There’s an unwritten rule between online RPG developers that requires that we not say anything too bad about a competitor’s game. It’s considered bad form to criticize someone else’s efforts. I think most developers feel this way because any success helps us all, even if that success has a shaky foundation. Beyond that, the industry is a small place, really. Potentially insulting a future employer is dangerous for anyone to do.
But, is this for the best? Developers can often spot flaws in a game way before most other people do. Examining and discussing flaws is perhaps one of the best ways to move the industry forward. Do we have to wait until a game is long in the tooth like EQ or UO before we can discuss the flaws in a direct manner?
Of course, given how players generally fall in love with a game during the honeymoon period right after launch, it can be really hard to frankly discuss a game’s shortcomings. The fanbois will be out in force, defending their precious newborn game with amazing vigor. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that some of the larger companies would even resort to an astroturf campaign to argue against naysayers.
Sometimes it’s best to point out that the emperor has no cloak, but for now it’s best to keep it yourself if you’re a developer.