Introduction to this article series: Click here.
This is Part 2.2 of my Artix Entertainment review. For new readers, this is a list of problems that I have observed AE encounter. The general problems of being a video game company, that is.
One of the main problems faced by AE is customer dissatisfaction, especially in AdventureQuest Worlds. Some subscribers expressed concern about the value of ingame subscriptions compared to that of microtransactions. Players have also expressed their disapproval of AdventureQuests Worlds' over-reliance on microtransactions, as the in-game equipment sold through said microtransactions is functionally similar to other in-game equipment.
The players of AdventureQuest Worlds have also expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of the story and the actions of Cysero, the current head of the game. A common complaint about Cysero is that he manages AdventureQuest Worlds only to gain more profit at the expense of player satisfaction.
Another problem in AE is the lack of proper communication among the staff. In theory, each game has a team assigned to that particular game alone. This is because each game has its own technical requirements as well as game lore to maintain. However, due to communication breakdown between the top-level management and other staff, team members from older games may be assigned to newer ones, sometimes until the point where the older games suffer in performance.
AE also has to compete with other game companies such as Jagex, Blizzard and Electronic Arts. AE usually is capable of coming up with unusual and unconventional ideas, but occasionally, they slip back into old tricks that barely work. For example, AdventureQuest Worlds initially forced all its female players to wear revealing armour, but the policy changed after a group of players protested constantly for nearly two years. This was because compulsory revealing armour on female characters was used by practically all gaming companies except Jagex's RuneScape. The CEO of AE had this to say about the former revealing armour policy:
If there is one thing I have learned in the past few years, is how important it is to listen when someone feels strongly about something. I think some people would get defensive, but it is my belief that if someone does not like something and tells you it is a good thing. This is because it means they care... and when people care about something, you know there is an opportunity to make it amazing. Because it is against our policy to take away items that we have given to the players (and they are using) the agreement that the team made was to create a large number of conservative armors and classes for female players. After the PTR is stabilized we will do this in a number of shops and releases. (A. Krieger, personal communication, April 22, 2010)
The discipline of AdventureQuest Worlds players has deteriorated since 2010, as many of the players use foul language and behave unkindly to other players, despite all AE games forbidding griefing. Hackers have also become more rampant in AdventureQuest Worlds. As a result, the game has negative publicity among the online community. It should be noted that griefers are common in many online games, as the internet allows users to engage in bad behaviour.
AE's sixth game, HeroSmash, was originally going to be called SuperHero Quest, but AE received a cease-and-desist letter from DC Comics and Marvel, two comic book mega-corporations, stating that AE was not allowed to use SuperHero as the two companies had a trademark on the phrase. AE then renamed SuperHero Quest to HeroSmash, although the CEO did not want to give up. However, AE had no choice because DC Comics and Marvel were much larger than them.
Business rivals stealing ideas is a problem in any line of work. AE does not usually reveal a lot about their new games until the new game is almost ready for testing or release, in order to prevent business rivals from knowing their ideas. The practice of hosting virtual concerts in games was also pioneered by AE in March 2009, as it was not a conventional way to gain publicity for game companies at the time. In fact, virtual concerts in MMORPGs were unheard of until AE first held one for Voltaire, a well-known singer in the alternative Gothic scene. Other stars and singers have been invited to hold virtual concerts and shows in AdventureQuest Worlds, such as One-Eyed Doll, They Might Be Giants, Jonathan Coulton, Ayi Jihu and George Lowe.
Next section: Problem solving.
Next section: Problem solving.