We talk bugs, but we play greatness.

The never-ending debate about how ‘done’ a game needs to be before it’s shipped is often seen on blogs or gaming forums. We all know it’s impossible to ship a perfect game, as even the most rock solid titles have kinks and minor errors, yet we still expect that perfection. Or if not perfection, we expect OUR gaming experience to be near-perfect. As long as OUR video card works, it’s ok. As long as the servers are up during OUR gaming time, it’s ok. Any error is a minor error until it affects us, and then it’s ‘ZOMG THE GAME SUX!’

Warhammer Online had a great launch by MMO standards. The servers were up, the game was very playable, and most features worked. The average gamer was able to log in, create a character, and go off to enjoy a PQ, RvR, Scenarios, or just good old questing, without really noticing anything seriously weird. In MMO land, on day one, that’s very rare.

But WAR is not without it’s flaws, it is an MMO after all. The auction house is there, but actually getting what you want is more difficult than it should be. Crafting is in the game, but is somewhat lacking and uninspiring. PQs are terrific, but some are far too easy, while others are amazingly difficult, and the whole risk/reword ratio is a bit off at times. I’m sure you could name other issues as well.

It’s easy to forget, especially if you read the forums, that the most important thing in WAR, RvR, works. And not only does it work, it works so well it can be called revolutionary. Not because it features a new gameplay style, or because it has an all new, all awesome combat system, or because it has jaw dropping graphics. It’s revolutionary because it pulls MMO players away from solo grinding quests, gets them into groups, and keeps them fighting with there realm/guild mates for hours on end, against other players doing the exact same thing. It’s not about a flawlessly scripted raid encounter you finally mastered and defeated, it’s about that player on the other side saving a Keep by dumping burning oil on half your guild. It’s about raising your guild’s banner on a Keep after an epic 2 hour battle, a battle decided by clever strategy and not who has the most epics. It’s about logging on, asking what’s going on in guild chat, and actually having people respond with invites and not ‘the raid is full’ or ‘we don’t need that class’ or ‘you’re too low for that’.

So while we might bitch (it’s what we do!) about the side stuff being broken or in need of a tweak, the fact is we can still log in, ask what’s going on, and get sucked into a great social gaming experience night in and night out, instead of putting in more time ‘grind x’ to reach some carrot we never really wanted in the first place. And while the idea of gaming with others got lost for a bit during the solo-MMO reign, I for one am glad social MMO gaming is back in the forefront!

8 Responses to We talk bugs, but we play greatness.

  1. Thallian says:

    Great post syncaine. Sometimes its important to realize how much is right instead of how much is wrong. During world war 2 there was a saying “emphasize the positive, eliminate the negative” :)

  2. smakendahed says:

    Pretty awesome man. I just have to disagree with the crafting bit. I think it’s perfect for the game. It’s something that compliments the game rather than is a game itself. You don’t need to do it and you don’t really need to pay others to do it – I like that.

  3. syncaine says:

    Yea I don’t mind the crafting either, but I’ve seen posts about how it’s incomplete, or still a grind to skill up, etc.

    But yes, for WAR, it’s perfect in that you can ignore it and not have it effect the main draw, RvR.

  4. Melf_Himself says:

    That WAR had “a great launch by MMO standards” is a popular rumor perpetuated by those who had an issue free launch. However, Mythic shipped a bunch of faulty CD’s such that for a LOT of people (see the user to user support forums, and then factor in that most gamers don’t read forums), it wasn’t possible to play the game right out of the box, and no official patch existed for several days. There were also roughly 5 million issues relating to account creation and other stuff.

    However, I agree with what you say otherwise. The game is great, I’m sure they’ll iron out the bugs. I just get irked when people try and lay praise on the launch with all the issues me and my friends had to deal with ^^

  5. Rog says:

    There are multiple sides to this, like many things.

    WAR has an avid fanbase that seems determined to protect the game from any negative commentary whatsoever.

    It’s because the game is good that makes it worth discussing and even bitching about the bugs, issues and design oversights. If it wasn’t good, who’d care?

    Talking about the problems frankly is our best way to give back to the game, because it gives insights on solutions and gauges the reaction of the playerbase. Guaranteed, Mythic sees this.

    So no, I don’t think we should let up just for happy friendly feel good feelings. =)

    It was ~not~ a clean launch, Seems to me some folks declared that during the CE headstart and completely ignored the lag issues, account screwups and faulty discs that followed.

  6. mbp says:

    Question: Do you think that RvR has enough “stickiness” to keep folks coming back for years or will folks do it for a while and then move on to something else? I have noticed a trend among pvp centric games (from shooters to mmos) that only the hardcore commit to one pvp game for the long haul. An awful lot of people just play a pvp game for a month or so and then move on when they hit their own personal wall. This contrasts with the gear centric pve grind of World of Warcraft which has enough stickiness to keep a large and varied player base on the hook for years.

    Not that stickiness is necessarily a good thing. Speaking personally I would prefer to see a model where games were designed to provide a few months of great excitement rather than years of grind.

  7. syncaine says:

    I think it does, yea. You look at a game like DAoC or EVE, players stay in those games for the PvP for years. On a similar note, something like DOTA (Warcraft 3 mod map) has been around for years as well, and the community thrives.

    It just comes down to execution, and seeing how tier 4 RvR works out. I have a feeling all the lower tier stuff is just a sample of what the ‘real’ RvR will be like in T4.

  8. [...] as Rog puts it, “It’s because the game is good that makes it worth discussing and even bitching about the [...]

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