Posts Tagged ‘Acclaim’

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9Dragons – GamesCampus vs GamersFirst Part 1

July 13, 2011

With 9Dragons being resurrected by GamersFirst shortly after Acclaim’s sudden abandonment, everyone looked forward to a complete change in the way things would go on for 9Dragons considering GamersFirst large portfolio of games they publish. Little did they know…

For some, it was bad news from day 1. A little investigation shows that some their most popular titles; Warrock and Knight Online being notoriously famous for hack fests, stories of corruption haunt other titles such as Sword 2 and K2 network (another name for GamersFirst) having a reputation for buying their approval ratings from the BBB.

A Challenger appears…

While GamersFirst decided to make haste and waste, in the shadows, was another publisher called, GamesCampus. They announced that they would be releasing 9Dragons as well for Europe. GamesCampus did not appear to be as popular as GamersFirst with few low end titles. GamesCampus would systematically start off the game in November, with an extensive 2 weeks closed beta test for bugs and existing issues with their version. After getting them fixed, 9Dragons went Open Beta around Christmas time.

That’s a brief background of the two publishers. Its time to compare both the publishers as of now.

Criteria

GamersFirst

GamesCampus

1

Game

a Number of Servers

3 (PvP, PVEx2)

2 (PVEx2)

b Game Population (Avg)

10% – 16% – 25%

Stats not available

c Server stability rating

2 / 5

4 /5

d Anti Hack Shield

Non-existant

GameGuard

e Game moderation

1 / 5

4 / 5

f Frequency of patches (Total patches√∑months online)

1 patch per month

4 patches per month

g Patch Rating (Testing, response time, bug discovery)

2 / 5

4 / 5

h Content Rating

1 / 5

3 / 5

i Age Old Bugs to be fixed

1 / 5

3 / 5

a. Servers:
Gamescampus definitely has a disadvantage when it comes to a PVP server. However, the current 9Dragons PvP systems are broken and incomplete. Two attempts to have PvP servers failed and ended up with ghost servers. A sane business decision would not bother investing in a server whose system is still in “development”.

b. Game population:
Each passing month reduces the number of people staying at Gamersfirst’s servers as more and more people realize that the game will never recover and possibilities of shutdown around September. Unfortunately, the German server Xiaolong suffers from low population as well. But this is mainly because of Indy’s decision to split the 9Dragons population more and more.

c. Server Stability:
Despite Gamersfirst’s claim to employ state of the art systems to run 9Dragons servers, their server/game stability is worse than any other 9Dragon versions out there. Every month atleast a dozen maps go offline, a problem never seen before, except at Acclaim when servers were crowded!

At the same time, GamesCampus rarely has any of its maps going offline or its servers shutting down. They do have some hiccups, which are fixed and compensated immediately.

d. Anti-Hack Shield:
This has to be the distinguishing feature of GamersFirst. Their lack of care towards hack issues is absolutely appalling. Within weeks of 9Dragons, GameGuard got disabled. Not by hackers, but by nProtect.

Reason: Failure to renew contract status.

One cannot help but wonder how a publisher could have missed out on this. Was GamersFirst running on Acclaim’s license? Hard to believe. Were they on a trial mode from nProtect? It finally came online after being off the grid for 24+ hrs. Hacks were still being witnessed by average players. Fast foward to mid-December. Gamersfirst month of opportunity. Players would finally get their long promised characters and a influx of players would make servers crowded again. But Gamersfirst decided to pull the plug from GameGuard, soon after release the of these “templates” and 7 months from now giving leeway to every player the ability to hack openly. The game is still without an anti-hack software to date.

Gamescampus had a week without Gameguard, after which no issues have existed ever. Questions come to the mind. How is it that top tier hackers existed in the initial days of Gamersfirst 9Dragons and survived, but the on GamesCampus’s servers, they were busted immediately.. moving on to that…

e. Game Moderation:
Gamersfirst absolutely fails at maintaining fair play. 1 out of 5 players are on speed hacks on their tutorial maps and bloody plains are a whole lot worse. The staff of Gamersfirst are unable to identify hackers from normal players, with their staff giving out rewards to hackers during events. If anyone is ever caught or forced to be noticed after the community cries about them, they are banned and the duration of the ban depends on the cash history.

Hefei markets to this day sell stacks upon stacks of KG, Experience cards and duplicated weapons and items from quests with atleast 3 unique gold sellers spamming and competing for player attention.

In contrast, Gamescampus has duping stricting under control. ZERO gold seller spam. Over 4 trillion gold was eradicated within weeks of starting their own server and item mall auctions take place to reduce the amount of gold in servers. Any player found selling gold for real currency is banned immediately, the server automatically kicks players attempting to dupe items, so much so that the GM’s themselves are often kicked and disconnected as their items are wrongly identified for duped items. Players with exploited quest items are automatically banned within 3-4 days. Lower level hacks such as speed, cast and damage hacks are non-existent because of GameGuard. Rare items have much more value and are found only ingame (unlike Gamersfirst where sites such as shop9d sell all unique gear). +11 weapons exist only if they are legit and for GMs are able to tell the difference, unlike the GM’s of GamersFirst. To date not a single +11 exist in Xiaolong.

f. Frequency of Patches:
Gamersfirst 9Dragons has been online for 10 months now, with only 12 patches to date.

Gamescampus 9Dragons has been online for 7 months now, with 30 patches to date, that’s twice the number.

g. Patch Rating:
Patches from Indy has often cause more problems than fixes, its common knowledge. The damage however can easily be reduced by the response and reaction time of publishers.

For Gamerfirst, Loopholes get fixed within weeks, long enough to cause considerable damage to the game’s already dwindling economy. The in-adept 9Dragons staff/QA often means that patches are delayed further by weeks on end only to deliver the same bad quality patches.

In contrast, Gamescampus releases patch fixes within 24 hours. Their best performance was release of a patch within 3 hours after a major patch. Loopholes are immediately identified and after fixing the situation, the GM’s quickly reverse the damage caused by banning players who exploited the loop hole or cleaning their inventories.

h. Content Rating:
Gamescampus has introduced new content to their versions way before Gamersfirst in most cases. This covers new skills, existing features (SvS, Master and Disciple), and/or events. The defense set from Tibet at GamesCampus is 600 defense and not 200 unlike Gamersfirst! But it is balance very well. Rising Dragon Decos, decos created by Acclaim to milk more money before closing the game do not exist in GamesCampus. More on this in part 2.

Though… compared to the Korean version, content is still ages behind for both versions.

i. Old Bugs:
Nukers spots fixed across all maps at Gamescampus. Gamersfirst however, non.

Both publishers are on the same page on some issues. Defense nuke and smash, for instance is still bugged for both versions. Beggar hybrids still have an “advantage” over other clan hybrids, though Gamersfirst intends to fix this, god knows when. Bosses still disappear in dungeons for both versions. Parties still get bugged in both versions.

That will be all for part 1 of this review. Up next in part 2 will be a comparison of ingame content for both versions