Friday, December 18, 2009

When MMO's Disappoint

Out of all genres of gaming, one seems to consistently have the buggiest and most unreliable code and support.

That would be MMO's.

Last night we did not play our normal game of EQ2 with the family. My wife actually was the one who did not want to play. I decided to ask why she was not into it (as her main complaint she stated she was "Tired"...and men, we all know this is DEFINITELY not the time to ask questions...but I did it anyways).
Her real reason I found out is because EQ2 disappointed her.

Originally this started when we enabled each of our accounts. My son and myself all had these goodies in our claim window. My wifes account was missing quite a few claimable items. So, while my son and I had cloaks running us 25% faster than normal, here was my wife trying to keep up.
I sent this into support, which took about 4 days to handle the issue. But, it was fixed...luckily.

So, we went on our merry way. This past week was exciting as we all were working on the new quest/achievement that EVERYONE gets...the Level 20 quest in 14 days.
We all started at the same time, same day and made all efforts to complete this. On Wednesday night, my son dinged first. I dinged 20, and we all saw a window pop up congratulating us with gold and a trophy and our first real title.

My wife dinged 20...and nothing. We looked at her history, and looked to see if she had the title.


The frustration was just too much for her I think. She even logged in before supper for about 10 minutes and tried to enjoy the game, but finally said that EQ2 disappointed her.

This is one of the reasons she refuses to log into LOTRO, another game with bizarre issues. The laggy hitching issues we always had, no matter what we did (and I ALWAYS have top of the line equipment and keep my systems pristine and well cleaned of junk, yet, we always had this ongoing issue) irritated her. The fact the game had little niggling problems like animations and ugly models. Combat felt unresponsive and the UI just did not seem consistent...she decided she would never play again.

Look at Age of Conan. Still a buggy mess after the multitude of patches. We finally got to the point that during most of our gameplay, if we would run into a problem, we would just laugh and say "We were funcommed again". We also realized that this became more rampant as we reached higher levels. Thus, it was easy to say goodbye to a game that we all loved.

I understand MMO's are large code bases and there are just too many angles to consider when finally launching and running your game. But, when titles like WoW and EQ2 which have been out for years and years still have stupid issues that are do you tell the standard game player, like my wife, who has played many single player RPG's, or even Guild Wars which consistently ran and displayed no major bugs that would make you want to quit...and help them understand "This is normal".

But, I also need to ask. Why should it be?

I know a lot of people will rant and rave with the stupid comment of "It's only a game". Yet, what would YOU do if you logged in one day and find out that an expansion you payed for was blocked off from you...for no reason, and that content was unaccessible? That happened to ALL of our accounts in EQ2 yesterday when I saw that my login screen which always said 9/9 addons, said 8/9 addons. And when I log into all our accounts management and see that each of us do not have access to the Shadow Odyssey pack, and SOE wants us to pay $20 to have it? Oh brother...another duel with Customer Support.

My wife finally did end up saying she will play again this weekend, but for last night, she had been hurt by a game she was really enjoying.

Why should she even have to feel this way?


Stargrace said...

While it sucks that your wife's been disappointed by this one event, why focus on the negative? Why let that one thing get you down. So she wasn't rewarded a title, there are far worse things out there. I think people (in general) need to spend more time focusing on the positive. Sure, it sucks. So does that kid who died yesterday, or that starving family down the street. Be a better person from it, instead of letting it ruin a mood. Of course, I'm biased. *grins*

Openedge1 said...

That is why she plans to go back and play. It is what we would like to call a "setback". Not a total loss.

But, you need to take into account that this is par for course. It is not a simple one time thing.

ALL MMO's always have something go wrong that detracts from the play experience. And if it happens OVER and OVER, it is hard to ignore it.

It is just like you have a pain in your left side. One day? Not a go on. You have it happen another day, then two more days, all in the same place...

Do you just go on your merry way?

Do you look at the positives and decide "Oh, my right side is ok..." *giggle*

Yes, it is a game, yet, you are paying your hard earned money to play this game. And if the game continues to take away features or not reward you for that money...why continue to pay?

But, we have played EQ2 before, and yes, we do enjoy the game, so it is a minor setback. We had fun, and are still having fun, so it stays on our play list.
LOTRO really has to make up for much more as 7 months of crappy issues and concerns ruined the experience for us. Age of Conan upset us enough, that we talked with our wallets and took a walk. We hope it returns to what it was...all about the fun. But, changes need to take place for that to happen.

Guild Wars is our high example of a game with little to no bugs. Nothing detracts from the play of the game, thus it will always be cherished. And when GW2 comes, we ALL have pre-order Collectors Packs ready to go, as it deserves it.

Just wonder why these games that have years and years of development, are still such buggy messes.

Bhagpuss said...

Bugs, quirks and wierdness are all part of the MMO flavor for me. Mrs Bhagpuss and I both like to make Test servers our main home in those few games that allow those servers to have permanent characters.

Our second-favorite MMO of all time is Vanguard, which we played from beta through launch and for a couple of years afterwards. There were sometimes more bugs there than game.

Despite that, we have had similar negative experiences to those you describe, and I don't think it comes down to the actual bugs. The problem arises when one of us gets the bug and the other doesn't. Then, rather than the bug being something we share and can puzzle over and laugh about, it becomes more an issue of unfairness.

I do seriously wonder, though, if I would be playing MMOs at all if they were perfect. When everythign goes smoothly day after day it tends to bring home to me that all I am doing is completing the circuit in a pre-set routine. It's the things that don't work asm they should that often add the necessary spice of surprise.

Anonymous said...

While MMOs are just games, one of the reasons we're playing them is for the immersion in a virtual world. I don't role-play in a traditional sense. However, I do feel connected to my characters in each game. It's probably one of the reasons I don't like to game hop and don't roll alts until way after the first character is max level. If I wanted more of a "run around playing games" I don't think MMO would be my choice.

With that in mind, I can see how someone experiences hurt and disappointment. I've certainly felt betrayal at the hands of developers when a patch does a 180 on my character. We're all playing for different reasons seeking different emotional gains, fun is only one of them.

Openedge1 said...

You do have a point. Like I stated in my post, it was so funny to laugh anytime we had a standard bug that we were aware of pop up in Age of Conan.
We would make jokes about it, and then play on.
We got to the point that we knew when one was coming and would even have to do a petition to complete some pieces.

But, why should we do that?

I am playing a game right now (a preview copy I cannot mention yet) but the bugs are almost non-existent, and it makes me WANT to continue playing as I do not have to stop and do /petition or report the bug or even be denied a reward as the bug just made it so that I lost that item .

I guess I just wish I did not feel like I am paying for shoddy workmanship is all. I cannot get my money back like I can if say my car does not run well on purchase or a new stereo's sound is less then satisfying.

Sad really.

Stabs said...

I think there's a difference between encountering a bug that affects everyone and encountering a bug that singles out you.

The technical reason for why MMOs are bug-prone is that as a program gets bigger bugs occur more frequently and the relationship is exponential rather than linear. In other words a program that is twice as big will have many more than twice as many bugs.

Pushing on through it will, I believe, reward your family with a great shared experience. It's pretty wonderful what happens sometimes in a massive game and it's even more wonderful when you have people to share it with.

Hudson said...

You all keep bouncing around in MMO's and I play one game and it works and is a blast. One day you will come around :)

Openedge1 said...

Aw man...we don't listen to you anymore...we already told you to stay in WoW as it is the only game that works for you..


We can't help we like a little variety in our life...

But, thanks for the suggestion, I will put it under consideration...