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[Column] General: Dave Georgeson Writes About 15 Years of Virtual Worlds

SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,126

A lot of folks are curious about game development and I think that my recent involvement with the amazing community of players around “Landmark” shows just how many folks want to know more. Players are not just passionate about the games that they play. They’re passionate about the entire industry.

Read more of Dave Georgeson's 15 Years of Virtual Worlds.





  • RrysRrys Member UncommonPosts: 5
    Great article.  Hope to see more of them from Dave!
  • Xav_MMOXav_MMO Member UncommonPosts: 49
    That was a great read. Very well said!
  • SojhinSojhin Member UncommonPosts: 226
    I hope the passion in making a non vanilla game survives the exit of Dave from EQ Next. Further, the micro transaction comment about how the developers are more akin to 'street performers aka dancing monkeys' because of FTP rings true. 
  • NadiaNadia Member UncommonPosts: 11,798
    good read :)
  • TelondarielTelondariel Member Posts: 1,001

    " If you made any successful noise about your game at launch, then all the gamers that cared about it heard about it at that time.  They looked at it. Maybe they played it, but they definitely judged you. And once they move on, they are not coming back. Your chance to gain the mind share of these gamers was AT LAUNCH…not after."


    That may have been the case 10 years ago, but people are a little more savvy now.  Firsthand information about a new game is out months before a launch, in the form of alpha and beta experiences, and from people who witness then relay events such as the EQN Reveal at SOE Live years before an actual launch.


    In the case of EQN, with it's debut to the EQ community at large, there was lukewarm reception at SOE Live and afterwards.  Diehard vet's of the IP were left scratching their heads, wondering how..this..was your vision for EQ3.  Well, turns out it really wasn't.  As you explained, you didn't want to take the community away from existing games (EQ and EQ2), rather, you were trying for a new market (<-- paraphrased).


    That to me, and seemingly to many others (including prominent EQ community website contributors) seems a bit backwards.  The original intent was to make EQ3, but then 3 scrapped iterations later, you presented EQFreeRealms.  All that money and time wasted, with the end product aimed not at the EQ fans that built and sustained the IP since 1999, but at twitch-style gamers that enjoy highly stylized cartoony graphics, limited hotbars designed for controllers, and reticles.


    Frankly, I think you lost focus, and now there is just a mess to clean up.  It's unfortunate that so many people have been laid off.  But I have to say, Dave, that upper management has been steering that ship into the rocks for years now, despite the community voicing their concerns and criticisms about the studio's direction.  So many people laid off, and a community left dangling in the wind, because of poor decisions and the lack of good leadership.


  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 14,294
    We don't get enough "insider" articles here... great read!
    “Microtransactions? In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?” 

    "... the "influencers" which is the tech name we call sell outs now..."
    __ Wizardry, 2020
  • PoisinivyPoisinivy Member Posts: 4
    heres the thing and this was part of the issue. Landmark totally lost focus of the original plan, Landmark went so far off course that I dont know if it can recover, and developing the Forgelight engine with only direct X 9 support? no support for Dirext X 11 or even direct X 12? what were you thinking, the fact that all your new games are created in Forgelight is gonna hurt, that was a HUGE mistake and its going to be very expensive to recover from
  • Tracho12Tracho12 Member UncommonPosts: 136

    Because it bears worth repeating...

    Either Smokejumper is legit or he's the best snake-oil salesman this world has ever seen. Either way, someone get this man a job.



  • faidedfaided Member UncommonPosts: 111


    You and Richard Garriot are the reasons I decided I wanted to get into game development. This was a great article! It is very refreshing to have someone with such experience speak to the community in the way you have in this piece. I think it high time that we start informing our gamer's about what drives us devs, and what we all go through!



  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 28,356

    That was a great article and definitely supports a variety of theories that have been floating around for quite some time.

    I'd love to see you talk more about continuing games in relation to the funds they bring in. The obvious reason is that some people think that the costs for supporting a game are drastically lower and feel that game companies that charge a sub are greedy. Yet f2p offerings eliminate the cap allowing for some people to pay astronomical amounts of money which seemingly make up for charging everyone a sub.

    Yet every game seems to have some sort of cash shop these days which I suspect is because that is the only way to make up the rising costs of game support and development.

  • NanfoodleNanfoodle Member EpicPosts: 8,207
    Great read =-) Whats to come? 
  • BordoninBordonin Member UncommonPosts: 7

    Excellent read and nice to see so soon after the change!  

    I work for an IT Services firm and see similarities between our Professional Services and Managed Services teams...  They both "Build and Run" but the definition of Run changes...  "PS - Runs away" and "MS - Runs the environment forever (ideally)"


    Played Meridian 59, UO, EQ1, EQ2, WOW, DAOC, Asherons Call, AOC, Warhammer Online, GW1, GW2, Rift, Vanguard, etc....
    Currently waiting for EQnext...

  • MykellMykell Member UncommonPosts: 762

    Thanks for your insights Dave. 

    Personally i think some of the industries biggest failings have been over-hyping new games and marketing them as something they turned out not to be.

    Take Age of Conan..the first 20 levels were what the game was marketed around yet it was like playing a different game after that. WAR wasn't much better.

    The strategy now seems to start with a few ideas and get in a community to bounce ideas off to see what works and what doesn't ie H1Z1 but after jumping into pre-alpha/alpha games for the last year i am personally over that and would like to play a finished game rather than a game that has "potential".

    The biggest problem i see with this approach is the pace of development can never keep up with the pace of getting bored and moving onto something else.

    Anyways it would be interesting to read what you think the future holds for the mmo space.

  • kitaradkitarad Member EpicPosts: 5,834
    Very good read .

  • AtrayoAtrayo Member UncommonPosts: 64

    Good read on the wisdom of game development. Maybe Dave you should be writing for "GamaSutra", lol.

    Still aside from the turmoil you started your article with that being the layoff's, company closure's, and project cancellations. There was if perhaps still is the sweat shop conditions especially when a game studio resists paying over time to staff. Case in point a few years back that wife that had a spouse work for EA did didn't pay him overtime. Even the IGDA started a panel on the working conditions within the games industry.

    The games industry has been around for a little under 3 decades. Much like the film movie industry era of the 1920's and 1930's. (building off the silent film era) The working standards in many ways haven't been set in stone, it may still take a decade for them to be rather ethical. (at least in comparison to similar software industries) Time will tell.

    I look forward to your next article. I'm sure your reading every comment since this is your first article in the series.

    The Older Gamers

  • Jazwar33Jazwar33 Member Posts: 1

    That was a pretty decent article. It goes to show that one person cannot be the "Director of the Everquest Franchise". It's a step in the right direction to break up that position and focus more attention on the individual games. I don't see how Dave Georgeson could seriously focus on EQ1, EQ2. Landmark, and EQN all at the same time efficiently. He was passionate but time well spent was not as effective as it should have been.


    The Everquest Franchise has been incredibly lackluster without direction for many years. I'm hopeful for Everquest Next seeing that the plans were already in motion regardless of Dave being there. The company is unique in respect to how accessible the individuals are in terms of being open in their development somewhat each week. I know a lot of it still is hidden but I think that has to do with time tables and not over promising.

  • observerobserver Member RarePosts: 3,685
    It's refreshing to read articles about developers and their experiences from the inside, especially someone as high profile as Georgeson.
  • HeretiqueHeretique Member RarePosts: 1,500
    David Georgeson is the reason why I play games.
  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 17,634

    He pretty much said what i have been saying a long time,it is near impossible to import NEW creative talent when the industry wants vets that rehash OLD ideas over and over.

    In case of SOE i never saw them as being too bright beyond the initial launch  and likely because of the idea that you figure your initial player base is pretty much it,not much after that.It is sort of true but still does not change the fact you can not only create new ideas for the next expansion to TRY and induce new players,it can also keep the present base happy with new ideas.Rehashing the same ideas after launch with just more levels and more maps and more tiers create a very boring atmosphere of pointless grind.

    A perfect example of NOT being too creative beyond launch is SOE not once said "you know what ,this ALTAHOLIC design does not make sense".The idea of ALTS is just bad and SOE rehashed that idea over and over.Sub class systems are where it is at,it gives a player the sense of constantly improving their character over a LONG period of time as well as the MOST important>>>>It keeps old zones busy which entices new players.Go figure SUPER simple strat yet SOE missed the boat several times over MANY years.

    That is why you NEED NEW talent and not just a resume of what have you done for me in the past.Why bother interview someone if you just want to read their resume?You SHOULD be asking about their creative side and ideas,so perhaps the b or C quality of employees filters down beyond the system designers and Producers but also to the hiring practices.

    I can spot quality Producers and developers in mere seconds,it is very easy you can see it in the first few minutes of entering a game.

    I might add one very important final statement.Players DON'T like to be fooled or have the wool pulled over their eyes.Creating game systems that PRETEND to be doing something for the player but in essence is doing almost nothing are BAD decisions on game design.A perfect example is seeing GIANT sized stats on gear that do almost nothing,they are just there to fool the gamer into thinking oh WOW look at this new gear.You end up adding 250 attack 200 strength and you hit for 4 more damage,it is pathetic game design to manipulate players into a continual grind for meaningless gear.

    That leads to one more aspect that SOE did poorly,loot drops ,FAR too many meaningless ones.Loot should feel IMPORTANT and valued and get a player excited,i rather see currency and crafting drops and keep gear drops to the VERY RARE it gives them FAR more value to the economy and the player.

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441
    Thanks, Dave. Great article. :)
  • TalonsinTalonsin Member EpicPosts: 3,619
    Great article Dave.  Looking forward to more in the future.
    "Sean (Murray) saying MP will be in the game is not remotely close to evidence that at the point of purchase people thought there was MP in the game."  - SEANMCAD

  • NomadMorlockNomadMorlock Member UncommonPosts: 814
    Great article Dave.  Looking forward to reading more from your perspective.  Thank you for sharing!
  • KaniverKaniver Member UncommonPosts: 110

    Superb article from someone with credentials to back every word up. Your talent and mindset throbs from within this article, I can't believe they let talent like you go.


    Definitely looking forward to more articles by you.



  • NeanderthalNeanderthal Member RarePosts: 1,815

    I'd just like to point out a couple of things which jumped out at me from that article.


    The first is where he said:

    "Gamers will always want new challenges and new experiences.  Thus, devs are always required to plunge into untried R&D territory to make it happen."


    And yet, the most common complaint we see on these forums is that developers have been rehashing the same ol' thing over and over again for years.  You've all seen multitudes of post bitching about how all mmo's for years have just been the same game reskinned.  Maybe the graphics have improved.  Certainly the map layout is different.  But basically it's just the same crap over and over again.  So my question is; where the hell is all this "new" stuff which devs have always been required to plunge into?  Are they hiding it under a rock somewhere?


    The second thing which jumped out at me was where he said, "Don't screw up your core gameplay".  A statement which seems a bit ironic to me considering that he worked for SOE.

  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 19,934

    Great read. There is a lot of interesting stuff to chew on.

    I'm looking forward to reading more (hopefully) and seeing what projects you get into next.

    Fedora - A modern, free, and open source Operating System. https://getfedora.org/

    traveller, interloper, anomaly, iteration

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