Usability of SOE Launcher

Usability Examples

The MMORPG I play (Everquest 2) made a change a while back that irks me to no end.  In order to launch the game, you click the icon or select from your start menu.  The launchpad comes up.  This launchpad is designed to let you choose what character you want to play in that game.  In the past, you selected your character, hit play and the launchpad disappeared.  You then stared at your desktop and wondered if it was working or not.  In a few seconds the screen would turn back and the introduction to the game would start and your computer would begin the process of logging you onto the games server.

Now, you bring up your launchpad (Which they like to say they redesigned…by making it rectangular and red instead of square and blue. Oh, and adding advertisements for their other games. -_-) and you select your character. Then you hit play.  The play button after a second or two pause changes to playing.  Then the game launches as before, logging you onto the game server.  However, the launchpad doesn’t close.  It remains open and running in the background.  You can only play one character per account at a time so you can’t use it to launch another character unless you own another account and log in to it.  Its annoying to try and race to click the tiny X button at the top of the launcher before the game launches and in a game that is known for eating RAM on occasion, you don’t need anything running in the background.
They introduced feedback (play button changing to playing) but then removed a nice technical aspect, closing the window so it doesn’t run in the background.  If you’re going to redesign something, improve it, don’t just add new things and remove others.

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