Apr 152015


I was sent this list of Star Wars: Galaxies questions by Jason Yates; he had seen this video interview, and didn’t know enough Spanish to be able to follow the answers. I posted up an English translation of the transcript here, but really, the interview didn’t much overlap with the questions he had.

Is there the possibility of you ever giving a question/answer session in relation to SWG, your views on the game development and direction, aspects of the game you felt worked, worked well, didn’t work at all? Like many, I have so many questions about your involvement with SWG and will likely never get all the answers I would enjoy hearing, but it never hurts to ask. ^_^

Well, honestly, for me it has been fifteen years since I started work on SWG, and twelve since I stopped. So a lot of these questions have either been answered before, or I outright don’t know or remember the answers! So I will give it a try. But the first answer turned out to be so damn long that it’s all I have time for today.

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Nov 212014

500px-WOW_logoTen years of World of Warcraft. Well. So many thoughts.

WoW has always been a contradiction of sorts: not the pioneer, but the one that solidified the pattern. Not the experimenter, but the one that reaped the rewards. Not the innovator, but the one that was well-designed, built solidly, and made appealing. It was the MMO that took what has always been there, and delivered it in a package that was truly broadly appealing, enough so to capture the larger gamer audience for the first time.

Don’t get me wrong; that’s not a knock on it. If anything, it’s possibly the biggest game design achievement in all of virtual world history. After all, we’re talking about taking a game skeleton that was at that point already almost a decade and a half old, one which had literally had hundreds of iterations, hundreds of games launched. None of them ever reached that sort of audience, that sort of milestone, that sort of polish level.

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Mar 202012

Once upon a time, there was a game set in a science fiction universe where the economy was very important. Its name was not Eve.

In this game, players could, if they so chose, run a business. They could

  • designate a building as a shop
  • hire an NPC bot to stand in it
  • give the bot items to hold for sale
  • specify the prices at which those items would sell
  • customize the bot in a variety of ways
  • make use of advertising facilities to market the shop
  • decorate the shop any way they pleased

With this basic facility, emergent gameplay tied to the way that the crafting system worked resulted in players who chose to run shops being able to do things Ike build supply chains, manage regular inventory, develop regular customer bases, build marketing campaigns, and in general, play a lemonade stand writ large.

The upshot was that at peak, fully half the players in Star Wars Galaxies ran a shop.
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Dec 192008

It is like playing a giant game of telephone.

Accurate (The Guardian):

Game designer Raph Koster picked up on a forum thread about recruitment consultants and WoW.

Wrong stuff starts creeping in (Games Campus, which also wins a prize for the headline “How to be jobless in a down economy”):

Raph Koster at Massively picked up on a thread at the f13 forums in which we learn that a recruiter in the online media industry has been told by employers numerous times to straight-up avoid World of Warcraft players as potential hires.

Completely wrong (Softpedia):

Employers Don’t Like World of Warcraft Players
They make bad employees

Online gaming journalist Raph Koster has posted on his blog a statement he received from a job recruitment consultant accurately showing that even though some people cite the leadership experience gained from establishing a guild in WoW, employers tend to avoid such persons.

Not only did this little story bring down the blog, but it also managed to reach the Times of London, Silicon Valley Insider, etc etc. Yeesh.

Of course, this comment on BoingBoing did crack me up:

Interviewer: Do you play World of Warcraft?

SKR: Absolutely not.
Please don’t ask about EVE.
Please don’t ask about EVE.
Please don’t ask about EVE.

Interviewer: Great, when can you start.

SKR: On Monday.
but I have a fleet battle on Friday, so I’m going to take a sick day.

Game talkMMOG play as a barrier to getting a job

 Posted by (Visited 24232 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Dec 152008

Spotted this on the f13 forums:

I met with a recruiter recently (online media industry) and in conversation I happened to mention I’d spent way too much time in the early 2000s playing online games, which I described as “the ones before World of Warcraft” (I went nuts for EQ1, SWG and the start of WoW, but since 2006 I have only put a handful of days into MMOG playing – as opposed to discussing them – I’ve obsessed over bicycles and cycling instead).

He replied that employers specifically instruct him not to send them World of Warcraft players. He said there is a belief that WoW players cannot give 100% because their focus is elsewhere, their sleeping patterns are often not great, etc. I mentioned that some people have written about MMOG leadership experience as a career positive or a way to learn project management skills, and he shook his head. He has been specifically asked to avoid WoW players.

— f13.net forums – Recruiter told not to hire WoW players.

I think the funniest bit is all the MMOG players in the thread agreeing with the recruiter…

ReadingFrom the other side…

 Posted by (Visited 5772 times)  Reading  Tagged with: ,
Jul 222008

DuoCenti: The Murloc’s Family

This late in the evening, Mrgurlargl was the only one still awake. The others were curled around the campfire, full of wine and food and sleeping soundly. He couldn’t sleep, though, he was too proud, too excited to sleep.

“Die murloc filth!” Loldude247’s assault was swift. His sword sang death even as his shouts roused the sleeping family.

Stumbled across this when checking out trackbacks. Of course, it reminds me of this.

Game talkBlizzard scores win against WoWGlider

 Posted by (Visited 7678 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
Jul 152008

Virtually Blind has the scoop, but in short, Blizzard won on all the major points: the court didn’t go for the copyright argument, saying they were bound by precedent and not a policymaking body; and that making this kind of software looks like tortious interference (meaning, interfering with the contract between Blizzard and users). Further analysis at TerraNova.

Game talkBlizzard case becoming EULA test case

 Posted by (Visited 8300 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Jun 302008

Blizzard Responds to Amicus Brief in MDY Bot Suit | Virtually Blind | Virtual Law | Benjamin Duranske

Although it has not put the issue in quite such stark terms, Public Knowledge is essentially seeking a ruling that says that the sale of consumer software is, in most circumstances, a sale, pretty much regardless of what the agreement that comes with the software says. If the court agrees in spite of MAI and its progeny (and the ruling survives certain appeal) then U.S. copyright law would protect, among other things, making copies of purchased software in RAM in order to use the software — no matter what the “license agreement” says. Resolving this issue in favor of Public Knowledge would call into question provisions in EULAs governing nearly every virtual world and multiuser online game, as well as EULAs for other software.

Game talkMusicReadingNumbers

 Posted by (Visited 8461 times)  Game talk, Music, Reading, Watching  Tagged with: , , , ,
Jun 262008
  • Number of users in Habbo Hotel worldwide: 20,000,000
  • “Hottest” book in the US last year according to Time Magazine: 1,500,000+. (A Thousand Splendid Suns)
  • Best-selling graphic novel in the US last year: 80,000. (Naruto)
  • Digital sales of a hit song: 2,100,000 (Leona Lewis, “Bleeding Love”)
  • Average downloads of a downloadable Rock Band track: 100,000
  • Viewers of the #1 show on US TV (including DVR): 28,800,000 (American Idol)
  • Viewers of the #150 show on US TV: 2,400,000 (Gossip Girl)
  • Users of World of Warcraft in North America: 2,500,000
  • Monthly uniques for Gaia Online: 2,000,000+
  • Total number of movie tickets sold in the US in one year: 1,400,000,000
  • Estimated tickets sold to the new Indiana Jones movie in five weeks: 42,290,849 (using 2007 average US ticket price and grosses to date).

Just some figures that caught my eye while browsing a few different publications…