Saturday 10 October 2009

The Pit of Lost MMOs

WAR and I stand there hand in hand, teetering on the brink, the ground crumbling away between our manky toes and falling slowly into the dark and festering depths below. For today I stand before the Pit of Lost MMOs. A lonely place of lost subscribers and missed potential, a place where MMOs go to die. If you listen carefully you can hear them screaming. Peering over the edge I see other poor souls desperately clinging to the slippery walls, subscribers slipping through their fingers, but it’s too late. Once you’re in the pit, there’s no way out. Yet I can still make out shapes in the darkness… Is that Dark Age of Camelot, Everquest, Anarchy Online and Age of Conan gazing forlornly up at our silhouetted figures? Wait! A faint whimpering echo, barely audible now.. Asheron’s Call? Tabula Rasa? Those shapes still clinging on shudder at the sound of it, they all know what it means. Abandon hope all ye that enter here.

My server has gone from high/high to medium/medium (at best) in just a couple of weeks. Please note this is after an entire other server transferred to us. Karak-Norn, the once busiest server in Europe is haemorrhaging players at an alarming rate. It’s not one or two leaving, it’s established and respected guilds crumbling. People are citing two main reasons for their leaving; Other MMOs (not just Aion) and AoE. Meanwhile forum trolls and ego-monkeys gloat it’s purely down to their uberness, they’re so hardcore and everyone else is an EZmoder. They’re missing the bloody point. People are quitting from BOTH sides, people that have in the past weathered the storms of being the underdog, they’re not EZmoders, they’re tired and fed up. Today the game revolves entirely around just 2 classes per faction, everyone else is merely a buff for them, someone who can tag along and leech. If you’re not playing a Bright Wizard, Slayer, Choppa or Sorcerer, you’re just there to buff, heal and make life easier for them, you’re a buff. Either that or you’re there to do things they can do FAR better anyway, if you can at all. Why oh why are Ranged DPS the most powerful melee range classes in the game? Why does AoE do more damage than single target? Nobody’s AoE should do more than ANY single target nukes.

Mythic are not even acknowledging the AoE problem and as an obvious result, people are losing faith in Mythic’s understanding of the game. And of course, bugs remain rampant. Including ones brought in by the last PATCH.

I already expressed my concern that the latest patch notes wouldn’t be enough and showed Mythic were missing the game’s biggest problem. I’m now very concerned about what state my server will be by the time the patch is released, as it turns out the notes have just prompted people to leave early. Once it goes live, if the patch doesn’t work out well (God forbid we have a repeat of the last one), I’m not sure I’ll have any English speaking European server left to play on at all (plus the foreign language ones are even less played). I've stuck by this game since the start, I'll stay with until the end, but if someone like me, who has always supported your efforts is getting this worried, then Mythic you need to act fast.

WAR has such potential, it really does. I want to post positive things, but how can I? I see my server dying, friends and respected enemies leaving. There is nothing positive to say. This is my most negative WAR post ever, but what choice do I have? If I posted anything positive it would be blatant lies or just plain unrealistic. People know that I've always tried to be fair to both the game and Mythic, and that's what I'm doing now.

Mythic are not saying anything to reassure us. GOA are not saying anything at all (shock horror). They need to address this now. It's time to put up or shut up.

We are standing at the edge of Pit of Lost MMOs. We’re not in it yet, the game is still saveable, but barely. It will only take a little push to send us spiralling into the dark.

I should have said one other thing. Of course they could announce an expansion with a third faction... That would change everything.

And what is this all about...


  1. Personally I think it's heading there, but for some reason the process is still slow. AOE is a good point, though Mythic was trying to use stagger to help with the AOE problem, though there must be questions as to the effectiveness of that.

    One thing I hope they can improve on is communication. I am not familiar with GOA at all, so I will just say what I think for the US game. The crux of the matter is that the guys everyone want answers from (C&C team) are not available, and the community team isn't really effective in "bridging" the team and the players, since they don't seem to get the answers either.

    Overall this is kind of a phase the game is undergoing, which I'd like to call a "submerged" phase. the momentum of the game is completely lost, but as long as feedback from players and the finance of the studio is kept normal, there would be improvements. Even if the game overall is improving it won't immediately bring people back or even stop the decline in subs, that's because everything takes times.
    While in the "submerge" phase it is vitally important for the remaining players not to lose heart, and continue to give much needed feedback to the devs. If they can work out the things suggested in the feedback, the game will improve, and will leave the submerged phases as the game get picked up again.

    As I said, it depends on finances holding up for the company, and correct feedback to be given to the correct people. EA Mythic shouldn't be worrying about the former for a few months, so it's extremely important for the devs to get feedback and give feedback to the feedbacks.
    They have been able to do so in a very small extend during the 1.3.2 test, but like all things it is inadequate.
    One thing I really would like the devs to do is to openly request feedback, and publish
    In my opinion the community team is not doing a very good job and instead of bridging players and devs they seem to be standing in the way. The trend seems to change a bit by having more devs going into the US official forum and talking to the players, so maybe they are aware of that too.

    It all sound a bit confused but it's what I make of the situation.

  2. As European players we have zero contact from Mythic, literally zero. GOA only ever copy and paste from Mythic's herald announcements or say "we'll pass the info on". When they say anything at all.

    I really don't think this helps the mood over here. We've felt like 2nd class citizens in Mythic's eyes since launch and nothing has ever been done to address that. Now that things are going badly, we get no information or responses and, well, it feels like we've been given up on.

  3. I think that's the problem of GOA. In the country I live in it is about 1/100000 chance to ever seen the original company replying to issues in the game for other regions, so I am well aware of the pain in not getting direct feedback from devs, though I doubt it would change, unless there are major concerns that are different from the US crowd.

    At least the US forums are easily accessible, and at least WHA is approachable by players of all regions. speaking of which WHA is holding a QA collection, you can see if there are any questions you want answering and post them in the threads.

  4. Yeah I think if I were in the US I would be happier, the Herald and US official forums are so much more engaging than the hideous excuse for a website GOA have :P

    I'm keeping half an eye on that QA post on WHA. Seems like a good idea. Though I'm avoiding our server forum on there these days, it's gone a bit ropey.

  5. The AOE/Single target damage is damning. I have said, that in DAOC the only way you would die to AOE, was if you were drunk and asleep at the keyboard. Which is the way it should be. To have it any other way, is moronic. It was tried and tested in DAOC. Maybe a case of key Mythic people wanting to stamp their difference on the project.

    I only get time to play on Karak Norn, 2 - 3 times a week and don't glance at the server pop status at all, so your info on that is a lot better than mine.

    I do think Mythic will get there, but it's whether there will be anyone in the bus, apart from the few drunks at the back.

    There 1st addon will need to be awesome, a content addon is not enough, it needs to be a revolution, something along the lines of our oft requested 3rd realm. If Mythic can't see that now, then there isn't really anywhere we can go re: subscribers. We will get peaks, but we will always be worse off than before. We need a peak that will put the baseline figures a lot highter than now. Though can the fewer servers handle that kind of spike.

  6. I still can't find what the person indicates. I know from other posts that person REALLY know games, so maybe he used some other method than unmyp.

    Speaking of which, the files from Mythic's myp files would make you laugh and cry at the same time. Wish I have time to dissect them in a blog.


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Half man half pixel. Music obsessive, likes a drink, occasional bastard.