Funcom to AoC players, GTFO!

I’ve been fairly harsh on Funcom and Age of Conan here on this blog. I ripped them for the whole ‘open’ beta fiasco, then for releasing a crash prone client due to a last minute ‘fix’, and finally the entire 1-20 ‘single player but not’ deal. Today’s news takes the cake though; I mean we have stepped over the bounds of stupid and are now firmly in the realm of insane.

Somehow Funcom can’t handle everyone who PUT DOWN MONEY and preordered AoC to download the client, so they have cut off access to the early start. I can’t even begin to image how pissed I would be if I had put down money for AoC, partly for the early access, and been told access has been cut off. We are talking about paying customer now being denied a promised service, and no the whole ‘while supplies last’ thing is not an excuse, as we see that little message attached to every spoon and toaster sold in stores or TV. I think we are only a few days away from Funcon announcing the servers will only support 100k players total, and once that limit is reached all other accounts will be shut down. I mean seriously, how can one game go through so many issues pre-launch. Is anyone going to be surprised if on go-live the servers just implode and AoC goes down for a week?

Mythic really did Funcom a huge favor by delaying Warhammer Online. Image the WAR and AoC open beta start on the same day, and you download both clients (lets assume you could actually download the AoC client when you tried). You fire up AoC, and get a black screen. Quit, find a fix, launch again. You have a decent rig, but AoC runs like crap, so you turn everything to low, resulting in it looking like something from 2002, and finally get 10-15fps, until you get a BSOD. Restart again. Now you start up WAR, and with near-max settings you get a solid 30fps, 6 starting areas, and a rock solid client. You play for 2-3 hours having a great time. Next day you again fire up AoC, download a huge patch, get a corrupt file message, find a fix, get a BSOD 2-3 more times, and finally receive a message that your early access is denied even though you already put down money. Are you telling me any sane person would still go through and pay for AoC if they had a choice?

Now granted WAR might have similar issues when it gets into open beta, but I think odds are good that it won’t be anywhere near the disaster Funcom has dragged AoC fans through, I have a bit more faith in Mythic than that.

It’s honestly shocking to see so many people jumping through so many hoops just to play a new MMO. Maybe it’s all the anticipation for something new, combined with the massive burnout from WoW. I mean when you view more organized grinding (daily quests) as a huge content update, you have clearly reached a desperate level of boredom.

So while watching the whole AoC train wreck from the sideline has been somewhat amusing, it’s getting borderline sad now, and I have a feeling it’s only going to get worse for AoC fans. At least those of us on the sidelines have something interesting to watch and write about, so thanks for that Funcom…

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Funcom to AoC players, GTFO!

  1. Drew says:

    I think you need to take it easy and proof read your writing a bit more. Theres a very easy solution to all of the problems you stated and that’s not buying the game if you don’t want to.

  2. syncaine says:

    Oh I think I’ve been very clear in stating it would take a miracle to get me interested enough to even TRY AoC at this point. And I mean try for free. The idea of actually paying for this disaster is completely out of the question right now.

  3. Tuebit says:

    I’m very much looking forward to AoC, just as I looked forward to AO. I think, eventually, AoC will be a great game, much like AO, eventually got over it’s launch hurdles. I wonder if Funcom is going to retake the “worst launch evar” title, much as it did with AO launched.

  4. Drew says:

    Yeah well that’s why I paid the $5 to try it so this way if it is a disaster than I can easily just not pick up the retail copy….And I personally think the people crying about not getting the early access key is BS because if it was me I just wouldn’t have preordered it if they weren’t giving me the key right then, especially if that was the main reason for the preorder.

  5. frank says:

    I would have considered AOC if not for the system requirements. Those requirements, along with all of the bad news I’ve heard, puts it in the ‘definitely never bother with’ category for me.

  6. Bildo says:

    Well being that the early release head start was a first come, first serve basis, and that it was an extra 5 dollar purchase that you had to make… I don’t see how Funcom’s in the wrong here.

    It was NEVER guaranteed with a pre-order.

  7. Yeah, but the guarantee was implied.

    Saying “supplies are limited” rarely actually means that, these days… they should have made it clearer that there was a real chance you wouldn’t get in.

  8. Sifo says:

    I must have the luck of the Irish because all of the problems everyone has each time a new game comes out seem to never affect me. Makes me chuckle to see everyone get worked up. The only thing mildly annoying that occurred was my modem kept getting overwhelmed on the download and needed a reset every few hours. I’m all patched up and ready to play on the 17th.

  9. syncaine says:

    Yea I’m not buying that ‘first come, first server’ statement, sorry.

    It’s one small step away from shutting the servers after a month of go-live, and saying ‘hey, on the back of the box, we don’t guarantee the servers will stay up forever’. Just because technically they are right, does not make it a good PR move.

    Also consider the very real possibility that AoC wil be a gank fest on PvP server when the go-live happens. All the people who did get in on the head-start will have a field day with all the noobs who did not. I’m sure the forums will be full of stories about roaming gank squads who used the head-start to power level in order to grief. Now you add in that some people who could have kept pace got left behind because Funcom excluded them… incoming nerd rage.

  10. Talyn says:

    Quoting directly from my Pre-Order card in-hand:

    You may begin downloading the game client software and installing as early as May 14. Then you may create a character and begin playing on May 17, 3 days before commercial release on May 20, 2008. Your character and all his/her progress will be preserved into the commercial release. This key also unlocks your in-game item.

    There is a note at the bottom telling me of the $5 fee to cover early download costs, which also gives me 10 days of additional game time. If the only information that we may in fact NOT get into the Early Access Program was buried in fine print in my Funcom Account page in such a manner that I specifically had to go looking for it, then YES it’s Funcom’s fault. It’s their marketing and advertising, it’s their pre-order card I bought. It may not be the *developer’s* fault, of course, but it’s their self-published game, so it is the *company’s* fault for misleading their (potential) customers.

    btw I LOVE how when I did try to click the “purchase early access” link it redirected me to an Anarchy Online page…

  11. Bonedead says:

    If you don’t try AoC you’re a bad enthusiast, budday! I’m definitely not playing at release (DAoC is teh real AoC, the D stands for double better) but I’m obviously going to play it sometime.

    Who cares wtf is currently going down. Do you really think that when all the crazy settles and people are actually in game and playing that any of them are going to even think about the hurdles/speed bumps at release? I certainly don’t. As soon as a whiner finally gets his game, he fuckin shuts up and plays it, like a good lil gamer.

    I think AoC is gonna do just fine for a while (unless some crazy ass shit happens, but most of the recent news doesn’t fall into that category).

  12. Rog says:

    It’s kinda a silly sensationalist story, because Funcom’s pre-order pages do state that early access was limited, that you were paying for a pre-order and that to get early access cost $5 on top of that.

    They didn’t bill anyone until they were getting in, so no, this isn’t a situation of players not getting what they paid for. This is a situation of last-minute shoppers who missed their opportunity or at the worst, people who unwisely pre-ordered with retailers that didn’t send them on time (BestBuy Canada AFAIK has still not sent theirs out). Funcom had the pre-order cutoff date originally set to May 1st and already extended it (which I note, is more than what Blizzard did on WoW’s release).

    Frankly I don’t get it, because WoW and LOTRO also had cutoffs for pre-orders and thus also first-in access. The only difference is the charge, but again, they didn’t bill if there wasn’t any slots left.

    So what is the fuss exactly?

  13. Jason says:

    Rog, nowhere, in all the hype, and news did I see a single thing saying that early in was limited. Second, WoW didn’t have an early start. Open Beta was completely unlimited; download the client, get in the beta. It was still through fileplanet, but there was none of this 50k key limit crap.

    Funcom has throughly screwed the pooch on this one.

  14. Talyn says:

    I didn’t see anything about limited availability when I clicked the Pre-Order Now! link last week, either.

    Not that I really care. Between performance in CB, marketing blunders, and being quite underwhelmed with the game so far, I won’t be playing at launch anyway.

  15. Rog says:

    @Jason: Call it fine print, whatever, it’s there. It wasn’t hard to be aware of the cut-off date either.

    It’s also common sense. Any game pre-order has a cut-off point when the pre-orders are not guaranteed, although EB will happy to sell you the pre-order anyway and disappoint the last people who show up at the store.

    Games have to be shipped. Servers need to be ready and running. Overdoing capacity would be an obvious financial mistake.. etc. etc. I’m not on some holy crusade to defend Funcom here, ultimately any dissatisfied customer is going to look at them, for sure. It’s more of a defense of the entire industry and just ~how it works~:

    If you’re pre-ordering a game a week before it’s on store shelves, c’mon seriously, you’re expecting early access bonuses? That doesn’t strike me as something terribly wise.

    This same exact issue came up with WoW and then some, because they’d also underestimated demand for the game. It happens.

    And Syncaine’s third-person perspective on the whole thing is such an out of whack excuse to rag on a game he doesn’t intend to play. It’s important to note the statement boldy highlighted is just outright false. There are plenty of valid things he could pick on with AoC for sure, but this wasn’t one of them.

  16. Rog says:

    BTW, I’m not trying to paint Syncaine in a super bad light on this, I think he’s usually got a reasonable head on his shoulders. I just think this one is stretching it.

  17. Talyn says:

    Assuming that was for me, no, I was pre-ordering the game a week prior to… pre-order the game a week prior. Even being in CB, the game hasn’t interested me enough to go all fanboy on it and read every juicy tidbit of info Funcom puts out or especially go into their forums. So not only was I unaware of the early access, it wouldn’t have done me any good anyway: I have to work during the three days it covers so I’ll be out of state and unable to play. I’m pre-ordering just to have the bonus pre-order mount in the event Funcom turns this train wreck around and I feel it might be worth playing in the fall or winter.

  18. Rog says:

    It wasn’t specifically a jab to you Talyn, just that overall I’d say what Funcom has done on this particular issue is perfectly reasonable and those are just the breaks.

    I’ll say, for most MMOs, I usually do think it’s wiser to wait until stability takes hold. But we’re not a patient species. =)

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  20. Talyn says:

    Not that this is on-topic, but I wanted to stop by and retract my “train wreck” comment. Funcom has been patching the crap out of AoC and this morning’s patch was fairly miraculous. I still think they’re going to have “issues” of various sorts upon launch, but they’re quite busy optimizing the engine and trying various “tricks” to improve performance.

    Last night I was getting 20-35 fps outside Tortage, today I’m getting 30-50 and I was able to turn up some options that I couldn’t yesterday.

    I stick by my “I’ll wait several months” but I think it will come along nicely and in short order. Still very disappointed that they’re jumping on the WoW end-game bandwagon though, so I don’t know how much I’ll really give myself to AoC once I do start playing.

  21. syncaine says:

    Good to hear, but I think my overall point about AoC is that so much negative buzz is out there already. Damage control is always a tough spot to be in. Who knows though, maybe once a free trial is out, I’ll have to check it out.

  22. bartlebe says:

    I can’t stand it when come to some elses blog to troll on THEIR opinion. Its a fricken blog…the whole point is the have someplace where yo can express whatever you want.

    I totally agree though Syn. At one point, I had a great deal of excitment about AoC but when all the negitive buzz that has been coming out lately about massive patches, disapointments, technical problems…I left my excitment somewhere behind, long ago.

  23. syncaine says:

    I had a good laugh at that. I was trolling MY blog. Clearly the definition of trolling has been changed since I last heard it. Part of blogging though, people will get upset at times, not that big a deal. The whole ‘raise traffic’ theory is good too, because we all know we are raking in the cash from all the traffic our blogs get…

  24. bartlebe says:

    Haha. I didn’t mean to say that you were trolling your OWN blog. I get angry when people troll someone ELSES blog. In some of the comments on your posts, I smelled potential trolls.

    Sorry for the confusion. I like your blog. :)

  25. syncaine says:

    No no, someone else made a comment calling me a troll for posting my thoughts on AoC, and stated I was only doing it to draw traffic. I got your point, and thanks for the compliment :)

  26. Rog says:

    I think I missed a comment, or two, heh.

    Syncaine, let me follow Bartlebe’s sentiments. I may sound harsh sometimes if I think something’s off-base (see above), chalk it up to passion rather than alterior motives. Having a journalist background, I do tend to question ‘new media’ at times, even while I play along myself. Opinions are cheap, one might say free even. ;)

    I’ll chime in and agree, it’s just plain silly to accuse someone of trolling via their own webspace. It’d be a pretty damn ineffective way to draw traffic too.

  27. syncaine says:

    I really don’t get mad at peoples comments. Blatantly insulting stuff is easy to spot, and comments that disagree with me lead to better discussion and future posts.

    Plus the fact that someone reads my post (or at least some of it, based on some comments), and then actually takes the time to write a comment, well hey thats cool enough already, right? I would rather get 10 negative comments calling me an idiot than posting for weeks without a single hit.

  28. Graktar says:

    I think the claims of ‘this is normal, what do you expect?’ are a little off base here. This isn’t a case of pre-ordering a game from EBgamestopbestbuy and then it not being in stock on release day. The client is downloaded. If they’re concerned about players being able to download it, they should have partnered with distributors to mirror the downloads. This isn’t hard. I can’t think of a single other MMO that sold pre-orders with a headstart and then told people who had paid for a pre-order that there were already too many headstart people and, sorry, you don’t get to play. None. If there is one, please correct me.

    WoW is not a valid example. They didn’t have a headstart, and I don’t recall their retail client being downloadable. They simply sold out like crazy leaving a lot of people in the cold. If Funcom is trying to mimic that (look, we have SO many people preordering the game we have to turn them away!) they are (once again) botching their PR to an epic degree.

  29. Talyn says:

    I don’t mind being shut out of the EA Program for the reason I stated above: I’ll be working. Frankly, it wasn’t until this morning’s patch that I even decided to go ahead with my pre-order (which I have sitting with me now). The smaller patch that came this afternoon made an even bigger difference on performance while actually improving the graphical quality! They just shut down for (estimated) 4 hours for yet another patch.

    Regardless, I’m not angry myself because it doesn’t affect me. I can empathize with the people who did shell out their $5 for EA and had the door slammed in their face, though; I certainly do not recall at any time seeing advance notification that EA was a “while supplies last” deal. Do the denied players get their $5 back? I haven’t been following this (mostly because, for a change, I’ve been enjoying the game today!)

  30. Brandon says:

    I can believe the ignorance that flows from you feeble lips. You either A. work for Mthyic or B. have no concept of supply and demand.

    Im here to address 2 issues:

    1. I got locked out of my early release for AOC, but the issue is much less severe than you mention. Firstly you cant get access to the download unless you paid $5. Pre-Order did not guarantee entry to early access, the $5 did. Yes some pre-order clients missed out, like me, dont see my crying about it.

    2. Besides the great looking graphics (they are great), display your profound love for Mythic. Make a list of features that WAR brings to the table, that AoC has either missed or messed up.

    Ill admit, i like Funcom, the longest journey was amazing, and Anarchy Online, though one of the most glitchy lag fests ever to hit my computer, is still one of the most complex games ever devised.

    I rival you and your uncanny train of thought.

  31. Rog says:

    @ Graktar: WoW did have a early start though, although it was for limited closed beta testers rather than general public preorders. It was messy and pretty much aborted, although it did lend to which servers were overpopulated early on. I think about the only evidence of it now you’re likely to find are the launch dates of the the servers are floating around out there, because a small handful should slightly predate the official release date.

    Like I said, there were screams on the forums, but forgotten pretty quick, it was hardly news. Personally, it was one reason I waited two weeks before buying WoW, which I guess makes it odd that I have the reverse opinion for AoC. ~shrug~

  32. Noodles says:

    Hey you should probably get your facts straight.

    Those who paid the money for the early access got in.

    those who waited until the last minute weren’t able to because Funcom couldn’t allow that many people onto the servers when they opened up on the 17th for US early access customers.

    Funcom is all about quality. Now when I go on and find myself lagging up a storm I’ll be pissed that I can’t play because of the server load, I would rather be able to play comfortably which is what Funcom is aiming at.

  33. Rog says:

    ~sigh~ You know the details don’t really matter anyway, because everyone’s memory is selective so nobody is going to give a fair comparison to existing games and it’s just impossible to do with future ones.

    People are generally willing to accept some problems from a game they’re interested in. Whether it be WoW, Guild Wars, AoC, WAR, whatever. And they might defend their choices, sometimes too strongly.

    And the reverse is true too. It’s easy to dump on a game if you only see it as a temporary distraction while you wait for the game of your choice (in this case, many people waiting for WAR). What would be perfectly fine for your game of choice becomes your opportunity to predict the next Vanguard when you don’t have any invested interest. You react differently to which you have faith in.

    We can all be gaming pundits and make predictions for success or failure, and our invested interests clearly indicate which of those we predict, doesn’t it now? Let’s be honest.

    I’m glad to see Syncaine consider playing the game, not because I think AoC is the bee’s knees, but because it means… and I’ll say this clearly: that I was wrong in my pessimistic assumption that he wasn’t even considering it.

    Heh, maybe I should be less of a cynic.

  34. Brandon says:

    Thank you Noodles….

  35. Mitch says:

    Hey mate, I really enjoy your blogs. I would just like to add my two-cents worth.
    First of all, you mentioned WoW burnout. My friends and I have all cancelled our subscriptions since Sunwell was released, pretty much killing the top guild on our server (Server firsts for Illidan / Archi). We are all planning on playing AoC, but as you mentioned, we are only viewing this as a ‘fill-in’ game until either Warhammer or Wotlk. I very highly doubt we will be sticking for the game long term, a view taken by seemingly dozens and dozens of Wow players that I know have quit in the past month or so. We have our hopes up for Warhammer, but if this doesn’t pull through, I guess we will be back for Wotlk. To be honest, I don’t really care how long Wotlk gets delayed, because at the moment I feel as though the more time I have away from Wow the better. Warhammer looks very promising in my opinion, I just hope its RvR PvP focus makes up for its lack of raiding / pve content; because, contrary to common opinion, I actually enjoyed raiding. If all of these games fail, one thing is for sure, Naxx is a damn fine instance and probably the sole factor that is keeping my interest for the next expansion. Lets just hope that a bit of healthy competition, primarily from AoC and War, kick Blizzard into gear and release a kick-arse game come launch-time (or any other developer, for that matter)

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  37. Openedge1 says:

    I just find it amusing that this post makes it sound like EVERYONE had these issues..
    My time with AoC has been flawless…even from Open Beta (the long loads were an oddity that I easily fixed)
    To EA (had entered my key almost a month before and entered a credit card to bot…wonder if this was the issue….why give EA to anyone who did not enter credit cards)
    And a flawless launch with zero crashes …zero black screens…

    I had more issues with Vanguard and LOTRO after even their year of release time (logged into both as part of their “OMG another game is coming out…here is some free time to distract you” deal)

    I for one am excited that AoC is good, and I do not have to wait for the WoW clone (WAR needs to really make some PR changes to everything from their screenshots, to the Dev videos which are quite annoying…)


  38. WAR FTW says:

    WAR FTW!!!

  39. Anonymous says:

    Sigh at Openedge for calling WAR a WoW clone…. (No I am not a WAR fanboy, I am actually still a hardcore WoW raider, but seriously, get your facts straight the games are nothing alike)

  40. Anonymous says:

    The game is growing, the servers are filling up. And thats because the game is very good tbh with you, not because its new – wich was what i thought at first.. I played EverQuest2 for over 4 years, i also tried WoW. Age of Conan beats them both when it comes to entertaining you, im on a pvp server but the pve is fantastic. Never thought i would say questing and killing mobs is fun – but in AoC it is.

  41. cortezkiller says:

    My bro bought the US retail version last week, so after playing the trail myself I decided to d/l the digital copy.After racking my brain for a few hours, I couldn’t figure out why we both didn’t have the same server choices, he figured it was because I had the trial.But after paying for the digital download, the servers were the same.

    WTF!! back to account management, why in god’s name would Funcom only provide EU client on their site I will never know, but I really hope for their sake they fix a mistake I made because they didn’t offer the correct client.

    /strike one

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