Last week, a newly minted Ship of Heroes fan posted a comment on the game’s official forums saying he’d studied in-development MMOs and settled on backing Ship of Heroes specifically because of its “open and honest communication” – and also because a rival MMO, in his estimation, had suffered serious delays and lapses in said communication that “cost [it] some trust from [its] community.” (For his efforts, he got a lengthy written update from the lead developer and CEO, which we covered here.)
I wanted to bring it up because I’ve seen similar narratives forming around indie MMORPGs, especially Kickstarter MMOs. Most of them suffer delays, some multiple years of delays. “Open and honest communication” definitely buys them a ton of sympathy through those delays. But even then it seems as if there’s a tipping point, when it doesn’t matter how much the devs and CMs are running themselves ragged to communicate: People run out of patience. (I’ve seen this in the last few comment threads for games like Camelot Unchained and Ashes of Creation, for example. And do I even need to utter Star Citizen here?)
How devastating are delays for MMOs, and in your opinion, how much does communication help? How many years of delay does an MMO have before a critical mass gives up?