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[Interview] General: The Veteran MMO Devs Speak

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,643MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

GDC Online seems to be right around the corner. We managed to corral the Advisory Board consisting of Eugene Evans, Gordon Walton, and Valerie Massey, hardcore MMO veterans all, to talk about the convention and about general online gaming trends. See what they had to say in this exclusive interview.

Gordon Walton has been around MMORPGs from the beginning and explains that he always comes away from the convention with new ideas and energy. One of the biggest values is networking for new developers or veterans. Gordon feels like this truly is the place to meet people who have been through the wars with games and exchange knowledge to help anyone on the design path. The convention is definitely small enough where you can walk up to people and say hello. The board and the speakers try very hard to keep the format open with questions and networking. 

Read more of Garrett Fuller's Hardcore MMO & GDC Online Vets Speak .


Associate Editor:
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom



  • karmathkarmath Posts: 829Member Uncommon
    That whole article really didnt have any 'interview' content, it sounded like a resume.
  • YalexyYalexy BerlinPosts: 1,053Member Uncommon

    And here I was to expect some interviews with these veterans and what they think about the current state of MMORPGs in general.

  • DauzqulDauzqul Detroit, MIPosts: 1,410Member Uncommon

    I was expecting to read something like this:


    "MMOs started to suck when Battlegrounds took over PvP".

    "MMOs started to suck when questing became nothing more than "push 'M' and follow the 'X'".

    "MMOs started to suck when the adventuring areas, zones or worlds became nothing more than small funnel-zones."

    "MMOs started to suck when paying $50 for the game + $15 per month wasn't enough."

    "MMOs started to suck when the terms such as "depth" and "complexity" are considered bad words during development."

    "MMOs started to suck when most of their budget goes towards marketing."

    "MMOs started to suck when "exploration" started to refer to the small areas of land between the main path and the invisible walls or mountain ridge."

    "MMOs started to suck when "innovation" became nothing more than "copy game and add a small twist of flavor".

    "MMOs started to suck when the developers decided that it was a good idea to completely remove the social realm of the MMORPG.

    "MMOs started to suck when developers refused to understand the importants of player-generated content."



    MMOs suck now because we've all done it... many times. Battlegrounds? Arenas? Warzones? All the same... Rangers? Archers? Scouts? Snipers? All the same...

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,191Member Uncommon

    Gorden Walton is one smart guy, getting out of Bioware when he did.  Obviously he saw where SWTOR was going and did not like it.  Would have been nice to hear his thoughts on the state of gaming.

    Valerie Massey is known to most of us as the CCP connection.  I am sure she can tell some stories about customer discontent.

    Eugene Evans kind of joined Mythic at the wrong time on their down hill slide.  His gaming career speaks for itself.

    Don't understand the point of the article, you did not discuss one thing these people might have said about gaming?  It would have been interesting if you had.

  • LarsaLarsa NurembergPosts: 990Member

    Originally posted by Garret Fuller

    ... the move to social games ... more and more games online ... multiple platforms ... changes to market ... downloadable content ... more browser and mobile games ... social media ... social games ... marketing and business side ... Free to Play, Mobile, and Social games ... new platforms ...

  talks to three veteran MMO developers. The only thing they don't talk about are MMORPGs.

    Looks like the whole industry is following Zynga and Facebook. Not that those make any money, but hey, EA's stock went down, Zynga's stock went down, Facebook's stock went down - let's follow them anyway.

    I maintain this List of Sandbox MMORPGs. Please post or send PM for corrections and suggestions.

  • shastaman401shastaman401 cottage grove, WIPosts: 5Member
    I agree
  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member
    I wish there was explanation and references given when people say "Social gaming" really IS/NOW/PRESENT the "new thing". I just want to see the evidence and the context for these commments. Otherwise I keep hearing the same thing.
  • koboldfodderkoboldfodder Danbury, DEPosts: 390Member Uncommon

    What these veteran MMO devs fail to understand is that THEY are the problems in the genre.  It takes about 5 minutes of reading and it's a pretty well known event.


    The bubble burst of early cartridge video games in the 80s.  How and why it happend.  Basically the games all became bad clones of themselves as developers tried anything to make a buck.  The supply became so great and there just were not that many players, so they dumped them all in Mexico.


    Same thing is happening again.  Developers crap-clone WOW, try anything to make a buck.  The number of games released/in development has become totally inflated and there just are not that many players for the number of games.  Even the good games have started to tank.


    It's not about social gaming, it's not about multi platform, it's not about a tried and true business model.  It's about creativity.  That is what drives the genre and that is what drives video games.  Creative products that are engaging to play.


    It took a Japanese developer to resurrect console gaming after the 80s fiasco.  It's is going to take another outside developer to resurrect the MMORPG genre, but it will be a lot harder to do because the money needed to make that game is much, much more than what Mr Nintendo had to play with (or whatever his name was).



  • RazeeksterRazeekster Solon, MEPosts: 2,201Member Uncommon
    What the fuck... I just read peoples resumes... Where are the interviews?


  • aleosaleos na, INPosts: 1,863Member Uncommon
  • CujoSWAoACujoSWAoA Nooo, AKPosts: 1,781Member
    Yeah, this was misleading and uninteresting.
  • ScotScot UKPosts: 5,769Member Uncommon

    Harsh crowd even for us here on How much do you expect them to say before the event? Unless you want them to read from prepared scripts? But yes the views expressed were mostly generalizations.

    “Another area we talked about was the move to social games and bringing more and more games online.”

    This has been the curse of MMO’s have suffered under for years and I have been talking about it for years. One size does not fit all but to maximise the player base that is what we are getting. This idea that MMO’s

    “With downloadable content ever day and more browser and mobile games of high quality coming to market,”

    This is the new curse for MMO’s, browser and mobile games are going to lead MMO’s by the nose to even more easymode play and community only through a social network, not through the game itself.

    In the past what was important to console solo players replaced what was important to MMO PC grouping players. What is important now to browser/mobile players and social network users is replacing the design priorities of current ezMMO’s.

  • SkuzSkuz WorcesterPosts: 1,034Member Uncommon

    Sorry Garrett Fuller but the writing of this piece was lacking in any sort of substance, you glossed-over evrything that was discussed and gave zero depth - am I to assume that you will elaborate upon the discussions in a series of follow-up pieces or what? because I want the 5 minutes I spent reading this given back if not.

    I've read "fluff" articles with more depth.

  • IndolIndol O''Fallon, MOPosts: 189Member

    I can't believe the people commenting with complaints. This is just a warm-up piece for the GDC.


    I guess the title is a little misleading but the GDC hasn't happened yet so I don't know what people expected in terms of actual dialogue.


    At any rate, I found the bit about old school games being more in line with the modern social game than many of the newer ones pretty intriguing.

  • IvidnaelaxIvidnaelax East Ridge, TNPosts: 56Member Uncommon
    This article lacked any real substence just like the MMO's that are released today. It is fine and dandy to hear about someone's personal background, but I want the OP to get to the nut's and bolt's of the MMO industry and how these people expect to make a change to the ever so sad industry.
  • finnmacool1finnmacool1 Corona, CAPosts: 453Member
    Speaking without saying anything is a waste of time no?
  • someforumguysomeforumguy HomePosts: 3,540Member Uncommon

    3 MMO Veterans that succesfully completed their media training and are able to say a lot about not much in particular.

    I'm also not sure how much being a 'veteran' in the MMO industry actually means anything besides being expert about what used to work in the past.

  • ScotScot UKPosts: 5,769Member Uncommon

    "I'm also not sure how much being a 'veteran' in the MMO industry actually means anything besides being expert about what used to work in the past."

    Tell that to the armed forces, private sector or for that matter any other area of society. Let me put this in simple terms, they know more than a guy who started the job last year.

    Besides these guys are still working in the sector, its not like they got moth balled and are only taken out for conventions. :)

  • someforumguysomeforumguy HomePosts: 3,540Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Scot

    "I'm also not sure how much being a 'veteran' in the MMO industry actually means anything besides being expert about what used to work in the past."

    Tell that to the armed forces, private sector or for that matter any other area of society. Let me put this in simple terms, they know more than a guy who started the job last year.

    Besides these guys are still working in the sector, its not like they got moth balled and are only taken out for conventions. :)

    No I would not tell that to the armed forces or any other random sector in society you could come up with that is not comparable.

    The reason why I said it in this particular case, is that other 'veterans' from the MMO industry at the same time like to say that whatever worked in the past is no guarantee for success in upcoming MMO's. And you don't even have to look that far to notice that. Look how many of the late MMO's made by veterans from the MMO industry became a success. SWTOR/TSW anyone?

    The whole article just made me cringe.

    "You should never write off previous models because you don’t know when that trend will come back into vogue." Basically means : Well, you never know what will happen.

    "Eugene’s focus when we talked was all about helping the start ups. He wanted to let attendees know that they should come away from GDC with the tools to focus on what makes a successful game. GDC brings that culture to life." Yeah, that sure worked in the past. Most of it is just silly empty marketing blabla.

    This was just a sales pitch for this conference. Because if you want to have the best chance on success in the future as MMO developer, you really don't want to miss this chance to meet your competi...ehrr your friendly collegues who will do their best to make your success become reality!

    This sounds more like a conference for the sales and marketing from the MMO industry. Or where you can network to safeguard your future in the MMO industry.

  • ScotScot UKPosts: 5,769Member Uncommon

    Well yes it was an advert for the conference and I am sure a lot of it is about marketing and career for the veterans involved. But I suppose that’s what I expected as the conference has not happened yet. We will get more meat from the write up of the conference itself.

    And nothing that was done in the past ensures future success. I am reminded of the stocks and shares adverts, "Past performance does not ensure future performance" Something like that. But gaming history is not like car engine history, the latest is not always the best. It is more like film history and old genres can help us make better MMO's.

  • ZigZagsZigZags Modesto, CAPosts: 328Member
    Another article showing how out of touch current developers are with the needs of the MMO gaming community.

    Now: Skyrim
    Later: ?
    Played: M59, UO, EQ, Runescape, DAOC, SB, EQ2, WoW, EVE, Darkfall, AoC, FFXI, FFXIV, WAR, SWTOR
    BOYCOTTING: EA/BioWare/Origin/SOE

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