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Why Warhammer Online Failed — an Insider Story 235

Posted by Soulskill
from the truth-or-dare dept.
sinij writes "An EA insider has aired dirty laundry over what went wrong with Warhammer and what could this mean for the upcoming Bioware Star Wars MMORPG. Quoting: 'We shouldn't have released when we did, everyone knows it. The game wasn't done, but EA gave us a deadline and threatened the leaders of Mythic with pink slips. We slipped so many times, it had to go out. We sold more than a million boxes, and only had 300k subs a month later. Going down ever since. It's 'stable' now, but guess what? Even Dark Age and Ultima have more subs than we have. How great is that? Games almost a decade [old] make more money than our biggest project." The (unverified) insider, who calls himself EA Louse (named after the EA Spouse who brought to light the company's excessive crunchtime practices) says similar trouble is ahead for the development of Star Wars: The Old Republic. EA has not commented yet. God of War creator David Jaffe has criticized the insider for having unrealistic expectations of working in the games industry.
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Why Warhammer Online Failed — an Insider Story

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  • Really? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, 2010 @01:18AM (#33890546)

    So what is new?

  • Re:1st post? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday October 14, 2010 @01:23AM (#33890562)

    Honestly I think it's part of the life-cycle of corporations. The people with the authority to promote tend to lose their objective view of their subordinates, and end up promoting people that they LIKE rather than the people most suited for the job. Repeat this for a few cycles and you end up with the "good old boys/girls" club at the top, who are all best buddies but who are far less competent than their jobs demand. This reinforces apathy down below, since what's the point in busting your butt for a dumb-ass? Initiative and effort don't get rewarded (or worse, get penalized by jealous managers), and the rot sets in.

    This is why large corporations can lose money, lose focus, engage in some amazingly ridiculous ventures and go bankrupt. I guess it's only human nature, but nothing lasts forever.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @01:29AM (#33890576) Homepage

    We shouldn't have released when we did, everyone knows it. The game wasn't done, but EA gave us a deadline and threatened the leaders of Mythic with pink slips. We slipped so many times

    Just reading the summary, you'd think it says "we shipped too early". Only the few words I emphasized mentions the main point of the article, which is that the project was horribly mismanaged, had slipped many deadline and that more time would not have helped at all. It wasn't done but it was never going to get done, EA simply cut their losses and decided to stop throwing good money after bad. The rest is just seeing what could be salvaged...

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday October 14, 2010 @01:31AM (#33890578)

    The problem is that PC gaming is dying as online console gaming gains ground.

          I've argued this before, and I will argue it again:

          PC games will never die. Simply because the "barrier to entry" for PC game development is so low. No specialized equipment is needed. No specialized software either (you can download a free version of Visual Studio directly from Microsoft). All you need is a basic knowledge of programming, and the desire to build a game.

          So while the big studios try to lock up the market on proprietary consoles, or charge huge up-front fees for "Software Development Kits", and buy out any upstart before he ever gets a chance to publish; the creative talent, the innovation, the new ways of doing things - will always be seen first on a PC.

          While sure, some guy on a PC can never code the same eye-candy as a $50 million team or compete with version 5 of a highly successful franchise, the PC is destined to be the platform for new concepts not seen before in the game industry. And as we've seen before with games like Doom, Darwinia, etc, you can go from no-name to best seller in a matter of months, thanks to the internet. Frankly, I'm not worried.

  • ...EA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phorm (591458) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @01:33AM (#33890582) Journal

    Yet EA is still - overall - making buckloads of money. Many of the best shops have been bought out by them, trashed (as seems to be this case), put to cranking out rapid-fire shit, and then eventually canned.

    Look at what happened to the C&C series. They ripped out some of the most fun parts, and the initial release of - for example - Tiberium Wars was a huge buggy piece of shit. I can't count how many times the thing de-synced and crashed during online play within the first 6 months of patch-cycles, not to mention the bugs that often left single-player missions somehow unfinishable.

    It's all push push push to release a product, which means a shitty product, which ends up killing the once-good franchises they've bought out.

    EA were also the ones to start pushing the locked-to-an-account model. Sadly, the competition has smell money like sharks smell blood in the water. So now we have other companies like Blizzard adopting the same shit.

  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @01:38AM (#33890610)

    The guy in TFA sounds full of shit too. Honestly, it just comes off to me as a guy who's bitter that he's getting let go, and taking the opportunity to blast people who he didn't like.

    Maybe there's truth to it. I don't know. But I sure as hell stopped reading about halfway through because with so many personal digs, it destroys his credibility in my eyes.

  • by MagikSlinger (259969) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @01:43AM (#33890638) Homepage Journal

    Mod parent up. :-)

  • Re:...EA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday October 14, 2010 @01:45AM (#33890644)

    Yet EA is still - overall - making buckloads of money.

          Of course. Because they are such big publishers and have a finger pretty much in every genre of game (through acquisitions), they dominate the market. Especially since games are a wonderful impulse buy - pre-teens and teens who "have to have" the game because whats-his-name at school got it, or because it's version 3 in a series, or because of the bright colors on the packaging. Mature gamers who remember what EA used to be, and hope that a company as old and (once) respected as EA will stand behind their products and patch them ASAP if there are any problems.

          It takes a long time to absolutely destroy a reputation, especially when you're in a dominant position. But I can't help but notice that every company franchise they buy out gets destroyed, dumbed down, and processed so much it stops being fun.

  • by TheLink (130905) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @01:56AM (#33890678) Journal
    It may not have the same namepower as Starcraft, but it still sold 1+ million copies. So that's namepower enough.

    Their problem is they didn't retain enough subscribers.

    If you want to know why it failed, ask the subscribers why they left, and then pick out the common points.
  • by MetalFlow (1430151) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @02:04AM (#33890708)
    but then I read articles like this one that made me realize that I had just idealized this job as somehow different from the rest of the cubicle farms...
  • Ya pretty much (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @02:11AM (#33890724)

    I'm sure there is some truth in there. Most people don't just make shit completely up. I mean he's right in that Warhammer wasn't all that good of a game. However there's a ton of bitterness there. That is going to cloud judgment and the truth. I'm going to guess the people aren't quite as incompetent as he pretends. I've rarely found it to be true when someone just goes off on their boss as being worthless. Not saying there aren't bad managers, but they aren't the abysmal problems many people pretend.

    Also it does really smack of what Jaffe said: The guy thinks his opinion is more valuable and everyone should be listening to him. No not necessarily. For damn sure the problem with Warhammer wasn't one of not having dancing. It was mostly a balance issue, and also one of the leveling system being too grindy and not interesting enough. Warhammer was not a horrible MMO, it just wasn't all that great and had some issues. However that is hard to pull off when you've got WoW as competition, and even Mythic's own DAoC. These days with an MMO, you are mostly stealing players from another MMO, usually WoW. Means that your game has to compete favourably to that, and WoW is pretty good. So you might be ok, but ok doesn't cut it.

    At any rate, way too much hate in there for that to be at all objective. He lost his job and he's furious, so he's lashing out. I just can't take what is said in a situation like that seriously.

  • by CougMerrik (1221450) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @02:16AM (#33890746)
    The game was actually really fun up to a point. They did a great job with the low level experience. Once the game got to the high end, and especially once keep runs or city seiges were the norm, the game became as much fun as actually pursuing an extended siege on a castle. Not so much RvR as RvDoor. I think most of their gameplay systems were great -- expanding tactics slots, passive vs. active talent points, etc. The problem was with the content, largely devoid of alternatives to RvR at the high end, repetitive PQs and their strange and arcane reward systems which turned into a grind for gear that ended up being just really bad compared to stuff you could get just as easily from other places. In the end, once they started flailing wildly in patch after patch to try and make their content fun, I knew it was probably over.
  • by caerwyn (38056) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @02:22AM (#33890772)

    This is pretty much complete BS.

    Netbooks, tablets, iDevices, etc *are* taking a lot of people's computing time and interest away from the PC. However, there remain a huge number of tasks- any sort of content creation whatsoever, really, some few app examples notwithstanding- that simply are not suited to that sort of form fact. People's computing will always have, in the background, some sort of general purpose device.

    Now, you may say that portables, tablets, etc will evolve to the point that this is no longer true. But if that happens, then it actually proves my point, because such devices will have *become* general purpose computing devices, and therefore the "PC" and its associated games will still be around.

    If and when the tablets "win", it will only be because they have become what they defeated.

  • by Kindgott (165758) <soulwoundNO@SPAMgodisdead.com> on Thursday October 14, 2010 @02:52AM (#33890880) Journal

    Voiceovers for quest text is just something I'll be skipping because I've already skimmed through the obligatory, "Sand people attacked my land cruiser while I was en route with a shipment of unobtanium for the port in Mos Eisley, and the crates with my valuable cargo are littering the deserts. Without the money, I can't afford the medicine for my sick daughter, and I'm incapable of traveling and/or fighting; would you please find 50 crates and return them to me?" I'll be already heading in the vague direction the quest NPC has sent me on, trying to get my next level/item/skill and some in-game currency.

    Heck, I have friends who refuse to play Borderlands with me because I won't read the quest text before charging off in the direction of my next waypoint.

    To each their own, I suppose.

  • by Darinbob (1142669) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @02:53AM (#33890882)
    Naw, it's really timing. He's right that it shipped too soon. It had a huge "omg, this will finally be the WoW killer" vibe going (just like the star wars one has), and a month later it was "omg, this game sux". It has nothing to do with being a PC game.

    Problem is, these games are massively expensive to make. And so the investors and producers are pressuring to ship while they think they can still make a profit. This problem has hit a lot of the MMOs that people predicted would be great. You can't just backfill the content later and hope players will accept it.
  • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @03:29AM (#33890966) Homepage

    Personally I don't see why, but it seems no console wants to take up the fight with the keyboard/mouse. You have buttons and sticks and motion sensors but nothing comes remotely close to the accuracy of the mouse allowing you to pinpoint targets a few pixels big in no time and the vast number of hotkeys on the keyboard. Obviously the downside is that you need a desk or table to use it well, I guess it just doesn't fit the "use case" of the box being hooked up to the TV and people using a lounge chair with the controller in hand.

    The lead computers have had in graphics took a huge step up going from NTSC/PAL to 720p. Yes, I know computers had this resolution in the 1980s. The point is that the next generation is likely to be full HD, and 1920x1080 is very close to the maximum "normal" people have today as 95%+ of all gamers play at 1920x1200 or below and 16:10 monitors seem to be disappearing from the market. Sound? I expect full 7.1 with bitstreaming to be supported on the next generation, as all the latest generation graphics cards support it. The PS3 BluRay is already bigger than most DVD games for PC.

    In short, I don't think hardware-wise the next generation consoles will in any meaningful way be performance limited. The biggest question is if someone wants to pick up the glove and really push FPS, RTS and MMORPG games for consoles using keyboard/mouse. Imagine for example if one of them managed to secure an exclusive console license for WoW then that would be a huge, huge seller. I don't know why it's not happening, I think the consoles have spent so much time selling themselves as not a PC that they can't imagine themselves being the PC.

  • by primerib (1827024) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @04:15AM (#33891070)

    When people talk about the "death" of PC Gaming, they're talking about the major game publishers pulling out of the platform. Honestly, I can't wait.

    The lack of big name heavy-hitters with huge advertising budgets is creating a vacuum that's being filled by innovative Indie developers who would've never had a chance at mainstream commercial success in a "strong" PC gaming market.

    It's not the death of a platform, it's a changing of the guard that has the potential to help normalize the gaming industry as a whole. I wait anxiously for more and more Minecrafts, Dwarf Fortresses, Amnesias and World of Goos as the EAs of the industry find the PC platform more and more unsuitable for their $150 million summer blockbusters.

    This isn't me saying that big companies always make bad games or telling major publishers to gtfo, this is me saying that we have an opportunity to deflate and normalize the video game industry before a repeat of the Crash of 83.

  • by fadir (522518) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @05:06AM (#33891264)

    "stop it when it's shit" would be the better option then. It doesn't make sense to ship something that's not done. Yes, you might cut your losses because you still get some customers to pay for the crap that you call a game but what is in fact an early beta at best. But in the long term this customer will think twice if he'll buy your next game.

    If you aren't Blizzard, don't attempt a project as big as Blizzard's titles. "Schuster, bleib bei deinen Leisten" is an old German proverb, meaning "stick to what you are able to handle". Being too ambitious doesn't help anyone and will just end up in a disaster - happened many times, especially in the gaming industry.

    I really don't understand why even medium sized studios with medium or low funding attempt to build AAA-titles. And while Mythic is definitely a good studio - they are simply not big enough to compete with Blizzard & Co. It's suicide.
    It wouldn't make me wonder if Mythic would get shut down by EA or at least merged with/into another studio sooner or later. It's common practise for this publisher.

  • by VJ42 (860241) * on Thursday October 14, 2010 @05:15AM (#33891302)

    The problem is that PC gaming is dying as online console gaming gains ground.

    Most new exciting games are being released for consoles. There are only a few really hot titles for the PC.

    I'm only 31, and this is the second decade in which I've heard this claimed.

    Indeed. I'm younger (28), and I recall it being said in the '90s, repeated ad nauseam this decade ('00s), and I'm sure someone will repeat it next year making it three decades I've heard it in before I'm even 30.

  • by fadir (522518) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @05:16AM (#33891306)

    Not all studios are run by EA or the way EA runs their studios. There are some sane people out there that are actually interested in long term goals and not only in short term revenue, especially independent studios with own funding (like the one I work for). Instead of playing poker and betting everything (or even more) on the next title those studios plan carefully and have realistic expectations and goals. They might not (ever) make the headlines like WoW & Co - but they make a decent living in their niche market(s) with a pretty solid business plan, without the fear to lose your job next month. They payments are not stellar but fair - a pretty good deal I'd say.

  • by MORB (793798) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @05:18AM (#33891312)

    "If you aren't Blizzard, don't attempt a project as big as Blizzard's titles. "Schuster, bleib bei deinen Leisten" is an old German proverb, meaning "stick to what you are able to handle". Being too ambitious doesn't help anyone and will just end up in a disaster - happened many times, especially in the gaming industry."
    Well, AoC's failure was not caused merely by a funding problem. After all we did have 5 years, and a lot of good people. I think it was mostly a combination of being shy on some things, like not being willing to rewrite the engine and tools from scratch instead of reusing the crap from anarchy online.

    And there was also kind of a poor philosophy of trying to add too many feature in the game right at release instead of doing fewer things but doing them well (like blizzard originally did with WoW).

    For instance, the guild city raid thing should have been cut from release (it just wasn't ready) and released in a polished form in an expansion pack imo.

  • Re:1st post? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @05:38AM (#33891380) Journal

    I can't exactly say I got statistics to back it up, but I don't know of many I'd consider stupid and very high on the corporate ladder. I think the biggest downside to being huge is that you spend a lot of time streamlining the process of what you are doing, which tends to cement the process to do exactly and only what you do today.

    True, large corporations rarely are very nimble. The problem might be a different one though; I haven't come across a lot of truly stupid top managers in large corporations, but I did often find them very myopic when it came to making business decisions.

    Many managers run their companies by the numbers... the numbers in the quarterlies, that is, and the pretty red, yellow and green "dashboard" spreadsheets that are sent up from the departments down below. These sheets rarely tell the whole story, but they do give the manager a false sense of being informed, and so they will make decisions instead of delegating the decision or asking for advice. And more importantly, once that decision has been made, it is set in stone. No matter how wrong it turns out to be later. In other words, many managers are actually very poor decision-makers.

    In the case of Warhammer, perhaps it is just the simple mistake of blindly applying a tried-and-true project management tool to a project that was running late: timeboxing (or sticking to the deadline). It's often a good way to manage delayed projects and ensure you still get something within budget and on time, after which you can decide what to add in updates and at what cost. However in case of MMOs, having a feature-poor or buggy launch is an extremely dangerous thing to do in today's market with plenty of competitors, especially if you count on your customers to pay you each month for the privilege to play. Once you disappoint an MMO player with a buggy or boring game, it is extremely hard to win them back.

    But the megacorp that is EA is not alone in this; Age of Conan suffered from the same rushed release... when the game launched, the bank/auction NPC didn't even work! Funcom sold a million copies IIRC and the game got rave reviews, but they were forced to spend the subsequent 2-3 quarters fixing bugs instead of working on new content. By that time, many people had left due to frequent crashes, buggy quests, etc.

  • by NBolander (1833804) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @07:13AM (#33891738)
    A shame I don't have the points to mod you up. Since Carrie Gouskos took over it has been moving in the right direction. It's not a well run software project by any standard but the game is great fun and certainly nowhere near dead yet.
  • by Jeek Elemental (976426) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @07:19AM (#33891762)

    I remember when entering the game first time, getting the "go forth and kill 10 sprites" thing, I thought it was a joke, a cheeky parody on earlier lesser games.
    Then after some more quests I got that sinking feeling...

    To be fair tho, the rvr was pretty fun and I did spend quite alot of time in game.

    It is obvious tho that the producer failed at many points;
    - massive pvp advertised and key part of design, but noone bothered to check if the system could actually handle that: it couldnt, not even close
    - decent if simple 3d engine, but with plastered on effects (by mythic?) that looked like example templates from some microsoft dev pack, and performed absolutely horribly, bringing top end rigs to knees
    - no music
    - oddly inconsistent art and animation quality, from good to complete crap
    - overall design seems to have changed during development, miniature terrain, buildings and class details suggest a "meta" design where each character represent an army, but quests and later patches seems to have forgotten that. Incoherent mess.
    - amateurs at every level, I dont think there was ANY feature that worked quite right, Ive never seen anything like it. Even bugfixes went out bugged!

    So I think ealouse is quite right in blasting the producer, but I dont think any part of the team should be terribly proud here.

    Id really hate if the industry concludes from WAR failure that theres no market for this kind of game, people had fun with it despite all the flaws, but the flaws were massive and many and as people started to realize there was no intention of fixing it, they left.

  • Re:Ya pretty much (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pinky's Brain (1158667) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @07:42AM (#33891846)

    The anecdote from another developer about item generation does ring true though from a player perspective, it was pretty clear that item generation was a giant cluster fuck (and excuses about how hard it was, so have patience, were frequent in the early game).

  • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @07:44AM (#33891860) Journal

    I dunno, at least the complaint in the summary sounds more like Mythic were the incompetents, not EA.

    I mean essentially the complaint in the summary boils down to "we blew deadlines once too many, but EA is to blame for eventually wanting to see something for its money right now." Which seems to be a surprisingly easy sell for fanboys everywhere. The publisher is always some big evil entity that doesn't nothing but come out of the blue and force people at gun point to ship too early.

    In reality, EA shopped around for a dev after the first attempt failed, and Mythic won the contract by asking for X months and Y million dollars to deliver product Z. Which was presumably a better offer than anyone else had. (And probably in typical game dev fashion, it was a deadline and budget they knew they can't meet, but were basically hoping that the publisher would then keep throwing money at it just to not lose the existing investment.)

    But eventually the publisher has enough of throwing good money after bad (and if they don't, look at what happened with Duke Nukem development), especially since most games won't even break even anyway. As ROI goes, when you have a finite R to expect, you can't throw infinite I at it.

    Then the fanboys complain that the publisher are the evil guys and to blame for everything wrong. Now a dev does the same too. WTF?

  • by nschubach (922175) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:08AM (#33891972) Journal

    I left because:
    * I was forced into PVP and I hate PVP with a passion (at a certain point I ran out of missions I could complete with my regular group because they ramped up difficulty, missions did not reward, and killing mobs was worth jack squat exp),
    * and the story lines were too linear (finish this town and go to the next)

    Granted, all MMOs now are too linear for my tastes so I quit playing them. I'm not going to pay a monthly fee for a single player linear story that allows me to teleport to any point in the world (negating the world part of the game.)

  • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:50AM (#33892208) Journal

    These days with an MMO, you are mostly stealing players from another MMO, usually WoW. Means that your game has to compete favourably to that, and WoW is pretty good. So you might be ok, but ok doesn't cut it.

    They actually said the same thing before WoW, and could even offer numbers to support it. Each time someone got 100,000 players, you could see a bunch of other games losing a total of 100,000. Market saturated, all you can do is steal players from Everquest, etc. Heard it before. Quite eloquently too.

    Then comes WoW and enlarges the market by a whole order of magnitude.

    Turns out there was still room to grow. But of course, you needed to offer something to people who didn't already like Everquest. Everyone who wanted to play an Everquest clone was already on Everquest, and everyone else didn't want to play an Everquest clone. You couldn't enlarge the market by just catering to the same group of people. You needed people from outside that group.

    My take is that the same happens at the moment. Sure, if you make a WoW clone, your market is kinda limited to the people that WoW already caters to. You need something new to get new people.

  • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:54AM (#33892240) Homepage

    David Jaffe has criticized the insider for having unrealistic expectations of working in the games industry.

    He's right. Someone should have told us right up front, whenever we first had the vague notion that working in the games industry might just be more rewarding than being an overworked combination of galley slave and cabin boy, just what "realistic expectations" about industry jobs should be.

    Here's a tip. At some time you're going to get treated like crap by some self-centred jackfruit with delusions of godhood. In the games industry we call those times "weekdays". Weekends are when you can get away from all that, since there aren't quite so many people in the office then. But don't worry, we'll only have to work weekends and evenings until we get past this next milestone. After that everything will be JUST FINE. Honest.

    When you've had enough, you can always quit. I'm sure that nobody will give you any trouble with that at all.

    It's entirely possible, in a monkeys-flying-out-of-your-butt way, that your work experience may be better than that, it's just insane to go into the business expecting anything different.

  • by chrysrobyn (106763) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:06AM (#33892340)

    You're describing what happens to fandom when expectations are too high. Do you recall hearing anyone criticize George Lucas before Phantom Menace ("Yoda was a bad muppet", etc)? Anyone who dared such a thing was immediately ridiculed. We were so enamored with the fictional universe the man had created he could do no wrong. Until, of course, he did.

    Or perhaps the genius that was Joss Whedon. Firefly was pure art. The actors cast were perfect for their roles (and I say this while not caring much for Summer Glau). You don't create a long running show like Buffy without something going for you -- and then a spinoff like Angel that lasted a few years to boot. Then, with a gigantic "thud", Dollhouse. For whatever reasons that everyone had, Dollhouse had loyal viewers, but I'd never have considered them fans.

    Fans will zealously overlook imperfections in order to better enjoy and advocate for the object of their affections. And then, when they're shunned, they have a habit of either just walking away or even turning on the remaining fans. You shouldn't be surprised that Warhammer (a franchise with 20 years of fans) had some people who were less than receptive to legitimate criticism. Nor should you be surprised when the fans who now feel scorned by their idols acknowledge the problems were there all along.

  • Re:Ya pretty much (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GooberToo (74388) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:34AM (#33892658)

    I'm going to guess the people aren't quite as incompetent as he pretends.

    You're either completely foreign to software development or have been ignorantly blessed in the people you've been privileged to work with. The comic strip of Dilbert exists not because its some strange world but because its something most anyone in industry can relate. In fact, most of the jokes in the strip are literally, parodies of true events.

    The reality is, in the software industry, the following are truisms:
    1) Your boss is likely a PHB promoted well beyond his capabilities.
    2) Those managing the project will create a schedule with absolutely no footing in reality while demanding you adhere to it. Worse, its frequently made by marketing for features absolutely no one wants.
    3) Releasing a half finished, unusable product, is the norm.
    4) Testing and documentation is almost always neglected.
    5) Testers are typically treated like the enemy. And should their findings conflict with the schedule, they will likely be ignored.

    Basically, the software industry is completely fucked up. Doubly so in the gaming industry. In most other industries, they would all be fired for complete incompetence. One of the responses is the party complaining didn't have realistic expectations. That's certainly one way of looking at it. Realistically though, those saying he has unrealistic expectations are the ones with unrealistic expectations and are only compounding the problems.

    Basically, his expectations are unrealistic exactly because the software industry is completely fucked up. Then again, the expectations of the industry are unrealistic, resulting in extremely poor quality, incompetent behavior exactly because the industry is completely fucked up and that's the accepted norm. So its become a catch-22. If you act responsibly, you are bucking the system of incompetence and will likely be censured.

    There definitely are some exceptions, but it doesn't change the fact, that this is the software industry at large. In some ways, Microsoft actually help lower the bar for the rest of the industry. So its not exactly surprising Microsoft is reflecting glass; which typifies low quality and way overdue projects as the norm.

  • by basscomm (122302) <basscomm.crummysocks@com> on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:58AM (#33893072) Homepage

    Voiceovers for quest text is just something I'll be skipping because I've already skimmed through the obligatory, "Sand people attacked my land cruiser while I was en route with a shipment of unobtanium for the port in Mos Eisley, and the crates with my valuable cargo are littering the deserts. Without the money, I can't afford the medicine for my sick daughter, and I'm incapable of traveling and/or fighting; would you please find 50 crates and return them to me?" I'll be already heading in the vague direction the quest NPC has sent me on, trying to get my next level/item/skill and some in-game currency.

    Heck, I have friends who refuse to play Borderlands with me because I won't read the quest text before charging off in the direction of my next waypoint.

    To each their own, I suppose.

    Believe it or not, some people (like me) like to play games and pay attention to the little details like the "backstory" and the "raison d'être" for the things you're asked to do instead of treating the game's goals and objectives like a series of meaningless checkpoints.

  • by DaAdder (124139) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:26AM (#33893634) Homepage
    Then check out the current changes on the PTS, which is evolving every day with user feedback. They're gearing up for a very decent revamp of the RvR. Some of your points will be adressed there, some look like the will be in the not so distant future.

    It won't be perfect, but it'll be another of a lot of steps in the right direction.

    The game was where it should've been at launch about 6 months ago, but it took a year and a half to get there. If you ignore that time and pretend that the game is only about a year old, the game is looking pretty decent. It's still not for everyone and there's a lot of rough edges, but it's certainly worth a second shot if you're at all interested in the PvP aspect of an MMO.

  • by tibman (623933) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:58AM (#33894264) Homepage

    I loved the Public Quests.. what a fantastic idea. I played for a month or two and it was pretty low pop. The public quests were a great way to meet people. I would usually chat someone up and go "Hey, want to do that public quest together over there?" They'd go "Hmm, that would be nice because i've tried it solo and it's impossible." That's how friends are made!

    I know this sounds overly simple and stupid.. but if you've ever played lots of MMOs, you'd know that most of the time it is a Massively Multi-player yet Single-player game. The public quests forced people into groups in a way that wasn't uncomfortable and can last as long as each person wished. Having to join a guild just to have "friends" doesn't feel natural to me. Feels more like high-school where you're crammed into a group together.

  • by _xeno_ (155264) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @02:21PM (#33898056) Homepage Journal

    There are degrees to backstory, though. When playing World of Warcraft, at some point, I stopped reading the majority of quest stories because it basically all came down to one thing:

    "Hi, I'm a random NPC whose story is completely self contained and unchanging. I need you to kill these monsters and collect the things they drop for an arbitrary and meaningless reason. Once you've succeeded, the only change you'll see is that I will no longer have an exclamation point over my head."

    Me: Whatever. Kill things!

    I'm told the end game content had a more coherent story, but after a while, I just stopped caring about every little meaningless detail when essentially the entire quest's story is a lame excuse to kill things.

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