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

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  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    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

    Beaten? Has McDonalds beaten a 5 star gourmet restaurant? I think not.

    WoW catered to the casual, lazy masses with the fast food equivalent of MMORPGs.

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

    Maybe I'm an optimist, but I see 2003 more as the Golden Age than the Bronze Age. Would be interesting to see how everyone views the different periods of MMOs once the timeline is built. :)

    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

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by Novusod
    Any list that does not include Lineage should not be taken seriously.

    A  large number of gamers devoted years to ensuring Lineage was never taken seriously in the West.

    Presumably, they're all still out there. 

    But subscription data for those titles are surely even less reliable today than they were at the time.  We weren't allowed to "count" eastern subs until Blizzard okayed it.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • RamanadjinnRamanadjinn Huntsville, ALPosts: 1,365Member Uncommon

    Well there was The Realm Online released Dec 1996.

    I had a blast playing the beta for that earlier in the year or maybe in 1995 but couldn't get into the final version for whatever reason.

    Dark Sun Online was also about the same time, 1996 i believe.  That game was amazingly light on content.  i remember standing in line to kill the monster they had in the game during the beta.

    ---

    They don't sound like big titles today but us few MMO nerds from the early 90s were really into them.  DSO (dark sun online) especially was highly anticipated as it combined both an online world with something most of us grew up loving, dungeons and dragons.  Back then though any game that could host more than a handful of players was an achievement.

    There were others too.  One fellow in '95 or '96 had made an online game that looked a lot like Ultima 6.  While his server stayed up a while It never went live as he abandoned it early on (possibly because of the news of the impending ultima online).  

    But ya, there were more and they were all overshadowed quickly by the behemoth that was Ultima and the surprisingly addictive Meridian 59 that just somehow worked.

    edit: The Realm Online is actually still running!

  • DrekenDreken Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 44Member
    Originally posted by Gravarg
    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

    I used to play the AOL Neverwinter Nights as well I remember getting in trouble by my parents for getting a $400+ AOL (Back when AOL was pay per hour)  bill because of being extremely addicted to it.

    According the wiki page for NWN it is the first graphical MMO and was released in 1991.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neverwinter_Nights_(AOL_game)

  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Common
    Originally posted by Icewhite

     We weren't allowed to "count" eastern subs until Blizzard okayed it.

    prior to Tabula Rasa,

    ncsoft did a decent job of giving sub #s per quarter per region - for a 2 year period

     

    from May 2006

    http://www.cesspit.net/drupal/node/1334

     reports for Lineage and L2 from 2004 thru 2006

    - Detailed report for Lineage
    - Detailed report for Lineage II

     

  • NovusodNovusod Lakewood, NJPosts: 892Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Icewhite
    Originally posted by Novusod
    Any list that does not include Lineage should not be taken seriously.

    A  large number of gamers devoted years to ensuring Lineage was never taken seriously in the West.

    Presumably, they're all still out there. 

    But subscription data for those titles are surely even less reliable today than they were at the time.  We weren't allowed to "count" eastern subs until Blizzard okayed it.

    You know what those gamers are? Pathetic that is what.

    MMOG Chart doesn't exist anymore but there are still some of their old charts floating arround that show the real story from 1997 to 2008. Ultima Online was the first to 100k subs but Lineage was the first to 1 million and then 2 million. No other Western game came close to those numbers until WoW. In the era before 2005 Lineage was king of MMORPGs.

  • thinktank001thinktank001 oasisPosts: 2,027Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Novusod

    You know what those gamers are? Pathetic that is what.

    MMOG Chart doesn't exist anymore but there are still some of their old charts floating arround that show the real story from 1997 to 2008. Ultima Online was the first to 100k subs but Lineage was the first to 1 million and then 2 million. No other Western game came close to those numbers until WoW. In the era before 2005 Lineage was king of MMORPGs.

     

    I believe it is MMOdata now.

  • niceguy3978niceguy3978 Gainesville, FLPosts: 2,000Member
    Originally posted by Tuyet
    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

    SCEA turned into SOE.  Also, verant was a "wholy owned subsidiery (or however you spell that one) similar to arenanet and Ncsoft.  Sony "spun off" Verant which gave them some independence but they were always part of the Sony "family" so to speak.

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by Novusod

    You know what those gamers are? Pathetic that is what.

    Argumentum ad numerum has always been pathetic. 

    But I don't believe for a moment, after all these years, that gamers will ever stop using it.

     

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,215Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Novusod

    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.

    Yeah, it's sort of sad because it was so simple but had so much to offer.  There were multiple social hubs, alliances and guilds that flourished and fell, and reputations amongst the community.

    Originally posted by Nadia

    Originally posted by Icewhite

     We weren't allowed to "count" eastern subs until Blizzard okayed it.

    prior to Tabula Rasa,

    ncsoft did a decent job of giving sub #s per quarter per region - for a 2 year period

    from May 2006

    http://www.cesspit.net/drupal/node/1334

     reports for Lineage and L2 from 2004 thru 2006

    - Detailed report for Lineage
    - Detailed report for Lineage II

    You're very good at finding this stuff.  I also noticed how you mentioned Lineage in the current NC Q4 report.

  • TuyetTuyet Marietta, GAPosts: 135Member

    SCEA turned into SOE.  Also, verant was a "wholy owned subsidiery (or however you spell that one) similar to arenanet and Ncsoft.  Sony "spun off" Verant which gave them some independence but they were always part of the Sony "family" so to speak.

    Not according to McQuaid in this link :: http://otherworlds31279.yuku.com/topic/1391/background-to-Verant-as-told-by-Brad-McQuaid

    SOE Wikipedia page is pretty coy about how it started stating something like "SOE history can be seen starting with" -- what?, can be seen?, History?

    SOE is a corporate entity, there has to be a pretty specific formation. so later they fess up with -- " In April 1998, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) was formed by merging parts of Sony Online Ventures with Sony Pictures Entertainment"

    Its interesting that EQ started within SCEA, "989 was part of SCEA, the Playstation side of Sony, reporting to Sony Japan, and which was later assimilated back into SCEA and they just kept 989 Sports around as a brand" -- from above link

    Note the corporate side of Sony that developed the playstation -- a huge success.

    The development group spun off into a private development company -- Verant Interactive ( eventual name ). However SCEA maintained ownership of the EQ IP -- not sure what IP means but sounds to me like SCEA basically still owned EQ.

    Then after EQ is successful, Verant is bought by SOE on June 1, 2000 -- "SOE, which is a Sony entity that is under Sony Pictures, which is under Sony America" -- from above link

    After which basically Verant takes over SOE with Smedly becoming president of SOE in 2002. But this is all under a different part of Sony than what the development of EQ came out of.

    Another interesting note in reference to MMORPGs is that SWG development actually started before SOE bought Verant.

    From SWG wikipedia page --On 16 March 2000, LucasArts Entertainment announced a partnership with Verant Interactive Inc. and Sony Online Entertainment to create the first massively multiplayer Star Wars online role-playing game

    Just looks to me like SWG was developed basically by the Verant team before the corporate atmosphere on that side of Sony filtered down into SOE.

    Same with EQ develpment, 2-3 years after SOE bought Verant, EQ was pretty much on its way down, development being concentrated more on making EQ an income stream rather than a great game. 

    You might look at Sony and say Sony is Sony, but my experiences working in large corporations doesn't lead me to that same conclusion, different branches in a corporation can have quite differnet cultures.

    I'm not aware of any SOE MMOs that can really be called successful as of now, and to me I find it fascinating that EQ started with a division of Sony that has had a huge success and it doesn't surprise me at all that they wouldn't want to be bothered with MMO development in that division when you look at the numbers involved with the Playstation.

    Now to be sure you can find alterate quotes that will give you entirely different "truths" such as from Smedly's Wikipedia page

    Smedley was involved with the creation and development of the original EverQuest, and was co-founder of Verant Interactive, Inc., which became Sony Online Entertainment, Inc. (SOE) after it was purchased by Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2000

    Now that just isn't true is it, Verant didn't change into SOE-- SOE already existed-- Verant apparently did really take over SOE however.

    So with all this nonsense of entities trying to rewrite history or at least mislead people into believing nonsense, I have done my best to sort out what seems to me to be the best info I could find with just a bit of investigation -- not gonna spend days, weeks, or months tracking down details -- a smell test is good enough for me.

    As for Verant's being a part of Sony, that's hard to say -- there are many statements of Verant being a private independent development company -- note private -- Sony could have been a major investor but I've never seen any statements saying they or any of their entities were. And SOE did publish EQ, but I'm not sure what that really means, I always thought that meant they made and sold the game boxes and also collected the subscription fees. And apparently SCEA maintained ownership of EQ, lol, just lol. That's the most amazing thing to me -- Verant never actually owned EQ as best I can make out anyways.

     

     

     

     

  • aldregonaldregon UmePosts: 23Member

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

     

    First MMORPG-FPS game.

     

    Had full loot, open PvP (Safezones existed), vehicles, flying (jetpacks) and building houses.

     

    <table hproduct"="" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="3">

    Release date(s) July 1, 2003
     
  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,670Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by niceguy3978

    SCEA turned into SOE.

    SCEA/SCEE are not SOE. They are separate divisions, SOE being specifically the online games group.

    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

  • BartDaCatBartDaCat Renton, WAPosts: 819Member 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

    EA wasn't always the filthy bastard it is today.  If you think about those early years, video games were still pigeonholed as a "nerd" hobby, and consoles were for still mostly regarded as the playthings of children and early teens.  As the console wars really heated up, the game industry took notice, and so did eager investors.

    Mentalities changed, or evolved into even more horrific incarnations of themselves.  I heard horror stories about Trip Hawkins from people that worked along side him long before EA became the vile cesspool that it is today.

    A lot of egos became far too large for their own good from those years until now, and so did the penchant for greed.  Very few of them remained humble in the face of millions of dollars pouring in during the video game boom.

  • EleazarosEleazaros Neverneverland, WAPosts: 206Member
    Originally posted by BartDaCat
    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

    EA wasn't always the filthy bastard it is today.  If you think about those early years, video games were still pigeonholed as a "nerd" hobby, and consoles were for still mostly regarded as the playthings of children and early teens.  As the console wars really heated up, the game industry took notice, and so did eager investors.

    Mentalities changed, or evolved into even more horrific incarnations of themselves.  I heard horror stories about Trip Hawkins from people that worked along side him long before EA became the vile cesspool that it is today.

    A lot of egos became far too large for their own good from those years until now, and so did the penchant for greed.  Very few of them remained humble in the face of millions of dollars pouring in during the video game boom.

    One of the best commentaries on EA that I've ever seen...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh3FN3YCwYk

    "Do you know how hard it is to piss off people that watch other people's 5 year olds for a living?"  - I laughed really hard at that part of it.

    I also enjoyed the old statement from EA on their "nobel" early goals...

    We are an association of Electronic Artists who share a common goal.  We want to fulfill the potential of personal computing.

    With reading that old article on "can a computer make you cry?" and such...  What EA is vs what they started as...  It's an amazing review.

  • ArglebargleArglebargle Austin, TXPosts: 1,417Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Omali
    Originally posted by Yukmarc
    Originally posted by obii
    Originally posted by niceguy3978
     

    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.

    They also killed Ultima Online 2  because a new top dog  wanted make his account books look good.

    If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.

  • PK4GoldPK4Gold Lafayette, LAPosts: 61Member

    First was Neverwinter Nights on AOL 1991 .  Pay per hour ! plus pay per hour ISP.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-zQWEp_IvY

     

    sorry but the timeline is wrong =/

     

     

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member
    Originally posted by PK4Gold

    First was Neverwinter Nights on AOL 1991 .  Pay per hour ! plus pay per hour ISP.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-zQWEp_IvY

     

    sorry but the timeline is wrong =/

    Brilliant!!! That vid is great.

    Tbh, Timeline can be improved: I thought a website callling itself: "Timelines" sounded sufficiently scholarly on the subject...image

    I'll update the OP Timeline before long.

  • NovusodNovusod Lakewood, NJPosts: 892Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by MumboJumbo
    Originally posted by PK4Gold

    First was Neverwinter Nights on AOL 1991 .  Pay per hour ! plus pay per hour ISP.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-zQWEp_IvY

     

    sorry but the timeline is wrong =/

    Brilliant!!! That vid is great.

    Tbh, Timeline can be improved: I thought a website callling itself: "Timelines" sounded sufficiently scholarly on the subject...image

    I'll update the OP Timeline before long.

    Pleas add Lineage release date September 3rd, 1998 to the timeline as well.

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