Patch Day! It seems nothing brings more excitement and fear to the MMO gamer than patch day. I’d also be willing to bet nothing causes more people to quit than patch day.
In a perfect world, patch day is the day when the bug that has been driving you crazy finally gets fixed. It is when new content is added. It is when the “too powerful” get nerfed. It is when the “too weak” gets buffed. It is when you get that new game feeling again if only for a moment. All in a perfect world.
The reality of it is that patch day breaks things. It breaks the UI. It makes more lag. The class/item you have come to love does not work as well as it used to. It makes you revise previous successful strategies. It makes previously worthless items priceless and previously priceless items worthless. It adds content you finish in 3 hours. This is not to mention the headache of getting the patch downloaded in the first place.
In general, people don’t like change. You create a game and rules for play. The players learn the rules and play according to them (not talking about cheaters here). On patch day, the rules often get changed. This upsets players who had been playing by the rules. They get tired of the game having the rules changed each patch day and they quit.
Patch day often will have small changes that would originally appear to be minor. Changes like the voice of a character or the revision of a custom logo background. People get used to things and when you change even the little stuff it becomes a big deal to them. They liked the old logo background. The old voice was fine, why did you change it?
A new player would not even notice these items. In fact, they will get used to the way it is currently and would likely get upset if you changed it back.
I’ll cite a recent example from EVE Online. They just had a patch come out. In this patch, the power of missles was changed in various ways. Now you need to buy some skills to make them work as well as before, and they deal damage in a different way. Big missles are not as deadly to small ships.
Now, I already read the patch notes and recognized the missle changes so I just avoided missles for the most part. It is how I prefer to deal with change. After the patch came out, I started training missle skills and I do not notice any issues with them. People that had jumped all over missles because they were so powerful are currently upset. Even though the patch notes were available and a test server was in place for people to see how it would impact them.
Another thing they changed was the voice of the ship computer. I rarely played with sound up so I do not recall much of the old voice. I like the new voice, even though she sounds a bit apethetic about everything. I half expect her to say, “Oh bother, I suppose I will request yet another permission to dock for you.” But still, the player complaints abound.
To be expected, people will quit. It happens at every patch when you change something people like. The truth is, almost everything in the game is liked by someone for some reason. No matter what you change, you will piss someone off.
I’m glad I’m not a dev.