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A Secret History Of MMORPGs: Meridian 59, Ultima Online & Asheron's Call

MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member

A Secret History of MMORPG Genre:

-

Meridian 59GDC Vault - Classic Game Post-Mortem Video

Ultima OnlineGDC Vault - Classic Game Post-Mortem Video

Asheron's CallRipper's Tortured Psyche: History of Asheron's Call Darktide

 

& including sections in the below video to link to the present:

PaizCon Presentation: A Brief History of MMORPGs, Sandboxes vs Themeparks

 

====

If people can start filling in the rest of the list; *major titles* eg EvE & Everquest would be best choices to begin adding: So fire away! Below is a useful timeline (full list at link).

 

MMORPG TIMELINE: http://timelines.com/topics/mmorpg

1996 Sep 27 - Meridian 59

1997 Sep 25 - Ultima Online

1999 Mar 16 - EverQuest

1999 Nov 2 - Asheron's Call

2001 Jun 6 - World War II Online

2001 Jun 27 - Anarchy Online

2001 Oct 10 - Dark Age of Camelot

2001 Oct 10 - Motor City Online

2002 May 16 - Final Fantasy XI

2002 Sep 24 - Earth and Beyond

2002 Nov 22 - Asheron's Call 2 

2003 Mar 25 - Shadowbane

2003 May 6 - EVE Online

2003 May 20 - Planetside

2003 Jun 26 - Star Wars Galaxies

2003 Dec 9 - Horizons: Empire of Istaria

Cont'd...

==

Meridian 59 Official Trailer

Ultima Online Trailer

Ralph Koster QUOTE: "I think UO is to blame for F2P"

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Comments

  • obiiobii WienPosts: 779Member Uncommon
    Cool thanks for the UO link :)
  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,670Member Uncommon

    2001 Jan 4 - Runescape

    2003 Oct 1 - Lineage 2 (kr)

    2003 Dec 8 - Puzzle Pirates

    2004 Apr 27 - Lineage 2 (us)

    2003 Apr 29 - Maple Story (kr)

    2005 May 11 - Maple Story (us)

    2005 Dec 31 - SilkRoad Online

     

    Additional helpful links:

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member

    Aww, Runescape is a big omission from that list!!

    Thanks for those, I'll dig into Runescape if I can find the relevant vids for the "next installment". image

  • niceguy3978niceguy3978 Gainesville, FLPosts: 2,000Member
    The funny thing about this list is that 2 of the 3 first mmos were made by 2 of the most hated publishing/developing houses on this site (Verant was owned by sony and ran by the infomous Smedly and EA had bought Origin years before development began on UO).
  • skeith138skeith138 white plains, NYPosts: 176Member

    theres a video of MACHINIMA   talking about the history of MMO's:

    part 1: 

    part 2: 

    part 3: 

    part 4:

     

    from how MUDS first started to MMO's from today

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member
    Originally posted by niceguy3978
    The funny thing about this list is that 2 of the 3 first mmos were made by 2 of the most hated publishing/developing houses on this site (Verant was owned by sony and ran by the infomous Smedly and EA had bought Origin years before development began on UO).

    From skeith's pt3 vid link: "At the start of the new millenium... while these numbers didn't reach the same heights as the biggest selling titles of the day, their unique business model proved profitable to an extent unheard of before... would hit a fork in the road as one game..." 

    QED. image

    @skeith: Thanks interesting links!

  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INPosts: 3,752Member Uncommon
         I tried M59 not too long ago.....Its pretty rough on the eyes.....Even though it came before EQ it really is nowhere near as good as EQ was in its heyday.....I wanted to see it for nostalgia sake but that's about it.
  • obiiobii WienPosts: 779Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by niceguy3978
    The funny thing about this list is that 2 of the 3 first mmos were made by 2 of the most hated publishing/developing houses on this site (Verant was owned by sony and ran by the infomous Smedly and EA had bought Origin years before development began on UO).

    No one really knows how UO managed to be a success with EA as publisher

    It thrived despite being an EA game is all I can say :P

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,215Member Uncommon

    Lineage - September 1998 (US release - I think it was earlier in KR but I don't know the date).

    It's not longer running in North America and Europe, but is still very popular in Asia.

  • YukmarcYukmarc Fresno, CAPosts: 104Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by obii
    Originally posted by niceguy3978
    The funny thing about this list is that 2 of the 3 first mmos were made by 2 of the most hated publishing/developing houses on this site (Verant was owned by sony and ran by the infomous Smedly and EA had bought Origin years before development began on UO).

    No one really knows how UO managed to be a success with EA as publisher

    It thrived despite being an EA game is all I can say :P

    That is true, however, at that time, I think Richard Garriot was left alone to do his own thing. He has a big ego and I don't think he would have let EA tell him what to do with the Ultima franchise.... yet...

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,670Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    Lineage - September 1998 (US release - I think it was earlier in KR but I don't know the date).

    It's not longer running in North America and Europe, but is still very popular in Asia.

    Good catch. Definitely should be on the list.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    Lineage - September 1998 (US release - I think it was earlier in KR but I don't know the date).

    It's not longer running in North America and Europe, but is still very popular in Asia.

    Good catch. Definitely should be on the list.

    Damnit. ;)

    Where's the motherlode of all mmorpg chronological lists? I've searched around for some info on EVE Online and will see if I can rustle up something on Runescape also, to add.

    /I'll edit that OP timelines mmorpg list shortly.

  • GravargGravarg Harker Heights, TXPosts: 3,332Member Uncommon
    You forgot Neverwinter Nights that was on AOL...First graphical MMO if I'm not mistaken.  I used to play that, meridian 59 and Rogue...I just dated myself didn't I? lol
  • GrayGhost79GrayGhost79 Webster, MAPosts: 4,813Member

    It gets forgotten about often due to FFXI but... 

    EverQuest Online Adventures - Feb. 11, 2003

    It actually beat FFXI to the punch on consoles and even launched before the PC version of FFXI. Few remember it though or have ever heard of it. I miss that game lol. It was just shut down this year :( 

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EverQuest_Online_Adventures

     

    And heres a link that should help you out a bit... 

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_massively_multiplayer_online_role-playing_games

    The links at the bottom should really be of use. 

  • TuyetTuyet Marietta, GAPosts: 135Member
    Originally posted by niceguy3978
    The funny thing about this list is that 2 of the 3 first mmos were made by 2 of the most hated publishing/developing houses on this site (Verant was owned by sony and ran by the infomous Smedly and EA had bought Origin years before development began on UO).

     Maybe I'm all wrong but I always thought Verant developed Everquest indepently and was aquired by SOE after it was successful. The Wikipedia article on SOE states that SOE acquired Verant in June 2000. However the article also implies SOE developed Everquest.

    Looks to me like SOE is rewriting history to take credit for developing Everquest just because it acquired Verant after it had already made Everquest successful.

    Personally I think Verant selling out to SOE was the biggest mistake in MMORPG history.

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,316Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Tuyet
    Originally posted by niceguy3978
    The funny thing about this list is that 2 of the 3 first mmos were made by 2 of the most hated publishing/developing houses on this site (Verant was owned by sony and ran by the infomous Smedly and EA had bought Origin years before development began on UO).

     Maybe I'm all wrong but I always thought Verant developed Everquest indepently and was aquired by SOE after it was successful. The Wikipedia article on SOE states that SOE acquired Verant in June 2000. However the article also implies SOE developed Everquest.

    Looks to me like SOE is rewriting history to take credit for developing Everquest just because it acquired Verant after it had already made Everquest successful.

    Personally I think Verant selling out to SOE was the biggest mistake in MMORPG history.

     

    989 studios was owned by sony, which started EQ.  Then Verant was spun out after and continued work on EQ, then Sony bought Verant a bit after the launch.

    So technically both are true.  Sony, at least, had a hand in it from the very beginning.

    Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  • niceguy3978niceguy3978 Gainesville, FLPosts: 2,000Member
    Originally posted by obii
    Originally posted by niceguy3978
    The funny thing about this list is that 2 of the 3 first mmos were made by 2 of the most hated publishing/developing houses on this site (Verant was owned by sony and ran by the infomous Smedly and EA had bought Origin years before development began on UO).

    No one really knows how UO managed to be a success with EA as publisher

    It thrived despite being an EA game is all I can say :P

    They didn't just publish it.  EA owned Origin whole hog as my dad use to say.  Think Bioware today, do we really even separate the two out anymore?

  • niceguy3978niceguy3978 Gainesville, FLPosts: 2,000Member
    Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
    Originally posted by Tuyet
    Originally posted by niceguy3978
    The funny thing about this list is that 2 of the 3 first mmos were made by 2 of the most hated publishing/developing houses on this site (Verant was owned by sony and ran by the infomous Smedly and EA had bought Origin years before development began on UO).

     Maybe I'm all wrong but I always thought Verant developed Everquest indepently and was aquired by SOE after it was successful. The Wikipedia article on SOE states that SOE acquired Verant in June 2000. However the article also implies SOE developed Everquest.

    Looks to me like SOE is rewriting history to take credit for developing Everquest just because it acquired Verant after it had already made Everquest successful.

    Personally I think Verant selling out to SOE was the biggest mistake in MMORPG history.

     

    989 studios was owned by sony, which started EQ.  Then Verant was spun out after and continued work on EQ, then Sony bought Verant a bit after the launch.

    So technically both are true.  Sony, at least, had a hand in it from the very beginning.

    Pretty much this.  Sony put all of the pieces in place through 989 studeos, and then when they wanted to make 989 an exclusively playstation brand developer, they created verant which was headed by the man everyone around here loves to hate.  He hand picked his people and they produced everquest.  Sony then wanted a larger footprint in online games and brough Verant back into the fold which eventually turned into Sony Online Entertainment.

  • OmaliOmali MMO Business Correspondent Orchard Park, NYPosts: 1,114Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Yukmarc
    Originally posted by obii
    Originally posted by niceguy3978
    The funny thing about this list is that 2 of the 3 first mmos were made by 2 of the most hated publishing/developing houses on this site (Verant was owned by sony and ran by the infomous Smedly and EA had bought Origin years before development began on UO).

    No one really knows how UO managed to be a success with EA as publisher

    It thrived despite being an EA game is all I can say :P

    That is true, however, at that time, I think Richard Garriot was left alone to do his own thing. He has a big ego and I don't think he would have let EA tell him what to do with the Ultima franchise.... yet...

    EA was already ruining Ultima by the time Ultima Online came out. They ruined Ultima 8 (1994) by rushing it out the door to please the investors.

    Check out my monthly column on MMORPG.com.

    image

  • NovusodNovusod Lakewood, NJPosts: 892Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    Lineage - September 1998 (US release - I think it was earlier in KR but I don't know the date).

    It's not longer running in North America and Europe, but is still very popular in Asia.

    Lineage was the first MMORPG with more than 1 million subs world wide. Lineage was bigger than Meridian 59, Ultima Online, and Everquest all put together all back in 1998. Pretty much every Korean game mechanic goes back to this game. Lineage was the WoW of Asia and eventually peaked at about 2 million subs. Lineage II which released in 2003 also had 2 million subs. These games were hugely successful even by today's standards. Only WoW has ever had more subs. Any list that does not include Lineage should not be taken seriously.

  • TuyetTuyet Marietta, GAPosts: 135Member
    Originally posted by niceguy3978
    Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
    Originally posted by Tuyet
    Originally posted by niceguy3978
    The funny thing about this list is that 2 of the 3 first mmos were made by 2 of the most hated publishing/developing houses on this site (Verant was owned by sony and ran by the infomous Smedly and EA had bought Origin years before development began on UO).

     Maybe I'm all wrong but I always thought Verant developed Everquest indepently and was aquired by SOE after it was successful. The Wikipedia article on SOE states that SOE acquired Verant in June 2000. However the article also implies SOE developed Everquest.

    Looks to me like SOE is rewriting history to take credit for developing Everquest just because it acquired Verant after it had already made Everquest successful.

    Personally I think Verant selling out to SOE was the biggest mistake in MMORPG history.

     

    989 studios was owned by sony, which started EQ.  Then Verant was spun out after and continued work on EQ, then Sony bought Verant a bit after the launch.

    So technically both are true.  Sony, at least, had a hand in it from the very beginning.

    Pretty much this.  Sony put all of the pieces in place through 989 studeos, and then when they wanted to make 989 an exclusively playstation brand developer, they created verant which was headed by the man everyone around here loves to hate.  He hand picked his people and they produced everquest.  Sony then wanted a larger footprint in online games and brough Verant back into the fold which eventually turned into Sony Online Entertainment.

    Took a lot of research but does look like EQ started as a "Sony" project.

    However, Verant was an independent company whose owners profited by selling out to "Sony"

    Sort of funny though -- Verant never actually owned Everquest -- instead it was EQ developer for SCEA. receiving royalties from EQs profits.

    SOE was not however ever part of that development -- SCEA being in an entirely different corporate branch of Sony than SOE.

    Very confusing and guess I have to take back my biggest mistake in the history of MMORPG history comment and remake it into Smedly not forming Verant independently when he had the idea for a MMORPG that developed into EQ.

    However after reading about all these corporate manueverings, looks like Smedly was always into being part of the Sony corporation.

    As a player who started around release of the Ruins of Kunark, I always had the impression that Verant was the owner and developer of EQ with Sony just being the publisher that basically sold the game box and collected the subscriptions. After SOE bought Verant, it gradually changed the atmosphere around the game. Maybe all that would have happened anyways especially with the main Developers involved. But it was like this is exploring the development of an all new game type to eventually how do we make a good cash flow.

    The best source I could find :: http://otherworlds31279.yuku.com/topic/1391/background-to-Verant-as-told-by-Brad-McQuaid

    Which does sort of bring up an interesting question :: Does SOE own EQ or does SCEA ( or whatever it turned into ) still own EQ with SOE just getting royalties from the profits for development? -- lol

  • knapuknapu GifhornPosts: 131Member
    I wonder whrre is world of warcraft on this list cos i dont see it ,since this game has beaten any other game u can hate it but u cantcdeny the facts

    I am the punishment of God...
    If you had not committed great sins,
    God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you
    — Genghis Khan

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member
    Originally posted by knapu
    I wonder whrre is world of warcraft on this list cos i dont see it ,since this game has beaten any other game u can hate it but u cantcdeny the facts

    Just starting with the "bronze age" - a manageable list to end of 2003: Just before WoW: It's in the full list linked; which itself is not as complete as it should be (see Runescape and Lineage...). Already plenty of interesting info divulged.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,670Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Tuyet

    Which does sort of bring up an interesting question :: Does SOE own EQ or does SCEA ( or whatever it turned into ) still own EQ with SOE just getting royalties from the profits for development? -- lol

    SOE, SCEA, and SCEE are all under the same umbrella as divisions of the Sony Group.

    • SOE - online games
    • SCEA - video games in America
    • SCEE - video games in Europe

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    All I can say is that Asheron's Call was the spiritual successor of Ultima Online. The best sandbox MMORPG at the time and no MMORPGs, except maybe SWG, has come close.
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