One of the challenges for indie and crowdfunded MMORPGs is surely the nature of their development: plugging along without much fanfare, with players seeing only one part of the equation. Saga of Lucimia has a piece out meant to show what that behind-the-scenes iteration looks like in the construction of an in-game asset as it travels from art concept to 3-D model to textured asset to something that’s added to the world by a different team entirely. But then what might be a mundane art blog takes a sharp turn to talk about other MMORPGs and their communities and expectations.
“There’s a major disconnect with some players when it comes to the misconceptions regarding iterations over the course of the game’s development,” argues Lucimia Creative Director Tim “Renfail” Anderson. “We see a lot of anger around the ‘net in regards to how things change over time with almost every MMORPG’s development, with many claiming the developers lied about how something was going to work, or how something was perceived as being a certain way, and then when it doesn’t work out quite the way players perceived, they claim that the developers deceived them, and that the launched product isn’t anything like what was initially discussed during the development process. The perfect example of this is Star Citizen/Squadron 42.”
Anderson points out that in spite of the company’s growth and endless parade of info dumps every week, “there is still a corner of the web that claims they are vaporware because they aren’t a released product yet. As if zero progress has been made.”
Likewise, he says, Shroud of the Avatar boasts “one of the most transparent companies in terms of development, even going so far as to post their internal standups to their forums in an effort to keep their community in the loop,” and yet there are still people grumpy “about what they see as ‘things that were pitched during the Kickstarter that aren’t exactly the way [they] thought they would be.'”
Lucimia itself is currently dealing with players upset over the third-person camera; apparently, some folks thought the game would be entirely first-person. “You can’t call a developer a liar for changing things along the way, regardless if it’s during the development cycle of the first iteration of the live game, or post-launch.”
“An MMORPG is a completely different beast, because there are literally dozens of people involved, and things are changing on a daily basis in regards to mechanics, skills, animations, character models, and beyond. […] An MMORPG is a living, breathing thing. And just as much as human beings evolve over time, so does an MMO.”