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Reader Comments (39)

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 5:20PM Stormwaltz said

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It's pretty easy for me to say why I don't pay attention to these.

Two of them are Korean. Sadly, Korean games still have to earn their way past the reputation they've acquired for being absurdly grindy, hardcore PvP based, or microtransaction money pits. Or all three.

As for Clone Wars, it's based on a show I had no interest in (I'm afraid that unlike you, I was repulsed by the art style).

I'm not saying any of these won't be good games. That's just why my eyes slide right past them now.

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 5:27PM DevilSei said

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I'll agree with the clone wars comment, the only animated version i liked was the Gennedy version, i.e drawn by the guy behind Samurai Jack. The CG one just feels a little stiff in its movements.

I can't comment on Prius, but I can at least agree with what was written about Vindictus. The game doesn't feel grindy, as there is quests for essentially everything, and the way you unlock the next dungeons insures you don't hit them underleveled.
My only complaint would be trying to find a few items. I have slaughtered countless white Gnolls, yet no white gnoll hearts, I have torn through dungeons several dozen times, yet only found a couple of ruins erg crystals, and one quest requires an item from a randomly spawning boss, that isn't a 100% drop.
At least so far gold hasn't been an issue, as you get an ample amount, and skills are gained via a point system, that goes up even while offline (currently). There is a limit of only having 50pts though, but it isn't that bad.
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Posted: Aug 25th 2010 5:36PM (Unverified) said

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Wholeheartedly agree with stormwaltz. My reasoning is a bit different, having less to do with the developers are the games themselves than the publishers.

Vindictus sounded neat at first if a bit over-hyped -- but as soon as someone said "Nexon," I figured it for another sickeningly colorful, cutesy, grindy game.

After how gPotato / Gala-net has handled Flyff, Rappelz and most recently Allods, I have really low expectations on anything they'd bring to market. No matter how good Prius looks, I somehow doubt it will ever find itself on my harddrive.

Clone Wars... dunno. I'd say I'm the least disinterested in that, though I too disliked the cartoon. If not for the mention here, I'd probably have skipped it entirely.
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Posted: Aug 25th 2010 6:27PM DevilSei said

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@Sang

I do hope you've at least glanced at the trailer for Vindictus, as it shows in-game footage. The character models are much closer to a realistic depiction, and some of the monster designs are just plain awesome (Bloodlord as one example). And that goes with the armor as well.
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Posted: Aug 26th 2010 12:50PM (Unverified) said

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You really should see some gameplay videos of vindictus. It's not cutesy or blatantly unrealistic (visuals-wise at least). Hell the armor looks like the most realistic (although highly ornamental) armor I've seen in MMOs. Probably because of the source engine.
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Posted: Aug 25th 2010 5:41PM alucard3000 said

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I am with you on Vindictus.
2 others I am looking forward 2 are
Kingdom Under Fire 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDNpzTZLiuQ

Continent of the Ninth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEJg4SMKnP8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGskCjqQUn8

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 5:48PM jimr9999us said

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A great column, thank you.

On a totally unrelated note, has Massively given any thought to becoming 2 sites? Sub-based and F2P/microtransaction?

The genre has split in two. It would seem appropriate the leading mmorpg site would as well. Just a thought.

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 5:54PM Beau Hindman said

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Jim: I cannot say what the higher-ups (and I mean HIGHER) have thought about that, but you would have to split so many games between the two sites -- games like DDO, APB, even now many sub games that are going some kind of FTP route. Also, the vast majority of games are FTP, leaving maybe a couple dozen to report on the "pay" site.

The lines are blurring, anyway. Soon I will have to change the name of this column! haha

Beau
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Posted: Aug 25th 2010 5:55PM alucard3000 said

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There is a real easy fix to your dilemma its called dont click the read on button there problem fixed.There is also another answer go create and fund your own mmo website soley with only the content that you want to see.
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Posted: Aug 25th 2010 8:58PM jimr9999us said

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I agree I oversimplify...the changes that have come lately have been -cough- massive and I firmly believe the true game-changing model has yet to be thought of.

To the futurist goes the gold...i'll remain a produce guy waiting to read of the breakthrough.
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Posted: Aug 25th 2010 5:59PM Gaugamela said

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I have to disagree with you on Prius Online. Having that game being published by gPotato is a really bad sign. Allods was killed by gPotato and its developer greed. That game was a true gem, as polished as a AAA MMO, with awesome mechanics and new approaches to old systems as well as one of the most amazing systems of endgame i ever seen.

Yet they killed that game with truly moronic cash shop prices and burnt the interest that many players that usually don't even look at f2p's had in the game.

Clone Wars Adventures is a small lobby game for kids.

The only one in that list that has me truly interested is Vindictus. That one seems really awesome.

I would just like to know why you don't speak about Guild Wars 2 in that list Beau. That game won't have a subscription. Sure people will need to buy the box but it will truly be f2p after that. So care to explain why you don't consider it f2p?

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 6:12PM Beau Hindman said

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To be honest, I was not thrilled by Guild Wars, and not thrilled by Guild Wars 2. IT might be great, but I just haven't really had time to get past what I have seen about it.

And now I have a question for you: why do you say that Allods is destroyed? I know that the complaint seems common, but there are still plenty of players, and according to to gPotato, the game is doing fine. Mechanics are changed all the time...and I do not mean this in a argumentative way, but what are you basing that on?

Also, do you still play it?

Beau
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Posted: Aug 26th 2010 9:39AM Dril said

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@Beau I don't know what you read in that comment but he specifically stated that the cash shop, not the mechanics, killed Allods. It's all very well to say according to gpotato the game is doing fine...no shit of course they'll say that, they're hardly going to say "oh yes, we ballsed up the cash shop and the game is far less than it was".

There was huge interest in the game before it launched, and then people noticed the prices and things basically went far downhill from what they were. A great many people were burned by gpotato, and I'd rather people didn't overlook their misgivings considering how poorly they handled the whole game.
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Posted: Aug 26th 2010 10:10AM Beau Hindman said

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Again, though, you are not showing me any evidence. Like I said, I am not trying to sound argumentative, but as a writer I see the comment "this game is failing" or "this game has failed" for pretty much every single title I have ever written about.

So, I weigh the evidence. The developers have said themselves that the game is doing fine. Can they lie? Sure. So can players. What evidence is there that the game is doing poorly? Generally, it comes down to what it always comes down to: players claiming that there are less players in their guild/friends list emptying -- again arguments that players have used for every game out there.

Yet Allods continues to gain improvements and changes, the game is still filled with players every time *I* log in, and the developers claim that the game is doing as good as ever. To run those servers and to pay for that development (even if in your eyes it is poor) costs *money*. Surely we agree on that?

I imagine it is a case of mistaken identity: several, dozens, or even scores of comments about Allods issues are a small bit of the playerbase, yet the community mistake this for a "failing" game. But none can give me evidence other than a personal story. I can dredge up more negative comments than I would care to about Fallen Earth, and can even point to an article that is discussing it's financial issues, but do you consider that game mishandled or failing?

I am not saying that Allods is doing better than any game out there, or that I have secret access to their numbers -- what I am claiming is that I will believe it is failing when it fails. In the meanwhile, I tend to believe a developer over the comments section, as far as success or failure. After all, they define what success is to them, not the players. If they think that 150,000 players is enough, then fine. Or if they define success as 10 percent of their audience spending more than 15 dollars a month on cash-shop items, then fine. Whatever the definition is, we do not know -- but we do know if they can pay the bills or not.

Beau
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Posted: Aug 26th 2010 10:45AM Gaugamela said

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Well, youu are being mentally obtuse in this point Beau. You know perfectly well that when people say that a game has failed or is failing is because it failed to meet the expectations of most of the people that were watching and waiting for that game.
And unfortunately for Allods, the game failed in the eyes of about 90% of the people that were following the game. Not because of its quality but because of the poor management of the cash shop and the focus of the developer in introducing heavy-handed changes to the game to force the players to use the cash shop to make the game barely enjoyable.

Obviously, no one can provide you evidence that the game's population tanked and that concurrent users dropped drastically since it was launched other than the developer in Russia and the publishers in Europe and North America. And those numbers won't be released.

Now does this all means that the game failed to sustain itself finantially and generate enough revenue to be self-sustainable? Most probably not.

However, that doesn't means that the game isn't a failure in the eyes of the vast majority of people that were following it and expected a serious handling of the cash shop and less patches introducing their horrid death and gear debuffs, removal and conversion of class-defining skills into consumable potions to force people to use the cash-shop.
As for Fallen Earth we can easily see how it was successfull: people didn't had any expectations about the game as they had for major MMO titles because Fallen Earth isn't a AAA MMO.

If you define success as generating enough revenue to sustain a game then that's good for you. But for most players success is about delivering a rich gameplay experience to the players without forcing them to spend money while adding more players than those quiting at a consistent rate. And that cannot be said about Allods. According to you then, WAR is a huge success since it is running and no one told that the game is doing badly. Or games like APB since the devs say that the game is doing fine despite the developers being bankrupt. Or Aion is a huge success since it has a decently healthy population even though it has been in a slow but steady decline of population and failed to meet expectations of players.

And if you doubt that Allods tanked go check the server activity meter in the russian site. Before they introduced the patch that buffed the mobs and nerfed the class abilities while introducing gear debuffs the servers were full. Afterwards their users dropped substantially.
If you want another indicator of how the game has been declining go check the progression of Xfire users playing Allods. Although it is impossible to say the number of real users in a game by the number of Xfire users it is a solid indicator of the trend of an MMO population progression.

For me success isn't self-sustainance. It is about beating the expectations. And Allods failed to do so and is continuously involved in bad PR with the pathetic changes introduced each patch to force players to use the cash shop.

Now tell me why, if they need a steady influx of cash, doesn't the publisher creates a subscription option like DDO? Or sells a pack of cash shop items for 12 dollars that is enough for the players not to worry about money use?

Either you want it or not Allods was the first f2p game developed from the ground up to draw interest from the bigger subscriber playerbase in NA and Europe. And then they proceeded to burn thousands of people eagerly awaiting for the game with their ridiculous prices in the cash shop even for basic items as bags!

Would you care to elaborate why you don't like Guild Wars though? Is it because it goes against your estimed model of cash shop games? Or do you have any other reason?
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Posted: Aug 26th 2010 11:33AM Beau Hindman said

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a) I did not say that the game is just sustaining itself and is successful, nor did I use any such specifics *at all* -- I used a variety of examples of what could *possibly* be the truth. I said that "we do not know" how they define success. In fact, I rarely, if ever, throw out any such number (such as "90 percent") simply because it is not information I would have. In lieu of this information, and based on the fact that players have used the same doom and gloom (and numbers) for every game I have ever played, read about, covered, or interviewed devs for, I will trust a developer that has access to server logs, balance sheets and bottom lines over anyone. Again -- *anything* is possible, something that I have maintained since the beginning. I have heard it all, after 11 years in this hobby (and now, job) and nothing can convince me that a game that is open, actively developed, and making money is the same as a game that is (in the eyes of a comment section) literally shut down or even barely maintained. If you notice, you are defining success and failure several times in your comment. I do not define it once.


b) I thought I was clear before, but I do not enjoy Guild Wars. I have had it since the beginning, and maintain a seven year old NCsoft account. I have tried it several times, even with the Massively crew. I am not a fan, simply put.

Beau

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Posted: Aug 26th 2010 12:44PM Gaugamela said

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Good for you for not defining success. I prefer to analyze several aspects to consider a game a success or not instead of acritically absorbing the PR crap that companies usually try to shove to players. You may prefer to hear a developer over what he considers a success but the matter of fact is that the publishers don't have any interest in telling you a game is doing badly since that will only drive potential costumers away.

- So do you have access do those numbers so that you can analyze the progress of the paying playerbase over time and determine its success? If not then that means that you are just spewing the PR statements that the developers give you because you blindly swallow anything they'll tell you since you don't have a definition of what a successful game is, for you success is what a developer tells you it is successful. That isn't journalism nor a good service for your readers.
You are basically a advertising tool for games developers. Good for you!
Go see were that attitude led the world in other cases as the "trust" people had in banks for example before 2008.

If you are commenting on games and sharing news you need to have a critical mind and take the information that is given to you with a critical eye. Analyze the info that it is given to you and report your analysis instead of acting like a sheep and trust what everybody tells you because you trust the publishers.
Oh, and that defensive attitude and pointing out that I define success as if having a critical eye is a bad thing. It isn't. And I haven't told you to jump on the bashing train against a game and act as a fanboy or troll. Although that nitpickiness over my definitions of success sure seem like it.

And by the way, i never said Allods was ruined, and the game was being closed down. It obviously has paying costumers to sustain it. However, not near enough to the number it could have had. And the way the cash shop was implemented ruined the playing pleasure I took out of the game and from many other people no matter how you try to spin the uproar it caused when it was released.
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Posted: Aug 25th 2010 6:22PM (Unverified) said

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Im missing Black Prophecy from this list...

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 6:04PM (Unverified) said

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If you didn't get a chance to test out Vindictus the first time around I suggest giving a go the next time it opens up.
The game DEFINITELY OBLITERATES the F2P mold and I dare say it cracks the MMORPG Mold in general being the fact that it's like an Action RPG ONLINE which only Diablo II has done in the past but even then it wasn't massively multi
With the kind of graphics and action dynamics Vindictus has I haven't really seen anything else of the sort in the online realm. I know Wolfenstein from 2009 had similar physics and the PoP and AC series from UBISOFT have the same type action and physics but this game is definitely UNIQUE and since it's not being hosted by gPotato I see a bright future for the game.

On the note of gPotato...I'd steer clear of ANY of their offerings the company's track record speaks for itself.

As for SOE and CWA it's an interesting game :)

Posted: Aug 25th 2010 10:38PM (Unverified) said

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Sigh.... The thing is while Vindictus IS different and it does play like Diablo 2 ALOT, it still holds some flaws from the game as well.
It's repetitive, limited (as in on the amount of time you can run an instance a day, obviously used to block people from achieving too much too quick), heavily instanced, and the storyline sorta drops after the halfway point and just becomes run this kill that big boss...again.
Koreans still enjoy lineage 1,2, korean DFO, maple story (heaven FORBID) over vindictus (according to charts) and well.. while being unique in the f2p genre, it certainly won't break the mmorpg mold.
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