DC Universe Online’s first full content patch is due out very soon. In some ways it typifies Sony Online Entertainment’s issues with DCUO:
- It was originally scheduled for February 15 2011 and was marketed as such. But then it was delayed, with the explanation that “a date was put on a trailer that shouldn’t have been”. It seems that SOE’s marketing of DCUO has gone from saying nearly nothing unless it could be guaranteed to signing off on trailers with unauthorised dates. Regardless, DCUO misses another publicly announced date.
- Although downplayed now, this patch clearly contains DCUO’s Valentine’s Day event. Much like in real life, no-one is impressed by week-late Valentines.
- All those changes are going in without any kind of player testing. Given how SOE’s beta patches tended to introduce quirks into DCUO, I’m not sure that their QA is up to the job of catching all the unintended bugs before it goes live. To paying customers. Who are about to experience their first DCUO content update.
- A lot of those patch notes are vaguely worded, which lets players run with them as they like. For example, “[i]mproved the layout of Voice Chat options on the Social UI” has been taken to mean “fixed all problems with the social UI”. No, that isn’t what it says, but that’s what some players are expecting due to the absence of other evidence and the desire to see things like the chat system fixed. This is where expectation management should be at the forefront, but it isn’t.
I’m aware that some people think that a week late isn’t much in MMO terms, and it probably isn’t… if you are committed to DCUO. Players who is coming to the end of their first month playing a MMO (like a lot of those PS3 players) are in a situation where they are considering if they want to renew or not, only to then see the first content release date broken.
First impressions count.