It’s easy to get caught up in the hype machine when a new game gets announced. The tendency for players is to ‘own’ the game, sometimes even before all the features are known, which is exactly what the developers want. Having players fully invested in an upcoming game is a sure way to make sales.
Unfortunately this can have bad consequences, especially when the developers announce that features will be cut, or that the game will include or exclude systems that a player likes or wants.
So it’s important for players to recognise when a game is not for them.
For me, there’s a couple of ‘recent’ announcements where, after looking at them, I can see that the game isn’t my cup of tea.
Firstly, there’s Camelot Unchained. The game actually sounded interesting at first, until I noted that it was PvP only, with no PvE. Don’t get me wrong. I actually enjoy a little PvP from time to time, but not all the time. In the Bartle Test I rank as Explorer/Achiever/Socializer/Killer (in that order) so if there’s nothing to do outside of Killer, then the game is not for me.
Similarly, Pantheon. That’s the big news at the moment isn’t it? After looking at what Brad McQuaid is aiming at here, I have to wonder if this game is for me either. All the features, somewhat generic, seemed okay until I read about the emphasis on grouping. Brad does seem to be saying that in order to get anywhere I’ll be forced to group.
Now don’t get me wrong, as with PvP I’m not against grouping. I do enjoy it, when with the right group. My Everquest 2 guild and I (with my Troll SK Bargearse) did lots of small group dungeoneering. But I often find myself playing in the Aussie timezones when my international friends are sleeping, so it is important to be able to do things by myself.
And frankly, that is something I miss in modern MMOs that existed in my first game, Asheron’s Call. I could run a dungeon solo if my character was powerful enough. Sure, there were the big dungeons: the Lugian Citadel, the Olthoi caves that swarmed with foes, but these dungeons were often filled with players too, meaning that a solo player could venture in and join others without necessarily being in a group. And then of course there were other the dungeons at Holtburg, Glendon Wood, the Drudge House, etc.
There are a couple of other things about Pantheon that make me wary, but these don’t really have much to do with the game-play; more about the management team, so not really the focus of this article, that’s for another day.
So anyway, if a game isn’t for me then what to do?
Should I bitch and moan about it?
I have done that in the past. The early days of Star Wars Galaxies development the devs talked a lot about starting a Jedi, and being able to build your own light sabre. Man, was I looking forward to that. Towards the end, Jedi was off the table as a starter character, and faced the dreaded permadeath and being targeted by other players wanted or not. Boy, did that leave a bad taste.
The same with Star Trek online when the devs announced that the Klingon PCs wouldn’t be available at launch. I whinged about that too.
Still, I reckon now that shows a bit of the old entitlement mentality, and if there’s anything we gamers have going for us, it’s that feeling of entitlement.
Maybe in the old days when new MMORPG’s were far and few between there was some justification for feeling that way, especially if the devs had made (somewhat grandiose) promises and had raised player hopes, but these days with so many games to choose from rather than getting bent out of shape it’s better to follow or play something else.
What do you think, do you feel that sense of ownership over an upcoming game entitles you to be upset when it turns out different than you expect, or not?