Last played: 2010
Experience: Very Minimal
Like yesterday’s entry, Vindictus also features action combat, and did so back when such a thing was much less common. As an added bonus, when you hit monsters hard enough, they’d fly back and smash into a wall, cartoon-style. That was all I needed to check it out.
There was the hint of a role-playing game to accompany the fast-paced combat, told in an old-school JRPG style, which I found quaint and charming. I ran an instance or two by myself, just to get used to things, and thought it lived up to the billing and could at least be a fun hack-and-slash for me to try out occasionally. Then I joined a group for my second run.
That went less well.
It wasn’t an issue with the players, about whom I don’t recall much. Rather, it was the game’s performance, or lack thereof, that made it impossible to play. What I would learn after a little digging was that an instance was hosted by one player and that its performance depended on that person’s ping or machine or something-or-other. That’s why my solo runs worked fine, but as soon as I jumped into content with other players, it all went to hell.
I didn’t care about the reasons; all I knew was that the game was utterly unplayable in this state, and I don’t mean that in an “elitist PC gamer only getting 15 frames per second, wahhh” way. I’ve dealt with issues like that. I mean, it was literally impossible to play, with severe input lag that was closer to 15 seconds per frame. It was that awful.
That’s my lasting memory of Vindictus and the reason I’ve never gone back. I don’t know, maybe Nexon’s addressed that problem, but it was simpler just to move on. If it was a fixable issue, it just makes me scratch my head at why it was allowed to ship in that state. I understand that there are going to be bugs and balance and performance issues with a new MMO, but when you have a core issue like this that makes gameplay impossible for a number of your players, do you really still launch with the “we’ll fix it in a patch” mentality? Maybe they did fix it in a patch, but I, and probably a lot of others who experienced the same thing, wouldn’t know because we already left and never looked back. It had its moment to grab me and failed.
I don’t know, maybe in the financial analysis of such things, it’s determined that losing 10% or so of your players right off to this sort of thing is better than incurring another month’s worth of development costs before launching. Of course, if Vindictus was launching now, it would have an early access program and an issue like this would be excused – for a time.