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Reader Comments (15)

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 3:14PM kgptzac said

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There is a difference between "bugs" and "design flaws", and the issue of imbalance is more of the "design flaw" side, in which things "work as intended", but the intention is the question.

There is no excuse for the players to feel that certain bugs that enjoy such longevity and may never get fixed as it becomes to be regarded as features. On the other hands, players would feel more welcomed if the developers participates in discussion of their design decision; or rather, should be expected as a normal practice nowadays.

Unfortunately, not all people view online games as the same kind of object. Publishers may see them as products, programmers may see them as deadlines, players may see them ranging from art forms to time sinks, and addicts may regard them as their whole world. It is very hard to unify all the different degrees of expectation.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 3:33PM Dblade said

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Too bloody bad developers!

Maybe you shouldn't outsource your code to China. Maybe you shouldn't hire disposable contract workers who have no incentive to make your code tight and well documented because they know most of them are out once the project ships. Maybe if you stopped asking people to work 80 hour weeks at crunch they wouldn't screw up so much and making glaring code errors out of sheer fatigue.

Maybe if you did actual betas instead of making the open beta a soft launch and a stress test only you'd have less problems. Maybe if you actually listened to the people in alpha and closed beta you'd spare yourself some work.

I have no sympathy for them any more. A lot of the reasons why it is so hard are self-created by companies that only care about money and not about either the user experience or the health of their employees.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 3:50PM winterborn said

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@Dblade

You are 100% correct.

I will cut the company slack by not paying them.
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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 5:12PM Kualtek said

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@Dblade

I agree when this is the case. It feels like companies don't understand that the extra time in open/closed beta fixing bugs and making their game better will give them extra resources to make new content to sell new copies or DLC for their game.
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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 6:06PM Saker said

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@Kualtek
This is the way-of-business these day, all about the quick buck, next quarterly no real consideration about the long term. american-style laissez-faire.
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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 3:35PM Zuljundwumn said

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Is it that hard for Cryptic to fix the Demonflame reward bug in CO?
Hum, I guess it is for their devs, since half the time Luther Black doesn't drop any reward.
The code must be such a "Cryptic mess™".

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 4:19PM Dblade said

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@Zuljundwumn Champions Online is a poster boy for this. And I like the game!

Their update history has been dominated by bug finding and player balance issues one after the other. Lemuria was busted for the longest time, making you unable to even leave the zone. Attacks were glitched, often not applying resistances correctly among other things. Cryptics whole "make it quick" strategy backfired spectacularly and at over a year has led to very little content being released and a lot of time wasted fixing things.
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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 5:46PM Haldurson said

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Games will ALWAYS have inherent balance problems, unless everyone has the same abilities. The more diverse the abilities and flexible the system, the more likely someone will discover something to make their character super powerful in some situation.

And that's another issue -- some classes are over or underpowered in specific situations. Clerics could not solo bearly at all UNLESS they were fighting undead (and even then they'd have to be very careful). On the other hand, Druids could kite almost all day, as could really skilled bards (and I mean REALLY skilled).

Balance in all aspects of a game is an impossible target to reach. I think a better goal is to make each class nearly equally desirable to play. That's how you know you have at least ok balance, is if people are not avoiding one class like the plague, while flocking in droves to some flavor of the month.

You ALSO would like, as a secondary goal, to have all classes to be not undesirable in groups. Prejudices aside, there has to be a reason for every class in a group. It does not mean that every dps class has to have equal dps, or every tank class has to have equal ability to tank, just that if one is better in dps or tanking, that they must have other qualities that they can bring to a group that people feel can somewhat make up for such a defficiency.

And lastly, a whole lot of balance issues are entirely subjective to play style, and so on. Sometimes a good, flexible and clever enough player can overcome or not notice certain deficiencies, whereas a bad or inflexible player will find deficiencies in any class that they play, because they can't adjust their play style to fit the strengths and weaknesses of the class.

No matter what you do, there will always be someone shouting to nerf class A or improve class B, even if statistics show that class B is already better than class A in most situations. That's the way it is, and the way it always will be. It's not that people are stupid, it's that people are easiliy suggestible and failure reinforces feelings of inadequacy and success reinforces feelings of power. Reality is subjective like that.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 7:17PM Graill440 said

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As a person that has had to deal with contractual standards, levy fines, report faulty work, reccomend firings (100% rate) The gaming industry is simply out of control.

If the developers were held to even some enforceable standards, SME's and testers paid to do a job and responsible for reports QDR's, reviews etc, the face of gaming would be very different. Instead we have developer clowns stating the game is always a work in progress, or this or that is never really finished......everyone knows the deal.

When the game industry is held accountable we will get quality products, but since fast profit overrides quality, things are likely not to change until new laws are put in place to force these companies into line.

Some small bugs are a given, but nothing like the majority of MMO's put today. When people are faced with consequence the motivating force behind the possible fine moves people in a positive direction when actual timelines and leadership are present.

But these are games right? Who cares?

Posted: Apr 6th 2011 4:03PM Misterlee said

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@Graill440
Hilarious really. Who do you think the whole game industry is going to be 'accountable' TO exactly?
Do you think every developer is going to be reporting in to some central body to check if they're 'doing it right'? I can definately see the likes of Microsoft and Sony signing up for that. And who decides what's right in the first place?
I'd love to see a working example of any design industry that is 'held accountable' as you're suggesting.
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Posted: Apr 7th 2011 11:58AM Misterlee said

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@Tempes Magus
"Honestly, the Better Business Bureau, at least in the U.S., could legally, and likely should, get on their butts to make products that are actually worth what they charge."

No, they don't have any legal position to go after any company for the products they make.
Quoted from their own website "BBB does not have legal and policing powers".
Being a member of the BBB is an optional thing. It's a members club, and is certainly not the law. Nor would they want to vet every product developed by their members, that's not what they do at all.

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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 7:37PM Mescerato said

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About bugs and the "fun of reading page after page of raw code"... It's their damn job, they get paid for it. Ask a nurse how much fun it is to wipe the shit off the ass of an 80 year old man, ask her how much she gets for that job and then come back.

We all know software is not perfect. But it's no excuse for really bad quality (and I'm not even talking about balance, design, boring missions etc.) in some games. The only question is: Who is responsible for the mess? Most likely it's not the dev himself, who is getting pressure from management and player base.

Posted: Apr 6th 2011 7:17AM Suhaira said

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Ahhhh SO glad I play Rift. Bugs are there but so many get squashed so fast I wonder why I ever put up with *guaranteed to be buggy* patches from previous mmo companies. 'Don't play on patch day' .. doesn't apply. It's refreshing. Proof companies can do mmo releases with minimal bugs if they try to.

Also, I love that the original 'bugs' programmers had to find were *real* bugs crawling around in the massive old computers they were using. How times change!

Posted: Apr 6th 2011 10:09AM Djinn said

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I completely agree about the complexity of class or classless balancing.

However if the code is a mess its because a plan was not made ahead of time to make it "not a mess". Its not like the devs don't know going in that X programmers all working on the same code will make it a mess. I'm certain there is a better procedure that probably takes more time and that's why they don't do it.

And regarding fixing bugs being hard, if I didn't do my job correctly and told my boss it was because it was too hard, I'd be fired. And there is no way I could produce a "finished product" as faulty as these games and keep my job either. Coding and Producing a finished game is their job. From the person who designs the game to the architects, to the programmers. The only reason they continue to give us faulty games is because we put up with it.

Posted: Apr 6th 2011 4:13PM Misterlee said

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@Tempes Magus
"Honestly, games were a lot better and could just be plugged in and played back when there was no way to update them after sale."

You do realise that those games are still available for you to play? Except people don't want those old, simple games these days. And there is the key word, lets not forget it - SIMPLE. But people don't want that now, they want bigger and better and faster and more features and why can't the AI be better and why are the graphics so dated (how many times have you seen "oh it looks like an old PS2 game").

Simple is simple, you want all the features of a modern game? Welcome COMPLEXITY. And with complexity comes the ever increasing potential for things to go less than perfectly. And that's without even mentioning the massive variety and differences between the hardware that modern games have to cater to.

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