Ray (and everyone else)..
I'm starting to see and hear about these same bugs and problems infesting every large MMORPG out there. These games are so huge and complex these days, that I think they grow into monsters that cannot be tamed at some point. Just look at SWG. Have you ever taken the time to think about how friggin complicated the resource harvesting and crafting system alone in SWG is?
For those of you who have never played SWG and have no idea about the resource/harvesting/crafting system, I won't even bother to try to explain it to you. You could litterally write a 300+ page instruction manual about this aspect of the game alone. It's not something you just walk into, and the best crafters in the game are some of the most intelligent players, not to mention the players spending the most time and money on the game.
I played as a successful Master Weaponsmith for a long time, and there were people out there that knew little nuances I never did have time to explore (because I couldn't play 8-12 hours a day), which made their crafted items better than my "excellent" items. It's insane. I have to say I was blown away by the whole system once I had a grasp of it, which took a lot of play time. Hell, they even have SURVEYING so you can go out and find the best metals, ores, gemstones, chemicals, etc for harvesting, then place harvestor machines which had to be fed money and resources themselves to operate. Want a short lesson in manufacturing process? Become a Master Weaponsmith and make some Rocket Launchers. As far as I know, no other game has a crafting system that is even close to being this deep. Experimentation? Awesome.
When I played as a Ranger, I did contract hunting. It took a ton of time and effort for me to keep track of the animal resources alone so I knew what to hunt, what the stats were, what planet it was on, which animal, what the important crafters (the ones who pay well) needed, etc. I had to keep a friggin notebook and have regularly scheduled play sessions where all I did was kill animals to get resource stats. Yeah, it sounds kinds like a "real job", but it was fun. I loved hunting. Most of the time I could care less about the PVP shit going on. Still, that was only one small PART of the crafting sytem.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, I find it much harder to jump on SOE's shit about a few game bugs than many of you do. While I agree that making retarded decisions like the new revamp coming down the line is inexcusable, I don't think ANY game developer could quickly "fix" this game. On this same token, I really have no tolerance for simplified games anymore either. SWG's depth added a lot to the experince for me, even if it created other problems.
As for longevity, some of the depth was misplaced, or not evenly distributed enough through the other aspects of the game. The depth of the questing system was a joke, and eventually that is what kills the game for me and most other players. Once the adventure/exploration aspect dries up, no amount of crafting or profession grinding will keep me interested. I'm one of those people who opted out of grinding toward Jedi because I didn't sign up for SWG just to mechanically grind levels.
Those of you who bitch about instancing really need to think about it for a moment. While I do NOT want the majority of the game to be instanced like Guild Wars is, I do think a certain amount of it is going to be Required from now on in order to make the adventure aspect of these games actually fun (and gank free). LOTRO is going to be about 10-20% instanced when it comes to quests, and I think this is a great idea. It allows the game developers to make the adventures much more exciting and scripted. It keeps the camping gankers out of your fun. There is a place for non-instanced quests, and I would never suggest they are completely removed from an MMO-RPG. The truly cinematic and epic quests we all want to see in these games will HAVE to be instanced though.
Any way you look at it, MMO games are doomed to either mind-numbing simplicity, or uncontrollable chaos until they figure out a way to manage these gigantic projects better.
BF2 Player Name: "MindTrigger"
"Sometimes I think I'd be better off dead. No, wait, not me, you."
He cut the possum's face off then cut around the eye socket. In the center of the belt buckle, where the possum's eye would be, he has placed a small piece of wood from his old '52 Ford's home made railroad tie bumper. Damn, he misses that truck.