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“In Name Only”: A personal philosophy on the developer/publisher relationship.

If you think I’m doing this to discuss SWTOR, let’s let that one stew for a bit more. Right now feedback is related to restriction shock, and my voice acting comment. Again, I’ll give it a while before discussing it.

No, today, I’m talking about a line that was either ignored, or baffled many a viewer when I stated it in my Special Episodes: Guild Wars 2, and The Secret World.

Why would I place so much emphasis on saying that GW2 was published “in name only” by NCSoft, and TSW published “in name only” by EA?

Because people HATE NCSoft. And people HATE EA… and the worst part, they’re completely unwilling to separate a game from its publisher, even when said publisher has little to no creative control over the product.

In Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet has the helm here. You don’t have to go to the NCSoft website to play the game. You don’t have to download the NCSoft launcher to play Guild Wars 2. It’s all ArenaNet, through and through, so any fault on the game should be aimed at them. I’m going to be straight with you… I don’t like Guild Wars 2 NEARLY as much as I did when I first played it. I liken the game to a fireworks display. Amazing to look at and exciting when you first see it, but as it goes on, it gets tedious, you start getting eaten up by mosquitoes, and you’re tired of sitting on that thin blanket while the rock hard ground makes your ass numb… Where was I going with this?
Ok, what I’m trying to say is the game is flashy as hell, but once that excitement wears off, the game seemingly has no staying power. If you like the game, fine, whatever, but the rampant botting, atrocious camera, and when you get down to it, repetitive gameplay elements, all keep me groaning every time I log back in, and I log out mere minutes afterward. Playing the game socially is fine, but there’s just something about the whole experience that annoys the hell out of me now.
But that out of the way, these faults are NOT NCSoft’s fault. I KNOW NCSoft killed City of Heroes, but ArenaNet didn’t! I know it hurts giving money to a company that so blatantly murdering off a beloved franchise, but did Aion fans blame City of Heroes when that game started to under-perform? Cryptic, an upstart developer, was handed the funds they need by this company to get the game they wanted to create off the ground. The same company that handed funds to ArenaNet to create their games. Two upstart developers in the exact same boat. Why harp on one for accepting that money, while forgiving the other?

Now lets move on to a company that is more despised, despite having less reason to be, EA. The exact same thing is going on with The Secret World.  Funcom’s completely at the helm here. You don’t have to go through EA’s website. You don’t have to sign up for EA Origin (like you do with SWTOR). Every decision is made by Funcom Oslo. You want the biggest proof of that. Tell me the number of times you saw a commercial for The Secret World on TV. How about a pointless flash mob scene? Shoehorned appearance on The Big Bang Theory? EA is a hype and marketing JUGGERNAUT, and considering there are many people in this world that don’t even know TSW EXISTS let alone is published by EA should be a big enough clue in the fact they aren’t trying to run that game. I’m just painfully annoyed by TSW being lambasted simply because the EA logo appears when you start up the game. You wanna mock the track record of Funcom and Age of Conan? Fine. It’s probably misinformative, but at least you’ll be targeting the correct people.

This is what I’m getting at. Don’t let the fact the same publisher’s name is stamped on a game as a standard for what all games under it are like. I understand that I’m a bit hypocritical in my disposition of Nexon, but you can EASILY tell when something was the fault of their localization or outright greed (An interesting comment on Suggested MMO List should bring that to light.) but I never outright but “Published by Nexon” in the PASS list of MMO Grinder episodes. Vindictus is a great game. So is DFO, Maple… still blows, but that’s the fault of Maple, not Nexon.

My final point, if you’re going to fanboy rage against something, at least make sure you have the right target. Like me, for saying I don’t care about Guild Wars 2 anymore.

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Posted on November 29, 2012, in News and Updates and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Tangential but… when I played SWTOR, the voice acting seemed fine and appropriate to me– and then I went and played TSW and realized my standards had clearly plummeted, as TSW was substantially better. Both TSW and SWTOR make Guild Wars excuse for cut scenes rather unfortunate however.

  2. After the dickheaded handling of the City of Heroes shutdown, there are plenty of people left with a burning hatred for NCsoft who will not just refuse to buy anything that will give money to them, but will outright insult people who own or like Guild Wars 2. I’m a veteran of City of Heroes of eight years and I still got lambasted plenty of times for not being a big enough fan or not sending death threats to NCsoft upper management. The “us vs them” mentality in the City of Heroes community got pretty ugly towards the end, so I’m not surprised it’s showed up here.

    Me, though, I don’t care for Guild Wars 2 not because NCsoft is involved with it, but because I plain don’t care for Guild Wars 2. It has not a single thing I want, realistically speaking. Character generation is very poor (“better than WoW” doesn’t make it good), customization isn’t nearly extensive enough, the combat is clunky and player animation spastic, there’s too much of an emphasis on forced grouping to the point where even when I’m alone, I’m constantly thrust in impromptu group encounters and… Really, it’s one more fantasy game to add to the pile of zillions upon zillions of fantasy games. I was tired of fantasy 10 years ago. I was tired of Fantasy when Baldur’s Gate was still young. How fucking tired of fantasy do you think I am now? If I never see another forest, it’ll be too soon!

    Brand doesn’t really bother me, personally, if a game is decent. If a publisher’s bad habits (like Origin or the UbiSoft Launcher) creep into a game, then sure, that’ll be a strong deciding factor. But if a game is good on its own, then I have no problem playing it despite the hated publisher. It’s just that NCsoft doesn’t have any games attached to its name that I want to play. Tabula Rasa, Auto Assault and City of Heroes were basically the only titles that held any interest for me. None of their other games motivate me in the slightest.

  3. Triangulation Technician

    You no longer care about GW2? Oh, what a shame. Well, no MMO player should have ever cared about GW2. Then again, no MMO player should cared about WoW for more than like a year or two after its release… and that didn’t go so well.

  4. ClipOnSunglasses

    Jon, I think the problem here is that you’re confusing two separate things. Sure what you’re saying is how some people treat it. But when I refuse to not touch anything with EA or Activision on the box, it’s not because it makes the game bad, but because my money would have to go to EA or Activision when I pay for it.
    I’m perfectly willing to avoiding playing game that otherwise seem good if it means not giving EA or Activision money. They’ve either ruined their otherwise good games with their horrible consumer practices like Battlefield 3’s online passes and being on Spyware (Origins) if I want to play on PC, or they’re just simply not going to look at a copy of their game sold that didn’t have all their usual bull and say “Well it must have sold because it wasn’t trying to drain their wallet at every turn and reduce everything to a AAA overhyped and rushed out action or shooter game aimed at the lowest common denominator.” They’ll just see it as more money that they’re making and give them a justification to keep on pushing for more harmful consumer practices.
    They’re not going to get any better, as they’re making too much money and they’re too big and run by the wrong people to ever listen and at best they’ll stop pushing forward only when it stop being profitable to fuck your consumers over any harder, because their goal is just to see how bad their audience will take it before enough is enough.
    But the best complaint isn’t an angry forum post about it, its an empty seat and 60$ that they’ll never see.
    Besides, TSW looks alright, but ultimately I don’t think it’s doing enough that I wanted out of an MMO to be worth the subscription.

  5. http://www.funcom.com/investors/funcom_initiates_review_of_strategic_alternatives

    EA is the apparent frontrunner to buy funcom out within 6 months to a year probably….

    So….yeah, I wonder how much longer this explanation can hold up…

    • As long as that hasn’t happened yet… it still does. If EA’s influence shows in TSW given any potential Funcom buyout, I’m sre it would be so noticible it would come with an accompanying “crash” sound effect. Until then, blame where blame is due.

  6. I still need to catch on some of your latest episodes, but I think I understand where you’re coming from. I bought GW2 before I learned of NC Soft’s announcement to discontinue City of Heroes. I was then stuck in the sticky spot of enjoying GW2 (for the time being anyway) and cringing as my friends and fellow CoH players blasted NC Soft and refused to even touch the game. It was all right back then, but now I’ve got another friend who really likes playing GW1 and wants to play GW2 with me, but doesn’t want to be scolded for buying the game after what NC Soft did to CoH. I’m just hoping everything can calm down after Friday (I plan on filming the last few hours of CoH) and I can go back to having fun with some of the other games I play.

  7. I am a big SWG player and i really don’t trust SOE, sure the NGE may have been LA but the broken patches and bug fixxes that add more bugs made me feel that i was playing the red headed step child and they giving EQ all the love. which is why i am very mush so warry of Planetside 2 dispite everyone saying it the best thing ever, hell SWG had a huge pre launch buzz (for mmo’s at the time) and look where that boat went.

    As for GW2, there was a culling of bots a few weeks back and i just saw a single level 80 bot farming crafting mats, i didn’t see a group as before, maybe that change i don’t know, but i also on a server with alot of orcanic players and one of our players in my guild can’t speck english so maybe that was that guy’s deal.

  8. But the camera is still bad in GW2 land. Still so very, very bad. I only really notice on jumping puzzles though. So… I try to avoid those. I do love the combat though, (Guardian combat anyway.)

    ( Hmmm, wonder why I can’t edit my previous post.)

  9. The bots have cut down dramatically recently. And I disagree that it doesn’t have staying power, their recent updates have been very fun and kept me coming back. I wasn’t having too much fun with it for a while, but then I got inner goals and now I’m having a great time.

    As for EA, honestly, I’m afraid of everything they put out these days or have had a hand in in any way. Just EA, not any other developer or publisher. I’m not sure why, but everything they touch tends to have something unenjoyably wrong with it. I can only be hurt so many times.

  10. I hate the fact that EA’s brand is stamped over Mass Effect 3. It’s different because I know EA has everything to do with some of Mass Effect 3’s problems, like the unreasonable deadline, for instance, or the shitty Origin service.

    But, I’m not a fanboy. I wonder who was the neckbeard that set you off on a rant, man, but my hands are washed from this nonsense. I wish TSW had more recognition and even more so, I wish I could play it.

  11. I appreciate you posting this, Jon. It helped clarify a few things for me. I actually *was* one of those bitterly refusing to give GW2 a chance due to the murder of City of Heroes, despite the option to play a noble cat man warrior guy being relevant to my Kzinti-loving interests. Similarly, TSW interests me greatly, but EA can die in a brazen bull.

    PS, I sent you email about a month ago. Should I resend or…?

  12. To be honest I don’t think we care about you not caring about GW2. We enjoy playing it, and *no offence meant here* a critic’s opinion won’t change our liking or disliking a game =) I enjoy it thoroughly, but if you don’t, then fine, it’s not your cup of tea, can’t be everyone’s.

  13. “EA is a hype and marketing JUGGERNAUT, and considering there are many people in this world that don’t even know TSW EXISTS let alone is published by EA should be a big enough clue in the fact they aren’t trying to run that game.”

    Uh, yeah. That’s the point. The game is called “The Secret World.” It wouldn’t be very secret if there were ads about it on TV, now would it?

    In all seriousness, great article about a topic that I’ve railed on several times myself.

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