Agree 100%. There is no excuse to release a half baked product with half baked ideas.
TLDR: To AGS: The early 2000s MMO standard is outdated. It is not the golden standard anymore. The early 2000s MMO is like the EX boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever phase. People have outgrown it. People seek a more polished and well developed experience. NW is not that. Grinding and time gates is not content. Veteran gamers who experienced good games from the past 20 years are not dumb, you should listen to us to some capacity. We’ve played good games and we know what is a $hit game from a mile away. I don’t speak for everyone, but hopefully you understand what I am trying to get at.
Expectations should be high, not low, especially for a behemoth of a company. It doesn’t matter that AGS is a small studio. If Amazon allows for AGS to exist then Amazon should funnel funding to AGS acquire excellent talent and excellent management that actually play games and understand what may work and what may not work. Working actively with the community is also very important because you have veteran gamers that played good games for the past 20 years and know what a good game consists of and what are the aspects of a game that make it $hit.
Gamers know their $hit too. They’ve gone though the ‘EX girlfriend/boyfriend/whatever’ experience, learned what they want for themselves, learned how to look for red flags, and evolve and as a result seek a better partner/product in the future. Although I am not accusing of AGS $hitting on gamers, or perhaps assuming that “gamers” don’t know what they want because I do not have evidence for that, just know AGS, hey, I am talking to you, do not think we’re naive inexperienced, or stupid. We know what we want. We don’t want bull$hit anymore. We want a polished product. I am not with my EX for a reason, I upgraded, to a well developed human being in the head. Games shouldn’t be any different.
Most importantly developers and management should be required to have played good games from the past 20 years. Diablo 1 & 2, Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2, Divinine Divinity Original Sin 1 & 2, Witcher 3, original Planescape Torment, WoW in its Golden era, some Asian MMOs that are deemed acceptable by the community (I personally liked Ragnarok Online and Silkroad Online when growing up though Silkroad Online isn’t a good example because it’s a grind fest), KOTOR 1 & 2, Morrowind, Skyrim, etc. Research can be done which games are good and which were not so good. You take these experiences, take the pros and cons, and implement most of the pros of what people liked about these games. These would be the PvE aspects.
PvP aspects can come from WoW, ESO, and Guild Wars 2. It doesn’t have to be full loot, however I think both non-full loot and full loot can be implemented. And I’ve already made a suggestion on how to do it in a different post. Right now PvP is unrewarding. Maybe some people like it, that’s fine. Personally, I think it’s boring.
Which brings me to this point. People are diverse and play MMOs for different reasons. I personally played SWTOR for the story. The Sith Inquisitor story was great. I didn’t play SWTOR for its other aspects, the story was enough, and I paid for a subscription because it was deemed really good by me and is deemed good by many others. So for a time, the BioWare/EA got my money for immersing me in a world that was alive story wise and well developed. ESO also got my money for the fact that they cater heavily to a solo experience, offer well developed quests that reel you in and make you feel like you want to keep playing. Sure, I am a heavy PvEer. I PvPed more in the past when I had more time on my hands, but the point is that I got my satisfaction and didn’t leave those games with disappointment and would recommend them and I am sure people would find quite a bit to do in those games to keep the subscription going from others.
Another point is, try to not cater to the past of the golden era of MMOs exclusively, a lot of people have grown up, grown older, have other things to do in life as well. Don’t alienate this group of people, which I belong to as well. In the past MMOs were a grind, were more hardcore, that was the norm, but it isn’t anymore. A lot of people today would say that they don’t have 16 hours a day to play because of commitments in real life. Sure, the argument can be had “well, then you don’t have to play 16 hours a day,” but the problem with that is that NW is build around hardcore play to be able to enjoy end game content and PvP and let’s be honest if an MMO is built around hardcore play, then it is really hard not to play like that when that is your only option. Because NW does not offer much, it does not have replayability and loot feels like loot from Diablo 3 when it was first released. One word: unrewarding. 99% of items are salvageable in NW.
Many can say, “Git gud, quit your job, leave your wife, don’t be a b!tch” or other funny or dumb things, but that’s still alienating the player/s that may want to enjoy a new MMO for a while and if we are talking about keeping the business afloat, that mentality mentioned above will not keep this game afloat. Because, let’s be honest NW may have been created out of the goodness of the heart in some ways, but that goodness of the heart doesn’t keep the studio alive when there’s no profit, and devs are not paid adequately.
It has been said many times, grinding is not content. It was in the past in the 2000s and we should be past that. The players have gone through the EX phase and evolved and it is time for MMOs to evolve as well. No MMO can do it perfectly, but in my opinion, ESO, and SWTOR do it pretty well. If they PvP was better in those two games, like Guild Wars 1 & 2 level, then they’d be near perfect.
I wrote this wall of text as a subtle farewell to NW, but also out of the frustration of being taken for a fool as a gamer and out of the frustration of management and the development team being completely oblivious on what makes a MMO good/bad especially with the research that is available from the past 20 years and also failing to do research on how the player base evolved over the 20 years, e.g. GRINDING IS NOT CONTENT as one example, unless you’re a streamer that gets paid, are rich and bored, are a very young person, or simply have no other commitments in life other than video games. Then maybe grinding in a video game rather than in real life is more appealing and is still viable as content.
NW as is is a failed single player game with co-op aspects, that does not deliver anything extraordinary in any way shape or form compared to the RPG behemoths mentioned above. Copy and paste content is insulting. Clunky game play should not exist in 2022. It was OK in the 90s-2000s when I played Gothic 1 & 2. Bugs while understandable to exist upon release should not multiply with every patch. Quests are lackluster and do not offer the polish of SWTOR or ESO.
Sound team and environment team are the only saving grace of this game, but whoever decided to implement copy and paste content is a no go.
Take this advice or leave it AGS, but maybe take it. Would do you some wonders.