We yearn for the golden years of Neverwinter Nights, or Meridian 59, or the Legends of Kesmai. Those were the Golden Years of graphical online gaming, the time when we were all newbs to the genre, and every peek around the corner was a practice in awe and wonderment.
Now, as we grow older, we grow jaded. Graphical MMOGs titillated the senses and offended the better portions of our minds. How can games which look so good be so bad? How could eye candy so displace intellectual pursuits in the games of today? How could so much thought lead to so little thinking? The levelling treadmills, the days of the same old uber loot, the best templates.
How could so much innovation lead to so little excitement?
When UO teased us with trade skills mixed with combat, a world for pacifists and warriors alike, we despaired when balance went the way of factions; great in concept, poor in implementation. When EQ offered us a 3-D environment, we marveled at the eye candy, but despaired when the game offered us little in innovation. Here was a non-graphical MUD put into graphic form. When Asheron\’e2\’80\’99s Call promised us a world like no other, we gasped at the width and scope of the world, but became crestfallen when we realized there was little substance behind the basic templates and absence of trade skills in Dereth.
Then came the second generation MMOGs, the ones we were betting the bank on. AO turned out to be a visually stunning world with auditory pleasures to match. Too bad there was little in the way of a game to back it up. WWIIOL promised us strategy in the time of patches, crashes, and systems utterly unaccustomed to handling Cornered Rat\’e2\’80\’99s type of \’e2\’80\’9cchallenge.\’e2\’80\’9d
Now we wait on Shadowbane, the hype of years destined to climax in an anti-climax of epic proportions, or DaoC, the promised land of current MMOGs, promising us a stable world without European friends or balanced character classes.
Am I alone in being unaffected by the offerings of these MMOG worlds?
When will the companies stop making excuses? When will they stop telling us decisions were made according to marketing budgets? When will we see a complete game upon release? When will we stop lambasting companies for releasing games six months too early?
Make no mistake, we are the reason the MMOG industry is backlogged with the kind of shit it is. We have told MMOG companies that we will buy their half-complete products, and we will financially support the idea of a game, not the actual game.
Do not be mistaken about the origins of the current industry. We buy half-assed products. We buy based on idea rather than reality. We pay $12 for an idea rather than an actual complete, stable game.
When devs offer their excuses for their half-assed methods, we eat them up. We say to ourselves \’e2\’80\’9cWell, they couldn\’e2\’80\’99t help it. It was those evil marketers. The marketers are to blame for all.\’e2\’80\’9d Even if, in the back of our minds, we know any gaming CEO who had a solid set of testicles would tell the marketers where to stick it.
I don\’e2\’80\’99t want DaoC this week. I don\’e2\’80\’99t want it next week. I don\’e2\’80\’99t even want it in the month of October. I want it when it is done. We will not receive a complete game. We will receive a stable game, but an unbalanced one. We will receive what the devs could throw at us on the marketing schedule.
Just once, ONCE, in the MMOG industry, I want the CEO of a gaming company to tell the marketing department where to stick it. I want the CEO to say \’e2\’80\’9cLook, this game is not done, and we will not release it until it is 100%, without a doubt, ready to ship.\’e2\’80\’9d
We will not get a complete DAoC game. We will get a game released on a marketing schedule with the appropriate red names telling us they did the best they could given the marketing schedule.
And you know what? Tens of thousands of you will buy this game based on the \’e2\’80\’9cidea\’e2\’80\’9d\’e2\’80\’9d rather than the actual game play. You will buy this game. You will love it. It could be a total piece of shit (and, let\’e2\’80\’99s face it, that\’e2\’80\’99s a 50/50 chance), and half of you will defend it mercilessly.
Marc Jacobs will show up in our forums telling us all the little reasons for releasing a game that is not 100% complete. And most of you will buy into it. You\’e2\’80\’99ll excuse him. You\’e2\’80\’99ll defend his game, even though there should be no excuse for releasing an incomplete game.
I like Marc Jacobs, personally. From other sources, and what people tell me, I really like this guy. When I read what he says, I almost bend to it, excuse it, back him up on his words.
However, just this once, just this one time in MMOG history, I want Marc Jacobs to tell his marketers where to stick it. I want him to say \’e2\’80\’9cThis is MY game, and I will not be ruled by your god damned schedule. I will make this game to be my vision, and I will not release it to be anything less than a 100% complete game with balance, content, and eye candy. Until then, your marketers can blow me.\’e2\’80\’9d
Will that happen? Of course not. But, I can dream, can\’e2\’80\’99t I?
Hey, this is the new LtM.net. After this weekend, we\’e2\’80\’99ll be slownewsday.net. We\’e2\’80\’99ll have no credibility. We won\’e2\’80\’99t know what the hell we\’e2\’80\’99re talking about. We\’e2\’80\’99ll be riding on a popularity that isn\’e2\’80\’99t ours. After all, the site has gone downhill after Lum left. Hell, we have sucked ever since Myschyf left.
But, you know what? We\’e2\’80\’99re players here. We know what we want. We know what we deserve. And we will not rest until an MMOG company gives us that.
Until then, you\’e2\’80\’99re stuck with me and everyone else. You\’e2\’80\’99ll just have to deal. If you can deal with the crap the MMOG serve up, you can deal what we have to say in tow.
Happy final Lum The Mad September weekend to you.