Tag winch gate

The End Times: The end of the end times (until the next apocalypse)

A few minutes ago I logged into Fallen Earth to grab my complimentary gas mask before I cancelled my account. Cancelling a subscription is always a bit sad, especially when it’s for a game I really like, but I don’t play Fallen Earth nearly enough to warrant paying for it. If my monthly income was a bit more stable and if I felt like Icarus could use my support, I might have kept it up – they seem to be doing fine, and freelancing is always a bit up and down, so the cancellation came pretty naturally.

As mentioned above, it’s not that I don’t like the game. Quite the opposite, Fallen Earth is a small wonder of a MMO. It deserves a lot of attention, even though Icarus seems a bit confused at times, and the constant stream of updates coming from the developers is impressive. Other small MMO studios, like Winch Gate and Aventurine, would do well to take inspiration from the flurry of patches that Fallen Earth has seen since launch.

Come to think of it, larger MMO studios would also have a lot to gain from taking a closer look at how things seem to work at Icarus. I guess it comes down to the bureaucracy of  larger studios, where bugs and priority lists have to be passed from office to office, from department to department, before they end up being patched into the game – if the issue gets addressed at all. Icarus has shown the world that it can be done, that we can expect a developer to take our subscription money and put it to good use almost every week.

A couple of times, Fallen Earth has been patched several days in a row. That’s fast. I can’t help thinking that it comes down to how the studio is structured and the development philosophy it has adapted. A strong belief in the game, a strong belief that the customers should be kept happy, that a game can evolve.

For now, for me, Fallen Earth will be put on the back burner. I didn’t get as far into the game as I might have liked, but there will always be the option to resub in the future. At some point I know I will have return to my own personal MMO apocalypse. I can’t wait to see how far the game has come at that point.

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Ryzom website gets a makeover

The new Ryzom site, in all its glory

The new Ryzom site, in all its glory

It was about time Ryzom got itself a new website, since the old one was…well, old. But while it came as good news that Winch Gate were rolling out a new site for their game, I must say that the new one is not an improvement. The new one still looks old.

I hate to say it, I really want to do nothing except praise Ryzom, but the new site looks unprofessional. It does not, in any way, convey trust or give the impression to be made by a company that deserves your money, or can be trusted with your credit card. Had I not been playing Ryzom already, I’d probably would have decided to not even give it a try based on the website.

It’s not only the general design – it’s also about the language used. The game itself is originally in French, and at times the GMs and event managers have had problems with English, but to have the official English version of the site sport such weird language is not a very good idea. How about this wonderful quote?

The MMORPG Ryzom is the best FRENCH 3D role playing PC game playable online. Ryzom is a role-play game of science-fiction, fantasy and adventure, massively multiplayer, named RPG, MMORPG, MMO or virtual world. Ryzom MMORPG is set 30.000 years in the future. Ryzom won the MMORPG Awards of Best RPG role-play story game and is a reference in the MMORPG’s virtual world. Ryzom is downloadable online FREE, with 21 days of FREE TRIAL.

Eh. OK. Even though Ryzom is an actual MMO, that makes it sound more like a scam – or a game as serious as Evony. It might be the “FREE”, and “FREE TRIAL”, that does it. The next logical step would be a flash banner advertising the game as a new online game that can be PLAYED FOR FREE! PLAY NOW! FREE!

Yuck.

Winch Gate, please update it as quickly as you can. Or even roll back the site to your old one, which actually looked better. This one is a pain to look at, the typography is horrible, and not using enough padding makes the whole site look cramped. Did you develop this in-house? If not, I’d suggest getting your money back from whatever design studio you hired. At least take a long, good look at the 96 errors in your markup.

I love Ryzom, it’s a great indie-MMO that I hope survives for a long time to come. Anyone that’s been following this blog or read my Twitter feed should know that by now. But this website, it’s just not good enough for 2009. Please, pretty please with sugar on top, Winch Gate. Update it.

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