“TSW was not buggier than, say, GW2. Nor did it lack things to do.” – tithian
“Personally I found TSW to be sub-par in both combat and graphics, and far inferior to GW2 in game flow. In the beta the “things to do” mostly involved a lot of variations of very slowly killing grey zombies in a grey town / landscape.” – Tobold
“I think you’re proving lono’s point. If it doesn’t have vibrant fantasy settings with flashy combat, dragons and elves, the attention something gets is the fraction of MMO X that does deliver on that front. And guess what, your next MMO will also have a vibrant fantasy setting. And the next, and the next…” – thegaiaengines
Original post and more comments can be found here.
This somewhat reminds me of when Darkfall came out and certain people complained that looting was ‘broken’ or ‘poorly designed’ because you had to drag items off a corpse, or that the combat was unresponsive because there was a delay between drawing your weapon and swinging. That the world was ‘empty’ because not every corner had a pre-scripted purpose for existing, and that the only way to compete in PvP was to max out everything just to ‘catch up’.
On a larger scale, it reinforces the fact that the core of the MMO genre is very niche, but that because of WoW, we have a very large section of players who don’t like niche (or need to be brought into the niche with baby steps, because change is scary!) GW2 right now is stuck in an awkward mid-point, with some systems clearly designed for the masses (hotbar spam-to-win, guided progression, easy leveling) while others could be considered core (insane grind at 80 for gear, sPvP, advanced WvW tactics).
The biggest difference between Darkfall and The Secret World is not levels of polish or innovation, but in expectations. Aventurine understood they were making a niche MMO, and planned accordingly. They hit their target, profited, and because of that we are getting a sequel ‘soon’. Funcom being Funcom, they expected their niche MMO to retain a million subscribers, and because of this TSW is failing. Had the bar been correctly set at, say, 100k subs, TSW would be considered a hit. Feel free to blame Blizzard for this if it makes you feel better (it usually does for me).
Finally, let’s talk about this shall we:
“You are allowed to want both an innovative game AND fun game without it being hypocritical, just like you can want a cheap, good steak (or whatever).” – Azuriel
Az, do you walk into McDonalds looking for a good, cheap steak? How’s that workin’ out for ya? There is a reason a good steakhouse charges what it charges, while at the same time McD’s has served billions with $5 ‘steaks’.
Before they went south, Blizzard was famous for bringing out extremely polished titles, and talent aside, they were able to do this because their titles played it safe and at most took other’s ideas one small step forward. Good business if you can do it, but it only works if you also have other studios pushing the envelope and innovating. There would be no WoW without UO/EQ1, and a major reason WoW was so polished compared to EQ1 was due to that evolution vs revolution approach. The EQ1 devs had little to go off of (MUDs), while Blizzard was able to copy/paste/polish EQ1 to make WoW.
It’s all shades of gray of course. You can’t just put out the world’s most innovative title and expect success if it’s so buggy no one can load it (not at the mass-market level anyway), while at the same time JUST polishing is not enough. After all, while WoW was very much a EQ1 clone, Blizzard did bring a few new ideas to the table, and those few ideas were pretty solid at the time.
But the more you innovate, the further you step out of the known, the higher the chance of something not working as expected. The core MMO players will (generally) roll with it and expect a fix (or exploit the hell out of it until said fix arrives), but the mass-market gamers don’t have that kind of tolerance, patience, and overall investment to stick with a title as it grows.
But then, that’s why the MMO genre is a niche, with WoW being the awkward outlier.