MMO Anticipation and My Own Mea Culpa on Wildstar

So this week, Matt Miller had an article up on MMORPG.com on MMO anticipation.  I found it relevant because a friend and I had the exact same conversation at the same time, and I thought I’d share the gist of it here.

You see, Matt Miller called out the process by which people get excited about new MMO’s and the possibilities they possess.  Then, they end up getting those hopes dashed by poor implementation or just a lack of proper interpretation of what the game may have actually been offering or been able to offer.  He went through the various steps that a person can go through, recruiting friends for the game, basking in the excitement of something new.  From there, the sudden realization that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and the problems of digging in with your heels when the situation has turned sour but you don’t want to give up on your mental investment.

My friend remarked that many of the former City of Heroes players are especially susceptible to this problem.   We are “wandering the desert” as he put it.  Cast out of our MMO home, we travel far and wide, spreading our gaze and hoping against hope that the next big thing we see/hear will be the one that let’s us find our new place to play.  The faintest glimmer on the horizon can cause us to rush headlong into the cruel desert wind and launch ourselves face first into the oasis.  And then, we usually come up with just a mouth full of sand.

I made this realization myself recently with Wildstar.  A game that I hyped heavily here on this site.  I wrote a huge article on it, giving it a ton of free publicity (though to be fair, publicity from this site is really more a delusion on my part then any real thing).  And then the results of the closed beta came back.  Mike Donatelli revealed after beta testing that some things went well but others were being re-evaluated.  One of the chief details of this reveal was that “…by speccing your character to play a pure-support role, to the exclusion of all damage-dealing abilities, you are building a role meant to work in conjunction with other players.”

Did you catch that?  What he just said was that support-based characters are considered team-based characters only.  There is no intended solo-capable role for a support build.  This was very disappointing to me when I read it.  It basically means that the old-school thinking of classes and how they should work and interact with each other is alive and well on the Wildstar dev team.  If I’m reading this right, it means that support is basically a second class citizen in Wildstar and they’re perfectly happy with that.

Now of course, only playing the game will tell us for sure.  But it’s disappointing to read about, and I hope that with the innovation I’ve seen out of Carbine Studios so far, that they’ll come around and revise their thinking on this.  But it definitely proves that I can certainly be susceptible to the problem of MMO anticipation all by myself.  So here’s my promise that I will try much harder to be a bit more critical of any new shinies that come my way.  And no more pigeon-holing my future game decisions based on incomplete and unplayed games and information.

Glad that’s over and out of the way.  So, what’s next?  Did you guys hear about what they’re doing over on Everquest Next???  OMG, it’s incredible….

=)

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