The current buzz in our little corner of the MMO blog world is all about the AoC beta and the game’s approaching release. Most sources are reporting major issues, both gameplay wise and on the tech side, ranging from sub-par frame rates to BSOD type crashing. Perhaps most surprising is that people are reporting poor performance with the game set to low settings. I’m guessing the game looks fairly close to absolute trash on low, as most games do? Has ANYONE had any luck with this game on high/max settings with a decent resolution?
Beta issues aside, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here when I say AoC is in for a rough/disappointing launch. A potential niche game already, this amount of negative press certainly won’t increase box sales or pre-orders. Many already are taking a ‘let it get patched up’ approach, which sounds very similar to Vanguard. The problem is many people are STILL waiting for Vanguard to get ‘patched up’ or ‘turn the corner’, and had Sony not bought up Vanguard and put it on the MMO life support system that is the Station Pass, I doubt the servers would still be up. Somehow I don’t think Funcom has the funding to fix up AoC with 25-50k active subs. I also don’t think AoC will be the type of game to start slow and then see a steady climb ala EVE. Aside from using a graphic style that does not age well, it also features an endgame (PvP) similar to what most predict will be the next big thing in Warhammer Online. Even if AoC had a strong launch, how many people are simply playing it as a hold over to Warhammer, or a break from WoW until the expansion hits?
My prediction (based purely on reading about it, I’ve never actually played AoC thanks to how ‘open’ beta was handled in terms of distribution) is that AoC has a very weak launch, and a huge drop in subs after the first month. It either dies a quick and silent death shortly after launch (3-4 month), or it teeters on life support with a skeleton crew managing it before finally going the way of Auto Assault in a year or so.