Edit: I missed APB. Holy smokes.
What’s up with the MMO Community and Beta Amnesia? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, odds are you have it too. It seems that every time a new game is up for Beta, the world takes notice. People start sipping the Kool-Aid of concept art and testifying and re-preaching the developers’ posts as gospel while the rest of us sit in a stupor of wonder and amazement. “Is this really going to be the next best MMO???” “My friend Drizztdj is in the beta and he loves the game.” “Oh man, I need to get in that beta, it sounds awesome.”
Why do people continue to get so excited without taking into consideration the string of MMO failures over the past three years? It’s not an auspicious trend, people. Hey, let’s shake the dust off the past three years and see where we’ve come from:
Age of Conan – May 08
Age of Conan was ALL the rage in 2007 and 2008. Holy shit folks, a beautiful game that shows boobies. This MUST be the game that ends all games. It has a unique combat system that’s sure to entice and absolutely no content beyond level 50. Walk. Don’t run through this one, Drizz.
Warhammer Online – Sept 08
From the makers of DAoC….a game that is nothing like DAoC. A hybrid between DAoC and WoW that picks up the shiny interface of WoW, the Gear-drive progression of WoW and the raids of WoW. I’m not sure why it’s called a hybrid, if it didn’t pick up anything from DAoC. At any rate, you can get to level 40 faster than you can get a server transfer. Something about losing 68 of your 100 servers within six months, and 23 more over the next eight months. If the server population scales appropriately, with the 750,000 subscribers touted at launch spread across 100 servers, that’s 7,500 players per server. With that same player to server ratio, you’re looking at about 67,500 subs. Not sure anyone would agree there’s 7,500 people on the servers, save maybe Badlands.
Champions did some really neat things. Cell-shading for the graphics is probably the best look in an MMO I’ve seen. I just love the feel of it. It felt like this game was a bit of a rip from City of Heroes, which is still going strong. I’m not sure what Cryptic was thinking though, with only releasing five areas for the entire game. By comparison, WAR has 16 (including Land of the Dead). It shouldn’t have been a shocker that after two years in the wild, CO went Free 2 Play. That’s not necessarily a kiss of death by any means, but anytime you have to rearrange your business model, things likely aren’t going how you planned.
I’m glad someone did a post-apocalyptic MMO. There’s a metric crap-ton you can do with the premise that life is changed as we know it. It’s a pity that Icarus did a crap job developing it. From the get-go bugs were rampant and the overall experience was lack-luster. Hell, I couldn’t even stomach the beta, and I have a HUGE tolerance for buggy games. I managed to live through Shadowbane before it got the axe.
This game was released in Korea long before it was released in the US. Touted as not being “overly grindish” in order to cater to the grind-intolerant North American audience, it took about four hours of actually playing the game in order to realize that “overly grindish” statement was horseshit. Sure, it wasn’t Lineage 2, but then again…most games aren’t (thank God). Once you managed to swallow that load of crap, you had to deal with bots and farmers. Oh were these bad. They were SO bad, NCsoft was considering putting in a resource-farming debuff that could only be removed by validating againt a CAPTCHA. Really. I’m not sure if it went in, since I booked it out of there. Something about not being able to log in for hours due to players setting up the ever-lasting Private Store and going to bed.
Star Trek Online
I actually didn’t read anything about STO. I hate the ST universe as a whole and wish it would just go away. If that doesn’t please you, you can go beam a fist into you…nevermind.
All Points Bulletin
This writeup is likely longer than the life of this game. It sounded neat on paper, but was offline faster than Mastercard.com. There aint’ much that hasn’t been said about this game. Poof, there it went.
Final Fantasy XIV
Trying to play off the success (if you’ll call it that) of FFXI, FFXIV released just earlier this year. FF14 did for the MMO world what FF13 did for the Console RPG world. It punched it in the nuts and took its money. That’s the feeling you get from FF14. With a Metacritic score lower than Mary Kate and Ashley, it isn’t a shocker that Square Enix apologized multiple times for the rubbish people paid for. The shocker is that they feel so bad, they won’t be charging people to play it. That’s some deep pockets, Square. Your game is in the tank, so you might as well squeeze customers where you can. I mean, that’s what all the others above are doing.
This all sounds a lot more bitter than I intended. Maybe I’m bitter. I don’t think I am, though. If anything, a burden has been lifted off my chest and I’m playing a game now that I’m having fun with.
But the question remains…with all the craptacular MMO releases in the past, why do people still get so overly excited about a new MMO? Do they really think it is going to “win” the internet and the MMO genre and redefine life as we know it? Maybe it’s just wishful thinking.
I for one am off this boat.