Cryptic: Reviews "don't do a great justice" to MMOs
Star Trek Online producer Dan Stahl spoke with [a]listdaily about well-known science-fiction franchises spearheadingfree-to-play MMOs and how the genre's constantly shifting content isn't in harmony with traditional review systems, saying, "In my opinion, the whole game rating business doesn't necessarily do a great justice to MMOs."
"MMOs are designed to grow over time and get better with every major release," he continued. "It might be better if sites like Metacritic could find a way to rate MMOs by releases instead of just the initial day one."
Stahl said "plenty of MMOs" enacted "huge strides" since launching with detracting or beneficial effects. Since launching in February 2010 to mediocre reviews, Star Trek Online, for example, retooled its ground combat, added a "duty officer" system of modular ship boosts, and empowered players with homebrewed mission content via its Foundry creation kit.
By contrast, Sony Online's Star Wars Galaxies earned initial critical acclaim when it released in June 2003, but subsequent major updates—including the infamously divisive New Game Enhancement—soured its reception among the community for apparently ruining an otherwise enjoyable sandbox experience.
We wouldn't necessarily disagree—reviewing MMOs is a fundamental challenge. Our original EVE Online review scored the game at 55, and we've continued to cover the game's growth after launch. Our reviews-in-progress are an attempt to give timely impressions when they're arguably most valuable—immediately following release—while allowing us to stamp a verdict when we're ready.