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[Column] General: Greetings and Salutations



  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,606Member Uncommon

    Hi Matt,

    Welcome.  Are you related to Marc Miller of the Traveller universe?

    What features or characteristics of the other MMOs you played that you like or would want to integrate into future games you work on?

  • WraithoneWraithone Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 3,606Member Uncommon
    Welcome Mr Miller.  I look forward to reading what you have to say. I'm sorry that CoH ended the way that it did.
  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member
    Ah, an AOL account... just a neophyte then <thump>, if you had played under a Genie account you might have some true credability ;)
  • MurlockDanceMurlockDance ParisPosts: 1,223Member

    Hello and welcome.

    I played CoH the first year it was around and really enjoyed it, and came back for another spell after CoV was released. It stands out as one of the most unique game experiences I ever had: gearless, extremely customizable characters not just with respect to costume choices, unique modern city environment, interesting missions, first game to use sidekicking and the like that I know of, attracting one of the nicest player communities I ever knew, etc.

    I would like to know why you developed CoH/CoV in this way? What was the reasoning for employing the gearlessness, the emphasis on customizability, the world based on and in one city, the mission structures, etc.

    It is a shame that more games won't use ideas from CoH/CoV because they were truly awesome.

    Playing MUDs and MMOs since 1994.

  • NC-JohnNC-John burlington, WIPosts: 113Member

    Glad to see a fellow developer willing to talk to the general gaming community. I give you credit my friend for the attempt. Even though I'm a mere Indie developer on a unnamed kickstarter project, I welcome your professional insights and thoughts on the subjects you choose to speak about.

    I feel if more professional game developers were willing to wade in the mud and come here, they would be surprised and even amazed at how informative a great many players here are.





    "Not even a cray super computer can make this game run well. Thats what happens when you code an MMO in pascal. " - miglor

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,865Member Uncommon

    Hi and welcome Matt, it will be great to read your colums.

    I think I pass on the lockboxes / lootboxes question, my opinion about those would contain a lot of <mod edit phrases> :) I don't like gambling.


    Since you wrote you played STO too, I'd like to ask about the Architect vs. the Foundry. (It also came up in a Neverwinter topic as well, namely that STO's Foundry is more about the missions and the lore, while Architect was used mostly for farming.)

    I wonder, it was a specific developer's decision to allow the Architect working this way, or just a coincidence? Since it's quite easy to gate farming, it was pretty certain that you designed Architect as a parallel levelling route. I'm just curious, if that's correct, what was the reason behind it?

    (don't get me wrong, I played a lot with the Architect, it was just a bit sad that it's potential was used mostly for farming and only the smaller group used it for story archs and mission building...)

  • TwiPhoenixTwiPhoenix Aion Correspondent Texarkana, TXPosts: 19Member

    It's very nice to see that you're still around Posi.  Even though I didn't really play CoH very much in the past year or so, I miss it enough now that it's gone that I regret that I didn't play more.  Wish I was more active in the community too.  I never managed to get a FPARN or a reply from a red name.


    Just two questions for you here at the moment, if you don't mind answering.


    1.  Do you know where the other developers of CoH ended up at, such as War Witch and Synapse?  You guys were a great team and it'd be a shame to hear if they're no longer in the business, but my curiosity demands I ask.


    2.  Which current MMO out there do you think plays the most like CoH?  It doesn't matter if the theme is super heroes, fantasy, or what, I'm just asking gameplay.  Simple, easy to learn gameplay that feels rewarding whether you jump in for half a hour or all day with tons of possibilities of how you build your character in terms of appearance and abilities.  I'm playing Aion right now, and while it's fun in it's own way, it's barely like CoH at all.

  • darkhalf357xdarkhalf357x Brooklyn, NYPosts: 1,160Member Uncommon

    Hi Matt. Welcome.  Its really great to be able to get insight from an 'inside' man.  I completely understand that games (and most products) are made to make money.  My question is at what point does the goal or making money overshadow the innovation of creating something new?

    It comes across (from my perspective) that investors want to make money so they give it to a development studio, who lets say try to make something completely different, only to be told (my assumption) by investors that they dont think that the right direction and then copy something existing.

    If they truly want to make money wouldnt it stand to invest in new ventures rather than supporting old ones?  How can things change if they wont?

    Also along the lines of money, what is your feeling on the future of crowdfunding/kickstarter?  Do you think it could go mainstream or will the larger publishers/investors crush it?

    Thanks and look forward to your column


  • Reas43Reas43 New York, NYPosts: 297Member
    This type of contributor is much much needed in this site and will probably be a good thing.   Unless. . . . you're not going to be constantly plugging for a new game you're making and championing systems in other games promoted here which are similar to something you're designing .  . .  right . . .?
  • SoonerDVMSoonerDVM Muskogee, OKPosts: 3Member
    What do you think of the growing trend towards microtransactions. What if it becomes a "pay to win" situation?
  • PeregrineFalcon451PeregrineFalcon451 Seattle, WAPosts: 5Member

    Hello Positron,

    I'm really looking forward to reading your column and getting insights that can only come from someone that's worked in the industry.

    Years ago MMOs were all about creating a world that you could explore and live in. Sandbox systems, like SWG's crafting and CoH's Mission Architect, were staples. More recent MMOs are almost pure themeparks with little/no sandbox features.

    Q: Why do most game devs seem so reluctant to provide sandbox systems in game? (Beyond the obvious - "WoW doesn't have it.") Especially given the spectacular failures of several on-the-rails themepark MMOs recently.

    Thanks. - Peregrine Falcon

    Paragon City Refugee - "We're heroes. It's what we do."

  • adam_noxadam_nox hays, KSPosts: 2,036Member Uncommon

    Hey Positron, I got a couple questions.

    The first is, was CoH profitable, and do you believe ncsoft chose not to salvage it rather than being in a situation where it was simply unsustainable.  I imagine if you wanted to answer that question you would have already, but in case no one else is asking, I have to.


    The second is, what server on DAoC?  Would rock my socks if you were on nimue way back lol.

  • jtcgsjtcgs New Port Richey, ILPosts: 1,777Member

    My big why question would be, WHY do Western MMORPG companies go to a FREEMIUM model when Asian and even some Euorpean FREE 2 PLAY games make so much more money?

    Nexon is now the second most profitable gaming company on the planet with over 1 billion in PROFITS for 2 straight years and most than half of that money is coming from their F2P games, just looking at company earnings reports F2P games like Atlantica Online, which, lets face it, is NOT a good game. Its very basic, the combat is a great change of pace mind you but overall the game is a joke compared to top quality games...yet for some reason the game has been a CASH COW making almost every single FREEMIUM game look bad in terms of revenue.

    So, why do western companies go...half assed about it? The market proves that F2P generates more money when done right...and with average to poor games. While CoH did have near a F2P quality item shop...the "premium" aspect drove the vast majority of the F2P market away. These people dont want to join a game where they will be second class citizens to those paying for a premium account and defeats the very purpose of playing a game calling itself free.

    So many western games that are now using the "freemium" model could be dominating the F2P market in terms of revenue yet are not due to this idea that they will somehow be able to trick enough people into subbing for their game that was never popular in the first place...such a shame.

    “I hope we shall its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  • SamhaelSamhael Huntsville, ALPosts: 721Member Uncommon
    Hi, Matt!  I hope you're doing well. CoH was my first MMO that I played past the first 30 days and I put in a few years altogether. I'm hoping you're going to be involved with another MMO down the road. For the most part, I really enjoyed what you guys did and still compare other MMOs to CoH. I think the product really began to shine when the Cryptic/Paragon split happened. Anyways, I wish you and the rest of the Paragon folks the very best and hope you land well.  Thanks for the fun and the memories.
  • ZandilZandil templestowePosts: 249Member Uncommon

    Hi Matt


    My question would be more on business models, in your opinion is F2p or some varient of it the way of the future or will we return to subs ? and as a side note for a small scale MMO is there more money in F2P with cash shop or sub model ?


  • KyleranKyleran Paradise City, FLPosts: 20,439Member Rare

    What I'd like to know is how often to Developers get to create the MMORPG they want to build vs the MMORPG that they have to deliver based on what the people holding the purse strings are expecting?

    More directly, did you ever see someone come up with a good design idea that might be a bit different, but they were told, no, better make it more like WOW because we "know" that sells well.


    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    I don't play games, I inhabit virtual worlds™
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • weslubowweslubow idaho faLLS, IDPosts: 158Member

    Welcome Mr. Miller.

    If you were allowed to make your dream game, what would it be?

  • ArglebargleArglebargle Austin, TXPosts: 1,529Member Uncommon

    Heya Matt Miller!


    This particular space in the web is filled with unrequited 'Sandbox' mmo fans.  There have been three large notable sandbox mmos, EVE, UO and SWG.  Two of those moved away from the original concept.  My question:   What are the technical aspects of a Sandbox design that are problems for developers?


    Much respect on the CoH front.  Over the years, I've been very happy it was the first mmo that kept me playing.   Elementar from Virtue salutes!  

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

  • sschruppsschrupp Cedar Rapids, IAPosts: 387Member Uncommon

    Hi! I'm excited to read what you have to say for many of these questions.


    Kickstarter has been mentioned a couple times and I really hope you offer your opinion on it. There have been a number of video game projects on Kickstarter from well known developers that got quite large in donations. I would think that crowd funding would get many developers very excited that they can make a game how they want to make it.


    Do you think developers could go the crowd funding route to create a successful "AAA" MMO? 


    Many gamers feel that the big publishers and such put a lot of pressure on developers, effectively killing the visions that the developers want to work towards. They feel that the publishers tell them what features to put in or leave out in order to fit their time schedule and budget. How close to the truth is that belief in your experience? If some of the current or past MMOs were crowd funded instead of being shackled to big companies like EA and SOE do you think they'd be much different/better?


    Insert random misqoute here

  • mysticmousemysticmouse LOVELAND, COPosts: 112Member Uncommon

    Welcome Matt!

    I look forward to reading your Column! I playede COH on and off since beta. I did leave to play other games But CoH was the home I always came back to. So many great memories and the best gameing comunity ever!

  • ZzadistZzadist Des Moines, IAPosts: 24Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by TheQuinch
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    Welcome to Matt. It's always cool when someone from the "inside" posts articles here.

    So, off to the question. Super hero MMOs don't seem to fare especially well. They also seem to be very bright and colorful, kind of like an 80s comic book. Do you think these two things are related? Do you think a super hero MMO would fare better if it went through a "gritty reboot"?

    I'm tempted to try and offer my opinion on that, but I'm worried that I might end up threadjacking. Would anyone object the attempt?

    Well it may be called threadjacking. But hey. Its an open forum. If you can present a well thought opinion on it. I'd certainly like to read it. I've played all the Superhero MMOs. And Though they seem to in theory be interesting. They never get my gamer heart pumping. 


    So take a whack at it. Who cares? All they're gonna do is delete it and you may get a warning because some stiff necked dick clicked the report button and whined.




    (in case this does happen. Could you PM me what you had responded with incase I do not see it.)



  • bmorrisonbmorrison Cleveland, OHPosts: 19Member Uncommon
    well as a fan, I know Synapse, Arbiter Hawk, and Dr. Aeon wound up at Cryptic/PW working on Star Trek Online, Zwillinger (CM) wound up at EA, those are the only ones I remember
  • InktomiInktomi merrick, NYPosts: 663Member

    Welcome aboard Matt! Good read and I am looking forward to more of your articles. It is nice that someone is actually taking the time to take us behind the curtain to show us around.

    I loved CoX when I was playing it, had a really nice Demon Summoning Mastermind. Wish I had taken the time to go back and take a few screenies of Wizard of Odd, but I didn't have the heart to. I let the game sundown in peace and had taken my closure reading other peoples columns who had years invested in the game. That is one of the reasons why I never get too attached to an MMO. It is because at any time, it can all go away.

  • steamtanksteamtank Rochester, NYPosts: 385Member

    i remember CoH launch. it was fantastic amounts of fun. Even years later the community as a whole was one of the best I have ever seen for any MMO.  I would come back for a few months every year just to participate.  I have no idea what magic it was in CoX that made the community so great but i miss that more than anything. the Deviant art community, forums, and servers were all full of great people.


    my question:

    Do you think games like WAR would have faired better if 3 factioned like DAoC?

    Do you think an MMO could profit if it had a finite # of kingdoms instead of 2 faction or ffa?

  • Sugoi-chanSugoi-chan Grove City, OHPosts: 15Member

    Matt, a great intro, and looking forward to the future installments of your MMO insider info!

    And thanks again for creating the MMO that was my spare time timesink for over 8 years from opening day till the end of the world.  I put over $2K in real money into the game during that time, and still don't think I wasted a penny.

    The only problem I have now is finding another MMO that has a decent percentage of the sheer playability CoH/CoX had.  I'm afraid Paragon Studios spoiled me for life.

    My main in the game was Sugoi or Sugoi-chan on all servers.

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