You Are Rated Against Your Hype

Simple guideline: a modest success is better than a grand failure. If you make unreasonable claims, I assume that everything else you say is a lie, and your game will be a parade of delays, disappointments, and broken promises.

Nicodemus hates this guy. Why? Because “CEO” means “you should know better than some idiot on a forum saying, ‘u cant beat wow for with like a billon dollars.'” Spore? Good luck with those expectations. LotRO? Best expansion evar or die. Vanguard? We saw that one. I expected more from Half-Life 2 because the box went on about its being the highest-rated game ever, but it came with the far-more-entertaining Portal.

A successful niche game is a great thing. It knows what it can do, and it does it well. If you want that thing, it is there for you. If not, you are not just getting a bad knockoff of something from Blizzard or Sony. Whatever jokes I may make about Alganon, I respect the David Allen interview that translated to “we’re making a pretty decent DikuMUD/EQ/WoW knockoff that does some stuff differently.” City of Heroes developers humbly remark that they did not know the costume creator would be popular.

Our industry sucks because we accept buggy releases. The PR for our media sucks because we accept unreasonable promotional crap. “Everyone promotes their game that way” is the same thing as “every game ships with bugs.” Some people do a better job, and not everyone spews exaggerations and blatant lies. And some people can live up to the hype.

: Zubon

12 thoughts on “You Are Rated Against Your Hype”

  1. One misconception that frustrates me is that if an MMO is released and it does not topple WoW, I see articles, blog posts, and the like claiming that it was a “failure.” GFW magazine had an article depicting the MMO releases of 2007 to be failures because WoW still came out on top. This kind of expectation I think is a lot of what drives MMO companies to hype the hell out of their games. Give them a break. Every time an MMO is announced, I guarantee that you will see at least one self-righteous blogger compare it to WoW or comment on how it doesn’t have the features or the IP to compete. So what? Why is that a mark of success? When you read a book, do you finish it and proclaim, “Well, that was good, but not as good as this other book. It failed.” When you watch a movie, does it completely ruin your day if it is not better than your favorite movie of all time? Does every movie have to be the best movie ever? Does every MMO have to live up to YOUR expectations and offer an experience better than the MMO you are currently playing? Maybe it doesn’t for you, but for someone who has only played one or two MMOs (or none at all), the MMO that they are drawn to for whatever reason (be it hype, ads, trials, IP, friends, etc.) just might be the “best MMO” in their eyes. There is a subscription and quite a bit of time involved in playing these types of games, so it is in a company’s best interest to make their game appear to be /the/ one to play. Take the hype with a grain of salt. If a game flounders and fails to live up to hype or anyone’s expectations: big deal. That is how the industry works.

  2. I’ll clarify, Rory = Animagnum. Anyway, my angst above isn’t directed at any particular person. I listen to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of blogs, but rarely comment.

  3. Thanks for mentioning Alganon. I hadn’t heard of it before and I like their bullet points and the new screenshots.


    Actually I admire them for being honest about it being a WoW variation. Hopefully they’ll be able to follow through on keeping the good parts of WoW in and improving where WoW disappoints.

  4. Thank you for this post…
    I appreciate honest information…I want it pure and simple, and not “Over 4 million characters served” crap…

    But, with WoW’s dominance, people thought it was the genre (MMO’s) that people wanted, and not the game (WoW)…so, the belief was make a cool MMO, and people will come…
    Copy a famous MMO and not innovate (TR, LOTRO), people will not come..
    Try to step over your bounds (Vanguard), everyone will leave…

    WoW had a license, had the developer…everything they needed to be a success….and won the MMO game…
    And from my standpoint, if the new games fail as well (AoC, WAR, Stargate, etc,…), we hopefully will see the end of so many companies vying for this market…
    Instead we will hopefully get a Nvidia/ATI market…where now no other company can get into the market…and instead we will have several genres of MMO’s from just a handful of companies working extra hard for your cash…
    Some may not like this option…but, I for one, feel it is a win for Video Cards…why not MMO’s? (maybe see less JUNK also…I can dream?)

  5. Of course, the problem with copying another’s ideas, is that you can never be better then them. You can only be equal at best, but never better.

    Lots of talk about how developers should not be trying to make a WoW killer, but instead focus on successful niche markets of MMO. This is definitely a good idea.

    Seriously though, I don’t think anyone’s going to get the message anytime soon. Take all the MMOs in existence right now, and divide the world population equally between all of them. World of Warcraft will have already filled their quota. This market is a tiny bit crowded.

  6. *sorry, I’m prone to hyperbole. It just seems that there’s a vast, vast, vast number of MMOs out there, not to mention the downright flood of them in Asia.*

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