Sunday, May 18, 2008

Shoo, shoo, AoC fanbois

Don't get me wrong, I am having fun playing Age of Conan. The very fact that I spent the weekend playing AoC and not WoW tells you so. But that doesn't make me blind towards the obvious deficiencies of that game. And every time I mention a problem, I get accused of "excessive negativity" by some AoC fanboi. Sorry, but I'm not standing for that. And I think that the whole MMORPG genre would be a lot better off if people would stop making excuses for buggy games, horrible customer service, and game design flaws, just because a game is new. So here is a list of things I found unacceptable on my first weekend of AoC. Note that I *am* paying for this, the early access costs $5 / Euro 5 for 10 days, thus the same 50 cents per day fee as the regular monthly fee.
  • The first day I fully paid for, the servers only came up at 11 pm my time, after several delays. I had gone to bed by then and didn't get to play at all.
  • The second day, Sunday, Funcom scheduled a server maintenance from 8 pm to 11 pm European time, right in the middle of prime time. Couldn't that have waited for Monday morning?
  • The destiny quest line for mages is bugged for me, as well as for many other people, according to the forums. At some point the quest dialogue simply doesn't continue and you are stuck. You need to level past this quest, until at level 14 your trainer gives you option to skip it. If you don't find that out, you can't finish the destiny quest line at all, and would never be able to leave Tortage.
  • I petitioned for GM intervention for the bugged quest, and never got a reply, in over two hours of waiting. Then the game crashed and my petition disappeared.
  • Before the maintenance I sorted my inventory and put all the stuff I didn't want to sell into the bank. After the maintenance the trader, who is the access point to bank, auction house, and mail (not a good idea in the first place, in a game with collision detection) was disabled. According to patch notes he will remain disabled until the next patch, who knows when.
Now you can say all you want about this still being early days, about WoW not having been perfect on day one, or whatever. But I think that we should stop accepting crap like that, just because we are all so excited about a new game. The industry standards have gone up since the early days, where buggy releases were still acceptable. The least I can do is state loud and clear where the problems are, and that this isn't good. If that scares away a couple of customers from Funcom, it is their own fault, I'm not making these things up, I'm just reporting what I see. And I refuse to be gagged by some AoC fanbois, who think that nothing but undiluted adoration should be written about this game. AoC is certainly better than Anarchy Online or Vanguard at release, but it is still far from perfect. And if we players just accept games like that, game companies have no reason to make games that actually work well on release.

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