Rage In the Cage

Has the EALouse fervor died down yet? Unless you’ve been trapped under a large piece of furniture the past week, you should be aware of the now infamous “blog” started by a soon-to-be ex-Mythic employee. The Louse fired more than a few salvos at EA, BioWare, and Mythic from the most convenient seat of all … an anonymous blog. Many fellow WAR and game bloggers have had some things to say about this whole affair so I thought I’d ramble a bit myself.

Relating to the Rant
I’m not here to say Louse’s rants and posts are true or false. Whether you believe Louse or not, there’s more than a few things he/she posted that sound credible. I’m employed at a large corporation and work with some outstanding people (and some who aren’t). It’s like arguments I have with people over politics — government is incompetent, inefficient. Really? And you think private industry is any better? HA! Both are run by people and once you realize that people are incompetent and inefficient it should all sink in.

Hearing how members of management kiss ass, don’t listen to underlings, make bad decisions, etc. is not a surprise to me. The company I work for is extremely efficient but despite that … we still have plenty of boneheads making boneheaded decisions on projects that can only be summized as the epitome of boneheadedness. I’m sure EA is no different. And that they outsource, cut staff, etc. should also not come as a big shock. (The gaming industry isn’t immune to the crushed economy.)

People who claim to “know” what went down tell me that Mythic wanted to get away from the DAOC model to prove they could win with something different. Others tell me that they “know” it was an EA decision from on high to make Warhammer WoW-like so to draw in as broad a base of gamers as possible. At this point who cares? All we can do is look forward. Was WAR one big missed opportunity? Perhaps. Did it fail? Maybe. I guess that depends on your perspective on opportunity and definition of fail.

Butt Hurt
It’s been my observation that many MMO gamers get easily butt hurt by their genre of choice. Read any games board where an article about WAR is up (or nearly any other MMO) and you’ll see the trolls come out from under their bridges to complain about a game they obviously no longer play. Obsess much?

If you were excited about APB, were in its beta, read up on it and followed its development, then you bought it and subscribed to it only to see it shut down soon after launch … well … you have the right to be butt hurt. If you played Tabula Rasa … went through all those same things from pre-beta, through beta, and launch, enjoying it only to see it close down in less than two years … you have a right to be butt hurt.

If you were overly enthused about a game that you’ve followed, perhaps took part in the beta, then played but it fell short of your expectations … get the hell over it. You need to readjust your expectations because for some, this seems to be a recurring theme. Simply put … nothing will meet your expectations and no new game now or on the horizon will apparently. WoW is the pinnacle of MMO greatness and nothing will ever top it. So go back to WoW and leave us alone in our shitty game!

Expectations and Comparisons
So much of this anger, rage, and hate stems from overly inflated expectations. Hey, I get excited for this or that and can’t wait for a new game, movie, book, television show. But given time … one learns to curb their enthusiasm so as to avoid the letdown that can happen. The way MMOers rage about games it’s like Star Wars nerds … the ones who waited for nearly 20 years to see Lucas’s next trilogy only to leave theaters with so much venom their minds forever turned against their once beloved movie trilogy. Is it possible that MMO gamers simply hate the genre they claim to love or are they only content when they are complaining?

I know, it’s easier said than done and that calming patience and resolve isn’t prevalent in many people. Call it a wisdom thing that comes with age. MMO gamers seem to be those who want the new game first, they want it now so they can quickly level up and go through the game. As I’ve learned in my limited exposure to MMO’s … it appears best to bide your time … wait a few months … let some of the kinks get worked out. In the two years I’ve been playing the genre, the new MMO’s that have come out all had troubles, bugs, issues, flaws. And that’s all it takes for the fickle MMO gamer to bail, claim fail, and search for the next best thing or a return trip to WoW.

That’s not to say we should be totally understanding. These games should be released when they’re ready to go, playable, as bug-free as possible. Instead there is this mad dash to market that leaves us with inferior products and a sour taste … all for $15 per month. And that’s what happened to WAR, Champions Online, Aion, Star Trek Online. There is so much pressure to get games out with a hope to sell a ton of boxes, garner a good number of three-month subscribers hoping to then hold onto a nice population, only to go in and fix what’s broken later. People look at the polish of WoW today and expect every new game to be as sharp when it hits our PC’s. Though they forget that WoW wasn’t so great or polished or awesome when it first launched. Gamers only remember the ugly of games that scorn them … not those they love. And to gain that love takes time.

WAR Hate
I’m guessing both the gaming fanbase and EA had equal amounts of expectation for WAR. My awareness of the game was only brought to light when trying to come up with an online game to play with my cousin who, at the time, lived in Arizona. I said “Hey, what’s this World of Warcraft game? Should we play that?” He replied, “Nah, wait for Warhammer … it will be better.” I left it at that. So I was never swept up into all the hype and I had zero expectations for the game. In fact, I remember when I first loaded it up and played I had zero clue what the hell I was doing. I was ignorant for what was in store for me on this MMO treadmill. Flocking to WAR were a ton of MMO vets and players looking for the next best thing. Some were ex-WoW players, ex-DAOC players, and others had played multiple MMO’s in the past.

Looking at the game and where it’s been we can see that Mythic did attempt to be a game for all-comers. Soon after launch WAR fell short of expectations due to many circumstances. The PvE crowd was unamused as there wasn’t enough depth to the PvE, the world wasn’t immersive enough. Some found the game to be too laggy and system crashes caused others to get frustrated. From a PvP perspective there were some career imbalances that made the game no fun for some as they were scorched by Bright Wizards or frozen by Sorcs. Endgame was found to be lacking, unfun, etc., etc., etc. There were many reasons to not want to play. For some, they were deal-breakers, for others bearable. I guess it depended upon the person.

The fallout was great and despite topping 1 million box sales and 750,000+ subscribers, that base of players dwindled pretty quickly. After launching with 64 servers the game was whittled down to less than 20 within months. And that’s all it takes for players to move along and not look back as they seek that next game to admire and yearn to play. For some, however, the jilted feelings of what “could have been” are so strong they just can’t let go … opting to rant, rave, and berate this game that so disappointed them. Many go out of their way to chime in on Massively or Gamasutra as they pile on the hate for a game that wasted their time.

And this is where I have to ask … Really? Over a game? You wanted it to rock, in your mind it didn’t, so move along. Believe it or not there are some of us that aren’t quite so sensitive to these things called “games” that we can simply play them and enjoy them for what they are.

And So It Was …
And since then many other games have experienced the same fate of being compared to WoW … anticipated … only to launch and fall short. Champions Online? Lack of content. Aion? Grinds you like a hurricane and for those hoping for awesome PvP … not until you’re Level 25 but then you’ll get gang-raped by Level 50’s. Star Trek Online? Too different to travel around like a spaceship, poor “away” missions, lack of content. But you know what? Just like WAR, these games are still active, people play them, and I’m sure in their own ways they are fun. This notion of needing millions upon millions of players to be the bestest only matters to those who care about pissing contests or being the tallest midget. Would you like a medal or a chest to pin it on?

Enjoy the game you want to enjoy and you want to play. It’s your money, spend it how you see fit. If you try it and don’t like it … you have the right to walk away. But two years later still spitting acid over WAR, you look pathetic. Perhaps your daddy didn’t praise you enough or your mommy didn’t hug you enough. Perhaps you have other issues. Perhaps you are more or less a simple troll. Let … it … go. Cataclysm will be out in a little more than a month so you can breeze through it in 2-4 months and then bitch about that.

And now a game like Star Wars: The Old Republic is already a failure because they will add in voice acting for quest text, it will be too much like WoW, it’s been eluded that BioWare is making it like a single-player RPG, everyone will be a Jedi. So rather than waiting for it to launch and actually see how it is we’ll decide now, years before launch based upon an anonymous soon-to-be ex-employee. How we have evolved. I don’t care about SWTOR nor how it is or is not being mismanaged. I do care about a fickle playerbase that now makes up its minds on rumor, on the number of subscribers, and on how much it will or will not be like WoW.

End to My Rant
All I care about is that WAR is still “open for business” two years later and despite its “failure” has not gone the way of Tabula Rasa or APB. And it has some new stuff coming. Mythic finally woke up and realized they have a pretty nice PvP game based on RvR. That’s been the long road that many quit traveling but it’s where we’ll be come year’s end. Who knows where we’ll go from there. I’m hopeful that things will start to get really interesting. These upcoming RvR Packs sound neat, but I want new classes, races, zones, dungeons, and all the trimmings. Should that never happen … I’ve enjoyed my time in WAR and will continue to do so until the journey ends. No regrets.

To Louse … I wish you the best when that pink slip comes and hope you land on your feet somewhere that you can contribute. To the haters, I hope somewhere you find your place, a game that will make you supremely happy and content. And to us WAR faithful, I hope for a continued improvement to our game and should it see another 2 years, may it get better and better.

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15 Responses to “Rage In the Cage”

  1. Horray for Krossus! I couldn’t agree more if I had written it myself. Let it go, people – life’s too short.

  2. I was going to go into a rant of my own but then I stopped and realized that you said exactly what I have thought for the last few years. To the letter. Bravo.

    WaR to me offers something different every single night I log in and to me that is what keeps me subscribed. It’s something that PvE just can’t do for me. For example. I belong to a fairly large guild on Badlands and we put together a WB for a city push last night. We were vented and organized and feeling pretty confident. We entered, found and engaged the enemy. I have not had my ass whipped like that in a while! We engaged them with different strats time and time again and they just walked over us every time! Call me crazy but I LOVED it!

    In my opinion that is what makes WaR a success. You are never going to win all the time. There is always someone out there who has your number more times then not. You can always get better and do things differently.

    The thing I love about WaR is every fight is different and that’s what seperates it from WoW. No scripts, no timers, and the ability to humble even the most experienced players from time to time.

    • That is the benefit to PvP … the unpredictability. I’m coming up on 20 completed runs of TOVL and I know how every fight goes down with my eyes closed. PvP … it’s different every time.

  3. I also heavily agree on your post. You said it best.

    I guess what the Louse had to say about WAR wasn’t any surprise. I think we all kind of knew it. What is being said about SWTOR is interesting to me.

    If nothing else, reading the trolls can be amusing.

    • Objectively we can look at WAR and say it was a missed opportunity. But can it come back from that to be a very successful game? If given time, the TLC it’s gotten since launch could make it better and more widely played.

      We’ll have to wait and see but I’m sort of hopeful.

  4. The one paragraph Louse dedicated to SWTOR, blew up people’s heads like in the 1970’s movie Scanners. WAR was only a failure in the eyes if the people that the game didn’t live up to their expectations. Like you said, it’s been 2 years and is still going. It might not be pulling in a herd of cash cows, but they are gently milking what they got.

    • Yeah, Star Wars is blessed and no one shall utter one negative word about it!

      It just surprises me how so many are voting “fail” before it’s even out. I guess they are all geniuses.

  5. Well said, Sir.

    As others have mentioned, these are my thoughts as well. Great assessment, and nice post!

    Also: Get back out there! How am I supposed to honor you properly if I can’t salute you in game (preferably over your dead body, but, ya know… no hard feelings? ;P. ).

    • I have been a major slacker. Real life stuff diverting my attention. There’s been a lull in guild activity at the moment so admittedly I’ve been ALTing which has done little to help my cause for RR80.

  6. Bravo! Well said!
    Even the best of companies have the garbage that Louse was complaining about. It always will as long as money and power are at stake. And then, as you say, it’s a game. If you enjoy it, then play it, if you don’t, go find one you do and stop wasting your time crying about. 🙂

    I just don’t get the hate that was thrown at SWtOR… It sounds like someone is trying to sabotage a game for their own revenge and self satisfaction? Childish if you ask me.

    -Ess

  7. A lot of games really tend to come together in the last few months of development, so the TOR being crappy now doesn’t surprise me. We’ll see. It looks like I’ll finally be back come next month, so you won’t be so lonely Kro! 🙂

  8. Gottfreyd Says:

    Damn good rant. Damn good! I agree on all points.

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