Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's time to break the fourth wall.

Well, it had to be done. The Matrix is going to be unplugged at the end of July and I for one am gutted that the game is over. The writing has always been on the wall for the last two years really and since February, it was inevitable.

We will never see this again.

I'm not blaming Rarebit for this as he was the only one who stuck with it as long as he could, I am blaming SOE and to a degree whoever was in charge of communication between the IP and SOE who could never get anything approved.

As a game, The Matrix online was superb. As long as you had the right hardware and a fast enough connection, it was fun. You could dip in now and again or really submerse yourself in the whole experience. The community was tight, with the occasional bit of e-drama for a bit of fun, but a more supportive bunch of people you couldn't hope to meet.

However, as a MMO it failed and the way I see it, it was for these reasons ;-

1. Where was the publicity? Apart from the fan made stuff, SOE treated MXO as the unwanted step child of it's family. There was nothing to promote or even say anything positive even in the SOE podcasts(see below). Was it used as a bargaining chip to get DC online? Maybe. But my original point stands of when a tv program wants to to an item on the Matrix Online and can't get anybody at SOE to even discuss the game, you know how high they though of that game.

2. The IP itself. The Matrix also suffered from IP overexposure. After the final two films, I think everybody was a little bit matrixed out but I do feel if the game had been ready as it was supposed to be after the final film, it could have done a bit better. It was a little bit over ambitious, (nine servers? whoa). However, It was obvious from just after beta that something wasn't right which brings me along to ;-

3. The Combat revision. Now I actually liked this, it fixed for me a lot of problems I had with the game but from what I understand, a lot of content that people liked was lost. We never worked out what the hacker cryptography tool/skill was for, the skill structures changed. I do feel that there was no real help with transition between one and the other.

4. The New direction - ok, this is where things really started to go wrong for me. As soon as we lost the cut scenes, I knew this game was getting into trouble. When they came back as part of the new direction, we lost the missions which moved the plot forward. Now, a lot of blame has been put on Rarebit for this, however, I don't blame him one bit. He was trying to make the most efficient use of his time to help save the game but as good as his efforts were, MXO needed more than just one developer.

5. Customer Service - Right this is where my blood really starts to boil. I hate poor customer service and here is where I find SOE wanting. Since Rarebit left, there was nothing from SOE. Any complaint or request for information was ignored, any suggestion to make the game better was ignored and to be honest, the fact that we had a game in stasis for four months with no new content, I feel like they stole my last four months subscription (If it wasn't for the fact that I also play SWG on the launcher then the I'd be even more livid). It's this fact alone which made a lot of players just give up, and also the main reason I've changed my position from defending SOE to this rant.

6. The SOE podcast - I like Amy and Brenlo, the podcast is professionally put together and full of helpful hints hints and background for everything except MXO. I bet red headed tim was running the mxo servers. we had one interview with the development team in four years, and thirty seconds (if that) on the soe news. You were left with the impression that when ever mxo was mention in listener emails or twitter, it was met with an attitude of 'do we really have to talk about that?' and after february, 'we won't talk about that'

7. The waste of potential - The game had potential but they're not even making code available to anybody. It will be deleted and lost., I understand it's copyrighted and trust me when I say I do know copyrght law, so unless the holders of the IP allow it, we'll never be able to see how MXO ticks, or even find ways to improve it.

It's like the kid taking his football away from the match saying that's they're not having fun but won't let anybody else have the ball because they're scared that someone will have a better game with it.

I guess I'll stick with SWG for a while but to be honest, after this experience, I don't want to try any other games in the SOE's stable. That's not going to bother SOE, we already know what they did to SWG with the NGE and they didn't care then either.

You just know you're going to be treated like a mushroom, ie kept in the dark and fed sh*t.

We'll never party again!