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Default Looking Back to The Future of Fun @ BBC News

January 3rd, 2009, 00:03
BBC News has a Q & A with some big names in the world of gaming like Peter Molyneux(Fable) and Richard Garriot(the Ultimas)about what went down in 2008 and what lies in store for the industry.
Here's Garriot's piece about possibly starting a new online fantasy game:
For me, the high point [of 2008]- quite literally - was spending 12 days on the International Space Station. As a result, I've been somewhat outside the gaming scene; I was in quarantine for nearly three months in 2008.
That said, Halo's sequel was a big deal. World of Warcraft continues to dominate the massive multiplayer arena - more power to them. If I had to pick a developer who has done a bang up job, it would be Blizzard [the development team behind World of Warcraft]. The number of people they have converted is just amazing. They have shown all of us what good game development is all about.
After 25 years at Origin, the last thing I wanted to make was yet another medieval fantasy game. Now, after a very interesting break, I'm keen to get back into the fray and work on a new game. Probably medieval fantasy and probably online; there's something very powerful about getting people together."
More information.
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January 3rd, 2009, 00:04
Didn't he say something about leaving gaming and doing something to save the planet after his space adventure?
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January 3rd, 2009, 10:24
I got excited where garriot mulls about doing another fantasy style computer game. Then my bubble burst with dissapointment when he added he wants it to be an mmo. I was a big fan of EQ1 and somewhat a fan of EQ2. Then I was a WOW addict for a few years. Then you realize (and some sooner than others) that mmo's are just a leveling treadmill and the excitement of getting some uber_gear+1 runs pretty shallow… and you really just want a good single player RPG to climb into… oh well.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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January 3rd, 2009, 13:26
It's obvious he's not into gaming like he used to be. He's out of touch if he thinks Blizzard represent what good game development is about.

They represent how to make money by appealing to the masses - and if that's good game development then i'll just have to disagree.
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January 3rd, 2009, 16:48
It would be a bad idea for Mr Garriott to go back to SP RPGs. He has nothing to win there.
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January 3rd, 2009, 19:48
What about not-so-massive multiplayer? Four or five folks get together and play co-op. Sure has worked well for Pen & Paper.
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January 3rd, 2009, 19:51
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
What about not-so-massive multiplayer? Four or five folks get together and play co-op. Sure has worked well for Pen & Paper.
I'd love more games to implement this. MMOs are best played with friends anyway, and you can get the best of both worlds by doing small scale multiplayer ala Neverwinter Nights. You can have truly dynamic content AND a social experience.

Still a very untapped kind of gaming that's just waiting to be done right.
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January 4th, 2009, 01:04
Can't agree more. Having a high quality story to walk through with friends and well-worked out gameplay makes a great game. A game has to have an ending (unlike mmorpg's).

I had a wonderful time playing dungeon siege 2 with a friend. Perhaps not too much story/dialogue but the gameplay was fast/easy/addicting. In my opinion too much interaction with NPC's can kill a co-op game (not everybody wants to read it all…), so that should be done well.

Now I'm at it, is there a good co-op rpg i don't know of ?
- dungeon siege 1/2, sacred 1/2, nwn 1/2, ?

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January 4th, 2009, 01:40
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
What about not-so-massive multiplayer? Four or five folks get together and play co-op. Sure has worked well for Pen & Paper.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I'd love more games to implement this. MMOs are best played with friends anyway, and you can get the best of both worlds by doing small scale multiplayer ala Neverwinter Nights. You can have truly dynamic content AND a social experience.

Still a very untapped kind of gaming that's just waiting to be done right.
D&D Online? Guildwars?
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January 4th, 2009, 10:08
Originally Posted by Hedek View Post
D&D Online? Guildwars?
D&D Online is actually pretty good and somewhat underrated. But in my opinion the implementation of the D&D rules was just too far removed from the actual system. That kept me from enjoying it as much as I would have otherwise, and I think the scope of the game was ultimately too limited for a subscription based game.

Guild Wars is a fine product, but it simply didn't click for me. I found the whole thing too sterile and I loathe games that simplify itemization to such an extent. In fact, I found the entire thing a bit too simple (not easy) and I need character systems and the level of interaction to be a bit more elaborate. But still, a technical marvel in terms of performance and stability.
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January 4th, 2009, 11:52
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Guild Wars is a fine product, but it simply didn't click for me. I found the whole thing too sterile and I loathe games that simplify itemization to such an extent. In fact, I found the entire thing a bit too simple (not easy) and I need character systems and the level of interaction to be a bit more elaborate. But still, a technical marvel in terms of performance and stability.
Indeed, Guild Wars was an over simplified game as far as a single character is concerned. Its true complexity, and what I loved about it as a RPG fan who loves planning and "number crunching", is when you start making up entire team builds.
Planning 6 pairs of classes, and 8 skills for each, to find that perfect synergy that will have its chance in Guild vs Guild warfare was a game in the game by itself.

It's amazing how one design decision: restricting to 8 the amount of skills you have access to in combat, can bring a entire new level of complexity, strategy, planning, and character customization. You can't just enter an arena or bg and hope your gear is better, as you would do in WoW. You have to think which skills you're going to bring with you.
So while it's a tad too simple at first, and way oversimplified in certain aspects, it's also a lot more complex in other aspects.
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January 4th, 2009, 12:09
Originally Posted by Hedek View Post
Indeed, Guild Wars was an over simplified game as far as a single character is concerned. Its true complexity, and what I loved about it as a RPG fan who loves planning and "number crunching", is when you start making up entire team builds.
Planning 6 pairs of classes, and 8 skills for each, to find that perfect synergy that will have its chance in Guild vs Guild warfare was a game in the game by itself.

It's amazing how one design decision: restricting to 8 the amount of skills you have access to in combat, can bring a entire new level of complexity, strategy, planning, and character customization. You can't just enter an arena or bg and hope your gear is better, as you would do in WoW. You have to think which skills you're going to bring with you.
So while it's a tad too simple at first, and way oversimplified in certain aspects, it's also a lot more complex in other aspects.
I'm fully aware of the complexities involving the 8 skill limit, and indeed being a former keen Magic the Gathering player - I know how complex such a small amount of options can become.

But unfortunately, that's not enough to carry an entire game, and I always found the PvP structure incredibly weak and hollow. I mean, wasn't it simply team vs team and perhaps a serverwide clarification of the winning side? Nothing that resembles true open world PvP with unique rewards/benefits or any kind of political underpinning - but then only very few games have done that well. Still, even WoW has a ton of unique PvP related rewards - and that game is not exactly the best example of a PvP system.

It's sad that with such an interesting and challenging skill system, they couldn't come up with anything better than a Quake equivalent as a structure. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but that's how I seem to recall the game being done in terms of PvP.
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January 4th, 2009, 14:15
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It's obvious he's not into gaming like he used to be. He's out of touch if he thinks Blizzard represent what good game development is about.

They represent how to make money by appealing to the masses - and if that's good game development then i'll just have to disagree.
Well I will disagree with you then - while WoW isn't my kind of game, I think it's very good game development - the best there is currently out there in fact.

If it was easy to just make a game appeal to 11.5 million people each and every month then why hasn't anyone else managed it? Don't tell me Blizzard are actually the only private company making games, and everyone else is just doing it for the love of it?
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January 4th, 2009, 15:29
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
Well I will disagree with you then - while WoW isn't my kind of game, I think it's very good game development - the best there is currently out there in fact.

If it was easy to just make a game appeal to 11.5 million people each and every month then why hasn't anyone else managed it? Don't tell me Blizzard are actually the only private company making games, and everyone else is just doing it for the love of it?
Who said anything about it being easy? Blizzard developers are masters of their particular craft.

I'm talking about the best games, not the most profitable games.

However, I happen to think WoW is a very good game - but it BY FAR doesn't represent the best there is. It just happens to be the most popular MMO. It's sort of like Titanic and Spiderman - both decent movies, but definitely not the best out there. Yet they're among the most profitable movies in existence. It's about mass appeal which necessitates artistic compromise.

No, I doubt more than a handful of developers are doing it out of love. Particularly AAA developers are in it primarily to make a buck. Nothing wrong with that, but the outcome isn't necessarily the best quality.
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January 4th, 2009, 18:24
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I'm talking about the best games, not the most profitable games.
So am I - and a huge number of people also seem to think it's the best game. What makes your opinion worth more than so many other people?

No, I doubt more than a handful of developers are doing it out of love. Particularly AAA developers are in it primarily to make a buck. Nothing wrong with that, but the outcome isn't necessarily the best quality.
I disagree here again - best profitability is realised by best quality in most cases. Of course, you probably have a different definition of quality as well - individual opinions are all subjective so we can only go on facts and figures, such as sales.
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January 4th, 2009, 18:30
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
So am I - and a huge number of people also seem to think it's the best game. What makes your opinion worth more than so many other people?
I don't recall assigning a value to my opinion. It's my opinion all the same.

I disagree here again - best profitability is realised by best quality in most cases. Of course, you probably have a different definition of quality as well - individual opinions are all subjective so we can only go on facts and figures, such as sales.
No, it's an opinion that sales and figures correlate closely to quality as well. So, in fact, we only have our opinions.

You start by saying I think my opinion is worth more than that of other people, and then you admit that there are different definitions of quality - but by the end you state with a straight face that we must go by "facts and figures". It seems you are very confused and you don't really know whether to acknowledge that my opinion is as valid as your own. It seems you really prefer to think of sales as the only factual way of measuring quality, and my opinion that it definitely does not represent any truth about quality is basically null and void to you.
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January 5th, 2009, 18:41
Originally Posted by Hedek View Post
Indeed, Guild Wars was an over simplified game as far as a single character is concerned. Its true complexity, and what I loved about it as a RPG fan who loves planning and "number crunching", is when you start making up entire team builds.
Planning 6 pairs of classes, and 8 skills for each, to find that perfect synergy that will have its chance in Guild vs Guild warfare was a game in the game by itself.

It's amazing how one design decision: restricting to 8 the amount of skills you have access to in combat, can bring a entire new level of complexity, strategy, planning, and character customization. You can't just enter an arena or bg and hope your gear is better, as you would do in WoW. You have to think which skills you're going to bring with you.
So while it's a tad too simple at first, and way oversimplified in certain aspects, it's also a lot more complex in other aspects.
Funny you mentioned that point about the restriction, it's exactly what drove me away from the game. The immersion breaking was too much for me, and pretty much made me believe I was playing a card game and not an RPG.
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