Where's the fun?
For those of you who can remember back into the 80s, you might recall a group of Wendy's advertisements where old women looked at a giant burger and asked, "Where's the beef?" The burger in question had a huge bun, it had all of the appropriate toppings, but when it came to the substance of the meal (aka, "Da Beef") it was severely lacking.
"The gold at the end of the road doesn't matter if the road is lined with pitchforks, spilled gasoline, bear traps, land mines, nuclear waste, and an ill-tempered leprechaun with a bladed rainbow."
This simple philosophy (if it could be called a philosophy) is really the main problem I have with games anymore. Graphics are great, accessibility is wonderful as well, a good storyline is amazing, but all of that really means nothing if your game isn't fun.
Fun is the reason I sat down at my PC to play your game. I put 50 to 60 hard-earned dollars towards your five-year development cycle, and I did this because I wanted to be amused. I did not sit down at my PC to enjoy "TimeSink Online." I didn't purchase your boxed click-fest so I could obtain the collector's edition item of "fun."
Where's the fun?
But the fun is there! You just have to work for it.
So let's back off with the rant here for a bit. I am getting a little heated, mostly because this is something I feel pretty passionately about. Let's start at the beginning of this whole thing.
When reviewing or offering opinions on a game, it really doesn't matter who you are. Someone is inevitably going to allege that you "didn't get to the fun part" or "didn't play enough to have an opinion." This line is, very bluntly, hogwash. Obviously something in the game has caused you to form some sort of an opinion, good or bad.
First impressions of a game are the same as first impressions in real life. If you have a poor first impression, chances are you're not going to continue onwards. The gold at the end of the road doesn't matter if the road is lined with pitchforks, spilled gasoline, bear traps, land mines, nuclear waste, and an ill-tempered leprechaun with a bladed rainbow.
So when someone comes up to me and says, "Sera, you're obviously an idiot because you didn't get to level X or opportunity Y," the first thing that pops up in my head is "Why wasn't level X or opportunity Y presented to me earlier? If this thing is so much fun that it's going to cause me to bleed candy from my tear ducts, why haven't I done it yet?" Are MMOs some form of evil chastity now? We have to flog ourselves for repentance before we can enjoy some fun?