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  1. #1

    Why do MMOs always get that "pass"?



    Ok, apparently at no point was I clear enough that I WAS NOT TALKING ABOUT BUGS, PERIOD. Yes, every piece of software in the world has bugs and it is literally unavoidable. But what is unavoidable is poorly designed and implemented features and that and ONLY that is what I'm trying to get at, bugs shouldn't even enter the discussion.

    Let's say for example you were playing a new Mario game, let's say that jumping in the game didn't quite feel very smooth and hindered your gameplay. Considering that is such an integral part of the game, it would be marked down severely because of janky controls. Now let's take everyone's favorite darling in the MMOverse right now, TOR has an animation system that actually hinders gameplay by syncing abilities by the animations rather than the actual cast times or GCD. Because of this gameplay isn't as fluid as it should be, abilities take longer than they should to fire or don't fire at all. This same thing could be seen in Warhammer with the combat system.

    So I ask why is it that people completely gloss over the fact that TOR isn't a perfectly responsive game when combat and ability usage is ABSOLUTELY INTEGRAL to the gameplay? If this were any other game in any other genre it would have been picked out and torn apart, but yet it isn't outside of the hardcore MMO community who is VERY aware of these sorts of things. Imagine you're driving a car in Gran Turismo and at least once an hour (just an estimate) your car just locks up and slams into a wall, but this isn't just a fluke that happened to you, but something that happens to EVERYONE. Would this go ignored? You bet your ass it wouldn't. So once again, I ask why do MMOs get this kind of pass from people? This was but ONE single example of the MANY, MANY examples I could give but I hope that I've now made the point I was trying to get across originally. Note that I didn't pick out TOR just to be picking on it, but it's the latest MMO out and is the biggest culprit of bad design (FFXIV aside) since WAR.
    Last edited by omlech; 2012-01-14 at 08:30 AM.

  2. #2
    All games have bugs. However in the case of MMOs it's simply due to the sheer amount of content that more bugs are to be expected. You cannot compare a FPS game with a 4 hour campaign to a new MMO.

    EDIT: your tire comparison is false. It would be more like an FPS game like MW3 is a tire, and an MMO like WoW is the entire car. Which of the two do you expect to have more issues?

  3. #3
    The paying 'more' depends on the person. If I wouldn't play an MMORPG I would most likely buy a new game every month. Even if I only get the 3-year-old budget games, that'll still run me for 5-10 euros a month.

    Still, I do kind of agree with your point OP. But like #2 said, MMO(RPG) generally have tons and tons more content then your average game. For example, in my experience at least, a game like Call of Duty usually seems pretty flawless. A game like GTA or Skyrim however has a lot of bugs/glitches/etc. This is for the same reason - the amount of content in a game like Call of Duty is nothing when comparing it to Elder Scrolls or GTA games.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Cairhiin View Post
    All games have bugs. However in the case of MMOs it's simply due to the sheer amount of content that more bugs are to be expected. You cannot compare a FPS game with a 4 hour campaign to a new MMO.
    All games DO have bugs which is to be expected, but why should you put up with features that are simply poorly implemented or even poorly designed in the first place?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Cairhiin View Post
    EDIT: your tire comparison is false. It would be more like an FPS game like MW3 is a tire, and an MMO like WoW is the entire car. Which of the two do you expect to have more issues?
    I have to disagree here. As I know the inside of FPS games (coding and almost everything) I can say they require as much work as MMOs even if they have less content. From outside of the picture it can be seen like that, but some of the most played FPS games are constantly uptaded for this very reason.
    All right, so that last test was seriously disappointing. Apparently, being civil isn't motivating you, so let's try it her way, all right, fatty? Adopted... fatty! Fatty, fatty no parents?

  6. #6
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    Although I agree with OP, what Cairhiin is truer.

    Hopefully the public beta for GW2 won't be too short that we can't pound out any little bugs we can find.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Vafiveh View Post
    Although I agree with OP, what Cairhiin is truer.

    Hopefully the public beta for GW2 won't be too short that we can't pound out any little bugs we can find.
    I think that's what the closed beta is for. Judging by Anet's track record the open beta will be a short stress test.

    On topic: I think all MMOs deserve a grace period to hammer out small/medium sized bugs because of the sheer size and amount of content the games have. What I don't think should get a "pass" are bad game designs, especially when the development time and funds are so high. These should be found and criticized by the community/reviewers, like prodding a sharp stick into an open wound.
    Last edited by nektar; 2012-01-13 at 12:38 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by nektar View Post
    I think that's what the closed beta is for. Judging by Anet's track record the open beta will be a short stress test.
    I think it will be a stress test for the servers in general and a test for the WvWvW infrastructure.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by omlech View Post
    I think it will be a stress test for the servers in general and a test for the WvWvW infrastructure.
    Yeah, WvWvW is still my biggest concern. I wonder how they will be able to deliver a lag free environment when hundreds of players are in the same zone/area at the same time. We don't want another Wintergrasp.

  10. #10
    My counter, well, it's not really a counter - you make a totally valid point, to what you say on tire analogy that can pretty much be summariesed by the manifesto video. Anet have listened to the requirements of gamers, and have broadley implemented gamers' desires.
    On a micro level...yes, your completely right that nothing can be perfect. Unfortunately we can't eat ambrosia in Elysium. I think we should just be thrilled that they're dealing with the macro issues. There's a ton of features that Anet probably want to introduce but just can't or we'd be here for another 5 years.
    I think they're working damn hard to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible too...so hopefully, if things can't be perfect, they should at least seem as complete and unbuggy as possible
    And specifically on what you say about putting up with it...honestly...c'est le vie. Anet don't seem to have a deadline and so are very lucky. There's often pressures that mean things have to be rushed, certainly not just games, before ppl would like them to be "finished."
    I'm going to cry like a little baby when Logan and Rytlock reconcile and have a glorious man-hug

  11. #11
    I don't think it's just MMO's, it's PC games in general. I had to run Bioshock in windowed compatibility mode, full screen would instantly crash the game. For Crysis 2 I had to download high-res texture pack and DX11 support separately. Deus Ex kept crashing constantly until I googled some strange solution I've forgotten by now. I've heard Skyrim is such a steaming pile of bugs, I haven't even bought it yet.

    I'm sure it has a lot to do with the ridiculous amount of different PC configurations out there. Testing for every imaginable setup and windows version is pretty hopeless.

  12. #12
    I think it's because it's much harder to test everything in an MMO. I expect the same thing in a lot of open world type games, really. Skyrim, Saint's Row, anything of that ilk. Sometimes you get surprised by the lack of bugs, like with Saint's Row 3. It's rarer to get game breaking bugs in corridor shooters where everyone plays in pretty much the same way.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by omlech View Post
    Imagine for a moment you're buying a new car and one of your tires has 10% of the thickness of all of your other tires and the manufactures says yeah we couldn't quite get the whole tire in there. So for the time being you can't drive on the freeway and the manufacturer says they'll get you that full tire in a few months. Would you be okay with that? No, of course you wouldn't. So why accept the same thing from an MMO?
    First of all, cars with flaws are getting sold all the time, some with kinda serious ones. like my old boss had a car where the battery would run out if it wasnt used for a couple of days. and even tho it got send to get fixed, it wasnt.
    Second, if a car doesnt have a bolt tightened 100%, its still holding what its supposed to, and its pretty easy to find it and fix it. but if someone isnt 100% as it supposed to when making a game, it can easily be a bug that can kill you off or get you stuck or something, because there is simply so many places you can stand and do so many diffrent things those places, that its impossible to be sure to check out all of them.

    But when fps games is less buggy (are they?), its because the world isnt free as it is in mmos, you cant run everywhere, and do everything you want on all those places. and the things dont have to feel realistic, if there is a hill that is causing you problems in a fps, you can just an invisible wall to block so you cant jump on it, but the players will not be satisfied with things like this in mmo games, there the only think that should block you off is something to steep to get on. also the skill system is so complex that there can easily be bugs. again in fps games, you have your weapon and it can shoot, maybe 2 kinds of shots (crazy! :P ) , but you dont have 5-10 stats and half as many talents to modify it, not to talk about skills from others to modify on them.
    And your saying incomplete, in a mmo your forced to play online, so you know you missing thing can always be edited in, but you cant really do that when you have a consol game, since you cant be sure everyone is gonna be connected to the internet.

    But i think age of conan was a good example of it still being important to have a somewhat complete game, it didnt take long after its release it had gotten a somewhat bad reputation for being full of bugs, and im sure that it costed some subscribtions, how many we can only guess tho.

    What we pay for in mmo-rpgs is the "constant" new content, for them to keep developing, wow is 7 years old and keeps getting new features, i know a lot of them are in expansions, but also some come inbetween, and some of them can also be used without buying these expansions. so you do get something for your money. is it overpriced? probaly, but saying you get nothing for your money would be wrong in my mind.

  14. #14
    And what about in Mass Effect 1, the game you just bought out of excitement (you know, cos it's Bioware) you got home, installed it, played 15 minutes and then you get into the ship for the real first mission after the introduction and found a black screen forcing you to crash the game to exit cos the galaxy map was bugged (dunno if this happened to everyone, but there was a lot of complains about this issue) and then you went berserk waiting 2 more weeks for a patch fix.

    This did not happen to me.
    All right, so that last test was seriously disappointing. Apparently, being civil isn't motivating you, so let's try it her way, all right, fatty? Adopted... fatty! Fatty, fatty no parents?

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by nektar View Post
    Yeah, WvWvW is still my biggest concern. I wonder how they will be able to deliver a lag free environment when hundreds of players are in the same zone/area at the same time. We don't want another Wintergrasp.
    ANet uses a middleware called Umbra as they did in GW1 that uses extreme amounts of asset culling so that it will only render what the camera sees so FPS stays high. Beyond that, in GW1 they had this tech they made where your client wasn't exactly rendering everything and some of it was offput to the game servers or something to that effect. I think it rendered individual assets in a very unique way, does anyone know what I'm talking about? Can't quite find a source for what I'm thinking of. Also, their founders were the lead programmers of Battle.net and the original Warcraft 3 engine as well as extensive work on Diablo 1 & 2 and Starcraft so combined with GW1 they have quite the pedigree as a company.

    ---------- Post added 2012-01-13 at 05:12 AM ----------



    I thought it was very clear I wasn't talking about bugs, but general design. When I say broken I don't mean this quest has a bug that makes it impossible to complete, I mean features are poorly designed and implemented. Do I need to start giving examples here?

  16. #16
    Eh idk about that.

    People cannot expect games to be perfect in this day and age. Even console games sometimes need patching. It's just how the market publishes atm. (I'm not saying that's great but that's how it is.)

    Usually MMO "bugs" are less gamebreaking than solo game ones and you can still (mostly) play the game even with them.

    In single player games I regularly see bugs that:
    - Prevent you from progressing after a certain point (and there usually is no route around the bugged event)
    - Can corrupt your save thus making you lose ALOT of gametime (those bugs are the worst to me, ugh)
    - Make the game repeadetly crash (often preventing you from playing the game alltogether)

    Also MMOs tend to have the better customer service because of subs.
    (I do specifically mean "better than solo games" not that their usual customer service is in any way "good".)

    In the end I don't think I've ever lost multiple hrs of gameplay in an MMO due to a server crash (excluding respawning raid / dungeon trash, which really is your own fault if you raid on patchdays ).

    Long server maints and not being able to complete some quests until they are fixed can be annoying but dealing with stuff like that is part of gaming.

    Quote Originally Posted by omlech View Post
    I thought it was very clear I wasn't talking about bugs, but general design. When I say broken I don't mean this quest has a bug that makes it impossible to complete, I mean features are poorly designed and implemented. Do I need to start giving examples here?
    Oh. Well I guess I misunderstood that then.

    MMOs have a much broader audience than single player games usually and "bad design" is highly subjective. Also you have to remove certain gaming elements if you want to assist player interaction.

    The general MMO concept is somewhat hard to fail at (there isn't a ton of innovation really). So in the end alot of the "failed implementations" come from rather minor features the game has to distinguish itself from others in the genre. Those are usually hit or miss.

    Also calling a game "incomplete at launch" because it lacks content (say in end-game or another department) is basically making false assumption by the buyer and also highly subjective.

    In the end companies specifically prefer the slice by slice approach because of the monthly subs. And it is somewhat expected from a game that is supposed to last multiple years.
    Last edited by gend; 2012-01-13 at 02:01 PM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by omlech View Post
    I know this isn't directly related to GW2, but it has some bearing on the game. Every time a new MMO is released you always see people say "Oh well it's a new MMO and you have to expect there to be stuff that is just broken and incomplete". I have to ask why is this okay? No other genre in gaming lets this kind of stuff slide and you are typically paying MORE money (monthly fees) than in any other genre yet people sit there and deal with broken games and empty promises. Bugs are to be expected as nothing is perfect, but you SHOULD expect features that are complete and equal in design. You should demand MORE for your money considering you're paying monthly, yet people don't and settle for LESS. Are people that conditioned to think all MMOs have to be broken and incomplete when they launch? Obviously MMOs are a huge undertaking, but shouldn't your priority as a developer be quality over quantity? Shouldn't you be getting features in and polishing them before moving on to the next one?

    Imagine for a moment you're buying a new car and one of your tires has 10% of the thickness of all of your other tires and the manufactures says yeah we couldn't quite get the whole tire in there. So for the time being you can't drive on the freeway and the manufacturer says they'll get you that full tire in a few months. Would you be okay with that? No, of course you wouldn't. So why accept the same thing from an MMO?

    EDIT: I guess I should clarify further, this post wasn't made to point out MMOs or games in general are buggy, but more along the lines of people put up with bad design in MMOs period. They let bad design slide and if it were any other genre it would have been burned at the stake for poor implementation. When you see something in a new MMO and it leaves you thinking "WTF? This is horribly implemented, what were you thinking?" and I have to ask why people put up with that sort of thing? A game that is designed well never has you questioning any of the features and why they work the way they do, it's a very seamless experience if designed well to the point where your only focus is playing the game and not thinking about how poorly implemented something is.
    A lot of people don't realize that first impressions are everything. When you first meet someone, what that person does within the first 15 seconds, sets the stage the rest of the relationship that you may or may not have with them. The same is true of video games. What someone experiences during the first play session of said game, will set the stage for the rest of their time playing it.

    It's very important for a game company to work out all major bugs that impact game play, before that game goes live. It's also important for a game company to make sure it's launch features are implemented and competitive with other similar games. Many games succeed or fail based on their launch numbers alone. If the game was budgeted 20 million dollars, ends up costing 50 million after advertising, and sells only 1 million copies, any investor is going to look at that as a potentially bad investment in the future. Even though that game would have only needed to sell just over 830 K copies to break even, investors want to see good returns.

    Especially when a game ends up costing more than planned, taking longer than planned, and potentially facing issues that push back launch. Star Craft Ghost is a perfect example of a game that was in development for too long, was costing too much money, and ended up getting scrapped after 3 years with no launch. At the time of expected launch, game companies were developing titles for PS3 and XBOX 360, so even if SC: Ghost had launched, they would have faced atrocious sales due to coming out for the xbox instead of the 360.

    SC: Ghost is a game that Blizzard really learned a lot from. Since then, their titles have been extremely polished at launch, boasting features and support that rival all other games of the same genre. SC2 launched with virtually zero bugs. Expansion releases Wotlk and Cata launched with virtually zero bugs. Major patches that have been coming in wow between expansions have had much fewer bugs than one would typically expect. 4.3 had maybe 3 bugs that were causing issues for players, but nothing that stops them from playing and enjoying the game.

    Truth be told, Blizzard is setting the example for all game companies. They are producing quality games that give people a rich gaming experience, that are polished coming out the gates, boasting features that players can truly appreciate. Most titles that would come out with serious issues, waving their 'pass' as if they deserve it, won't be very fortunate in a market where the best games are usually the most successful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jevlin
    Why? Because fuck you, that's why.

    Every time you have a question that begins with "Why?" that is about what other people prefer to do with their own goddamn time, come back here, and reread the first row of this post. That will ALWAYS be the answer to your question. Have a nice day.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by omlech View Post
    Do I need to start giving examples here?
    I thought I gave a somewhat lucid and cogent response to ur very clearly intended question
    I'm going to cry like a little baby when Logan and Rytlock reconcile and have a glorious man-hug

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Eroginous View Post
    Truth be told, Blizzard is setting the example for all game companies. They are producing quality games that give people a rich gaming experience, that are polished coming out the gates, boasting features that players can truly appreciate. Most titles that would come out with serious issues, waving their 'pass' as if they deserve it, won't be very fortunate in a market where the best games are usually the most successful.
    I agree with this to a certain extend but Blizzard is a bad example because despite all you just said WoW was also released with a shedload of bugs. Also keep in mind that Blizzard is an established company that does not have the same pressure on release dates as most other companies.

  20. #20
    Most games are released when they are done. MMOs are never done. They are in a constant state of development.

    Of course, you can always go play a bug free game like Skyrim. O wait.

    ---------- Post added 2012-01-13 at 02:01 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Cairhiin View Post
    I agree with this to a certain extend but Blizzard is a bad example because despite all you just said WoW was also released with a shedload of bugs. Also keep in mind that Blizzard is an established company that does not have the same pressure on release dates as most other companies.
    This is truth. By the standards people are holding all other games to, WoW's launch was an utter disaster.

    ---------- Post added 2012-01-13 at 02:12 PM ----------

    Also, let's not forget about virtually unplayable Hellfire Peninsula on the launch of BC.

    But hey, every OTHER game needs to be perfect, right?

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