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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Risk Nothing

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Time to give SOE a break today as I rant about an MMO company that has really been bothering me.

The game is
RYL (Risk Your Life): Path of the Emperor and the company is PlanetWide Games.

One of the main selling points of the game (a generic fantasy MMO with a focus on PVP) was that you could win one million actual US dollars by winning an in-game tournament. You can find an article attesting to that fact here. "'Buying the retail box is the first step towards winning the $1 million grand prize,' said Kevin Donovan, President of Planetwide Games."

Well, that contest was flatly cancelled. The announcement is here.

Edit: Bah, that link was working earlier this week. But apparently it's not anymore. Luckily I copy-pasted the quote into Word and I'll paste it here for you. It did exist, I assure you.

"It is with regret that we announce the cancellation of the “RYL: Path of the Emperor” $1,000,000 skill-based tournament.

Over these past few months, we have spent considerable time and effort trying to develop failsafes that would negate the cheating that originally lead to the tournament’s suspension.

Unfortunately, the game developer has been unable to correct these technical issues in a way that we feel is foolproof. As a result, the company cannot assure the fairness and equity of the tournament.

We’d like to thank the “RYL: Path of the Emperor” community for their support and understanding through this matter. This is a great community, and we hope you will continue to enjoy the game.

Best regards.The RYL Team

Note: This is considered an off topic for the forums and all issues concerning this should be addressed to support@ryl.net."

Edit Again: I found a link to another outside source that quotes the same announcement. Here it is.

The company blames the inability to combat in-game cheating for the cancellation. They don't have the wherewithal as a game company to prevent cheating. So you, the consumer, have to suffer not only because cheating exists but because the contest you likely bought the game for is cancelled. Oh, and you can't even complain about it. That's right, this is considered "an off-topic for the forums."

That's frankly disgraceful. You take money from people by selling the box at retail and then summarily cancel
the million dollar contest. Then people aren't even allowed to protest on the forums. And I see no mention of giving the prize money back to the people who bought the game.

Oh, but maybe it's such a great game that it doesn't matter! Um, I doubt it. Check out the reviews on Metacritic for yourself. It managed an average score of 50 based on reviews by critics, compared to, for example, World of Warcraft, which scored a 93. Even the highest reviewer on the list, G4, points to "Dreary forced leveling; shortage of quests; mediocre graphics." And the lowest reviewer, Gaming Age, has this to say: "A boring game with uninspired gameplay, mediocre graphics, stupid controls, and a community that resembles a junior high homeroom. Congratulations R.Y.L."

I don't blame Planetwide Games for not making a good game. It happens. But to promote it with a million dollar contest that you then cancel is just a reprehensible move that gives all game companies a bad name.

Computer Gaming World said, "Next time, use the million-dollar PVP cash prize to improve gameplay." Too bad that, in the end, that prize was not even awarded.

Speaking of risk or the lack thereof (okay, so I have to sneak in an EQII point somewhere), I'm not too happy about the apparent shard free future in EQII: "With the removal of the spirit shard death mechanic in Live Update #17, we wanted to let you know that we are leaving shard recovery NPCs in until the next major update."

But I'll wait for an explanation or until I see the final version before I get too crazy.


Anonymous Anachronist said...

There was something about an "alternative death penality" in the test update news recently. There was no descritption of it, though.

I think it could be a good idea. At the moment dying doesn`t really matter. Call me crazy, but I want to pissed, when I die ;)


PS Anyone on test here ? :)

1:40 AM  
Anonymous flashman said...

Hey RYL isnt the only one. Advent Rising was another game that canceled their million dollar contest. Same reason also..cheating. Although if you sent in your UPC code Majesco gave you any 2 of their games free. So, at least you got something out of it.

5:52 AM  
Blogger Krystalea said...

From what I read on the forums, the alternate death penalty is: no shards, and then double the debt. So normally, after shard retrieval you have 1% debt, you will pop (revive) with your shard and 2% debt. Also, what I read, is that the debt decay is going away. So no more logging out for a couple days and coming back debt free.

There goes my to the wind attitude of trying all sorts of encounters. Haha. Probably will still do it and it will take twice to long to level =/

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Brett said...

If they toughen the xp debt penalty, I can get behind this change. There's nothing I hated more in EQ2 than dying near Nagy's lair in SolEye in a late night pass at picking up Fire and Ice, and having to go back just to retreive a shard (in case I couldn't find another group to run down there the next time I logged in). Heck, bring back shared xp debt just to give further pause to reckless behavior - but reduce the amount of debt you get from it. I'm not a complete sadist.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can dig what krystalea explained.

When I lost my shard among the octopus...

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anachronist said...

Hmmm...just double the debt? Don`t want to rant, but that sounds rather lame ;) I was expecting something more ... well, innovative ;)

12:13 PM  
Blogger Ashlorelden said...

Perhaps "Ruin Your Life" would be a better title.

6:14 PM  

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