Let me ask you a question. Have you ever been excited for a game and let a review talk you out of buying it? If your answer is yes, let me encourage you to throw that hesitancy to the wind and go for it. Don’t let someone else’s opinion of the game ruin it for you.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this very topic lately. Gordon of We Fly Spitfires posted a piece that really encapsulates the core question here, do we expect too much of MMORPGs? On the whole, that answer is an unequivocal “yes.” Compare them to any single player game on the market and, even the most barren of MMOs is likely to give you more playtime for your investment. Is spending $50 on an MMO you’ll play for a month worse than paying $60 for an Xbox game you’ll play for two weeks? That’s Gordon’s point and it’s a good one.
If you’ve ever been excited, really and truly excited, for the release of a game, you’re probably going to get more than your money’s worth even if that shine fades faster than it would with another MMO. That first month is probably going to be great because of, if nothing else, the famed “honeymoon period” that follows our pre-release excitement. Isn’t that first month (or more) worth it? Is it fun? Apparently so, because even the much maligned Age of Conan received an 80, or generally favorable reviews, on metacritic.com. Now compare that to the blog scene.
So, take every review with a grain of salt. So much of everything we as bloggers rant about is subjective that it’s not even funny. I hate the idea that my not liking a game might spoil your chance to love it. Bear this in mind, for every game that the “majority” dislike, there’s tens of thousands that love it. The amount of people that enjoy the game probably outnumbers the amount of people in your city by a ten to one.
I had to catch myself recently. I was really beginning to look forward to Champions Online and after reading the various impressions around the internet began to give up on it without ever trying it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s something to be said for concrete flaws, bugs and poor coding, that can destroy the potential of any game. But that wasn’t the case here. It was simply, well, these people don’t like it and we usually agree so I probably won’t either. Then, I went and got Batman: Arkham Asylum for sixty dollars knowing that it had a 15 hour playtime. For all of the things that rubbed those writers the wrong way, I might have seen them as non-issues. That was certainly the case when it came to Vanguard, last time I tried it.
In the end, it comes down to what you think an MMO is worth. Saying that $50 for a month in an MMO isn’t worth as much as $60 for a console game is saying that an MMO is worth less by the dollar… even though it provides more content. That fact, all by itself, tells me that we expect too much. I think that what we want is for an MMO to be a complete hobby experience but at the same time want to pay less than we would in any other walk of life. I’m as poor as the next guy but that standard just doesn’t make much sense.