Wednesday, May 6, 2009

NCSoft gives finger to own players

So, in case you've missed the news - City of Heroes are going to "fix" the rampant power-leveling that the new Mission Architect system has generated. Thanks to Syp for pointing to the City of Heroes forums (the thread is currently 330 PAGES long):

"Players that have abused the reward system egregiously may lose benefits they have gained - leading up to and perhaps including losing access to the characters power-leveled in this fashion."

I assume this means that they are threatening to roll back the XP gained through the MA system.

I'm trying really hard, but I can't think of a community relations f--- up of this magnitude in an MMO, ever.


1) If they were doing this a day after the release of MA (when the exploits started) then I'd understand. Why wait 3 weeks?

2) If this was not an intended feature, their QA team are a little slow for not finding it given that the community found it within 24 hours, and their community managers (who are supposed to read the forums and tell you what's going on) are hopeless for not passing the message on sooner, OR possibly the developers are stupid, for not listening to either of them. By rolling everything back, you're admitting that a good portion of your team are completely useless.

3) Why did they think subscriber numbers resurged when the Mission Architect was released? Was it because of all the awesomely written and well thought-out player-made missions they thought were being created? (99% of them are pure drivel)

4) If people choose to power-level through MA, they obviously think that farming large groups of mobs in a static area is far superior to all the landscape/scenery design, story-telling/plot, and myriad of enemies that the developer team gave to the players. Basically, the players are saying to the developers, screw all that crap you made, we'd rather eat these juicy balls of XP. To which the developers have replied, no, suck on this, we're going to make you grind through that crap whether you like it or not! Yes, let's punish our players for our idiocy! That should make them give us more money!

5) Perhaps this is just a threat. Maybe their data-mining has no practical way of telling how such a large number of people gained their levels. If so, this is probably an even stupider move, since they are then sacrificing their reputation for even less gain than before.

Fortunately my NCSoft fanboy-ism is still intact because I'm hanging out for Guild Wars 2 (and to a much lesser extent, Aion). However, if they actually carry through on this threat, they've sure as s--- lost 2 CoX subscriptions from my household, and I'm sure there will be many, many more.

For those frantically downloading the new patch to check their characters, my level 35 almost-exclusively-power-leveled blaster has not yet been affected. I imagine we'll find out exactly what's in store in a few days (after the CoX guys have dug themselves a bomb shelter somewhere).

Seriously, is there an IQ test that you have to fail to become an MMO developer?



Longasc said...

I tell you, having GREAT ideas and a totally flawed implementation/execution seems to be a hallmark of all games released by NCSoft.

And ... aaaaargh... Guild Wars 1 / Guild Wars 2 / ArenaNet are part of NCSoft... ugh.

Tesh said...

ArenaNet are their own team within NCSoft, though, as far as I can tell. It's like Maxis within EA. They can't help but be affected a bit by the corporate overlords, but I suspect that they still do their own thing for the most part. At least, I hope so.

Anton said...

If I read your post correctly, they are plotting to horribly penalize their players for playing the game they made...


I think anyone would feel robbed to lose all the progress they made...Whether it was gained by "Cheap" means or not, the players used a built-in game mechanic to do it, and I'm sure many players spent a great deal of time in the last 3 weeks leveling characters.

I still think they should just have a separate rewards system for player-made adventures, and it should allow players to reward level-makers anonymously for creating levels with a high fun-factor.

But don't take away what people have been working for for the last 3 weeks.

Crimson Starfire said...

What I think is laughable is that Champions Online is not that far away from release, and NCSoft are waving the banhammer around at their paying customers for their own design mistake. Seriously how stupid could you be?