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How Good Can an MMO be at Launch?

    • 1467 posts
    February 10, 2019 1:44 AM EST

    I nearly messed up the title as 'at Lunch' which, you know is an interesting discussion but not the point of this discussion. So I'm not an avid MMO player, only really getting into Runescape (way back in the day :P), ESO, Destiny and...eh I played Warframe for a bit. Anyway, the point is I'm not exactly a long-term fan of the genre, nor someone who's going to put 80 days into the game or anything massive like that. 

    But, lately there have been two huge controversial titles released (or about to be released) and it's gotten me thinking about how good an MMO can actually be at launch. As you may or may not know, Fallout 76 (even if you ignore Bethesda's idiotic moves) was not a particularly great MMO at launch, it was fairly bug-riddled, had a variety of issues with balancing and PvP and still does to varying extents. At the same time we've heard news of Anthem's 'Demos' that have been fairly poorly recieved for a few of the same issue. Going a bit further back you have Destiny and Destiny 2, which were both fairly poorly recieved at launch though more because of the actual content of the game rather than bugs or glitches. ESO Is yet another example, many would argue that it didn't really push off until the Tamriel Unlimited series of patches, and since then it's risen up to arguably be one of the more popular MMO's of the modern era. So did Destiny at least, once they finished releasing all the DLC for the game, it became even more hugely popular because they genuinelly made the game better and by the end of it's run it was a pretty massive game with a tonne of content for players to enjoy. 

    So, my somewhat simple pair of questions framed behind a few games that I would argue were just as poorly recieved at launch as Fallout 76 (again, ignoring the controversies, that's a seperate discussion), but have ended up as amazing games.

    How Good Can an MMO be at Launch? Furthermore, is it possible that a game can be released, patched (naturally) but never given ground-breaking overhauls or updates and still be good. Could there be a version of ESO that was released as it is now? Content and all.

    Secondly, Do You Believe that Fallout 76 can be as good as ESO is now, despite the rocky start? 

     

    If you are an MMO player who has experience in other games I'd love to hear about the early days of those games (if you were personally playing it...say Month One or Day One).

    • 167 posts
    February 10, 2019 3:05 AM EST

    I 've mainly been an MMO player for like 15 years + and have played many MMO games like Lineage, WoW (not a lot), Neverwinter, DOTA, CS, League of Legends, Blade&Soul, Aion (not a lot), Warframe, PoE, MU, Diablo (not a lot), Guild Wars 2 (not too much), Hearthstone, Black Desert (not too much), a bit of Archeage but dropped it very soon because it was a lame cash grab grind and some other FPS and some other Korean mmorpg that I don't play anymore. 

    1) An MMO can be pretty OK not great or bug free but it can be pretty OK at launch and it can certainly be nowhere or even close to what FO76 was and still is. If I 'm not mistaken with a recent patch there was a massive outrage even from players who were defending the game for dear life even the FO76 reddit was full of rage posts from such players not sure on the situation though as to what went down.  There is no chance you will get a bug free online game I 've never seen one in 15 years plus I play MMOs but you can certainly get an online game that those bugs won't get in the way of your gameplay too much or they will at least be limited to a certain amount and the situation is salvageable. We 're speaking for decent MMO games like the ones I mentioned above and from decent publishers/studios/companies. 

    I 've played games since Month One or Day One and I can tell you that all had bugs and even exploits but the problem with FO76 was something else I had never seen nor expected to see in year 2018. The game wasn't only full of bugs, glitch, exploits but for an MMO game you just can't have such horrible technical issues and design. It was missing features that were already in games as far back as 2000. They fixed some along the way but the problem doesn't stop there and I will give what I believe FO76 is from my experience with MMO games. The majority of problems with other MMOs by now are content problems and not technical issues such as the ones FO76 had and still has some.

    FO76 I believe was made as a source of constant influx of money and with the lowest amount of money the company could use in order to make it. There are bugs in FO76 that carry on since Morrowind and bugs that are already fixed by modders with just the creation kit and Bethesda couldn't correct them. The thing with key bindings for example which was a total killer for me was fixed in FO4 by modders as I was shown.

    FO76 was an attempt to produce a game with the lowest of the low budget and have it sustain them for a few years. The thing though is that Bethesda makes games with very good content (open world/explore) and we all like them but their technical expertise on these games is horrible but because of the modding community not many people were calling them out on this. I knew it and many others knew it as a fact and I even thought this was something since Oblivion because I never played Morrowind but it is a thing carrying on since Morrowind in all of the games.

    Look at this here. What the guy says is 100% correct: Click Here    <--- This right here is the problem with FO76 and BGS.

    Also FO76 was rushed a lot to get out due to "The Console People" and were runing to get the live services and all that for 2018. It was also targeted mostly for console and it was a piss poor transfer on PC, all their games actually aim more on console in regards to design and mechanics (see Skyrim's UI vanilla and then with SkyUI mod).

     

    2) Honestly I don't think you will see any big improvement in FO76 and it won't become an ESO. ESO didn't have anything close to the bugs and issues FO76 has and its content was much more engaging compared to FO76. Also I believe BGS have abandoned the ship with FO76 it is just not worth it from a buiseness perspective to keep throwing any resources to a game that has underperfomed so much that the sales in UK were 84% lower compared to FO4 and how many were the ones that didn't play after launch or left. My guess is that they have left a first aid team working on it but they haven't nowhere near the amount of attention and resources thrown into it that ZeniMax has on ESO. 

    All in all it was a very very rushed and greedy release from a studio that even though they release games with very good open world content and many people love them but they have very bad technical aspects in all their games and they were able to get away with it due to the modding community before. But online games are diferent and without modders to corect all the serious technical issues the game was just very bad. Also I don't see it geting anywhere close to what ESO is because they do not have the capacity and it is not worth it anymore from a buiseness perspective. I just hope this will be a wake up call for their future non MMO releases.

    Edit: The blame for this release should not only be on BGS though but the publisher as well and the console people who rushed the game out.

    Sorry for the long post!!

     

     


    This post was edited by Duvain at February 10, 2019 3:13 AM EST
    • 167 posts
    February 10, 2019 3:21 AM EST

    Oh in regards to Anthem don't have too many expectations because even if the game's content improves down the line they will most likely monetize the shit out of it. Just so you know Anthem's monetization model was already toned down after the backlash EA had on other games it was Star Wars if I 'm not mistaken. From what is going around by people who played Alpha the monetization model for this one was very aggressive and was cash grab material. After backlash in other games they toned it down a bit but since the first day I saw Anthem I didn't expect much if anything from it.


    This post was edited by Duvain at February 10, 2019 3:22 AM EST
    • 1467 posts
    February 10, 2019 5:50 AM EST

    Thanks for the thoughts Duvain, gives me a lot to think about.

    1) An MMO can be pretty OK not great or bug free but it can be pretty OK at launch and it can certainly be nowhere or even close to what FO76 was and still is. If I 'm not mistaken with a recent patch there was a massive outrage even from players who were defending the game for dear life even the FO76 reddit was full of rage posts from such players not sure on the situation though as to what went down.  There is no chance you will get a bug free online game I 've never seen one in 15 years plus I play MMOs but you can certainly get an online game that those bugs won't get in the way of your gameplay too much or they will at least be limited to a certain amount and the situation is salvageable. We 're speaking for decent MMO games like the ones I mentioned above and from decent publishers/studios/companies. 

    Hmm, fair enough. From my understanding the outrage from the latest patch is somewhat similar to just about every game I've seen, in that the patch added in old (already patched) glitches and bugs, most people are under the assumption that it was an older build of the game (which I'm not denying) but it was fascinating for me today when I watched a couple videos on other games talking about similar patches in much later versions of the game. To me that indicated that it was an issue that pops up from time to time in MMO's and isn't totally unexpected but, yeah the recent patch was a shitshow. 

     

    Though, it does make me think about whether it's better for a game to start out buggy and get patched or start out with less content but be more stable. For all the shit FO76 gets I think the amount of content it has is actually fairly good for a brand new MMO. I compare it to early Destiny and I really struggle to decide which I'd prefer. Purely in terms of the starts, I definitely at this point think Destiny is a much, much, much better game but it's weaknesses were in areas that are a bit more important to me so it's harder to judge. 

    I 've played games since Month One or Day One and I can tell you that all had bugs and even exploits but the problem with FO76 was something else I had never seen nor expected to see in year 2018. The game wasn't only full of bugs, glitch, exploits but for an MMO game you just can't have such horrible technical issues and design. It was missing features that were already in games as far back as 2000. They fixed some along the way but the problem doesn't stop there and I will give what I believe FO76 is from my experience with MMO games. The majority of problems with other MMOs by now are content problems and not technical issues such as the ones FO76 had and still has some.

    Yeah that's...mostly true, I really don't get why they didn't have push-to-talk as a feature from the beginning, but...I'll be the one to say that it was to make sure the ATOM store was as good as possible. But yeah, I definitely think that the content problem in most modern MMO's is the main issue with them (for me), or even the fact that they lock actual content behind pay-walls. It's fine if it's free-to-play (Runescape locked a huge portion of the game behind it's subscription model but it was fine because the base game was free) but there are too many games these days that require you to pay hundreds of dollars to unlock the entire game. For me, I'll take the issues with FO76 (as a game) over that without a doubt.

    FO76 I believe was made as a source of constant influx of money and with the lowest amount of money the company could use in order to make it. There are bugs in FO76 that carry on since Morrowind and bugs that are already fixed by modders with just the creation kit and Bethesda couldn't correct them. The thing with key bindings for example which was a total killer for me was fixed in FO4 by modders as I was shown.

    FO76 was an attempt to produce a game with the lowest of the low budget and have it sustain them for a few years. The thing though is that Bethesda makes games with very good content (open world/explore) and we all like them but their technical expertise on these games is horrible but because of the modding community not many people were calling them out on this. I knew it and many others knew it as a fact and I even thought this was something since Oblivion because I never played Morrowind but it is a thing carrying on since Morrowind in all of the games.

    Look at this here. What the guy says is 100% correct: Click Here    <--- This right here is the problem with FO76 and BGS.

    Also FO76 was rushed a lot to get out due to "The Console People" and were runing to get the live services and all that for 2018. It was also targeted mostly for console and it was a piss poor transfer on PC, all their games actually aim more on console in regards to design and mechanics (see Skyrim's UI vanilla and then with SkyUI mod).

    Sorry I'm not replying paragraph by paragraph here but I've said most of what I wanted to, and honestly I'm trying to avoid this being a discussion about the business practises of FO76 because I think we can all agree that they're incredibly stupid. Obviously we have to chat about them to an extent, but yeah I think I talked about most of my reply up top.

    2) Honestly I don't think you will see any big improvement in FO76 and it won't become an ESO. ESO didn't have anything close to the bugs and issues FO76 has and its content was much more engaging compared to FO76. Also I believe BGS have abandoned the ship with FO76 it is just not worth it from a buiseness perspective to keep throwing any resources to a game that has underperfomed so much that the sales in UK were 84% lower compared to FO4 and how many were the ones that didn't play after launch or left. My guess is that they have left a first aid team working on it but they haven't nowhere near the amount of attention and resources thrown into it that ZeniMax has on ESO. 

    All in all it was a very very rushed and greedy release from a studio that even though they release games with very good open world content and many people love them but they have very bad technical aspects in all their games and they were able to get away with it due to the modding community before. But online games are diferent and without modders to corect all the serious technical issues the game was just very bad. Also I don't see it geting anywhere close to what ESO is because they do not have the capacity and it is not worth it anymore from a buiseness perspective. I just hope this will be a wake up call for their future non MMO releases.

    Oooh, okay that's a tough one. I'll have to think on it a bit because I agree with chunks of this (ESO being less buggy, FO76 recieving lekss care and resources) but there's other chunks I'm not sure on. Will comment on it later, but yeah.

     

    But thanks for the comment mate, was fun to dive into :)

    • 1467 posts
    February 10, 2019 5:52 AM EST

    Oh in regards to Anthem don't have too many expectations because even if the game's content improves down the line they will most likely monetize the shit out of it. Just so you know Anthem's monetization model was already toned down after the backlash EA had on other games it was Star Wars if I 'm not mistaken. From what is going around by people who played Alpha the monetization model for this one was very aggressive and was cash grab material. After backlash in other games they toned it down a bit but since the first day I saw Anthem I didn't expect much if anything from it.

    Huh, I'll need to double check some stuff because as far as I was aware the microtransactions are purely cosmetic right now (of course I'm not 100% sure that EA won't fuck it up later on). Personally I'm trying to see it as a Bioware game rather than an EA game, I know that it's probably not the best idea but I'm not exactly sure if I'm planning to get it in few months. 

    I think it has potential purely because Bioware could make it a really fascinating game. 

    • 167 posts
    February 10, 2019 7:26 AM EST

    Yeah you see the problems with just the bugs and also the thing with bugs coming back after patches is not something new in online games and has happened quite a few times in games like WoW for example and it still happens it's just that all the things combined which is bugs and other technical issues drag down the game a lot to the audience I 've also seen many posts on the FO76 reddit saying that they are not too happy with the endgame but I can't really comment on that since I haven't played the game to that extent just a bit on Beta and whenever I got a look at it on a net cafe or friend who owns it. For me I believe I would pick as good as possible stability and decent/OK/medium sized content it's better to play and not get frustrated over bugs and such issues rather than having a lot of content but be frustrated and have your progress delayed due to bugs/glitches.

    Same here I never liked aggresive paywalls of this type or very aggressive monetization strats for games I believe something in between is pretty decent to keep a game going and healthy.

    Yeah in regards to this part after rereading my comment I was thinking to remove it but since it is close to the core where FO76's problems started I thought to leave it there.

    This last part No 2 in my comment is purely my speculation and thoughts and yeah they are to be taken with a few grains of salt.

    In regards to Anthem I haven't followed it closely I just saw and heard some reactions along with what I mention people who played it in Alpha said what I heard actually was that it was supposed to be a huge cash crab but they changed it. It is true that for now cash shop only has cosmetics and that 's good. Actually since they were clever enough to redesign their monetization model I do have some hope that it will be a game out there that will be a decent choise to invest some time in, after all as someone who likes games in general I 'm always happy to see one more game out there as an option to choose from among other games and spend some time in and I hope it will go like that.

    I also want to believe that Bioware will make this thing right but after a certain thing I saw and mentioned in a post Click Here  I started to have a few doubts on what extent EA is affecting them. I mean if I see a title like DA4 become a BF5 it will be very sad to say the least. Though I still want to believe that Bioware will make Anthem at least a decent game and option in the market for us the players to choose and invest some hours in it.

     

    Sorry for not answering withou quotes, multitasking at the moment and being lazy I answer in an order with what you mention though. :P


    This post was edited by Duvain at February 10, 2019 7:33 AM EST
    • 1467 posts
    February 10, 2019 9:20 AM EST

    Yeah you see the problems with just the bugs and also the thing with bugs coming back after patches is not something new in online games and has happened quite a few times in games like WoW for example and it still happens it's just that all the things combined which is bugs and other technical issues drag down the game a lot to the audience I 've also seen many posts on the FO76 reddit saying that they are not too happy with the endgame but I can't really comment on that since I haven't played the game to that extent just a bit on Beta and whenever I got a look at it on a net cafe or friend who owns it. For me I believe I would pick as good as possible stability and decent/OK/medium sized content it's better to play and not get frustrated over bugs and such issues rather than having a lot of content but be frustrated and have your progress delayed due to bugs/glitches.

    Fair enough, I just wasn't sure about it because my main MMO is Destiny and it's fairly bug-free for the most part (or at least it was by the time I got really into it...which I think was shortly before Destiny 2 was announced) so I don't have anything to compare it to.  I'm nowhere near the end-game, and to be honest I imagine that it's not that great, or at least worse than more loot-focused MMO's end-games can be because the game really is focused more on narrative and all that. Personally I think that's a disconnect between FO76 and MMO's, the game is obviously meant to be played a bit more like a traditional Bethesda game where you have multiple characters playing through rather than focusing on completing the game, but...eh it's hard to say. It's a bit of a strange game because I'd say there aren't many MMO's out at the moment that are all that similar (the bigger ones seem to either be games like Skyforge or PoE or more like Destiny/Warframe/Anthem with the sci-fi jumping and floating and flying and all that) but we're also strapped for a big RPG at the moment so it could be bringing in both groups...or parts of both groups.

    Same here I never liked aggresive paywalls of this type or very aggressive monetization strats for games I believe something in between is pretty decent to keep a game going and healthy.

    I think PoE had my favourite monitization system with it purely being cosmetic changes, it's obviously worked pretty damn well for them but that's because the game is made with an insane amount of love, care and effort. But yeah, really for me as long as I don't feel like I have to spend money to get good at the game, I'm fine with it. Destiny was good at this because it gave you a pretty good amount of loot so I never felt like spending money on buying stuff (and there were enough free cosmetics that I didn't need to pay...I got really into cosmetics in that game :P)> 

    Yeah in regards to this part after rereading my comment I was thinking to remove it but since it is close to the core where FO76's problems started I thought to leave it there.

    This last part No 2 in my comment is purely my speculation and thoughts and yeah they are to be taken with a few grains of salt.

    Yeah, no issue man. I think it's important to discuss the issues, because Bethesda has really fucked up here. I want to give them the slightest bit of a chance here and say that it might be something to do with how different FO76 is from their other games, but to be honest I saw a lot of the issues in Fallout 4 and to a lesser extent, Skyrim as well. 

    In regards to Anthem I haven't followed it closely I just saw and heard some reactions along with what I mention people who played it in Alpha said what I heard actually was that it was supposed to be a huge cash crab but they changed it. It is true that for now cash shop only has cosmetics and that 's good. Actually since they were clever enough to redesign their monetization model I do have some hope that it will be a game out there that will be a decent choise to invest some time in, after all as someone who likes games in general I 'm always happy to see one more game out there as an option to choose from among other games and spend some time in and I hope it will go like that.

    I also want to believe that Bioware will make this thing right but after a certain thing I saw and mentioned in a post Click Here  I started to have a few doubts on what extent EA is affecting them. I mean if I see a title like DA4 become a BF5 it will be very sad to say the least. Though I still want to believe that Bioware will make Anthem at least a decent game and option in the market for us the players to choose and invest some hours in it.

    Yeah, I'm really torn between believing in Bioware and assuming that EA is going to absolutely fuck up every single game that Bioware makes from now. It's tough, and sort of similar to me not being sure about Obsidian anymore, because I never really trust the larger companies to put as much care into their games as the smaller companies, and since Bioware and Obsidian are literally what I grew up on, it's really difficult to see the changes.

    Sorry for not answering withou quotes, multitasking at the moment and being lazy I answer in an order with what you mention though. :P

    Bah, no problem :D

    • 274 posts
    February 10, 2019 2:46 PM EST

    An MMO can be amazing at launch... it's just that most developers won't keep it in production long enough to iron things out before release because they see $$$.

    • 1467 posts
    February 10, 2019 6:54 PM EST
    An MMO can be amazing at launch... it's just that most developers won't keep it in production long enough to iron things out before release because they see $$$.

    Have you seen any MMO's that are absolutely amazing at launch? I could probably see it more with smaller ones (or at least smaller companies) like Warframe originally but it seems like it's a genre where even in the best situation, you need some time to adjust the game a bit. 

    • 274 posts
    February 10, 2019 9:48 PM EST

    Dragonborn2021 said:

    Have you seen any MMO's that are absolutely amazing at launch? I could probably see it more with smaller ones (or at least smaller companies) like Warframe originally but it seems like it's a genre where even in the best situation, you need some time to adjust the game a bit. 

    Amazing =/= perfect. Even the best games in the world could do with a few tweaks or fixes. But to answer your question: no. As I said, devs and publishers generally don't care enough to keep it in production long enough

    • 122 posts
    February 11, 2019 1:20 AM EST

    An MMO’s polish at launch involves a lot of different factors, but among the most important are 1) Devotion to quality before launch, 2) Clear determination of how the gameplay should be, 3) Extensive beta testing to eliminate bugs/balance issues prior to launch, and 4) making gameplay clear, simple, and fun.

    Fallout 76, Destiny, Destiny 2, ESO, Anthem, and a whole lot of other MMOs tend have missed at least 2 of these. Some games get so wrapped up in making an exciting story that they forget to make the game fun to play. In ESO’s case, they made a beautiful world with some interesting story, but they didn’t seem to have any clue of how to build the game to be playable and fun. I’ve seen that happen with other Zenimax games, like World of Darkness, at launch, but they did a massive amount of work to turn ESO into the cash cow it is today.

    Bethesda is not the team that made ESO. They tend not to fix or refine their games very far lost-launch because they’re already neck-deep in a new project. Even Skyrim Special Edition was chock full of the same bugs everyone had known about for half a decade when Bethesda released it.

    I don’t believe Bethesda had a pre-game devotion of quality concerning Fallout 76. I think it’s pretty obvious they had no idea what players were going to do in their game world, since they spent a lot of time telling fans and players they didn’t need to make their own fun. I don’t believe they tested Fallout 76 even remotely close to an appropriate length of time for the sheer quantity of bugs being reported. I think they spent most of their time focused on refining the gameplay and let everything else coast (including the merchandise for their collector’s edition orders). If they showed that little pride in the work on release day, I would hold no hope that Bethesda will continue working on the game now that they’ve already made money off of it.