Unfortunately, that’s where the good news ends.
Despite the best hopes of AO’s partisans, Funcom had no rabbit to pull out of its hat on release. The client released to the world was the identical client that beta 4 testers were using (in fact, beta testers could log in immediately and skip the 14 MB or so of patches that awaited new users). People still crashed often when zoning, or while in combat, or just standing there. The unofficial server monitor shows a 90% uptime, but that’s obviously belied by the past 2 days, most of which show red downtime during actual playing hours.
Other problems are legion. Clipping is still a huge issue, and even some doors during missions look as though they enter into “funhouse land” (in other words, outside the modeled area). Huge lag in populated or large poly-count areas such as Omni-1 is still a problem. Combine that with the truly inexcusable errors associated with the retail package (lack of SSL protection for the registration server and many CD keys rejected by the signup page) and you begin to wonder if Anarchy Online’s developers modeled the dewdspeaking leets after Funcom management. The official forums, never the most civil of places, have completely devolved into histrionic finger-pointing and name calling, with the sides neatly divided between “fanboys” who still believe Funcom can do no wrong and these early problems serve to weed out the weak, and irate customers who feel they deserve something in the box they purchased besides HelloWorld.exe and a doughnut.
Marius Enge, Funcom’s Customer Service Manager, had this to say from the inevitable mea culpa on the official news site:
As you may have read or experienced first hand, the launch of Anarchy Online has not been without its own hardships. Registration difficulties, slow patching, semi frequent game crashes as well as worries regarding the security of the registration connection have all encompassed the first few days of Anarchy Online opening the world of Rubi-Ka to our own.
Firstly, on behalf of the entire Anarchy Online team and Funcom, we sincerely apologize for any inconveniences or current dilemmas the launch of Anarchy Online may have caused. The launching of a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG is a monumental task and certainly without question is one that Funcom, with each passing minute, moves closer to triumphantly conquering.
Reading that, I’m reminded of Bill Clinton’s “apology” for lying to the nation about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, which within a head-spinning twenty seconds turned into an assault on his nemesis Kenneth Starr.
“Triumphantly conquering”? Save that for when I can actually play the game longer than fifteen minutes, OK?