It’s been only hours since I wrote and posted about game delays, and here we have another delayed game that’s already been delayed before, Mu Legend. Posted on Facebook, here’s what Webzen had to say about their new November date for open beta.
“With the MU Legend global version, we are in the fortunate situation that our Korean version of the game is already live. This means we have had enough time to take into account essential feedback from players of the Korean version. Thus, our careful analysis brought us to the logical conclusion that we would need to re-arrange a few features and balances, and adjust our release roadmap.”
I hand picked this part of the post because I find it the most revealing of the nature of the delay. Rearranging a few features and balances tells me that the game may be struggling with it’s Korean audience, and was likely going to suffer the same fate for it’s global release in it’s current state. And as I was just saying only hours ago on this very subject of development delays and failed launches, it’s extremely important to have a good first impression and build a good reputation for the game at launch.
Having played both closed beta test 1 and 2 of the global release, a few annoying features and imbalances come to mind. Now this is pure speculation, but I suspect some balance and feature adjustments they are making are in relation to things like the crafting and upgrade balance. The most controversial being the dreaded result of players breaking their items in attempts to upgrade them. Most of us are familiar with this sadistic game design but I’ll explain it for the fortunate souls that have never seen this.
Basically how it works in most games is as follows. You find an item after a dungeon boss like a helmet that you really like and can use to replace with better stats than your old helmet. You can take it to a blacksmith npc and pay a small fee in gold and materials to upgrade the stats on the item. Every successful upgrade increases the helmets stats and adds a +1 to the helmet name suffix like “Badass Helmet of Awesomeness +1”.
You can repeat this process again with higher costs in gold and materials to upgrade to +2, +3, and for example up to +10. The catch is that every new + you try to add, lowers the success chance a few % points. To get to +1 was 100%, but now, trying to get from +9 to +10 is only a 20% chance. And if you fail, your helmet breaks and you will have to go find a new one. Now multiply that frustration of breaking a helmet with the fact that it was a very rare item that was a pain in the ass to get from a powerful end game raid boss, and it’s enough to make a lot of gamers rage quit for good. This feature exists basically as I just described it in MU Legend. But again, pure speculation that this is in fact one of the features they meant they are changing.
For the sake of the topic, let’s assume for a minute that this is the feature they are changing or removing. Or some other similarly game ruining mechanic that would quickly erode the patience of it’s community after launch. Isn’t that worth the delay to improve the game and help ensure a good reception around launch? I think so. This isn’t to defend the people in charge of MU Legend from making bad designs in the first place. Or to excuse them from releasing trailers and closed beta tests way too soon before the game is ready. But because of these delays, we should, hopefully, get the right game in our hands starting from November.
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