MMORPGs and Obsolete Reviews: an Abusive Relationship
The relationship between the MMORPG market and game reviewers has always been a difficult one.
The most obvious problem is that the average MMORPG requires much more time and dedication than your usual single player game to be explored deeply enough in order to form a valid opinion on its quality and gameplay. This normally conflicts with with the tight schedule many gaming journalists keep, requiring them to dedicate no more than a few days (or even less) to a single game before having to deliver a review, that often sounds uninformed and sometimes plainly incorrect to the ones that played the same game longer than that.
While that’s quite a bad start already, the relationship between a MMORPG and its reviews gets only worse with time.
It’s no mystery that MMORPGs form the genre of games that evolve and expand the most during their lifetime. Most of the time they improve drastically since their release, and in quite a few cases the evolution is so radical that judgement passed and rushed a few days after the game hit the shelves simply becomes absolutely obsolete and often misleading.
The evolution of a MMORPG during its life cycle, that often spans several years, doesn’t normally include just the implementation of new content, but also the revision or even revolution of core gameplay and in some cases even the conversion to a new graphics engine that brings them up to par with the newest entries in the genre.
In the old time of printed gaming journalism, obsolete reviews normally ended up shelved, or even trashed, with the old magazines that brought them, but in the era of the internet obsolete reviews stay online, and on Metacritic, ready to ambush the unknowing reader via Google with information and opinions that simply aren’t valid anymore.
How many times have you described a MMORPG in its full evolved state to a friend, only to find yourself slamming at full speed against a stubborn wall made of “But it’s only a seventy on Metacritic!”?
While the main duty of the gaming press would be to inform, obsolete reviews on MMORPGs launched a long time ago and since massively updated do exactly the opposite. While I’m in no way supporting the not-so-recent trend of releasing unfinished and unpolished MMORPGs, “fire and forget” reviews that remain as a permanent stigma branding games that have long since changed completely are a disservice to the reader, that risks to miss on a potential good time due to opinions written several years before.
That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised if in the near future (and even past that) you’ll see, on this very site, some reviews of MMORPGs that have been released a long time ago. Games that have been updated and revolutioned enough to be still current and to make old review obsolete do deserve a second and renewed look. And they shall have it.