Indie MMOs and their fans

There’s an odd philosophy among gamers that you don’t see in most other hobbies, and it’s particularly prevalent among MMO gamers. It’s the need to “support” indie developers by paying for an incomplete or buggy product. Because the developers are passionate. Because they love games. Because they’re a small house without the resources of Blizzard or Bioware.

Fellow gamers, let me tell you something: you are a customer. When a development house is making a game that costs as much (either in initial box fees or monthly subscriptions) as a title by the big names, they need to provide the same level of quality and customer service as those AAA titles. Would you buy a crappy vacuum cleaner from Hoover to “support” the corporation? If the house doesn’t have the resources to provide a quality product, the price you pay should reflect that. I might pay $5 or $10 a month for an MMO that is less polished than, say, EVE or Everquest II or World of Warcraft. But when the developer starts asking me to spend $15/month, they’d better be able to stand up next to those other guys and prove they’re just as good.

Stop forgiving untested code, frequent server outages, horrible design decisions, and excessive bugs. Don’t let the developers’ fervor and passion blind you to the fact that they’re selling you a service. Games aren’t developed on the patronage system (if they are, I have some design ideas I’d like to see implemented pronto).

Demand quality, and if you don’t get it, vote with your wallet.

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