Since the beginning of time the gaming gods declared that North America should be the promised land of Western Gaming. I don’t why they did (probably financial reasons) but it made NA the place where everything is focused on in terms of development, market appeal, and services.
When I began gaming this meant very little to me. Games were bought and then played without anything interfering in between, there was very little to do with the internet and if there was for me it was a few PtP games of command and conquer and lots of lan. It worked and I was happy with my games and purchases, now though it feels as though I’m buying an inferior product. An inferior and often times more expensive product.
What brings this on at the moment comes from my brief experience with Age of Wushu on the weekend. I was getting ready to create a character and just trying to find the unofficial oceanic server to ensure the world was more populated when playing. Using the search terms oceanic I came across many posts that really soured my enthusiasm. Apparently most of the big events, some core content, and the main pvp activities to do in the game are time locked and only occur during NA prime time. The time for these is only once a day which makes it pretty much an impossibility for most oceanic players to ever be apart of. There were many post about this conflict, some being rather reasonable and suggesting one of servers be classed oceanic and the time for these to change to suit.
It annoys me so much because we, as oceanic’s (and many other regions) aren’t even asking for a server in our regions to address the crippling lag that often occurs, we just want to be acknowledged that we as players exist, and beyond that that we are equals within this service. That we are deserving of at least a modicum of attention and that these online products should be better suited towards this global marketplace. It won’t change though, it rarely does (swtor of all games did well and even Planetside 2 but the cycle goes on.
It happened in Tera as well with the nexus events, amazing end game gear but only available during certain inconvenient times. In the end it brought about my decision to quit the game, I probably would have played for a while after that but it soured the mood enough that my investment was broken. And so the same situation has come along again with Age of Wushu and I honestly couldn’t be bothered giving it the time because of it… I’m not going to invest in a game that doesn’t invest in me (that sounds conceited, by me I mean oceanic’s and other regions as well).
Games forgetting about their other demographics isn’t new… GW2 had its own drama originally with its planned events. Then there is the countless other games who do maintenance right in our prime time. Every time I wanted to play Neverwinter for the first couple weeks it was down. With the predominance of this it ends up making you feel like a forgotten and unimportant customer.
Then there is lag.. My god the lag. This can be a key point in the enjoyment of online games.. Especially when there is pvp involved. It greatly affects the feel of the game when the controls aren’t responsive and is extremely frustrating to deal with at times. I understand that when playing on an overseas server there will be a discrepancy between others, but the options shouldn’t be either suffer, or F off. The problem is also the level of optimisation involved. I shouldn’t have to subscribe to a third-party service in order to get a reasonable and sustainable ping, that should just be built into the client. Someone please explain why tunnelling isn’t a standard of the industry.
I just don’t understand the why this is happening every single time though. Surely they have the marketing, purchasing, and server data showing a significant population from other regions, enough to easily maintain a server. So, in the end the only things I can think of are laziness and greed. It’s ridiculous now, it might have been ok a decade ago but it is getting to the point where it just needs to change.
Developers… Wake the fuck up.
Games are no longer being developed in a vacuum. This is a global industry now… GLOBAL, and an industry that is becoming increasingly connected. The region of purchase and play should not be a defining feature in the quality of someone’s service… That should be a given yet it is a rarity for mmo’s as well as other more connected experiences.
And sorry but if I’m buying a digital product, from your overseas company that has none of the extra overhead of a shop front then any major price hike is unjustified. Consumers are nowhere near as ignorant as they used to be and are increasingly shopping for comparisons in regards to these products. There are a plethora of digital retailers now which you are competing with that often enough keep it at the base price for everyone so there is no pretending about imagined costs anymore… There is no toll on data crossing the pacific.
I am annoyed further by the recent revelation of the xbox one bringing regionally locks back in vogue. Disregarding for a second how ridiculous regional locks on a digital product may be, which they will no doubt be selling, it is all simply to guarantee certain markets remain overcharged. It’s not providing a better service and even publishing rights wouldn’t be that much of a problem, it’s not even primarily about drm… it is about controlling this distribution.
Then there is the mega server technologies which have me even more worried as they are further erasing the distinction between different servers and services. Everyone is bundled together but only one region truly benefits from the distinction. And of course for the mega server tech in the end it means all complaints from other regions can just be ignored… Just one server and set of rules allowed for the apparent master race.
I don’t believe any company wants to alienate a large percentage of its own players, and in this market now anything you can do to stand out is important.There is always rage in the threads asking for the basic service we should be entitled to, like somehow making certain allowances towards other regions is an affront to their very being. An egocentric, xenophobic nature of a minority guiding community feedback, and it seems by the lack of change that community managers, developers, and publishers mostly just ignore the issues and suggestions.. That or they just don’t want to piss off the children having their tantrum anymore then they already have.