Monday, August 23, 2010

Cryptic Considers Trying Quality

"Coming into the launch of STO and Champions, I made sure we had something for everyone. Here was the problem. By following that philosophy, nothing was polished. We ended up having lots of half-done features in some quarters. What I forgot was, inasmuch as a consumer or a player, if it isn't there at launch it might as well not be there, well if it's in half-done or half-done well, that's what you get remembered for. The fact that STO and Champions have gotten better since their launch, we've added content, we've fixed bugs, we've responded to players, all that stuff isn't as important or as forceful as that initial interaction with the game. So we have a very different mindset here. Right now, whatever we do, it's got to be the best possible quality we can."
- Cryptic's Jack Emmert in an interview with Massively

I supposed we're supposed to be impressed by his honesty. Somehow, I don't find the admission that striving for quality is a fall-back position they were forced into by past market reaction all that reassuring.


datashade said...

Well, it's better than a COO/CEO rabidly insisting up is down, black is white, slavery is peace, etc etc.

Longasc said...

I am playing STO and, well, while season two delivered some fun stuff...:

1.) It was still not much. Even without going rogue I needed 1-2 days to consume all Federation and Klingon content.

2.) BUGS. I did not get some special rewards, did not get them retroactive either yet. Some players could not complete certain missions forever. The new Fleet Action might still be broken, it was totally broken upon release of Season 2 (herding a certain alien species somewhere simply did not work). The flawed but working PvP queue went to totally broken since start of season 2, got replaced with a working but still clumsy one in the last days. Aid the Planet missions still give no reward in B'Tran, Anomaly scans within B'Tran missions give zero yield, etc...

They managed to piss off a ton of people with high expectations already in the super bugged open beta of STO. The launch was much smoother, but they had me cancel my order before I said "well, let's get it nevertheless and hope the best, you have no other MMO atm".

They went on to sell max tier ships in the C-Store. Ship skins cost 200 Cryptic points, they went on to sell a stat-improved Galaxy/Defiant/Voyager for 1200 CP, roughly 13,44 EUR. The player can pick one, all others must be bought or you can it earn ingame for 500 Emblems, which takes a powergamer roughly 50 days if he plays very hard every day. And then he gets nothing else these emblems are used for.

I really like to play STO, obviously. The team is trying hard. I dunno where the flaw is, I think Cryptic let's run very small teams rather large MMOs and then it is no surprise that content is scarce, bugs and all that rather common.

Now that they launch the Neverwinter DDO game, they have a problem. They pissed off so many players with CO and STO that even I who still pay and play STO can only be damn pessimist about this company.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

I don't know exactly what the problem is. I bought the CO life-time after playing the beta.

To this day, I only have very few complaints about the game: 1) The chat box isn't reactive enough. There's too much of a pause between pressing enter to start typing and actually being able to type.

2) Not enough starting zones (hello WoW launched with 6 of them!) I hate having to level to 11 to start getting variety.

3) With some of the movement powers, its too easy to run past your target. I think this is due to the fact that the game was designed to be run on an Xbox360, with the controller.

That's it. This game has been out for about 1 year, and I already have MORE fun in it than EQ2, and its definitely more fun that WoW was for me back in 2005.

They have an unlimited free play for 1 week coming up Sept 1-7th (@3am). I think maybe more people should go back and try it out again. It even runs smoother on my computer than it did 1 year ago (needing less graphic resources and ram to do what its doing).

Tanek said...

Wow. A statement like that really paints Cryptic into a corner. If Neverwinter has problems at launch now, they have literally said, "Well, that's the absolute best we can do."

I hope they keep improving STO and CO and that the Neverwinter development/launch goes well for them. As much negativity is out there around Cryptic right now, they do some things very well* and I hate to see any company or game that has potential run into big problems.

(*PR is not one of the things they do well. I'm not sure I have ever seen another developer have so many public relations disasters in so short a timespan.)

Eric said...

I have no intention of ever buying a game from Cryptic again because their quality is pathetic. They've burned me too many times. I'm deeply disappointed that they will be shipping a Neverwinter Nights MMO because I would have liked to have played it. Now I never will.

Alex said...

I'm not sure he's saying they weren't trying for quality. I think he is saying they had a problem with feature creep. They tried to do too much given their resource and time constraints. Assuming they don't want to sacrifice quality in the future, they will either need more resources (seems unlikely) or to scale back the feature set.

I read the article as an acknowledgment that in the mmo market, quality is much more important than an ambitious design.

Yeebo said...

I think I buy Alex's interpretation. This may also explain why they are pushing NWN as a multiplayer RPG rather than a full featured MMO. They plan to scale back to a few core mechanics and try to do those right.

I though CO was a decently fun game. It had some serious issues, most notable was the arcane character generation system in my mind. Lack of content at launch was also an issue. Nerfing the hell out of every character in the game on launch day also was not the best PR move.

All that said, if they hadn't tried to included features such as the half baked crafting system, I can imagine core of the game would have been better. And even in launch CO, most of what was there was pretty good.