Elder Scrolls Online’s Greymoor, Phantasy Star Online 2 PC struggle during launch week

    
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If you thought Guild Wars 2’s No Quarter was going to be the release champion of this big-launch MMO week, you deserve a whole pot of winnings because in this bizarre 2020, ArenaNet managed to put out functioning and high-quality content in the new living story episode, beloved by both players and our own critics.

Not all MMOs fared so well.

As we’ve been covering, The Elder Scrolls Online’s Greymoor struggled out of the gate on Tuesday, coming offline almost immediately for what players report was a bug that granted players who didn’t buy the chapter access to the content, while many players who did buy it were locked out. After being down most of the day – hitting EU players the hardest -, the game ultimately came back up and was playable Wednesday, though ZeniMax took the servers down again this morning in another attempt to fix access bugs for paying players.

Meanwhile, Phantasy Star Online 2 released on PC without much hoopla yesterday, though large swathes of the players couldn’t actually log in thanks to some serious client and Windows 10 access bugs. About half our own staff trying to play ran into the login issue itself, and the problems didn’t stop there. Here’s MOP’s Justin, commenting on his experience:

“For reasons that are probably not very good, SEGA made PSO2 only available through the much-loathed Windows Store rather than offering it through the PSO2 site or even Steam. People struggled to get the file, to jump through the many hoops of registering and logging in, and to get it working at all. For me, I spent several hours downloading it, only to find errors every time I tried to load the game. I had to uninstall it, update to the very latest version of Windows 10, reinstall it, and run it as an administrator before I could get to the launcher. Another issue was the fact that PSO2 starts in a much-reduced window mode, which a friend on Twitter told me could be resolved by changing the resolution, not in the game itself, but on the launcher. Sure. That’s intuitive. In any case, it was a hot mess that put a huge damper on what should have been a very exciting day for the MMORPG community, and I’m pointing all kinds of fingers at SEGA for poor communication and decision-making during this.”

If you’re looking for help from SEGA’s main Twitter account, you won’t see much there on the core feed; the company has replied to at least one complaint with a brief apology, however.

Source: ESO, PSO2
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Fenrir Wolf

Is this surprising? I mean, ESO jumped the shark a while ago with Wolfhunter and it’s only gotten worse since. I mean, it was already on the way out before that with how buggy it was getting, which ZOS were intent on ignoring quite persistently as they favoured new customers over existing ones.

Meanwhile, ArenaNet has gone from strength to strength in storytelling, bugfixing, and actually honest-to-goodness decent balancing (I can barely believe the lattermost one, but it’s true). Plus, they’re telling a genuinely interesting story that’s got some real guts behind it, which is something I never expect from an MMO but it delights me when it happens.

For a while now ArenaNet has been touching on some uniquely unexplored topics which are very personal to me. One of tem being mental health and diversity. I used to love ESO but Wolfhunter made it clear to me just how little the fans mattered to ZOS, and just how obviously they ignore us.

Again, meanwhile? ArenaNet has been so communicative. GW2’s co-writing lead Tom Abernathy has been really chatty on Twitter and that’s been great. I don’t envy him as I know how fans can be but he’s honestly been fantastic, other GW2 team members have been following his lead and the open dialgoue with them has been very enjoyable. They’re a good bunch.

At the moment, ArenaNet can do no wrong in my eyes. GW2 has evolved so, so much recently that it’s incredible. It’s always had a decent gameplay loop but comparing the old stuff with LWS4 and The Icebrood Saga is night and day. Honestly, I’m excited because this is a team that actually cares, they’re passionate about their game, and they’re telling the story they want to.

I mean, the evolution of Aurene alone is a thing of wonder. I’ve taken to calling Auren our sparkly horse girl fantasy beacon of hope dragon, and it’s not out of mockery or irony. The way she is now touches on some very primal non-masculine feelings which are quite difficult to articulate. It’s acknowledging that GW2 actually has a surprising amount of women playing it (and it does).

A lot of what they’re doing at the moment doesn’t strike me as very mainstream-y, which makes it all the more compelling. ArenaNet seems to be one developer that’s realised that there’s a lot of money in paying attention to underserved demographics. I mean, those underserved demographics made Zootopia one of Disney’s most financially successful films of all time.

No Quarter is just continuing that. I think where The Icebrood Ssaga is going to go will surprise people and catch them off guard. There’s a lot of aspects to it that people aren’t being very observant about which imply big things from GW2’s lore and history.

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Stormwaltz

I haven’t been able to play ESO since the patch. Their current (EST) nightly maintenance window happens to be about the time I’m able to sit down (PST) after getting the kids to bed and cleaning up the house for the night.

But considering what those who get in have been dealing with, missing a few daily rewards isn’t so bad. :)

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Fenrir Wolf

Frankly, with how bad it’s getting now I’m glad that I gout out when I did.

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Ironwu

Well, it is much, much worse than just a few folks being able to play the new content for a while for free.

The servers simply cannot handle the traffic, and/or there are some significant new problems with the infrastructure. Lag, rubber banding, desyncs, connectivity issues, log-in issues, zoning issues, looting issues, quest issues. It is pretty dang bad.

I am sure that over the next couple of weeks (months?) that it will all get sorted out. But, should not have happened this way, I think.

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Fenrir Wolf

It’s not surprising that ZOS aren’t even properly managing server costs right now. They made the mistake of thinking that playing customers == paying customers. This is an erroneous equation as it couldn’t be further from the truth. The largest mainstream demographics are really entitled, they don’t share their wealth as much and they expect much in return for simply granting a game their presence.

The thing is is that this entitled demographic would rather just pay a subscription or the smallest amount they can whilst expecting oodles of continually arriving content in return. If the game doesn’t match their very unrealistic standards, they’ll just leave because there are so many other games out there that cater to them that they’re spoiled for choice.

I mean, sure, you could have over 80~ per cent of your possible playerbase, but if only less than ~2 per cent of them are providing a trickle of profit then that’s not great. You could instead have 40~ per cent of your possible playerbase where over at least 25~ per cent is paying out in much larger sums. At the end of the day, by casting your net to hit a number of underserved demographics insead of going for the biggest ones, you can make more money. It’s saturation, you know?

“If you want me to play ESO instead of PSO2, you need to give me constant content to keep my attention.”

…or…

“If you cater to us and make us feel welcome we’ll keep you afloat, rest assured.”

The latter is much more desirable for an MMO developer. The thing is is that a lot of developers have to realise that there’s much more money to be had in underserved demographics than there is in mainstream demographics. So much more. Only a few game devs have actually figured this out.

I mean, good grief, if you’re developing a game? Just add talking feral animals, non-human anthro characters, friendly dragons, and QUILTBAG characters in and watch your profits increase by around 800~ bloody per cent. If your game is all about everyday straight, white boring human people as an appeal to the biggest mainstream demographics? Well… good luck with that!

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Toy Clown

I was going to wait to play ESO’s expansion until later in the year, figuring there would be launch issues, but I couldn’t resist a new shiny and I’ve been on a shiny drought for awhile.

The night of release I patched it up while watching Terrace House and ended up watching another episode while I waited in about a 40 minute queue. The next day I didn’t experience problems at all. Many players were reporting lag, but I wasn’t experiencing that either.

The biggest amusement I received was a “Karen” letter posted on the main forums about ESO needing to “fix their *beep* and they were going to sue them, etc.” It was the funniest thing to read at the time when most players were completely chill about the experience. Another player tossed it on reddit for everyone to enjoy. I’ll share the link for anyone else that finds Karen stories hilarious.

Just wondering if there’s a title for this level of forum Karen. Farren? from elderscrollsonline

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Dug From The Earth

Was really close to buying and resubbing back to ESO for this expansion.

After a lot of investigation however, ive decided that at the current time, its not worth the cost.

ESO has been in odd situations in the past between “what is dlc” and “what is an expansion”. The premium “sub” for the game claims you get access to ALL dlc without having to pay for it. There doesnt seem to be any real terms as to what the difference between DLC and an “Expansion” is however.

In the past, the “Expansions” have seemed to bring enough elements to the game to be considered more than just a DLC to most players (although many still argue against this). Both offered a new class to play, along with significant class tweaks and game mechanic differences.

With Greymoor, much of the info Ive come across seems to point to Zeni really scaling back on the amount of “new” stuff added with this “expansion”. No new class was added, no existing classes were changed (minus one nightblade power to add a positional element, rather than a stealth req). It revamped the vampire skills, added a new kind of “Tradeskill” to find artifacts or something, and then thats about it. Sure, it added a new area, with new quests… however.. DLCs do this as well. For me, it seems to fall a bit short of being an “Expansion” and seems more like a hefty DLC.

One that Id be fine resubscribing to play… but not at the additional cost of 40 dollars.

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Jokerchyld

To be fair, they did explain the difference. A Chapter is equivalent to a MMO expansion (according to them), will come once per year in the 2nd QTR, and every must purchase to use. The remaining 3 pieces of content for that year are considered DLC which has been structured as 2 Dungeon based DLC and 1 smaller story-based DLC.

They never added a new class every Chapter, as the cadence has more been one every other chapter (Warden in Morrowind, nothing in summerset, Necro in Elyswyr, nothing in Greymoor, and would expect one in next years chapter).

I was able to get in last night around 1am. In terms of performance the lag was digustingly bad as I ran around the base zones. It seems to prioritized performance to dungeons (which were fine) and Greymoor (which was fine). The zone itself looks small, but I dont know if they plan to expand on it with the 4th QTR DLC like they did with Elyswyr

As a whole, I find this MMO has an overwhelming (and itimidating) amount of content of which I enjoy the majority of it which I cant say for other MMOs I pay for. It has a nice casual, no rush flow that I tend to enjoy. I dont play it all the time but tend to jump in around chapter releases and get hooked. I will say I do prefer the “story over the entire year” approach to content over expansion + patch releases. Its more coherent and RPG friendly.

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Dug From The Earth

Here is a question…

I never bought the last 2 chapters (only morrowind).

Does the Greymoor upgrade edition come with past chapter content?

micedicetwice
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micedicetwice

Base game now includes the oldest one, Morrowind, everything else but Greymoor counts as DLC and is accessible through sub.

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Ironwu

Well, if you go back in time to the release of ESO, you will find that there was NO mention of ‘Chapters’ or ‘Expansions’. There were ONLY DLC, which would be free to all subscribers.

In addition to the actual statements by Zenimax, the first DLC was Wrothgar. A content delivery that was the same size and scope of the eventually to be offered ‘Chapters’. Murkmire was also a DLC, which they eventually gave away free to everybody in one of the monthly log-in reward chains.

But, pretty much from then on, all the DLC consisted of two over-tuned dungeons and some other miscellaneous stuff.

This was pretty much a bait and switch on the part of Zenimax. Not saying that it was the wrong thing to do, business wise, but it still was a post-purchase change in deliverables.

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Dug From The Earth

I just feel like an expansion should have more than just a new zone and quests.

Most mmorpgs include either a new class, or new playable race, or some big new class mechanic added.

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Ironwu

I would certainly agree with this. :)

micedicetwice
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micedicetwice

The first “DLC” was actually Craglorn in two parts. Actual DLC and Chapters came much later. I don’t see what is so hard for you to understand, you pay for sub, you get ALL the content but the very last Chapter. Capish?

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Ironwu

Nothing hard to understand.

Craglorn was NOT a DLC; it was the end-game content, at the time.

What YOU do not seem to understand is that there was no mention of ‘Chapters’ at the time the game launched; it was ALL supposed to be DLC. The whole idea of ‘Chapters’ came after Wrothgar, the first DLC, and the last of that significant size and content.

Capish?

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Toy Clown

I’ve neatly organized it in my mind like this:

A new story chapter is released once a year (expansion) and you have to pay for that, which I tend to buy at the base price of 40$.

All DLC released through the year following a new story chapter is free while subscribed.

I don’t think it’s a bad deal at all for 24/7 entertainment. It’s just their wording and how that is evolving over time sounds confusing.