Home > Uncategorized > It Ain’t Easy Makin’ Games: When MMOs Kill Windows

It Ain’t Easy Makin’ Games: When MMOs Kill Windows


After a short adventure into the world of vg music, it’s time to return to some examples of just how hard but important it is for a good game to also be reliable and loophole-free.

The need for well-constructed technology and mechanics is even more vital for MMOs than it is for the mostly single-player pursuits we’ve discussed thus far. Hacks in multiplayer games are necessarily less benign than their counterparts in single-player ones because they touch on issues of fairness left alone when you’re the only conscious entity affected by your cheating. The cost of loopholes is extremely high in massively multiplayer games, in which the abuse of bugs, hacks, or bots can disrupt slow-burning game mechanics across an entire server, forcing data rollbacks and creating lost time, energy, and money for thousands of players around the world. Still, the thought that every piece of gold hacked into your account coffers might deal a devastating blow to the game economy doesn’t stop many MMO players from getting their hands dirty on the illegal benefits doled out by the right (read: wrong) scripting.

For this reason, MMO developers need to be even more careful, perhaps, than developers of other games when closing up loopholes and fixing bugs; any small leak in the system is an opportunity for unscrupulous people to ruin the experience for everyone. It ain’t easy makin’ games, but some games are definitely harder to make than others. Just ask Funcom, the developers of Anarchy Online (2001).

12. Anarchy Online Kills Windows 

Photo Credit: www.anarchy-online.com

 One of the worst bugs in MMO history was the fabled Anarchy Online 11.2 patch, released during the game’s beta testing in 2001. Purported to “increase stability” in testers’ systems and fix another bug that caused items to disappear, the patch actually blew out the user’s Windows OS, causing failure to start upon reboot. Jump into the wayback machine to check out the firsthand user reactions to this so-called “Beta Patch of Doom”: http://www.planetcrap.com/topics/274/.

Unfortunately, the Windows killer patch wasn’t the only problem in Funcom’s fated beta, which has been widely ascribed with one of the most failed launches in MMO history. Aside from its numerous technical problems—from invalid CD keys and client timeouts to intense lags and random crashes—the game also required credit-card subscriptions on a server that initially wasn’t secured with encryption. Oops!

Nonetheless, the Funcom team was able to remedy these problems in due haste, and AO remains to be on one of the most widely known and longest-running MMORPGs to this day, 10 years later.

–shivaniran

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