Sep 172012

On Saturday I met with the Omaha Game Developers Association in a Google Hangout for a couple of hours of interview-style questions. The whole thing was streamed live on YouTube and also captured afterwards, so here it is for those who have the patience.

Among the things we talked about:

And way more… vid after the break.

OGDA interview with Raph Koster

  6 Responses to “OGDA meeting”

  1. We really appreciated you spending time with us! Made for a lot of great conversation afterwards!

  2. Raph, this is a very interesting video and raises some important issues but may I ask for you to comment on this tangential issue:

    And then give us your review of SWTOR or, as it’s now being called, ‘Tortanic’. Also, we still want to know why your buddy and colleague Gordon Walton jumped ship after six years just minutes before this game launched. You’re a senior industry guru. Stop pretending this game doesn’t exist. Come on, it’s time.

  3. As far as SWTOR goes, I had and have a lot of friends working on it… but I think anyone could deduce that I am not a fan of the very heavy storytelling approach, as I think that it a) downplays what MMOs do best and uniquely and b) drives exorbitant costs that increase risk and therefore conservatism. That said, they did it really well. 🙂

    Gordon left quite a while before it shipped. I know, because he came to work at Playdom. I don’t really know the exact circumstances of why he left, nor would they be mine to reveal in any case.

  4. Raph, you talked about how players could play what they wanted in SWG, but then the changes caused players to play what they didn’t want to play in order to advance. I cannot say how much I agree with this entire thing, including how players were given meaning to their play of choice in the social interactions of the game play. This is THE primary thing missing in games today (mainly through lack of options, but also lack of interactive importance), coupled with a boatload of game degrading development choices (instances, separation, bigger number stacking, cash shops, limits by party, identity crisis, forced migration, etc.). But I have a question…

    You’ve talked in the past about how the good folks there misread data leading to the bad choice to make changes as they did. If I’m not wrong about that statement, is this what you were referring to?

  5. Yeah, I give a couple of examples in the talk.

    I should emphasize that it is incredibly easy to misread large volumes of data. Asking the right question can be very hard. And Big Data is very different from Science. Science reaches for explanations, it’s after a Why. Big Data often just tells you a What, and you live with it without further investigation. Having a Why sensibility — which in the case of SWG, would have meant understanding the psychology of those playing entertainer or creature handler or merchant — would have led to asking different questions of the metrics.

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