Is DDO circling the drain? For a while I keep thinking it's about to die, and it never does, which makes me wonder if either I'm just plain out wrong, or it's circling slower than I expected. Also, sorry in advance for the wall of text.
What I see, and mind you this is my own perception, is:
- There are less and less "knowledgeable players" playing the game. - That is to say more and more people I seem to run with, and I almost exclusively PUG, are simply ignorant about the game. Willfully ignorant at that. This could be that the better players are only playing with themselves, or it could be there's just less of them. The spread from level 1-20 to 1-25 may also dilute the playerbase considerably. Which brings to my next point of...
- There are less players playing. - Perhaps it is the dilution, but I think not. There are alot of PUGs from level 1-5 or so, and a steady amount of a few posted PUGs at 20-25, with a giant wasteland in-between. When I started, shortly at the f2p shift, one at any level range could pick and choose between at least 3-5 PUGs with almost invariably one working for you. Now, if you want a full group, even for popular quests such as Litany/VON3/Shadow Crypt, it takes forever. This has led to people, including myself, posting IP groups. I will wait for about 3 minutes to see if anyone joins up, and then just start running by myself with occasionally someone joining IP. The posting of IP groups means one needs to be more and more self-sufficient, which limits in turn who can join the group. I'm far more interested in a WF sorc than in a pure barbarian, because while the barb can self-heal with SF pots, those are not things one tends to have until later levels. This in turn excludes people, due to the simple nature of an evolved playerbase towards self-sufficiency.
- Turbine makes puzzling decisions - There have been no shortage of decisions in the past which riled up the playerbase. Everything from nerfing WoP to defining clerics as healbots to the personal pet peeve of mine of in U9 they removed sorcerer versatility. However as of late Turbine's focus has puzzled me. The enhancement update at the moment looks horrific, and while it may change it shows where the developer's mindset is. The forums are very, very bad. Being logged out every 2 minutes, and the pages take 10x as long to load as before, names not transferring, and really I don't need to go into depth here as you can read this in *every other thread.* I tend to be forgiving of decisions made by those I see as more knowledgeable than I but I am simply confused by this. The only rationale I can give is…
- Turbine just doesn’t care – Insert here what you don’t think they care about. The way I see it is that Turbine, and yes I am lumping the whole company together, feels they know what is best for you, and gosh darn it they are going to force-feed it to you until you see they are right. This is not me talking about the forum-goers’ thoughts as I believe the forum is made up of players who have a different perspective than the majority of the game playerbase. I mean, people on the forums are complaining about how EE is too easy. Most of the players I know in game would be happy to survive EH in a reasonably timeframe. People in the game for quite some time have been increasingly fed up with the lag, broken quests, missing epic chests, and more for years and yet… Turbine has said nothing. Not even on the forums, which are kinda intended for that. I’ve played quite a few other online games, and in each and every last one of them the developers talked with the players to find out what was going on. A stupid decision was made, and they reversed it. A major bug came out they couldn’t easily fix, they announced they were working on it. They had a test server which resulted in things changing because they listened to their players. There have been major, major bugs in the same which resulted in Turbine, at least visually, ignoring completely. There was the person who lost all their ED xp, and only got a result after a significant number of prominent players saying ‘screw this.’ I mean, was lag ever acknowledged? Raids and quests were being lost purely to lag and yet the discussion was as if it never happened and they professed surprise as if noone had ever told them. The 100x billing issue; forgetting to renew their domain name; the list goes on, and those are only the very recent problems. Perhaps they really don’t know what goes on. Perhaps WB is deciding to put as little money into the game as they can to try to squeeze out the last few dollars because they know trying to fix the game would be cost-prohibitive. Perhaps they are working to fix it, but won’t tell us for some reason. I don’t know, but it is hard to get the impression Turbine cares when they tell us nothing while Rome burns. I keep being reminded of the Iraqi Information Minister telling us everything was ok as the US forces crushed the Iraqi forces.
So, sorry for the wall of text, and the rather free flow thoughts, but I can’t help but wonder if things are going downhill, or if it’s all in my head. I tend to financially support the games which interest me, but I have a hard time giving Turbine money, even before the forum fiasco potentially uncovering financial details, when I just don’t have confidence the game will be around in a few months. If I had confidence it would be around, I would be supporting, but I just don’t think I would be surprised at this point if they announced they were closing up shop in a month, other than that they delayed until after getting the money-grab from the newest expansion.