Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Atrophy of Conan

Been playing AOC for a couple months now, and I think my time in it is about over. Apparently I'm not the only one deciding that. I've witnessed entire guilds disintegrate or vanish entirely as their members flee back to WoW or get into the Warhammer beta. Even my guild is bleeding level 80 members faster than we can level them, and in the last 2 weeks we've had 4 officers and the GM quit the game. Raids we previously had no problem filling the 24 person limit before are now struggling to come up with 12 and more than one healer. Some of our allied or rival guilds have vanished entirely. That's some serious attrition.

Funcom claimed they sold something like 800,000 units... then last week, they claimed they had 400,000 active subscribers (which I actually think is high, given that this would mean there's 6000 players per server, and I can tell you there isn't). But even if that estimate weren't high, that means half the people who bought the game didn't stick with it past the included 30 days. That's bad for funcom.

Why is all this happening? Probably because the game, as I quite frankly said in my review of it, was not ready for retail launch. I would say that is still the case. I'm still crashing from memory leaks, half the content is still bugged to hell (especially the endgame), and Funcom takes as many steps backwards in fixing things as they do forwards. For instance, in a patch today, to address a current imbalance in an unintended ability to stack the benefits of player crafted equipment to ridiculous proportions, their answer is to make a "temporary" change that absolutely destroys any point to making or using player-crafted equipment. Rather than simply place stat caps on the trouble areas, they reduced the benefit of all "gems" (which are the things that give player crafted weapons and armor their stat benefits) to less than 10% of their previous amount.

Think about that in terms of your current MMO... if your equipment started giving you 90% LESS of a boost to your resists, damage, etc.. would you still be able to tank that raid mob that is already hitting for nearly half your max HP *with* the "overpowered" resists? There is much consternation going around that this "fix" will not only destroy crafting, but put a halt to endgame raiding. So if you can't make your own gear, and you can't raid for purple gear, you're left sitting in your quest rewards and blue drops, dying quickly in PvP (oh, and Massive PvP keep sieges are still bugged and broken) and not having much else to do other than roll an alt or quit.

And a lot of people are quitting. It's too bad, too, because combat in this game is a blast, I love cutting off heads, and in group PvP I haven't seen balance this good since DAOC, abarring 1 or 2 issues... at least until this patch turned everyone's gear into garbage.

No comments: