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Oct 11, 2004

Comments

1.

This nov 15 date for both has been used by various sellers, and magazine for the past 4+ months.

EQ2 looks like it is going to make it. A few weeks ago sellers removed the message of "this is a guess" messages, WoW still has it. Also at around the same time some other sellers flagged EQ2 as a new release, something that usally happens when they received firm information.
Also EQ2 has released a bunch of marketing accounts to various fan sites that for the purpose of giving to thier readers. They will be giving out starting accounts this Friday or early next week.

WoW still has "this is a guess" messages at major sellers. They do not thier rating on the ESRB site, which is just strange if they are going to be releasing in the near future. Also companies that have cross marketing deals are not giving any indication on when they will be shipping thier product.

Overall, I think that if one of them does actually give a release date the other will delay for a little while or rush shipment. Thier are alot of people who are waiting for one or the other and at this time the winner will probably be the first one out the game that has a good game.

2.

The EQ2 date surprises me.

With the open format beta WoW has undertaken, everyone, regardless of whether they are in the beta or not, have been able to track its progress. There is still stuff to complete, and things that are going to be left out, but that happens in every MMOG launch these days, and right now they're in a position to launch with a stable product.

EQ2 on the other hand, and as far as I know, only have EQLive Legends server subscribers, media accounts, family/friends, and contest winners (please correct me if I'm wrong) currently taking part in the beta. With a month until the release date, they are behind the beta cycle compated to WoW. Of course, that is unless they plan on shipping a rushed product, and it wouldn't be the first time.

If one of these products has to drop their release date, it'll be interesting to see what Mythic does with DAOC: Catacombs. They've previously intentionally released their products the same day as other MMOGs were released.

3.

It will be a really interesting marketing situation if both of these big boys release on the same day. Especially if one of them has release issues, where many players are not able to log on or play on release day. I can imagine pissed off players rushing back to the store to return the non-working game for the other, as both seem like good candidates for mercurial MMORPG players.

Given that many players of more conventional MMO's are waiting for one or the other of these products to come to market, the effects on struggling or smaller MMO playerbases will be quite noticable. I look forward to seeing graphs of subscriber data on this Nov-Dec season in the coming year.

4.

>But it would mean tough choices for journos – no publication can afford not to cover the release of either, but which one to go to Blizzard or Sony? Bidding for my time will start with decent coffee and a nice goody bag.

Noble sentiments, but the hype for these in all the game mags started several years ago. I'm afraid we've already missed the big junkets!

At least the readership can still count on our neutral and detached opinions. ;-)

5.

It's no tough choice for the world outside of North America. WoW is a NorAm launch only, and will not be allowing cross region server selection, which roughly halves the available options here. :) Is the international market sufficiently small that deliberately cutting it out is worth the saving in billing and support complexities?

6.

I'll be interested in seeing not only when they publish, but where and how.

Sometimes not releasing outside of North America is nothing more than a business arrangement. For example, it's quite possible that the North American branch of Blizzard only has the rights to publish and support the game in the U.S. and Canada, while the European office of Blizzard will have the rights to publish and support the game over there. Should they publish in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, etc., there will be respective offices for those regions too.

I don't know if that's the case or not for Blizzard, but after getting recently involved with some of NCsoft's distribution agreements, it certainly sounds like it is.

While these sorts of setups make sense and work from a business end, I know that it does put the international players in a bad spot, especially when the game may be published earlier in one region than it is in another.

7.

It's no tough choice for the world outside of North America. WoW is a NorAm launch only, and will not be allowing cross region server selection, which roughly halves the available options here. :) Is the international market sufficiently small that deliberately cutting it out is worth the saving in billing and support complexities?

It's not that. It's more that doing an international release simultaneously is really freakin' hard. It may be easy and make sense for movies, but launch week is hellish enough when all of your customers speak the same language as your CS staff.

8.

Comparitively speaking between the two games, I would say that WoW is far, far ahead of EQ2 on development and could push through the door now, whereas EQ2 has quite a ways to go in terms of content and game implementation.

Having gone through both, I find WoW to be free of all normal bugs (i.e. don't break the system, the system won't break you). EQ2 however has reams of them still in along with a slow graphics engine and problems all around.

EQ2 will always have a cult following but I think WoW is going to be the next "EQ" and take a close right hand seat if not on top.

9.

It's not that. It's more that doing an international release simultaneously is really freakin' hard. It may be easy and make sense for movies, but launch week is hellish enough when all of your customers speak the same language as your CS staff.

That is actually the crazy thing: WoW is going to be simultaneously released in the US and in Korea, with Korea getting a completely localized version in Korean. While the UK has to wait for about 3 more months, and they are speaking some kind of English. :)

Furthermore Blizzard is actively preventing Europeans from importing the US version of WoW. If your credit card doesn't have a US billing address, you can't open an account, and your imported US client is simply useless. I guess this is all part of some exclusivity deal between Blizzard and the European distributor Ubisoft, but it sure makes a lot of people outside the US and Korea angry. I prefer the NCSoft approach, where you can not only play from anywhere, they even offer the complete CoH for download if you have trouble importing it.

10.

Everyone in my sphere of knowledge has already known for a very long time which of these games they will play. And it's all WoW, incidently, but that's not a random sample. So these games aren't news, per se. The only news most are waiting to hear is if each game is broken or not, which translates for many into exactly when to cancel your current MMO subscription.

The regional issue is huge for many larger guilds who have international membership. When Shadowbane confirmed that they would not support international servers they lost a lot of potential subscriptions overnight. Apparently, however, these voices are lost in the horde/swarm/scourge.

11.

Well, in terms latency and lag, it is tougher to let everone from all over the world play. These are probably very small issues in a localized Korea-only. As for why Koreans get the fast release, and Brits don't, look at it this way: How many Brits compared to Koreans bought Warcraft or Starcraft? I mean Koreans still have professional starcraft leagues! There's some French Canadian dude who lives there and is making ~US$500K/year and has to have body guards to keep the fans away. I think if it came down to it and only one place could launch first, picking any place besides Korea just isn't good business.

12.

I played EQ and I played Star Wars Galaxies (for over a year) and I for one would like to strongly express my total disdain for any Sony MMORPG game. While playing those games, I have seen an enormous amounts of bugs/exploits, an unresponsive CSR team, and generally ignoring the player base. While this can be said of any MMORPG, they are by far king of the hill in these departments. The only game I can recall with as bad a launch as Sony games, was Anarchy Online, and at least they got their act together within a month or so. SWG is STILL a beta as far as Im concerned.

13.

EQ2 on the other hand, and as far as I know, only have EQLive Legends server subscribers, media accounts, family/friends, and contest winners (please correct me if I'm wrong) currently taking part in the beta


Incorrect. I'm part of beta, and I'm in none of the categories you listed. Just a regular JoeEQ guy.


EQ2 is quite a bit different than EQ1. Each game has it's own merits.


I'm very interested in seeing WoW. I'm not in beta, but given Blizzards' track record, I'm sure it'll be a hit.


Having said that, given Blizzards' track record, I'm also sure it'll be late.

14.

Better late than broken. I'm happy to wait if it means more bugs will be fixed and more content added. The last two mmorgs i bought into, AC2 and one other, had horrible starts. Both were plagued with bugs and did not have enough content. With AC2 75% of the people who joined at release finished all the available content and quit the game within 30 days. Bad bugs drove off many others and what ended up was the subscriber base was too small to support a good content team so we only got a few bug fixes each month.

Both EQ2 and WoW will hopefully have enough budget to avoid this probem. Personally I've only been following WoW cause that is what I will play. So far WoW has had a long beta since maby June? and they recently had high volume stress test beta2. Player jounals are very positive. I cant wait for the release.

15.

Actually, I am in both beta's...EQ2 and WOW. I've played WOW up to 50th level and EQ2 up to 20ish level. I can truthfully say that WOW's been ready to release for about 2 months...if you use Sony's measure of "ready". WOW has basically been using a model of releasing the character class abilities, testing them, nerfing where necessary, and just generally doing class balance. EQ2 hasn't had near the level of balancing that WOW has so I forsee a great deal of "nerfing" post release.

No one enjoys starting a character and then having them completely changed after you develop him/her to your playing style. If nothing else, for this reason alone I see alot more people going WOW than EQ2.

16.

As someone that has played WOW beta, but not in the EQ2 beta, but did play EQ1 from release...

I think that EQ is going to be more ready for the launch date simply because of a couple of things... first off, Sony is experienced in MMORPGs, Blizzard is having to go to localized servers because they cant figure out how to make lag go away without it, which is lame... Also, with all other blizzard online games, cheating/bugs were rampant, in EQ, there were some, but none that affected the community as it did in Diablo/War3.

finally, WOW beta is good, but they have completely destroyed one class ( warlock and possibly taken out the infernal as a pet) hero classes arent even in it yet, and from what i understand you cant pick your hero classyou, just get stuck with it.

so, my point is, EQ2 despite the slow graphics engine, has prolly been ready for a while... its not as though they have to stress test etc since they have been doing this exact thing for 5 years with EQ live...

just my thoughts

17.

You have been /.ed (http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/10/13/159255)

I have about 400 hours (16 some days) in my World of Warcraft character and must say it is the first game I have been excited about since the original EverQuest. I have played just about every MMORPG that has come out in the last few years and really have to say that the lower level (particularly alliance side) portion of the game is brilliant. The higher levels of the game don't have the same polish and "magic" as the lower levels (most likely due to the push for a Christmas release) but WoW is leaps and bounds above any MMORPG on the market. Although I love World of Warcraft the more I played the game the more I noticed that it is nothing really new or revolutionary. World of Warcraft is “evolutionary not revolutionary”. It took what worked with MMORPG's and put it together well, but appears a bit rushed (compared to the lower level content) at the higher levels (yet still huge strides over other MMORPGs).

Recently I have not been enjoying WoW as much as I once did possibly due the slightly rushed current higher level content (no raid content in the game yet) and the fact that I am in the process of writing a few player guides for the game (which quickly causes burn out). It could also be the fact that my main character (a mage) went from being overpowered to a bit underpowered. Blizzard tends to nerf and fix things with large sweeping changes until they find a proper medium.

I have yet to really look at EQ2 yet just because I was tired of the EverQuest world and its unfortunate decline over the years.

EverQuest 2’s main audience is the 2 million people who have played EverQuest over its lifespan (and quit for numerous reasons). EQ2 and WoW are the most anticipated MMORPG’s ever. It will be interesting to see how they play out, but either way new players will want new guides and GameGuidesOnline staff will cover both games.

18.

You cannot compare WoW to Warcraft 3 nor Diablo 2. In order for bugs and cheats to work, it would require someone actually hacking the servers. ou cannot accurately compare games of different genres, where one had games hosted on a end-user's computer, solely using Battle.net for match-making, to a game that is hosted on dedicated servers. Blizzard is just as, if not more competent at handling cheating and bug-exploitation as any other company out there.

We have seen their track record of actively pursuing and enforcing their rules regarding cheating. And personally, the only thing that impresses me about EQ2 graphics is their particle effects. Their characters look lifeless to me, and ar *far* from their claimed "photo-realism." I have watched every video they have released, and during every dialog sequence, the speaking character looks lifeless and bland, with little to no charcter movement during speeches.

And from what I have played of WoW, being in the beta, what they lag in high-polygon count, they easily make up for their top-quality texture work. Blizzard is not going to push the fanciest technology or the highest polygon count. They are going to make a beautiful that appeals to the individuals who appreciate the gameplay, the art-style, and the fact that their computer can handle the WoW engone without emptying their wallet for upgrades.

19.

I've played both and EQ II is really far superior graphically, I mean, it's not even close. WOW is cartoony in comparison and many people will be playing EQ II based on eye candy alone. Spells and magic seem to be more diverse in nature and open up more creative possibilities in EQ II.

WOW does seem a *little* smoother but hard to make judgements about stability and speed before the games are released to the street.

Based on what I've seen EQ II is going to 'own' WOW once the people get a chance to see them, touch them, and smell both games.

I have read nothing but comments here about how great WOW is and people should know that not *everybody* feels that way. I don't think WOW is even in same league as EQ II, but I would rate it favorably compared to EQ Live.

20.

Former EQ1 player, current WoW beta player.. As has said, I can only speculate how SoE is on EQ2 (from what I've heard, a long time to go); World of Warcraft (awesome game, fun all the way through, like EQ never was) is really close to release. While it certainly isn't finished (other things still need to be added, balanced, tested) they could easily make a Nov. or Dec. release date.

And I guarantee, it will be a solid release. Bugs are being worked out, servers have been stress tested.. They know what their target is, know where the game is going, and you will see a successful retail launch.

But don't take my word for it.. Sign up for the open beta when it comes (within the month is my guess) and see how solid and prepared they are.. Thats what you get for 10+ months of beta (instead of the short time that EQ2 will have)..

And for those that are claiming that EQ2 will 0wn solely on graphics are very limited in their idea on what makes a good game.. Original Diablo: not spectacular graphics, great gameplay. Balder's Gate series: limited graphics, superb gameplay. And don't forget X-Com: UFO Defense. Dare I mention that EQ1 was pretty sub-par when it was released, but didn't stop thousands from flocking to it.

Graphics never make the game; gameplay does. Great graphics do not increase userbase retention; gameplay does. You can find plenty of great looking games that weren't good games. But you'll be hard to find games with good gameplay that aren't listed as great games..

21.

""""You cannot compare WoW to Warcraft 3 nor Diablo 2. In order for bugs and cheats to work, it would require someone actually hacking the servers. ou cannot accurately compare games of different genres, where one had games hosted on a end-user's computer, solely using Battle.net for match-making, to a game that is hosted on dedicated servers. Blizzard is just as, if not more competent at handling cheating and bug-exploitation as any other company out there.""""

What about the movement bug that allows GM like speed? And the ability to tear through mining like it is nothing? I dont know how to do either but they are rumored to be easy to do in WOW... EQ live got rid of the movement bug or whatever you want to call it around kunark, so apparently its hard to do...

Also, WOW's spell lists and talents are terrible... the small number of spells and the way the talent tree doesnt really make the char any different (except specing in fire for mages or a similiar choice for other classes)....

i just dont think that blizzard knew what it was going to take to compete in the second or third generation of online games... or fourth if your a mudder....

but then again i'm not in EQ2 beta and this is all just hearsay

22.

wow has it all, the great thing about it is that, you feel comfortable what ever you do, and you dont really feel penalized when you die, the artwork is great, and definatley, they arn't trying to make it the most graphically superior game, they want it to have the warraft type style , that has always been there, just compare something like starcraft to tiberian sun, yeah starcraft was more cartoonie, but it makes things look less buggy, and fantasy like so, i think wow got it going on, and they will beat EQ2 out of the ballpark.

23.

As some one who has played THOUSANDS of battle.net games of Warcraft 3, and Diablo 2, I can honestly say I've seen no cheating. And in the case of Warcraft 3, I've saved my replays too. I think the level of security on Blizzard servers is FAR better than sony's or most other game compainies. Not since the days of Warcraft 2/Diablo 1 have I seen cheats on their servers. That would have been around 1997.

24.

true that;)BOOYAKA!!

25.

While there is no real comparison between past exploits in BNet and potential exploits in WoW, I feel that Sony will have an advantage in cutting down on those exploits. In house, I'm sure Sony has had significantly more experience in dealing with those sort of details and will apply that experience slightly better than Blizzard.

That being said, I've played WoW since phase 1 of the beta and know that Blizzard is not taking this challenge lightly. They have hired developers with experience in this detail and know that while prevention is important, the real power is in extensive logging. Being able to reverse a dupe bug or verify a trade exploit are what save economies and keep players.

As for which will 'win', I think EQ2 threw away their biggest advantage by trying to maintain EQ Live instead of releasing as an 'upgrade'. So, the score count is:

Graphics -
EQ2 will attract the most people by its graphics, but once immersed, my opinion is that WoW has a better look and feel to its environments.

Customization -
EQ2 wins this one hands down. I think Blizzard dropped the ball here by underestimating the value of this compared to the minimal work required to improve it.

Gameplay -
WoW by a longshot. What it lacks in class variety it makes up for in variety of play. Every class has a unique playstyle and fun options. Quests come into play in such a way that you spend time paying attention to the story line instead of your exp bar (at least into your 40's). Even late game, you are always deluged with options.

Normal Content -
WoW again. The outdoor zones are spectacular and loaded with things to explore, but the instances are where Blizzard's real design shows. Semi-linear dungeons and epic boss battles (even at low levels) provide a definate cool factor that Sony has only been able to reach in their raid content.

High-End Content -
At release, I have little doubt that WoW will take the lead in raid content. This is simply due to a more complete beta cycle. After that, they will probably have difficulty matching Sony's experience in implementing progressivley more challenging raid content. We'll have to wait and see on both sides here. Beyond raid content, I think Blizzard has taken a wise lead from Mythic in their plans to implement voluntary PvP. We'll see as it is released, but what worked for DAoC will work for WoW. This won't hurt EQ2, however, as most people would rather play a full PvP server or have strong feelings against PvP of any sort. Thus they won't know what they're missing here.

If this comparison sounds biased, it is. I've been following both games heavily since they were announced and my choice for WoW was made by the impressive decisions Blizzard has shown that they repeatedly make. Even the issues that cause the most complaints by the player-base tend to be good long-term choices. Having seen how Blizzard implements balances adjustments in their other games (sweeping changes during beta but slow changes after release), I think they will continue to make the right calls.

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