Friday, July 31, 2009

Age of Conan - Browbeating...does it work?

We have heard this term before. Why use it here?

Right now Age of Conan is dealing with an image issue. Players who try the game or are interested in the game are met with the group I will call the "Brow Beaters".

Thanks to Funcoms terrible launch and of course having experienced a bad launch before with Anarchy Online, there is this contingent, if you will, who make it their plan to make sure others know about Funcom. By attacking Age of Conan in many different venues, they honestly believe they are doing a duty to future prospective players.

I want to share some of the tripe that is spewed by these types of people to give you an idea of how this looks.

"With the vast amount of problems in this game you may want to ask why a handful of people advocate this game if it's so bad."

This person goes on to state that anyone that says the game is any good at all, is on Funcoms payroll. The reason? Because Funcom advocates "viral marketing".
What I don't understand about this is...why does this person believe that Funcom is alone in wanting to market virally. Viral marketing is a huge gimmick that many companies want to do...but, why is it that if someone enjoys the game, they are part of this "viral" push?
Another item they note is if you are from Norway, you are on a marketing push for Age of Conan as well.


"Everyone knows AoC has about 50k-100k subscriptions."

Another attack ploy has been to quote low subscriber numbers to make it look bad for Age of Conan. Whether these are true or one knows, as subscriber rates have not been posted.
We DO know a large population of the game left, where a server merge had to take place...yet, no further merges have been done (to see how this works, look at WAR, who has already merged servers two or three times. Never a good sign. Or look at LOTRO, which has sat growth of servers or loss of servers. The game is doing fine...btw.).
So, maybe GROWTH is not enough for AoC, but also, quoting numbers out of the magical lala land you live in does not equal facts either.

We just do not know how many players there are, and Funcom is not sharing, and really does not have to.

Other issues exist. For example, there are players who come into the game, and just go on and on in global chat about how they hate the game. If you hate it so much, why login?

The Age of Conan forums are full of people complaining. Fair enough...complaints are good...but these are usually rants and attacks moreso than bullet point type arguments for the issues at hand.
If your message includes the words "Failcom", then it is a rant, and needs to be deleted.

I could go on, but really, we get the gist.

There was a time when we could make decisions about the MMO's we play, but now we all have grown so opinionated (myself included) that we let it obstruct the game progressing in it's success or failure.

If the game will survive will not depend on the Brow Beater or the "Fanboy" anymore. With the MMO genre being such a deluge of half baked products now, no one game will be a right fit. They either are broken or are old or are not any fun.

What we must do is find the one game we DO enjoy, and hope it brings us pleasure. For now, Age of Conan does this for me, no matter the little glitches or bugs.

These Brow Beaters? They need to go back to whatever game they enjoy, and leave the gaming to those who are having fun (fanboy or not)



Scott said...

Gotta love the in-game version of forum trolls.

Maybe they're pissed they spent $15 for a month and don't like the game so they use that $15 trolling the general chat? I don't know. I have better things to do with MY time if I don't like a game. Such as clicking Uninstall and moving on with my life. But then I try to never underestimate the stupidity and uselessness of the average person either, so it doesn't surprise me people behave this way.

unwize said...

I totally agree! There's this one guy that never misses a chance to spout misinformation about LotRO ;)

Seriously though, AoC is a very good game now, and if I was looking for another MMO to delve deeply into, it would probably make my shortlist.

What is always lacked for me is a 'world feeling', due to the instancing of disconnected zones. It feels a bit like Guild Wars in that respect. That, and I just can't get excited about the Conan lore.

So yeah, ultimately not for me, but I can respect Funcom for trying something a little different and mostly succeeding to pull it, albeit with some regrettable teething problems.

Openedge1 said...

What is this you speak of? Misinformation about LOTRO?


We all know it has models with men having size two waists, and women with hands larger than their heads..

We all know the armor looks painted on and not actually "worn"

We all know the UI is not pixel set, thus when you need to resize the UI above 1280x1024, all elements that are graphics blur and distort.

We all know, no matter how much anyone wants to deny it, that hitching still exists, no matter how powerful your machine.

We all know how the story ends, so why do anything to prevent it?

EVERYONE just LOVES Radiance gear...oh yes they do..

So, I am unsure of what you speak Unwize.

Are you being....unwize?

(PS: Instancing rocks for depth of visuals and storyline...we don't need no stinking sandboxes here...get off my lawn)

unwize said...

I'm always being unwise, or else I would have called myself something else :)


- My male character has a normally proportioned waist, and I've never noticed these gargantuan female hands you speak of.

- Some of the medium armour is tight fitting. This is not the case with most light or heavy armour

- The UI resize issue is a valid criticism. They are meant to be working on a major UI update, but no sign of it so far.

- Hitching occurs due to the loading of graphical assets for other avatars. It's only an issue in busy hubs and never seriously affects gameplay. Also, it is not unique to LotRO, and would likely occur in AoC if the already meagre player population wasn't diluted into so many different instances.

- The story of Tolkien is but one of many stories in LotRO, but as far as stories go, it's a pretty damned good one to experience in an MMO.

- Radiance isn't very popular, but it sounds like the devs have got the message.

Even if all your criticisms were 100% accurate, I'm not sure that explains your seemingly pathological antipathy towards LotRO. Do you really hate LotRO so much for those few relatively minor quibbles? Maybe you should try playing WAR to get a little perspective ;)

Anonymous said...

These Brow Beaters? They need to go back to whatever game they enjoy, and leave the gaming to those who are having fun (fanboy or not)

I see that Unwize beat me to the irony punch here.

After all, there was a time when you seemed to be on a campaign of "I hate LOTRO and you must hate it too!" You didn't just dislike the game, you seemed offended that other people could like the game.

I seem to recall you using that very same "low subscriber count" to attack LOTRO in the past.

But perhaps you have seen the light. I haven't seen those sorts of comments on every LOTRO post over on KTR for a while now.

The question is, did you see the futility of your effort, did you realize you were living in something of a glass house, or did you just decided that "live and let live" is better for both sanity and blood pressure?

Openedge1 said...

Oops @tagn

Better go check KTR again. lol.

But, I digress. My point in my hate is that I know it will not make anyone stop playing the game, but I sure can be "disgruntled" with the game.

I would not care if these people were "disgruntled" and stated why.
Their approach of "viral" marketing, and using data that is NOT known or even TRUE is my issue.
Their arguments have nothing to back it up, and is all about company concerns and not gameplay concerns even.

Lets look at some of my arguments for LOTRO as examples of how to approach this from a proper perspective...(besides the ones unwize thinks are the only ones...)

I argued over the fact that population was low in LOTRO...because it should have been CONSIDERABLY larger.
We are talking a large IP, with a recent hit movie, yet, could not muster enough sales (based on NPD numbers) in a year to even battle how much AoC or WAR sold in a month...

Why is that?

Low quality in the art style of models, issues with performance (that got better, but I disagree with you the hitching happens EVERYWHERE, not just "assets loading in town"), and another company who would not listen to their players.

People attack AoC because AO failed and they should have learned from that...yet Turbine sits on TWO failures, but cannot do any wrong? Excuse me, but LOTRO is totally wrong in all aspects.

It copies WoW in all ways, does not innovate one iota from the formula (no matter how much anyone argues this point, AoC at least had the decency to try a more story oriented approach (not just cutscene rewards for completing major steps in quest lines like LOTRO) and combat that DOES deviate from the norm...and has a unique storyline that sticks to canon without following canon 100% in so much that we know how it ends..)

But, lets take this all back a step.

The reason I state the "brow beating" is this specific contingent of people...while I am but one person, who still feels LOTRO is a failure (it should have done so much better)...think they have the power to change the outcome..I DO know that I have no power to change LOTRO's outcome.

I am one person.

These people think they can.

Big difference.

The final part of this argument is the #1 difference of brow beating compared to disgruntled....

I WANTED to like LOTRO. I was a founder, I played over 8 months of on again, off again gameplay in the hopes they would change...

They never did..

These people HATE Funcom for just the reason to HATE Funcom and want it to fail...

And AoC DID change...a LOT...Funcom made an effort..

More than what I can say for Turbine and LOTRO.

Openedge1 said...

Example of Men waists and Women issues (oh yeah, forgot Female "shelved" boobs")

Males with female waists and painted on clothing

Male waist 2, painted on pants, disproportionate body

Female Shelving

Just a few examples...I am wrong about the hands for both sexes...I meant to say...too small.

Jayedub said...

Lol female shelving. From someone who played AoC at launch, I can honestly say that I enjoy the game a whole lot more now than I did then.

I generally stay away from the forums because of the doom and gloom, but I like the entertainment that comes from reading the Global Chat in game.

There is of course alot of nonsense that gets said in global, but in general I get a good laugh out of what others are saying. Maybe it's because I like the game, but the global chat in AoC doesn't bug me, till someone trys to say that WoW is the better.

unwize said...

It should also be noted that there is a certain amount of stylisation going on with the art work in LotRO. It isn't pitched as cartoony as WoW, but it certainly also isn't pitched at 100% realism either.

Look, many of your criticisms of LotRO are somewhat valid, but to me they are extremely minor aspects of the overall experience.
It's equivalent to me damning AoC because I think most of the females look like hookers and most of the males look like soccer hooligans. I may not like it, but it doesn't really affect my qualitative judgement of the overall game.

I'd also dispute your assertion that LotRO is a failure. No post-WoW western MMO has managed to maintain subscriptions over 500k. Best estimates put LotRO's numbers somewhere in the region of 200-300k, which is on par with WAR and higher than AoC.

Perhaps the LotR license deserved better, but you can't really draw a neat parallel with the films. The audience for big-budget movies is very different to the audience for MMOs. I'd wager there are millions of WoW players that have never even tried LotRO, yet almost every one of them will have seen the movies.

Ultimately though, the point I am trying to make is that MMO preference is like 'horses for courses'. I can fully understand and appreciate why you prefer AoC over LotRO, but you seem unwilling to extend LotRO players the same courtesy, or at least, that is the impression I get.

Openedge1 said...

I understand YOUR point, but you are still lost on mine...

The real meat of this whole issue boils down to the fact that I never WANTED LOTRO to fail, or Turbine to FAIL...I wanted a good game.

I did not get it..and railed on that...

Just like you stated "validly" about the character models. Notice I am not hurt over that at all. It is not "misinformation" as it is your opinion...I like AoC models, you like LOTRO models and vice versa...

These "brow beaters" do not want the well being of the game in their hands, they want it crushed along with Funcom.

They offer bad data, useless rants on the companies antics, and offer no input on what is wrong on the game, and actually spend more time attacking the fan base than offering solutions for the game.

Like you said, we have different opinions of the game. I am very vocal about my opinions on LOTRO, just as the brow beaters are...just, I had a reason...I hoped it would make a difference...even though it never did.

Now, I just wish to forget LOTRO ever existed.

The AoC haters are doing everything in their power to MAKE AoC go away.

Again...big difference.

unwize said...

Ok, fair enough. Perhaps I've been a little unfair about your position. I guess I'm guilty of tipping scorn on WAR from time to time, and that is somewhat due to my high hopes being so cruelly dashed.

I actually wish Funcom all the best with AoC and I am very interested to see what they do with The Secret World. I'll say it again, if AoC was as fun from 20-80 as it was from 1-20, I think AoC would have been a much greater success. I'm hoping they've learned that lesson for The Secret World.

Also, if they can build upon AoC's current tech for The Secret World, they may be able to overcome many of the teething problems that plagued AoC's launch. Oh, and Ragnar Tørnquist knows his way around a good story!