Comment Spotlight

Crud, there’s a bug? Better go back to WoW.

How can so few words contain so many levels of meaning? I had wanted to comment on the usual lack of a middle ground between “dismissive” and “CRISIS!” but I think expectations are the more important point here. Every boss is bugged in a dungeon you visit for the game’s central quest line, more than a year after it went live? Par for the course. Any hope otherwise is risible, worthy of taking the time to publicly mock.

You really do get what you pay for, and you deserve it. If you are willing to pay for things as-is, or as-is plus a hope that they will get better, companies will happily sell them to you. Cryptic has been experimenting with how early in the development cycle you can start selling the game. WoW is what passes for highly polished in our genre; save the real “when it’s ready” for people who demand it.

: Zubon

14 thoughts on “Comment Spotlight”

  1. I think it’s interesting that tropes in the circle of general MMO commentators/ enthusiasts have built up to the point that a simple statement like that can be so packed with meaning. Regardless, I got a giggle out of it.

  2. Very well, I shall expand on my comment for the benefit of your readers! But not much. I realized after a couple of paragraphs in this response that I just didn’t have the energy to exhaustively explain your mistake, so I’ll just summarize.

    The meaning you attribute to your singular experience is incorrect. It is /plausible/ cynicism, I don’t deny it, however it’s just plain neither accurate given your example and so the chance for it to be insightful tails off rapidly. The game you are complaining about has a very good track record ever since launch (which is nothing short of remarkable in the industry) of being highly polished and frequently updated with new content and improvements to old content, and plenty more is in the pipe. That particular bug hasn’t existed since the content was released, it must have come about in a recent update, or else be /extremely/ rare. Your experience was an unfortunate and unlikely incident that could be expected to happen /sometime/ to /someone/ in literally any game _completely independent of payment model_. So you really didn’t even have a point in complaining about it, at least not on THIS site, which folks used to rely on for very thought-provoking analysis of the MMO hobby. When Suzina retired I thought we were done reading boring “QQ” posts.

    And I do apologize for one ignorant mistake I made in my hasty comment, I realized it of course just after I could not change it. You don’t play WoW either, so it wasn’t an appropriate alternative to suggest to you in particular. Though it may work as a generic example of a game that I *assume* also has at least one bugged encounter. You indicate it as the industry leader in quality, and while we may debate that, surely you wouldn’t claim it was literally flawless, right?

    From your posts the past several months it seems the facebook style games are your primary experience lately, is that maybe why you’re seemingly so curmudgeonly about gaming in general?

    Please for the sake of the site, go back to that meta/design kick you were on. Stay in the abstract since you are clearly far too removed from the concrete.

  3. I’ll echo moondog548’s comment (and a comment I left in the other thread): that bug hasn’t existed since launch. I’ve run Water Wheels a half dozen times over the last year and the bosses never bugged out on me. It’s a brutal instance to be sure, but it was the difficulty of the bosses not the bugs that made my character too sad to continue fighting.

    I think moondog548’s further explanation drives the point home. You made an assumption about your personal experience and tried to tie that to the overall quality of the game, the company, and the payment model. You tried to make it sound like a big deal and your followup post here tries to make a federal case out of it, when in reality it’s just one of those bugs that happens in an MMO game if the development team is actively improving content instead of just letting it rot.

    Yeah, games have bugs. If you want a bug-free game, you’re free to wait until the heat death of the universe for that to happen and I’ll bet you any amount of money you want that you’ll still be disappointed. And, perhaps you can believe that the developers would like to provide bug-free experiences as well, especially something as major as bosses resetting, but understand that sometimes bad things slip through when you’re trying to update a big game like LotRO.

  4. I want to change the example to Carn Dum in-combat bug then.

    How long has that been in the game? I remembered it back when I first got to 50, and now I’m experiencing it again on my new characters.

    We got a ticket to the GM and wait around for it to clear, only to have it come back and hit us again in as little as 10 minutes. We went back to CD the following week, and the same bug happens again.

    I’m enjoying LOTRO, but for people who really love the game, you can’t be so blind as to think that this is actually acceptable, by _any_ measure?

    Anyway, I’ve always made excuses for LOTRO because I don’t believe Turbine had pockets as deep as Blizzard. But with the free to play, and now being the darling of the MMO industry, I expect all that cold cash to be invested right back into the game.

    Get to work, Turbine! /whip

    1. Is fixing bugs with old content really what you want them to do?

      The playerbase in DDO decided that – the forum noise was turned up to around 11 – and the devs reacted.

      Update 7 was a ‘bugfix’ patch – even with the large number of updates (based on the comments from the devs the content was completed before Update 6 hit the servers but was in quality).

      After Update 6 the number of bugs was rather large – and the playerbase made it an issue – the devs responded publicly asking for a ‘hitlist’ of bugs to work on.

      Longstanding (from the start of the game) bugs were taken care of – not everything – but many of the frustrating ones.

      I’m sure that it came at the cost of another content update this year – but it made people happy.

      I’ve never seen that done in another game – ever. I’m sure if I fired up everquest (1) that I could find bugs in that game still around from launch.

      1. I think the public hit-list is a big deal because it let the community “feel” they have some control over the direction of the game.

        In addition to making the game more stable, it also was a great PR move.

        We all want more content, but if you leave lots of little bugs that are causing issues for people, that’s not very good. Each one could be that final straw. And you play a new character, and the same bug hits you _again_.

        I chose the CD in-combat bug as an example, because just as we entered the tower the joke was “how many GM tickets do we need this time”. My response was – eh they haven’t fixed that yet??

        CD is a very nice instance, full of story and mood, nice loot and necessary for level 50 characters to unlock their first few legendary traits.

        For such an important instance, it bugs out one or twice each time I’ve went there. That’s a bit silly I think.

  5. “Cryptic has been experimenting with how early in the development cycle you can start selling the game.”

    Haha, well said sir. I fear their third, as-yet-unannounced game will be launched halfway into the concept art stage, and we’d be asked, ala The (upcoming) Foundry from STO, to fill in the gaps.

  6. Seasoned MMO vets need to take a step back and look at gaming as an everyday product subject to normal market conditions. Just for a minute.

    Z’s experience is unacceptable – but after years of gaming we as vet gamers have come to not only accept it, but expect it. We even make excuses for them.

    The Facebook crowd that WoW and other MMO’s are now targeting won’t, much like they wouldn’t for any other product they pay for.

    1. Here’s the problem: I don’t think it’s realistic to expect a game to be completely bug free. We accept flaws in other products and services; my car sometimes breaks down but I keep having to pay someone to fix it.

      “But Psycho,” you’ll say, “cars have wear and tear!” Well, so do MMOs. Zubon’s experiences are like having the timing belt break in your car. Infuriating when you’re in the middle of it, but it’s something we accept as part of the issues in dealing with a car. And, I pay a lot less to play an MMO than I do to run my car.

      The real issue is: is the bug (timing belt breaking) part of the normal operation, or is it a persistent problem? In my experience, it’s likely to be a temporary problem. (Others, such as Silin, have different experiences. But, that’s part of what makes a discussion interesting.)

      1. I had originally written a short car analogy in my first comment, which
        was to the effect of “Its like taking your car in for service for brake work, and getting it back, going for a drive and the transmission starts slipping”

        Sure, those things happen in gaming and otherwise. Question of the day is: has it been fixed yet? Acknowledged that it is being worked on? Or is there a new shiny Lotro store sale this weekend instead? (not being snippy: legitimately asking how it has been proiortized with the new business model)

        1. I don’t have any insight into Turbine’s development process. All I can speak of is my own experiences.

          Usually fixes are bundled into a larger update for two reasons. First, it gives the developers a chance to properly test a fix. Nothing worse than fixing one bug and introducing another that could have been detected. Plus, sometimes a particular bug is insidious and hard to root out, so it just takes some time. In Zubon’s case, I assume that the broken bosses weren’t the result of them tinkering with the Water Wheels directly, but probably some general changes to how monsters/bosses work that borked those specific encounters. So, they probably need to go through the code carefully to make sure they don’t (re-)break something somewhere else.

          Second, it makes it easier to do things like package updates to send to people playing on servers in other countries. As the European players Turbine games have demonstrated, they don’t exactly like being second-class citizens that keep getting updates sent late.

          Is a bug acknowledged? Probably. But there’s a sometimes some difference between the community manager saying, “We’re aware of the bug, blah, blah.” and some developer actually having the bug on the “TO DO” list.

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