The Nature of Second Chances
There’s a lively discussion happening on Twitter regarding giving certain MMORPG’s, namely Age of Conan, a second chance. I’m not sure of everyone who’s in the discussion, so I’ll try to get the main points out from the two most vocal ones on opposite sides of the discussion.
OpenEdge believes that people who left during the opening months of Age of Conan should give it a second chance, as the game in its current incarnation has vastly improved, according to him. Pitrelli, on the other hand, feels that if a game has failed you once, then it shouldn’t be given a second chance. (Of course, please note that this is a generalization of the extremely long conversation they had on Twitter, so if any of you have a better way of summing things up, let me know. )
Now, I have a very weird history with MMORPG’s, as almost all of the MMO’s I’ve played, I’ve played them for some length of time WAAAAAAY after launch day, with the exception of a small handful of games. WoW, I played a year after release. LOTRO, I only started last year. Fallen Earth, I couldn’t get to run at all during trial so it doesn’t count. EQ2, only this year. The two I played on launch and eventually abandoned were Age of Conan, and Warhammer Online.
Let’s focus on Age of Conan at launch though. AOC in its original form had perhaps one of the BEST battle systems in an MMO. I enjoyed it thoroughly and was not bored when I was in a fight (I’ve been known to yawn during battles, so sue me). It also sported one of the most polished newbie experiences out there in the form of Tortage.
Unfortunately, almost everything after Tortage felt like a bait-and-switch. Gone were the voice-overs for quests. Gone was the coherent storyline that came with Tortage. Gone was the sense of direction you had when you played. Worst of all… Stats had no meaning, so despite my changing outfits, they did not matter!
I leveled up a Guardian during the two weeks I played, and got it up to 40. It was surprising that I leveled up so fast, because by the time I hit 80, I wouldn’t have been two months old. Eventually I left because despite the great battles, there wasn’t much else to feed my need for adventure, and for a game subtitled “Hyborian Adventures,” that would make it a terrible misnomer.
Right now, OpenEdge is listing down or linking various changes since launch that have occurred to AOC, and it seems that something must have clicked for the people at Funcom, who seem to have been hard at work during the year that I’ve been ignoring AOC. Stats have been made relevant, guilds have levels, PVP has been improved, and I’ve heard you can still kick people off cliffs with horses.
While Everquest 2 has my time at present, I do feel that people in general deserve a second chance to redeem themselves. Launches are never as smooth as they happen to be, even for big companies, and I wish ill on very few entities, so I’m inclined to offer the game some of my time in exchange for a brand new experience. AOC might not be the game for me, but if I can get back into the game for cheap when the GodSlayer expansion comes out, perhaps I’ll see what’s changed by running a Guardian through the content again.
Of course, if some of those niggling problems still remain in the game, like it being unplayable because you had certain hardware (My friend experienced this), then it’s war I tell you.