Joymax: The Good And Bad About Their Free Games
Joymax is a major online development and distribution company for games like Silk Road Online, Deco Online and DarkEden Online. Here's a brief look at what makes Joymax good at what they do in the free-to-play genre, and a look at what makes them bad for MMO gaming.
A Look At Joymax
Before World of Warcraft became the standout phenomenon that it is, there was another game that had massive amounts of consistent players that rivaled with WoW for the longest. It also contained plenty of quests and servers that were nearly always overloaded. I’m talking about the Joymax powerhouse MMORPG, Silk Road Online. It was one of the few games that helped put Joymax on the map as a competent distributor and provider of free-to-play, online massive-multiplayer RPGs.
Now as far game development goes, Joymax is only responsible for Silk Road Online. However, they are also responsible for managing and providing MMOs to various regions through their web portal. In total, Joymax provides gamers with more than just Silk Road Online, they also offer services for the casual PvP game, Deco Online and the MMORPG horror game, DarkEden Online.
The Good About Joymax
While only opting to service gamers with three MMORPGs, one of which came from their own development studios, Joymax has managed to reach out and capture a wide following of gamers within their small library of games. This is not to mention that unlike a lot of other companies out there, Joymax has also managed to diversify their offerings with more than just the typical medieval, pre-modern, historic MMORPGs that most other companies seem to center their massive-multiplayer games around.
Joymax has conveniently positioned their efforts on a variety of varying genres that has afforded them recognition in the world of MMO gaming. Silk Road’s illuminated aesthetic of Chinese history; simple fighting play-style; the variety of skills and the easy-listening soundtrack was a surefire bet for grabbing up players who were looking for more than just the typical adventure game.
Another good thing about the company is that they took over managing servers for North American availability of SoftOn Entertainment’s DarkEden Online, the Korean-based horror MMORPG. It was aptly renamed DarkEden Global and features a variety of different changes, including upgraded graphics for some of the characters, better sound effects and new items for purchase through the online cash shop.
Like DarkEden, Joymax also ventured to provide English publishing and distribution for the casual player-vs-player MMO, Deco Online. In addition to providing North American gamers with servers to play on and English text, they also opted to include additional cash shop items and a few other fixes to the game to better streamline the online experience.
So far it would be tough to tell how a company like this could have bad things about it, but alas, the bad things were inevitable due to certain company practices. In addition to this, a rather obvious flaw in the current trend of Joymax’s function also works as a major drawback to the company’s success.
The Bad About Joymax
Before addressing the biggest plague of Joymax’s problems, I’ll first start with something that isn’t talked about often but is probably one of the important things that need to be addressed: Joymax hasn’t worked on many new games as of late. In terms of acquiring publishing rights, developing new projects or consistently releasing content for their games, Joymax has kept things extremely thin on the production front. Supposedly, a sequel for Silk Road Online was on the way, but nothing ever come of it and the project appears to be put on hold. Another game is also in the works called Bumpy Cash, a casual MMO that was announced earlier this year. Since the announcement nothing else has been unveiled or revealed about the game.
Now even if a company seems to be locked in the trenches of game deficiencies, one would be quick to assume that maybe the company would make up for the lack of publishing new games by releasing plenty of new content for existing games. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Every once in a while an event will be held for Deco Online or Silk Road, but updates or content packs are now a rarity. In fact, the last content updates for Deco Online and Silkroad Online were back in March (not including themed events). The last content update for DarkEden Global was back in December, 2008. Ouch.
Even so, the above is only a small portion that really accounts for the worst thing to affect the reputation of Joymax: Hacking. Yes, hacking affects a lot of online games and companies in a bad way. In this particular case, two of the three Joymax games are seriously plagued with hackers. Now, usually when a company’s online game receives reports of bugs and hacker malfeasance, they implement hacker prevention tools such as nProtect's Game Guard. However, with Deco Online and DarkEden Online, this is not the case and unfortunately many players have left for other iterations of DarkEden, or become fully immersed in hacking to keep up with the unfair trend in the online games.
The most popular form of hacking on Deco Online comes in the form of controlling other players, as well as exploiting skills within the game to gain great advantages over other players. For DarkEden Global, the game is riddled with speed-hackers. As far as anything else happening in the game there have not been any further reports, but the speed-hackers can quickly and easily kill any and all players in just a couple of hits. With that said, these results reap a sad and unfortunate scenario for the company.
So Where Does Joymax Go From Here?
The real issue is not whether the company is done and finished, but more-so what they plan to do to revive their fleeing users. Being in charge of maintaining the distribution of several games for millions of gamers is tough enough as it is. But if Joymax can manage to provide some of their paying customers with more additional content and maybe some way to prevent or discourage the prevalence of hacking in the few games that they do maintain, then they could be heading on the right track of sustained success.
Alternatively, I don’t see how they will be able to manage a new game like Bumpy Cash if many of the gamers buying from the cash shop would be turned off from further purchases due to the hacking.
There is still hope for Joymax, they just need to get some decent security measures in place to get rid of the awful public hacks for a few of their games, they also need to amp up the rate of output for new content and provide some new events for their titles, and then maybe they will be all right in the long run.