I’ve already complained about Turbine but I expected more from Funcom, if I’m honest. I thought that perhaps the management there would have seen the issues resulting from regionalization first hand and maybe, just maybe, decide that it was not the best option for the players.
Actually, I’m pretty sure they are aware of this – I don’t think anyone in the game industry actually believes that these Chinese walls are for the benefit of the players. Funcom has disappointed me twice: first by forcibly separating Europe from the US and then by coming up with a ludicrous explanation as to why:
First of all, when it comes to our main server centers for launch we are splitting them into two primary territories; North America and Europe. This is the core divider. This means that your primary server destination will be decided according to where you buy your retail box. So, North American gamers will only get the choice of North American servers, and vice versa. It is important for us to mention that this is done in order to ensure a best possible experience for US and European players respectively. We are aware of the fact that many would like to play with their friends across the ocean, but we have decided on this approach for the overall performance for the largest amount of players. Should you play on a server on another continent it would mean a potentially poorer gaming experience, latency wise, and we would like to avoid that at all cost. As most of you are avid MMO gamers you are well aware of how important latency time is in a genre like ours (not to speak of FPS games;), and this comes as a consequence of that. We are therefore not doing this to set up artificial boundaries, but to give you all the best possible time in Hyboria. If there is an absolute wish for you, or your guild, to play on another continent you will need to do so at your own initiative, meaning having to secure copies from abroad.
This is a mature rated game, so we are all adults, aren’t we? They say that most of us are avid MMO gamers. So explain again why Funcom decided that we are not capable of choosing the most appropriate server?
Now really: if latency is such an issue, then clearly the way to deal with it is to rank the servers in order of best connection. Remember for a moment that your best connection is not necessarily your closest connection. Think of it like a subway or tube system, where your nearest station is based on the route of the connection, the hops you take to get from A to B, not how physically close you are to it. Distance makes no difference.
But you know what I really want to know? Why latency is so damned important for my forum browsing experience. The FPS on those gathering guides must be something pretty awesome – because nothing in the above explains why else there would be two different forums (on the same set of machines) with two different log-ins. If you bought your box in London, you can’t take part on forums.ageofconan.com. I can’t actually see this as anything except as the “artificial boundaries”
Funcom state they are trying to avoid.
Turbine finally saw at least an inkling of the light and has deigned to allow European customers to update the Lorebook after months of campaigning that there are lots of English speakers in Europe, honest.
European subscribers to The Lord of the Rings Online™ are now able to use their Player Account System (PAS) username and password to log into and edit the LOTRO Lorebook for the first time.
This is a fantastic opportunity for the European community to take part in the day to day updating of everything to do with The Lord of the Rings Online and help to support the global community with our wealth of knowledge.
Right, a fantastic opportunity which you took away from the European community in the first place. That’s what is so bizarre about this – the implication that new ground is being broken as opposed to false barriers being knocked down by the people who put them up.
What would you all say if I told you that I was checking your browser and, if it stated that you were located in the US, you could not comment on my blog? Would that not be totally crazy? So why are we accepting this from game distributors, who are then on top of everything else claiming that it’s for our own good?
Meanwhile, full credit to Sony who still offer choice to their users. They’ve just added a section on choosing a server to their FAQ – offering their users information to make a decision. This compared to Funcom who have condescendingly explained that “as most of us are avid MMO gamers” we should understand why they’ve decided on our behalf rather than letting us create the gaming experience that is right for us.
I had already pre-ordered the game before I realised what they were going to do but I have to say this has taken a lot of the joy out of it for me.