th 2009 9:00AM Daelen said

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Not one month more like one hour.

That's not to say that I won't return to have a look see months or years later but the decision to stay subbed comes very fast in a MMO on every corner market.

I think I own ten or so AAA titles and really only 3-4 are in rotation.

CO got me for two months, Aion for one. And AoC which I originally played for two months... I'm back to after lots of fixes and additions have made it competitive again.

Posted: Nov 7th 2009 9:12AM Psychotic Storm said

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No and I am firmly against the mentality of "one month", MMO by their nature are constantly incomplete and in constant renovation/ expansion, the release month is the month they stop the internal founding development and start the external founding development, I would say at least six months to a year is the minimum time a player needs to see were the MMO is heading and this is were I usually form up my opinion about the game.

Yes you can see from the first month if you like the flavour, the setting or the background, but how the game handles how the game plays content and all that, after six months at least.

that goes hand in hand with those who quite because of lack of "end contend", yes its a new MMO, yes the developers (wisely) choose to devote themselves in game play and early to middle levels and yes all those who maxed out finished what little there is for end content and complain about it, understand that you are the statistic minor of any game amd if you like the game start an alt and wait, because the early stages are more important than the end for the MMO you play.

I would say that patience is a thing really needed and unfortunately really lacking in the MMO player base.

Posted: Nov 7th 2009 12:23PM (Unverified) said

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$50 for the game, $15 a month... So you're saying a minimum of a $125 investment to "give the game a chance"

No thanks.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2009 12:49PM Psychotic Storm said

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Not really, but if you feel the game justifies the support despite its shortcomings by all mean go ahead and support it, that's how the market can expand and diversify.

What I say is, the first month is hardly the time to get were the game is heading or how it will evolve. these will start showing after at least six months pass and usually these show around the end of a year, you can stay in he game or just read reports about it or "keep an eye" regardless of if you show your support or not the game will evolve into something more complicated than what it was the first three months and this is were the first solid indications on were it is heading will show up.
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Posted: Nov 8th 2009 4:46AM Psychotic Storm said

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So why was my comment voted down?

MMO's don't change dramatically in their first year?
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Posted: Nov 7th 2009 9:16AM CCon99 said

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Games definitely only get 30-60 days for the average gamer to try their game. So many people have been burned on low quality MMO's in the past 5 years, they'll skip town if they smell a stinker at the games launch. I've heard Vanguard and Age of Conan are vastly improved games that are worth checking out since their botched launches, but sadly the damage was done to those game's reputations and most of those burned at launch won't even be willing to give a free trial or re-activation weekend a second chance.

Sure there have been some exceptions like EVE Online which has slowly snowballed with increased numbers, but that was also a game many never knew existed at its launch. But for every 1 EVE there's a Vanguard, Age of Conan, WAR, Champions Online, and SWG (just to name a few) that were so bad or lacking content from being rushed at their launches, where they'll never get the chance to rebound and stop the bleeding of subscribers.

By the time a botched launch MMO starts improving things over the course of 6-12 months, there will likely be 2-3 new MMO's launching that has everyone's interest.

Posted: Nov 7th 2009 9:32AM elocke said

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For me it is a mix of both. If it doesn't blow me away in that first month, I'm likely to not pay for subsequent months. However, if 6 months down the road, I find myself bored due to lack of games to play, or content patches or expansions and I get the itch to see what changes have been made, I'll gladly try a game again.

I have no problem with giving a second, third or even fourth chance. Only bad part of that is, it takes money to fix a game and not everyone company has the assets to do so.

Posted: Nov 7th 2009 9:39AM Holgranth said

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To be honest I think it depends on the hype surrounding the game and the size of the launch. A big hype massive launch has a month to get things right, because a LARGE portion of their target audience will have either played or heard about the game's proformance through word of mouth.

WAR and AOC are the best examples here massive numbers of people tried in the first month and quit shortly after and word of mouth spread quickly.

A small launch like EVE however only gets a small portion of its target audience in the first month allowing the game to develope and evolve before larger numbers of people show up.

The way TOR is getting hyped it will face the one month do or die simply because so many people are going to go charging in foaming at the mouth and if it fails to please them for whatever reason a BIG BIG part of their target audience will be gone forever.

Games like Stellar dawn that have kept a lid on the hype machine will likely be able to grow naturally.

TL:DR Big hype games have a month, small hype games have as long as they need. I think its time Devs realised this............

Posted: Nov 7th 2009 10:00AM Drexel said

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Yes and no...I can look past lag, log in issues, server queues and all the headaches that come with the post-WoW tourist movement, there's nothing a company can do about that. If they have realistic expectations they know they are settling in somewhere between 1-300 K subscribers, so if they expect to stay profitable they just can't put together the architecture and server farm for the 2.5 million 30 day WoW tourists....they just have to get slapped with the rush and hope the dust settles.

If a game is compelling, with unique ideas and a business model I can get behind I will gladly give it more than a month. If the gameplay, mechanics and core concepts are lame no amount of time is going to fix that.


I almost feel bad for these new companies because WoW has soiled the landscape for new releases...it present a set of challenges that games before WoW never had to deal with. Not saying WoW is a bad game, I've played it consistently since launch it just presents some harsh problems for new titles.

Posted: Nov 7th 2009 11:39AM Laren said

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I wish people would stop blaming wow for all the failures out there. Yes the bar has been raised, so what? New games that don't reinvent the genre have to clear that bar. They can also try and do something completely different. Either way!

If developers decide to create a 'typical d&d' type mmo, they aren't doing so blind. They know darn well they have expectations to live up to. Evolve or Re-invent.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2009 10:03AM Jesspiper said

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In this currently swamped genre, yes. MMO's are becoming like Reality TV shows: there is one based on almost everything and more coming out all the time. The first month is crucial. Some manage to recover from their debacle (AoC, DDO) but others like Vanguard and WAR spiral down, down, down.

The best medium are the sleeper hits like EVE and LOTRO. Slow and steady wins the race. Plus you don't get the amount of smacktards that inevitably come with any mainstream product, be it Pop Music or WoW.

Posted: Nov 7th 2009 10:12AM Holgranth said

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To be perfectly honest I have to disagree with the smacktards thing there are as many in lotro per capita as WoW and likely even more in EVE. I remember there being PLENTY of scammers, lurers and foul mouthed idiots in Runescape classic before WoW (and others) took mmo's mainstream.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2009 10:08AM Budukahn said

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I wouldn't say one month so much as one chance. Practically, developers need to be worried about me logging in on day 2, never mind paying for a second month with the game whenever I start.

One problem personally for me is that MMO's are huge bloatware, by which i mean taking up respectable chunks of hard drive space and requiring hours of patching to be made usable. Therefore if it's not being played, it's likely going to be taken off my computer to make room for something else. Getting the game playable again so I can have a second go is a significant inconvenience. No it's not hard, but it's certainly not time and effort I'm prepared to expend for a game I already had a lack luster experience with.

As another related point, free "weekends" are a joke. I'm not going to go through the hassle of installing and patching Champions Online again for instance so I can try it for the few hours I might have spare at a weekend. Second Trials need to be substantial, 14 days at least. Any game that doesn't have enough meat to endure two weeks of play is certainly not worth a months subscription.

Posted: Nov 7th 2009 12:26PM (Unverified) said

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I agree with that "free weekends are a joke" statement.

If it takes me several hours to re-install, download and patch the game so it is playable again I have already lost a significant amount of the "free time" offered. It hardly seems worth it just so I can get a "taste" of the recent changes to evaluate the current state of the game. If you want me to renew you need to get me hooked again by letting me play longer so I can re-immerse myself into the game. Seriously, what does it cost you to offer a few more days free for a possible subscription renewal? Exactly. Nothing.

Make the "come back" period 10-14 days and I will consider it. Anything 3 days or less -- no matter how good the game -- warrants a "sorry, not worth my time" response from me.
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