Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Minimum Standards

This evening I have had two pretty amazingly crappy MMO experiences. And they had nothing to do with the games themselves. I have no idea how the games are doing or what they are like currently, since I was utterly unable to log into either of them.

Warrior Epic: Clicked on a banner advertising the game on a whim. Watching one of their promo videos it seems that they have a class that focuses largely on guns. I have a fetish for gun wielding fantasy classes, my favorites being the Hunter in WoW and the Engineer in WAR. It was a small enough download, only 15 mins or so...I decided to give it a try. Even if it looked a bit janky, I figured I had little to lose by at least trying it.

Downloaded the file, installed the game, and registered for an account. However the client kept hiccuping on the last few megs of the initial "file check" update. It simply could not download the last 0.4% of the latest update. I even did an uninstall and reinstall...same thing only this time it was the last 0.5%.

Checking on the forums, it turns out that this is a common issue, and it's at least three weeks old. Why are they wasting money advertising their game on random websites if it's so obviously not ready for prime-time? Is internet advertising really that cheap? And even if it is, hyping up your game when a large proportion of users won't even be able to log on to it seems like a pretty bad idea.

Everquest Online Advetures: this one pains me, for it's a game that I once enjoyed. Not really in the mood to log into LoTRO or Wizard 101 after my Warrior Epic fiasco, figured I could reactivate my account there for ten bucks and check out how the game has changed in the two years since I last played it. Checked my account, and as it turns out it's currently active under some kind of promotion. Sweet!

Since I last played I've switched to a new slimline PS2, so I had to reset my internet connection settings. No worries. Reset them, tested my connection and my PS2 told me it was fine. Connected to the game....and got stuck on updating the small system file on my PS2 memory card. The game told me to check my network settings. Tested them again, again PS2 says they are fine. Same error.

Removed my router from the equation (cable modem directly to the PS2), reset my cable modem...and the PS2 borked it so bad that I couldn't log onto the internet at all. I'm not even sure how that is possible. Plugged the cable modem back into the router, reset it again, and it connected AoK (thus this post). Checked the boards, and it turns out that similar issues are common.

Also found that they apparently don't bother to proofread or spell check official posts. These quotes are all from the latest Development Update linked on the front page of the main website:

"been rotating their spawn locations so tht all zones"

"If you ARE lycan or WH, you vampire flag will be reset"

We cannot update without a QA greenlight, and with the new QA getting uo to speed, that unfortunately hindered that."

I cannot believe that their quality control is so poor that those typos got through. What's worse, that post has been the current "news" of the game for almost eight months (since November). It's embarrassing.

Both of those MMO experiences were what I consider epic fails (overused hyperbole I will allow). I know what it is like to be asked to do far too much in too little time for too little pay. But there are also certain minimum standards I expect to be met by a commercial product. For an MMO, not having your official dev posts read like a ten year old wrote them and being able to actually connect to your game are on that list.

I'm not a novice when it comes to PCs, consoles, or the internet. I am not running weird systems. Heck, half the PS2s on the market must be the exact same slimline I'm using. If I am having this much trouble just connecting to these games, heaven help the average user. These two MMOs currently utterly fail at the very basics.

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