I was reading this interview with Star Trek Online executive producer Dan Stahl and Perfect World Entertainment vice president of business development and corporate communications John Young. Most of it was typical industry talk of managing an MMO, but Dan Stahl made one comment that really got me thinking. Should MMO’s be reviewed differently than other games?
To start off let me give you the question the interviewer asked and Stahls answer.
“[a]list:It’s a bit unfortunate, we feel, about the reviews of the launch version of the game in 2010 since the game has evolved so much since that time.”
“Dan Stahl:In my opinion, the whole game rating business doesn’t necessarily do a great justice to MMOs. MMOs are designed to grow over time and get better with every major release. It might be better if sites like Metacritic could find a way to rate MMO’s by releases instead of just the initial day one. There are plenty of MMOs that have made huge strides since days one and some that have even gotten worse. Until then, we will continue to offer the game for free and ask for people to try it out and decide for themselves.”
I understand where he is coming from I really do. I just don’t really agree with giving the system a tweak because MMOs have a longer shelf life than other games. Metacritic in terms of MMOs should just be seen as a snapshot or a rough reference for a game. Hell any game for that matter, but definitely MMO’s. I don’t think Mr. Stahl gives the MMO community enough credit for taking over where game ranking sites leave off. Outside of WOW or Guild Wars 2 every MMO I have played in the last year or two has been found trawling the Internet. Some have been good, some decent and others out right crap.
I am not claiming that the MMO community is better than any other one either. So let’s just get that out of the way. I can and will say that it is one of the most devoted and loyal groups I have been around. Makes sense given the amount of time one can put into a single game. Generally if a game has been out a couple years and there are lots of wiki pages and fan sites your in game experience will be decent to Awesome. The reverse of course holds true. Again I understand why Mr. Stahl said what he said, but maybe the people behind these massive games need to trust in the community more. They have the ability to draw in new players more than Metacritic does. Much Better chance of that working out, then trying to alter the review racket.