Alright peoples, there was recently a pretty large MMO release in the form of Final Fantasy XIV. Some people like it, some don’t. Whether you do or not is personal opinion, as are any reviews that pop up about it. However, Square-Enix has asked that, as reviewers, we don’t review the game for three to four weeks after release. Now, I can’t with a good conscience say the game will change dramatically in those first few weeks, however I can say that reviewing an MMO is much different than reviewing a regular console game – whether it has multi-player or not.
That being said, it seems that there are reviewers out there who have no business reviewing an MMO, because the mindset they review these games with bleeds through like a waterfall and the bias comes out as bright as day. So, I’ve put together a list of things that, if they apply to you, you should refrain from ever reviewing an MMO. Please note: I realize everyone that these do apply to will deny it, but just remember, denial is the first sign of confirmation.
You shouldn’t review an MMO if…
- You have to have the review out RIGHT NOW because you’re on a deadline just like that 10-hour-campaign shooter you reviewed last week.
- You think World of Warcraft is the best MMO in the world because it has 12 million subscribers.
- You’ve played less than 30 hours, have a class at level five and/or have only fought bunny rabbits.
- You can’t figure out how to create an account and sign up to play, thus zinging the game because of your stupidity (seriously, it’s 2010, this should be second nature to us by now).
- You think everything has to be hand-fed to you (we’ll dub this “WoW Syndrome”).
- You think you can do everything in-game in less time than it takes you to heat up a hot pocket (see: “WoW Syndrome”).
- You are anti-social (again, “WoW Syndrome”).
- You think everything has to be a World of Warcraft clone and anything that does something even slightly out of that norm is garbage (seriously, do I need to mention “WoW Syndrome” again?)
- You will mark off points because you actually have to explore and figure stuff out on your own in the game. (While partly “WoW Syndrome”, this can also be referred to as “FPS Syndrome” or “Xbox Live Symdrome”.)
- You dislike RPGs to start with.
And there you have it – 10 things that will tell you if you or someone else should not be reviewing an MMO. Seriously people, have some integrity and stop treating every game and genre the same. MMOs need more time than one week to even begin to get off the ground. In the case of Final Fantasy XIV, that time is probably doubled from those aforementioned WoW clones, since it is Square-Enix we’re talking about. While this can apply to any MMO review, Final Fantasy XIV seems to be taking the brunt of the hate here because it is very different. Not as different as EVE Online, for example, but still not exactly what people expect going in. Just because something isn’t what you expect and is outside of your cozy WoW comfort zone, doesn’t mean it is bad. In many cases, these games are better and more endearing than World of Warcraft will ever be.
(Disclaimer: I love Blizzard and am a huge WoW fan, but WoW is not the end-all, be-all of MMOs by a longshot. Anyone who thinks so needs to give themselves a reality check and learn to broaden their horizons a bit.)