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Mark Jacobs article and comments on massively and business model.

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Comments

  • billyt63billyt63 Spring Hill, FLPosts: 3Member

    I loved DAoC.

    I would add pVe elements to the game in order to seek out better, non-crafted equipment and money of course, etc.  I would also make pVe give you points very, very tediously slowly in order to better the permanent stats on your character within capped limitations, also of course.  Of course if all pVe has to be done within the frontier zones then there is always the chance of getting killed in rVr wile you were trying to pVe.  I might also add a peace flag that once used cannot be turned off for at least one hour.  If you use it, you cannot rVr or pVe within that time.  But, you could explore without risking being killed by other actual players.  Of course an NPC might not decide to honor the flag, but even if your killed, the flag doesn't reset until the time limit is over.  I would also add the ability of minstrels to import and play their own songs on their instrument using the .ABC MIDI text file format.  That is one of the best things that LOTRO got right.  As a musician, I have found good software that allows me to take any file from my MP4 or FLAC formatted music collection and turn it into a .ABC MIDI file which I can play on my lute in LOTRO.  There's nothing like being one of only a select few people who can belt out Play That Funky Music White Boy in Middle Earth.  :-)  Add enoough surprises like that to the game, so that we can have fun just hanging out in the game and not even progressing and you'll have a winner.

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,195Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vesavius
    Originally posted by boxsnd

    As to the trinity, well, what I can say is that the idea of a role-playing game is very important to me, especially the letter ‘R’.

    I support his use of the sub and love that more and more indie MMOS are getting a foot in the door to move us away from the corperate steralisation of the market that we have seen (not saying that good games haven't been made, just that choice and variety is good), but...

    What has the ide of a 'role' playing game got to do with the trinity..?

    Has he misunderstood what the 'role' is in 'role playing'? A bit scary if so, considering the time he has been in the industry.

    Thanks for posting that.  That comment really bugged me as well.  How could the definition of roles in game mechanics be confused with the role in Role-Playing Game?

    Game mechanics roles: healer, tank, damage dealer, buffer, debuffer, crowd control, shutdown, etc.

    RPG roles: priest, ranger, beggar, king, knight, etc. - you know those crazy personae that we've forgotten in lieu of the important roles of tank-healer-dps (poor CC your oldschool slot got sucked up by another).

    It is a bit concerning given all the talk he's done this last week to promote his kickstarter.  What concerns me more is that he hasn't presented any math to support his idea (you know how the economics of being a niche mmo with 60k players will work).

  • gregoryvggregoryvg Fredericksburg, VAPosts: 35Member
    Originally posted by Torvaldr
    It is a bit concerning given all the talk he's done this last week to promote his kickstarter.  What concerns me more is that he hasn't presented any math to support his idea (you know how the economics of being a niche mmo with 60k players will work).

    Oh I think 30-60k players is more than enough for a focused MMO from a small developer to not only succeed, but to thrive.  Before I begin, I am skeptical about a few things with CU.  

    Firstly, the no PvE does have me a little worried.  While I don't like how PvE is done in most games (i.e. grinding dungeons and raids for better and better loot), I believe if done correctly and smaller-scale can strengthen the realm and provide something for players to get acquinted with their class, and something for players to do who need a break from RvR and don't really want to craft.

    Secondly, I am also a bit skeptical of his tiered pricing plan; he is turning what should be a binary decision into something that will require way too much thought and will probably just hurt the game's revenue.

    Okay, for this example I will assume the average monthly fee is $12 per player.  If CU gets and maintains 30k subscribers over the long haul than CSE will realize $360,000 month in gross sales, or $4,320,000 in yearly sales.  That should be more tha enough to keep a small server farm running along with 10-20 developers to continue patching and adding new game content over time.  It is all about expectations.

    If you are expecting latest state of the art graphics with a huge world, "great" storylines and voice actors than I belive your expectations are wrong for this game.  

    If you are expecting decent but not great graphics, no elaborate storyline (just enough to get you out into the world to explore, fight, level and craft) lots of different, unique classes on all sides than this game might be for you.  However, you will have to initially put up with broken classes, some features that aren't going to work correctly out of hte box, graphics glitches, lag, etc; but these are things that  plaque all new MMO's no matter the size and that are usually taken care of after a few months.

  • tleartlear Toronto, ONPosts: 142Member

    60000 * 15 bucks =  900000 a month thats the math, server cost for something like this <50k add salary for 10 man team(huge overkill but whatever) another 50-60k. Math works fine as long as you can keep the cost down for the game itself so you can make a return within a year, not counting box costs. DAOC was built on <3 mil I do not think it can be done now mainly because you have to pay developers more but 5mil sounds very doable. RvR/pvp mmos are much cheaper to run because you do not need to have a huge team of people working on pve expansions non-stop

    And if he can do this he will create a team being able to deliver(which is RARE) so next project he can negotiate from position of strength with investors and such. And add to that he has an engine ready to go.. Maybe next game will be DAOC2(pve/rvr mix) but I would not try without order of magnitude more money(50 mil)

    All depends how good developers in his current team are, that is the key. Their current game is nothin gtoo special typic unity ipad game exectued ok. Can programmers he has deliver? maybe he believes they can. I am sure he has a list of people he wil try to recruit to ready to go if Kickstarter goes through.

  • skyexileskyexile MelbournePosts: 692Member

    maintaining 60k subs after a year would be a successful MMO...

    but given their team size i think even 10k subs would be able to sustain them...though i dont know how much mark likes to pay himself...

    SKYeXile
    TRF - GM - GW2, PS2, WAR, AION, Rift, WoW, WOT....etc...
    Future Crew - High Council. Planetside 1 & 2.

  • MarkJacobsMarkJacobs CEO City State Entertainment Fairfax, VAPosts: 467Member Uncommon

    Just finished the first draft for tomorrow blog (expanding the FPs from the vision document takes a little bit of time), thought I'd take a break and drop in here.

    Originally posted by SuperNick

    As interesting as a PvP-only MMO sounds I can't help but think limiting yourself to one direct focus in a game really removes sustainability.

    Sure, it might be fun to log in for an hour every now and then to kill some orcs but is that really worth a sub? DAOC, while yes it did have a hugely fun PvP system, still had a lot more PvE content to be had than PvP. A large portion of the subscriber base enjoyed both aspects, not just one.

    I think if Lord of the Rings online didn't devote 95% of its effort into being a PVE-only game, it would have enjoyed a lot more success. (Not that it wasn't a great game, I just missed real PvP systems when I played that game.)

    I'm not sure I agree with you in regards to an RvR focus removing sustainablity (increasing its difficulty, is one thing but removing it is another). I think it absolutely limits the subscription base significantly but FPS games don't have to have anything but a great MP component to do quite well. Now, I know the markets are different but if we can create a great RvR game, it is my belief that players who love RvR will be willing to play this game a lot. The key for sustaining that interest is not to present a static RvR-focused game and that's a key part of the plan. So, instead of worrying about focusing my team on creating new PvE content for constant updates, they can focus on RvR-updates. And since I don't have to worry about tons of VO, quests, lots of bright shineys for every update, I think we can do a better job of it. At the end of the day it's a gamble but if you look at how badly most MMORPGs that have been released since 1999 have done, it's not like putting PvE + RvR in a game = JACKPOT! I wish it was that way of course, but it's not. So, I'd rather focus on doing one major thing right and take it from there.

    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    Originally posted by Vesavius
    Originally posted by boxsnd

    As to the trinity, well, what I can say is that the idea of a role-playing game is very important to me, especially the letter ‘R’.

    I support his use of the sub and love that more and more indie MMOS are getting a foot in the door to move us away from the corperate steralisation of the market that we have seen (not saying that good games haven't been made, just that choice and variety is good), but...

    What has the ide of a 'role' playing game got to do with the trinity..?

    Has he misunderstood what the 'role' is in 'role playing'? A bit scary if so, considering the time he has been in the industry.

    Thanks for posting that.  That comment really bugged me as well.  How could the definition of roles in game mechanics be confused with the role in Role-Playing Game?

    Game mechanics roles: healer, tank, damage dealer, buffer, debuffer, crowd control, shutdown, etc.

    RPG roles: priest, ranger, beggar, king, knight, etc. - you know those crazy personae that we've forgotten in lieu of the important roles of tank-healer-dps (poor CC your oldschool slot got sucked up by another).

    It is a bit concerning given all the talk he's done this last week to promote his kickstarter.  What concerns me more is that he hasn't presented any math to support his idea (you know how the economics of being a niche mmo with 60k players will work).

    My plan was and is to focus the next few weeks on game design theory and save the financials for the Kickstarter. However, I have to point out that I have founded and run two companys before (the first one become Mythic) and Mythic of course had a quite successful M&A in addition to our sale of a part of it to TA Associates, so it's not like I haven't done this before. :)  And since Mythic was started with almost 0 dollars (I had to borrow just enough money to buy out the shares of two of Rob Denton's former partners) I can say I have run two startups with no angel investors (Abandon Entertainment put 3.3M in to fund Dark Age). I'm not, in any way, dismissing your concern but again, this is what I've done for over 25 years so it's not like it's new to me.

     

    Originally posted by tlear

    60000 * 15 bucks =  900000 a month thats the math, server cost for something like this <50k add salary for 10 man team(huge overkill but whatever) another 50-60k. Math works fine as long as you can keep the cost down for the game itself so you can make a return within a year, not counting box costs. DAOC was built on <3 mil I do not think it can be done now mainly because you have to pay developers more but 5mil sounds very doable. RvR/pvp mmos are much cheaper to run because you do not need to have a huge team of people working on pve expansions non-stop

    And if he can do this he will create a team being able to deliver(which is RARE) so next project he can negotiate from position of strength with investors and such. And add to that he has an engine ready to go.. Maybe next game will be DAOC2(pve/rvr mix) but I would not try without order of magnitude more money(50 mil)

    All depends how good developers in his current team are, that is the key. Their current game is nothin gtoo special typic unity ipad game exectued ok. Can programmers he has deliver? maybe he believes they can. I am sure he has a list of people he wil try to recruit to ready to go if Kickstarter goes through.

    Dark Age was built for 2.5M but we had to spend a little more on servers (not that much). And your second paragraph is so dead-on it's ridiculous. Almost like you have been in our offices listening to our conversations. :) I want to build a great RvR game with CU. If we can succeed with that, well, as you say it will be easier for our next game whether we go the same route using KS as "proof of support" or profits from the first game (if it was exceedingly successful). Either way, starting smaller, more focused, faster turnaround just makes sense. As to the team, well, if you looked at all of Mythic's prior games you wouldn't have bet that we could deliver the MMORPG either (nobody in the industry did when we tried to get funding for it, VUG came through after we had a running game to show them). I believed then, as I belive now, that I have some really good people around me. I need more, just as I did with Dark Age but, as you say, I do have a short list of people I want to get onboard.

    As I've pointed out before, the KS could fail, we could fail (most MMORPGs do), anything can happen of course. However, I believe enough in the concept of the game and the target audience, that I'm putting up a minimum of 2M myself. So, if nothing else, at least I'm putting my money where my mouth is. :)

    Mark

    Mark Jacobs
    CEO, City State Entertainment

  • MarkJacobsMarkJacobs CEO City State Entertainment Fairfax, VAPosts: 467Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by skyexile

    maintaining 60k subs after a year would be a successful MMO...

    but given their team size i think even 10k subs would be able to sustain them...though i dont know how much mark likes to pay himself...

    10K would be too little, even for our current team size but 30K would pay for the team including some new people. As to what I pay myself, well, right now I'm paying myself less than I did in the pre-DAoC days but since we are in startup mode, that's what I should do. Even if we are successful though, the key is keeping money in the company for the ever-popular "rainy day" just like we did at Mythic. That's why we were able to kill Imperator (instead of shipping a bad game hoping it would make some of its money back), fund Warhammer and still have plenty left over when the EA deal finally closed.

    If we have the equivalent of 60K subs at full price (multi-tiered means some lower priced sub packahes) a year out, as you suggest, I would consider that a success if we deliver the game on-budget.

    Mark

    Mark Jacobs
    CEO, City State Entertainment

  • RaagnarzRaagnarz North Las Vegas, NVPosts: 268Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by MarkJacobs
    Originally posted by skyexile

    maintaining 60k subs after a year would be a successful MMO...

    but given their team size i think even 10k subs would be able to sustain them...though i dont know how much mark likes to pay himself...

    10K would be too little, even for our current team size but 30K would pay for the team including some new people. As to what I pay myself, well, right now I'm paying myself less than I did in the pre-DAoC days but since we are in startup mode, that's what I should do. Even if we are successful though, the key is keeping money in the company for the ever-popular "rainy day" just like we did at Mythic. That's why we were able to kill Imperator (instead of shipping a bad game hoping it would make some of its money back), fund Warhammer and still have plenty left over when the EA deal finally closed.

    If we have the equivalent of 60K subs at full price (multi-tiered means some lower priced sub packahes) a year out, as you suggest, I would consider that a success if we deliver the game on-budget.

    Mark

    While I've had some experience in small scale game development, and a lot in marketing, all I can say is you're riding a wave of good will based on your statements I haven't seen the like of in awhile. That is an amazing thing. 10k would be way too low I would imagine for even a small studio.  I don't think its a problem you're going to have to worry about, at least initially.

        

    I would expect you to launch with a rather large, by your estimation, population. If you sold 100k, 200, 500k I wouldn't be surprised. A lot of people buy games or sign up for them knowing little to nothing about them. In addition you have a lot of nostalgia going for you to as so few of us get to experience the "old school" anymore yet long for it. Look at GGG's Path of Exile. Old school and hard and yet they have more business then they can handle because there is a market for the lack of hand holding games. So I would expect the initial influx is going to be significantly greater than you want to admit. Where the issue will be is retention. I think your hopeful numbers of 30-50k sustained pupulation are good if a bit low. As long as the game is rvr, smooth, and solid I think you'll garner a healthy but small population. When I say small I mean smaller than other game but probably bigger than your estimates.

         

    One of the strongest points I think you'll have going for your game is one that hasn't been touched on. I think we all know the market for old school hard is smaller than wow's style of give me everything in 1 week. The ones who like the old school mentality are older and more mature. I think you might garner the oldest mmo age bracket with this game lol...which will be nice for the community.

  • skyexileskyexile MelbournePosts: 692Member


    Originally posted by MarkJacobs
    Originally posted by skyexile maintaining 60k subs after a year would be a successful MMO... but given their team size i think even 10k subs would be able to sustain them...though i dont know how much mark likes to pay himself...
    10K would be too little, even for our current team size but 30K would pay for the team including some new people. As to what I pay myself, well, right now I'm paying myself less than I did in the pre-DAoC days but since we are in startup mode, that's what I should do. Even if we are successful though, the key is keeping money in the company for the ever-popular "rainy day" just like we did at Mythic. That's why we were able to kill Imperator (instead of shipping a bad game hoping it would make some of its money back), fund Warhammer and still have plenty left over when the EA deal finally closed.

    If we have the equivalent of 60K subs at full price (multi-tiered means some lower priced sub packahes) a year out, as you suggest, I would consider that a success if we deliver the game on-budget.

    Mark


    Yea cant say im too familiar with the overheads of on making or maintaining an online video game, I would have figured most of your costs would be labor though.

    SKYeXile
    TRF - GM - GW2, PS2, WAR, AION, Rift, WoW, WOT....etc...
    Future Crew - High Council. Planetside 1 & 2.

  • skyexileskyexile MelbournePosts: 692Member


    Originally posted by Raagnarz


         

    One of the strongest points I think you'll have going for your game is one that hasn't been touched on. I think we all know the market for old school hard is smaller than wow's style of give me everything in 1 week. The ones who like the old school mentality are older and more mature. I think you might garner the oldest mmo age bracket with this game lol...which will be nice for the community.


    The one thing about us older gamers is we have more money to mindlessly throw at people, how well can you catch Mark?

    SKYeXile
    TRF - GM - GW2, PS2, WAR, AION, Rift, WoW, WOT....etc...
    Future Crew - High Council. Planetside 1 & 2.

  • Storm_FirebladeStorm_Fireblade FlensburgPosts: 156Member
    Originally posted by Raagnarz

    I would expect you to launch with a rather large, by your estimation, population. If you sold 100k, 200, 500k I wouldn't be surprised. A lot of people buy games or sign up for them knowing little to nothing about them. In addition you have a lot of nostalgia going for you to as so few of us get to experience the "old school" anymore yet long for it

    That is excactly how I see it myself. Even though Mark is avoiding to announce CU as some form for DAoC 2, they still can rely on a lot of the nostalgia and thereby also the backup of those players. I personally believe that the MMO-market is broken at the moment. World of Warcraft was a huge success, but it didn´t do us any good in the long run.

    Sure, there are studios out there trying to create nichegames with a certain focus, but mostly those are too inexperienced or just not wellfunded enough.

    The MMO-market will undergo a major change the next years and I´m pretty certain that Mark and his team can become some form for spearhead of this enormous endeavor. That said - it all comes back to the success of the upcoming kickstarter campaign. I believe in this project, it is the right thing to do, but I hope enough people realize that and will back this game. Mark has more than enough experience in the industry and visions that need to be seen through. That might finally be the final straw, so we can move on at last.

    Give Mark and CSE the chance to prove the market right again once more - so finally we can get out of this rut MMOs have been in the past years.

    Camelot Unchained Fanpage
    https://simply-gaming.com/camelot/

  • tleartlear Toronto, ONPosts: 142Member
    I think that conversation Mark happens at many software startups ;) that's what I been at for last couple years. Maybe I drop your company recruiter a message hehe
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