Thursday, September 12, 2013

SEP 12 - MMORPG WEBSITE REVIEWS

This blog post is going to be about my experience and over all rating of the MMORPG websites out there. I will be talking about and rating the MMORPG websites that I rely on to stay "connected" to current news, events, and discussions. One of my recommendations to ALL mmorpg sites is to archive your game list ratings each year, and start fresh each year. No one seems to do this and all sites give bad "top game" results.

I will start with MMORPG.COM as it is usually the first hit on a Google search. Here is my experience:

The presentation and experience:
The sign up is hefty. They want all kinds of information to sign up to this website. They have a huge policy of how to post and what to post. They demand allot on your identity. They even shove this philosophy of "You must post on our site constructive comments. Nothing that will promote "trolling". However, this rule is 1) Impossible to define and punish as troll is a mythical being adapted as a slang word to throw at people you do not agree with. It is not slanderous. It is also never used properly by the mmo community. The troll started on memebase like sites of people giving other people false information, like "press ALT+F4" to get free gold in game. That is trolling. But when some one says: "I played this game max settings and it looked bad". That is a fact, that is not trolling, but everyone thinks these facts, or other views on subjects falls under trolling. Including MMORPG.COM. And you will get banned if you do not kiss up to a game title. Especially new ones or promoted ones. But more on that later. 
2) Enforced by fanbois. The amount of traffic, it is impossible to track people posting all day, so the community is left to flag people. I have noticed, I will have a popular article, but if certain key members do not like it, or a GM of a game (ALLOT of GM's use this website for promotional writting), it will get removed, even if you broke no rule, but just gave your honost oppinion in a polite and dignified way. So heavy editing of speech.
The people signed up can create user profiles that track what game they are playing etc. The only thing a little original is that there are user star ratings of about 5 stars. If people like what you are saying, they can click a star rating, and you gain user ratings. A little cool feature to see who has been loved as a forum user.


Lay out: The first thing to hit the eyes upon entering this site is the advertisement bordered around the website. Some one in the business once described to me, that there is a value to size ration in the media marketing. The smaller you shrink your main page to allow more poster space for ads, the more cash you get. Generally, it is handled well here in mmorpg.com. It is dominant and apparent. But the ads do not give me annoying pop up or link blocking issues. So I do not mind.
I enjoy the presentation of current website as you scroll down you will see: Current articles based on their staff - Forum activity feed updated every 10 seconds (including necro posts, I.E. updates on old posts that re-flames older issues. I enjoy this). - and then a mesh of special offers and "top posts, colmn writers, etc" the stuff I rarely care about. When I am here I usually throw an eye on the news and the forum activity and spend most my time in the game list.
The News is not really "breaking". They update at a regular pace and recover a piece I already read elsewhere. The little unique thing here is that they cover it through their writers perspective and not recycle it 100% The little down fall is the column writers usually kiss allot of ass and give scores or opinions that speak like marketing PR.

My experience was a bad one. I have burned through 4 accounts and refuse to continue using this site as a member, and just check it as a regular user (no sign up or sign in). I created an account and started posting my reviews and oppinions that generally are found every where else in the mmorpg community, including a games official website. I started with older games I used to play. Things were fine, the community loved me, and I Got 5 star user rating FAST! MY posts left in tact. Then I moved on to the new titles and gave my concerns and oppinions and or praise. Any post that over praises a game WILL STAY INTACT, EVEN IF IT PROMOTES TROLLS. Example:http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/385955/Greatest-mmo-since-WoW.html

"Greatest MMO (final fantasy) since WoW" - This article has caused a huge influx of people bad mouthing and "trolling". This article is not removed. 

Now, if this article said: "The MMO that needs fix". This will be removed. I had posted several articles like this and pointed out areas of improvement. The thread was SHUT DOWN, and I got an excuse by the Moderator: "Your post has caused others to begin arguing. It is our policy to close threads that promote nonconstructive arguments or use of bad mouthing others. Sorry and thaks for understanding, and by the way, this is a hit on your account. You'r account will be banned if flagged again". Ok, so an ENTIRE thread because 2 guys started arguing in it. Well that is odd, why not just ban the guys that started bad mouthing and not the entire thread? 
I decided to play good guy. I saw I needed to write OVER POSITIVE reviews and to shut other peoples articles down, all one had to do was start raging in their post. Challenge Accpeted! 
I started this. And this is what happened: "WE are sorry we REMOVED your COMMENT and have banned your account for violating the rules". I went back to read the thread, and yup, "comment removed" but the users thread still OPEN!!! That means, they had no right to shut down my thread because of the actions of others. They could have just removed the 2 other users that trolled my thread! This is UNJUST!
What burns me, is that there are current threads that are SUPER trolled. I have seen 5 star users leave bad mouthed comments and get away with it. The key to success in this site. Kiss ass. Pay a little. Get a 5 star rating. Then you can post whatever you want. Otherwise, as a new user, you will have no voice and harrassed by the club of trolls and enforced by the policy police. It sucks. All this structure is supposed to keep a well oiled community, it just lines the sites pockets with cash and keeps PR machine rolling. For that, I do not read their articles. The main columnists have boring out of touch articles, and the community is by far the most clueless I have ever run across. Their posts are so mind numbing it is insane. I whole heartidly invite you to go read through the forums. Those comments. SUch fail. But when you baby the community and control freedom of speech and do nothing but PR. That is the result you get.
The Game list: This is an important piece for me. When I visit MMORPG.COM I go here just to cross refernce the game list with other sites and try and get specific related topic information. There is a major problem here though. The Officialcolumnist rating does not reflect the user ratings. THAT  proves my point above how out of touch they are. A game can be given an 8 out of 10 by the staff, and a 5 by the users. Just hugely differentiating scores on most their games. Also, I am not sure how the votes work, but it is horribly off. The top games change oddly month to month, but there is no reset of the votes. So some of those votes are based on old votes since 2001 or horribly skewed. Last month WoW and Guild Wars 2 were the top games by thousands of votes. Now if you notice allot of games voted that are not even released. LoTRO was even a top 10 and gave the site a better picture on how the audience votes. For example these top games resembled a more "WEST EUROPE" community. Now it is just jumbled PR stunts messing with the votes. Take for example game Grenado Espianado (or whatever it is called, sword of the new coast)...few months ago it got risien from the dead from the bottom ranks to TOP 7!!! How??? Oh guess what, it just so happened they released a update to the game that month so the web masters must have thrown back on top to promote it. Here is a thread on the issue:

In conclusion: DO NOT TRUST THE RATING system here. This system is skewed and full of promotional tricks. I only cross reference this site for the posts of a few good men that actually like to speak the truth before they are banned. I use this site as cross reference only and refuse to ever re-sign up. I find it disgusting they ban people for opinions and non trolled actions. They also cater in GMs from known sites (like crab from Gpotato allods, etc.) to do most forum posts. And we all know hand outs are not for free. I give this site a 2/5 rating. No annoying pop ups and easy to get to functionality. Otherwise user experience is horrible.

MMOHUTS.COM
The presentation and experience:
This site is is very simple and to the point with it's presentation. Another site pumped with advertisements all around. I never signed up as signing up just serves as forum user. The forums migrated from another mmorpg website and it turned into a buggy disaster. Also, the forums are not at all that interesting and serve only as a typical forum fan hangout. I say that because you need no sign in to post your oppinion and comments on the game articles themselves. You can easily hop into a game profile and start commenting below as freely as you like using Disqus, which allows anonymus posts or any user name you want witout sign up. I like this. Un restricted speech is awesome in my book. The conversations are entertaining, and informative. And yes, pepper in the "trolls" and other useless spatter, but all in all, I enjoy self expression over all.
MY big problem is the handeling of it all. I found this site through YouTube actually. I was looking for mmorpg videos and ran across this dude that was giving unique MMORPG reviews. His name was Omer. He had a vry strong fan base and formed it on his PERSONALITY. He was hillarious, he was entertaining, he was a great mmorpg review guy. I mean, he could review movies or anything and how he presented himself and the material was good. Then one day the bad happened. He had allot of work and hired on a guy named SPunkify. Together they did reviews. Sadly, Omer's videos came to a trickle with the "help" doing the majority of the work. Then, the manager came in the office and took over and well...here READ THIS:http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/wzev5/i_was_the_former_editorinchief_for_mmohutcom_and/
Yes folks, that is the behavior the cash system brings. This kind of management. It reminds me of the film Grandma's Boy (highly recommended for game fans).
Any ways, the quality fell, Omer disappeared, Spunk now works over at MMOBOMB.COM (review below), and some uninteresting non original guy does the video reviews now. Boring. I no longer watch. Also! Most of Omer's fans have been perma banned from the new mmohuts youtube channel. Sad. I only use this site to see the flux in the top game list. The news is old and never interesting here.
Game List: This one is a little more accurate to the votes. I like how the official game guys give the vote as "poor - good - great - excellent" and the users vote using numbers 1-5. This keeps things pretty solid. The flux of top games seem to reflect accuratly the nature of the currently popular games voted by their community. I am not sure how the flux works. Are they reset? Accumulated votes? etc.
My final vote: 1/5. This site is great to cross reference the top games out there. Otherwise the news is standard issue, the forums cultist, the management pure garbage, they lost the best voice they had. I go in, I click game list, I look around, I get out. NOthing at all worth hanging out in.

ONRPG.COM
The presentation and experience:
I skip to this title because they are partners with MMOHUTS. The same group different presentation. Like mmohuts, nothing really worth signing up for. I never found the forums any use. The other features just dull or non existant. It is exactly like mmohuts with the use of DISQUS to post freely. Small difference. They have no posters. This site is pretty much dead. Go right now, click on any of the game links in the news feed. 0 posts. XD. I try and post here and there to be nice...*shrug*
I do like one thing here. The news feed. They had this thing called "Shotgun news" where they cram all the latest news feeds in one article. Easy and efficient. They also have news and sometimes reviews on games all the other sites missed. I have desicovered allot of interesting titles I never knew existed. I also collected some news pieces allot of other sites missed! This is a great site to nab some news pieces to cross reference with others. But again, there is no user comments so this gets no community feed back most of the time, which means you are then going to find yourself looking at other sites to read user feed back, or the games official forums.
The game list: Probably the most strangest list I have seen... If you rank the official rating of a game, look at the top 10, then rank it by the user ratings (based on stars). It is completely different. Just look at the list of games below... This is the tops game?? I never even heard of it! http://www.hazeron.com/
So, yeah, a very odd site. I give it a 3/5 for showing me things I never knew existed, giving good news feeds, and allowing freedom of speech.

MMOBOMB.COM
The presentation and experience: A very standard lay out with the most current articles they do posted in a feed on the main page. A little different then the others we have covered. It is more like a blog with the other site features. I signed up, easy to do, for the beta key offers and promotions. Sadly, I get ones from the games I have no interest. And I do not get them for games I want to play (but end up getting them from the game site itself XD).
This is another site I found in youtube. I liked the online show they had. They had SPunkify (ex employee of Mmohuts.) and a guy named Magicman that acted as leader of the talk show and over all voice of mmobomb. I was so involved in the show that I got shoutouts on more than one episode, I had my "unique" responses that were based on unbiased non PR speak comments. For example, I call a balanced feature out like "In RoM you can just daily farm ferrets, then move on to fairies to max level because dailies are the only form of mass exp in comparison of other quests. To reset the daily max of 10 requires a cash shop scroll. So in a way this is super pay 2 exploit." MAgic mans favorite game was RoM and when we get into discussions. He will defend his lovely titles and turn a blind eye to facts. However, he also started "Blacklight is it P2W" controversy. So his fights were oddly chosen. I liked that they pushed against the system a little. Then it happened. MAgicman quits. They start to kiss promotional ass. And they hire girls to read scripts to present you and promote video games...SPunkify over acts trying to be "unique" (ends up squealing like a little girl and over facial expressing every dialog)...It just became hard to watch.
They tried hriing on a new article writer. Bu all in all, the content is dull, slow to catch up to news. And just an over all fail of the site. I find nothing unique, interesting, or valuable to cross refernce here. I notice the fan base shrunk ALLOT! The number of posts per article has fallen tremendously. I honestly believe they failed due to he who threw the first stone. Magicman taking up the wrong fights, and then leaving. They could have been the players voice against gaming corruption! They could have lead us to the new era of gaming community and forcing publishers to give us what we love...but they pooped out. Or they could have just entertained us with some of the funniest game commentary I ever heard...nut they died off and got unoriginal... that energy between gamers and friends just sputtered out..or Spunkified out...


Game List: Not really working. I click on 'popularity" and it just filters by alphabet. Also there is not rating...Well there is a score of like 1 out of 4 bombs given by the staff. USer rating not really apparent and you can not sort by bomb rating. You can only sort by "popularity" and that is not working or is odd results So I never use this list. Comments are the most noob comments I ever read as well... least informative and just out of touch.

All in all I would have given this score a good rating when the boat was sailing. Sadly, it ends up a 1/5. 1 point for existing I guess. And no I am not "butthurt" over my experience. I just look at this site and bad management. Non interesting articles and super slow to update. They still run the 1 hour video thing. That is kind of cute but just not enjoying the content that made it stand out FROM ANY OTHER MMORPG discussion. Just very scripted and ass kissy. But not bad if you like to burn time. I wanted them to win! I really think if they did something different they would have a chance to reclaim a good spot. Until then. Meh.

MASSIVELY.JOYSTICK.COM
The presentation and experience: This is a tough one. THey are the most active news feed I have seen. I usually go here for my main news updates. They are current an on it. Running every hour with just a few pauses. I like their articles that read like fact sheet: "this happened, and now there is this". I HATE the articles that kiss ass. They have allot out elite columnists that promote a game hugely based on ELITE outlook only. One example is the AION feed. They update AION from a end game, top paying writer. She also is friends with a guy that has top paying accounts in both EU and US. They only cover US version. But the outlook is like: "Why you should play and enjoy all these things the game has to offer". But beware! Those beautiful screenshots, that "they took me in and loved me" attitude. The "enjoy this feature" all comes with a heavy price. It is not the accurate in game experience you will have. This is very unique to this writer and her guild of top payers. You will NOT have the same experience, and because they take this game on at this angel, it is VERY OUT OF TOUCH with the MAJORITY of gamers. I do not like this aspect.
They allow DISQUS and I Am signed up as a user here. It is painless and over all it allows freedom of speech. The community is a mix of fan boys of certain titles and dedicated posters. Most seem to be subscription paid players. But the balance and responses are nice and informative enough to read through.
There is no game list. And there sadly is not real section to relook over all the reviews. They have no game ads. They have like, car ads, and other website hosted ads blended in that they are hardly noticeable. I like that. Like I mention above, most of the PR comes from over glorified posts. They even still post weekly on The Secret World as if it is the hottest thing since sliced bread. One of my worst games I played (see my review in my blog).

All in all 3/5: Informative news feeds. Freedom of speech. Updated very often. Easy to use. And occasional good articles.

MMOGRINDER.NET
The presentation and experience: I fell in love with this the first time I discovered it. Easy lay out. Worked like a video blog. This guy updates his site with video blogs about once a month. HE had a very good hit the nail on the head review style. He does not hold back to attack the very points that are supported in the mmorpg community. But then it happened. He attacks the very people he should not and turns a blind eye on the very thing that is important in this business. The fans opinions.
It happened to me on his TERA review. At the end of 2012 he tested the F2P conversion of The Secret World. He loved it and called it the best game of the year. I never played it. Based on his 3 dedicated video feeds, I bought it and installed it. (Read my The Secret World Review in my blog. We have different opinions on this title).
He then goes on in start of 2013 to do a TERA review. He calls it the worst game, and bashes the community and gives false information. He basically says in his most sarcastic passive aggressive style that you are a pedophile if you enjoy the Eline class. You are an idiot if you enjoy freedom of speech in chat. The game takes to long to level and is a grind fest. He says people love torture if they stay long enough to love the end game. He said that becuase he said "people said the game gets good at end game, why would I wait for that?" HE then rants about how the players are horrible. He had done this in other games as well, where he makes fun of the community to prove a point.
I replied to him, Nicely, on how his points are not accurate. How he lied and gave mis information. I was maily speaking to his community, not him. I got a response directly from him, he writes a wall of texts of excuses and he starts off saying: "I wont lie, I started this review hating TERA". So, he basically started a Biased review of a game! He knew he was giving out false information! I was shocked and sort of put off. I wrote back, and he banned my account, and then installed a feature that only allows new comments to be pre-viewed before posted. So he is now controlling his entire feedback section. He does not like people expressing themselves unless it is in support of his idea, or just LIGHTLY against. His fan base is about 12 now XD.
Not only was I the one to start point this out, he later on, about 3 months later, posted a "TERA continues to haunt me" article about how the TERA community is "attacking him" and therefore they are all babies and immature...yet he plays and promotes one of the worst games put out... This guy is so out of touch and so full of himself. I highly recommend not using this site as a means for MMORPG news. I am also very shocked the partners of his website have not kicked him out for turning people away.

A 0/5 rating for me. Passive Aggressive journalisme is used for comical relief on some points. He uses it seriously and attacks the community and fan base of games and try's to put himself on the "I know better because I am not like you" seat. It is just rude and ugly and misleading.

MMOSITE.COM

The presentation and experience: I do not think I need to explain allot here, you are reading this article on this site so you know what it looks like. I will mention what I like and do not like. I like the news and article feed. I like that it is updated every morning my time and it ends to be updated around noon my time. The presentation is very simple. However, the buttons can be a little confusing on the top. What is the difference between NEWS button and the main page? The "feature" button takes you to a game info page that is more appropriate under GAMES not FEATURE, where beta keys, events, and MMOSITE events would seem better placed there. For example, their "vote for the best game of 2013" articles should be presented and clear there. Everytime I looked for it here I was lost. I had to google: "Best game 2013 mmosite" and be taken to a link completely different. This sort of non fluid build is a little nerve wracking.
On the other hand, it has a very creative and user friendly BLOG service! I love this idea! Following other users, getting community recognition etc. EXCELLENT! I also like how the updates, the adult content center, diversity, and freedom to post what we want. 
It has way more news updates from Korea. So I have a feeling this sites core is asian based. So this site gets hands on, in english, the pre releases of certain games before they are transfered to US. Also, the fans that speak english translate allot of updates for us. I have seen several asian guides translated into English before the patches or the game arrives. IT just is "Fun" to click around and get active here.
I was invited to write here, and it can seem I am fan boying it up here. But no. I know this site is not perfect, but at least, despite all my imperfections, the staff has never treated me bad. The vibes have been good, and the site is solid. The fact they are trying to work on a mobile device is cool too. And it is all free... There are ads around the borders and I would not be surprised to see if this company is paid to PR titles. But you know what. My articles, for or against these titles are freely posted in the main stream and not edited. I appreciate that 100% Self expresion in the community I love!

The game list: This needs work....LOTS OF WORK. The numbers are odd. Durring the voting...the top game of 2013 was Knight Online???? This is an old 1990's game...how in the world??? http://event.mmosite.com/gameprize/?action=gamelist&id=27
Something feels a little odd and broken about that. I also noticed allot of sites posted the link to go here and vote, so comunities were active but how did these games get top 2012 ratings??? I think a spam voting bit? Some people say all of Greece came here to vote since Knight Online is popular in Greece...so odd...
I give this place a 4/5 - freedom of speech, up to date news, built in blog, mobile version, working to get better, adult content. Stops from being the best due to it's strange Game list.

That is all. What other sites do you like to go to? Look and compare all the game lists I presented. Notice they are never the same. This is why cross referencing and doing research is important than just following one site blindly

Some other mentions Tentonhammer: Older site. Changed management. Stopped being active. Basically died but has a very slow news updates. Slapped on a cat image to "attract" people. Just a dead site now.

Giantbomb: Was a great community for hte community site. Died. Merged into another site. Fell off the radar.

Gamespy.com: Was a corporate site that buddied with corporate gaming. This meant, that some games REQUIRED you have a GAMESPY ID to run their games. A sort of 3rd party sign in. They uesed this software called Commrade, to track your PC installed games. Just super complicated. Allot of kiss ass writing. They recently shut down! HAHA! Guess not enough funding. Should not have based your site on cash guys. Should always base your articles on love :).
Sadly, the question is left, will those old games in my digital library still work now that they ID system is down??? Oh well.

That is all, see ya next article!

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