I remember back in developer school my professor used to talk about stuff and I would listen to that stuff and write that stuff onto my notebook. I would then study that stuff and use that knowledge to make games. Yeaaaap, the ole’ dev school days sure were fun. Lots of stuff learned.
“But Tierless you’ve never said anything about being a dev before”
Thats because I’m not, I was lying. I’ve never stepped foot on a university that even offered anything game devish. Why? Because I’m not a game dev and know nothing about being one. So why do I voice my opinions on MMO design as if I have a clue? What qualifies me to give so much feedback on games? It must take a huge ego to write overly long blogs about what the entire industry should do to make a good MMO right? How can someone justify thinking they are better informed than an entire industry of intelligent people that have gone to school and dedicated their lives to making games? That sounds pretty illogical, irrational, and just plain crazy to me, yet here I am, day after day, forum after forum, blog after blog, rant after rant and the craziest part of all, I’m not alone! You, you, you, and yes, even you there hiding behind your monitor. You're all guilty of it as well aren’t you? Lets take a look at my MMO resume and see how you stack up shall we?
The first rpg I played was called “GIJoe”. I would go into the yard and pretend to be Snakeyes or Duke depending on my “mission”. I also had a 12” version of Duke that I dressed up in “gear” and sent on missions. (I’m always surprised by how many MMOers don’t realize they are doing exactly what they did so many years ago right down to dressing up their “toys”) The first “video game” (what a dated term) I played was Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo. My first MMORPG was SWG and I’ve played just about every well known (and several less known) MMOs since. In all I have about 25+ years of various gaming under my belt.
So I ask you. Would you rather have your car’s engine worked on by a person that just got a degree in mechanics or a person that never had a degree but has been a mechanic for 30 years? Answer, neither. It depends on the person. As Scott Stapp would say, time does not make you wise (and apparently neither does being Scott Stapp :) Just because you log in a lot of time doesn’t mean you know what you're doing. At the same time, just because you went to school for something doesn’t mean you're good at it. For ex. I went to school for art and I happen to be a terrible artist (but I am a snappy dresser)! Then we have the phenoms. A lot of NBA players have WAY WAY more time logged in AND a college degree in basketball but they can’t touch LeBron James because he was born to ball. Its a tough pill to swallow, but no matter how good you are, the LeBron Jameses of the world are better (especially the LeBron-esque photoshop kids, how can they be so good!?!?).
I’ve spent more time than most people thinking deeply about these games; what worked, what didn’t, and what might make them better. In fact, outside of religion and the meaning of life I’d say MMORPGology is my #3 most philosophized topic (FYI I do a lot of philosophizing...ok I sit next to a small bonfire, drink too much, stare up at the beautifully starlit night sky and hope a spaceship carrying a Jedi flies down to me, WHATEVER MAN! You can't judge me! You don't know me! KING KONG AINT GOT NOTHIN ON ME and FYI bonfire is a word derived from “bone fire” referencing a pagan festival during which they burned bones to celebrate summer to there!)
What was my point? I always seem to forget about those pesky things. Oh yes, so, am I, or, are you, capable of making the leetest MMO eva!? Hell no! Don’t be crazy! Be realistic. Most of us have no chance, 0, zilch, none, of pulling off a successful MMO. Some of our ideas are good and I’m glad people are willing to throw them out to the masses, but lets be real here, grinding out an MMO is insanely hard work. It’s tedious. It’s maddening. And it only gets worse when you have 15k customers telling you they know more about the industry that you actually put your blood, sweat, and tears into.
I suppose it’s time to unveil the true motive of this blog. It was never about how qualified you or I are to make a MMO. It was to get us to realize that we aren’t. We might have some good ideas. Some of us have more than others, some of us have betters concepts, some of us have crazier concepts, but at the end of the day thats what they are. Ideas and concepts that we can share with CSE in the hope they they get a look. Be gracious if they don’t. By happy we support a game that offers us the opportunity to TRULY be heard. Do not be bitter, angry, or vindictive. Do not lash out at CSE or other CU fans. Keep it civil, stay classy, maintain your poise and keep pumping out those ideas and CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.
Most of us aren’t devs so CU is the closest we'll ever get to helping create an MMO, don’t forget how special that is. Don’t forget how rare it is to have the head of a company, not just interacting with, but really listening to the community. This alone makes CU special. CSE is doing us a big favor by letting us be so involved. We need to do them a big favor right back by being the customer the shop owner likes to chat with, not the one they hide from. It would be a lot easier for CSE ignore us, put their heads down, and forge ahead with CU, but instead they’ve given us the privilege of participating in the process, don’t abuse it. (bold overstatement alert) If not for MJ and CSE, if not for your CU brethren, if for the entire gaming industry as we know it!
Other companies are watching, the largest of which are scoffing. They think the KS/work with your fans idea is INSANE, it’s flawed, it will never work! “You simply can’t work with those crazies!” They are watching with the anticipation that CU becomes an epic community driven failure. It’s up to us to show them how wrong they are. If we help pull this off, and if CU succeeds it means more fan interaction across more games in the future. It means devs and players truly interacting. It means a gaming industry funded by us, crowdsourced to us, and games created with us. Dev and Player, not at ends with one another, together, hand in hand, keyboard on keyboard, mouse on mouse, for a better industry full of better games! You owe it to your kids, and their kids, and hell, even their kids!
When it’s all said and done and that scene from the end of Mass Effect is playing in my life (spoiler alert); when my great great great (I plan to live a LONG time thanks to scientific advancement and cyborg mods) grandchild looks up at me in my hover rocking chair and says “Triple G-pa, did you ever fight in the great gaming wars?” I can toss them my weathered lightsaber hilt, give them a nod, and say “that was a long long time ago in a world far far away from the one we have now. Once upon a time all of humankind was separated by silly things like race, sex, language, and social status. But us gamers, we were ahead of the rest. We saw the future. We saw the open sourced, crowd sourced, united by the common language of the internet potential on the horizon and we led the way to the technology renaissance! Of course we didn’t know it at the time, we just thought we were helping to save the gaming industry from microtransactions and corporate oversight. Changing the world, that was something none of us saw coming.”
“Triple G-Pa, what's a...a microtransaction?”
“Heh, sometimes even I forget how young you are don’t I? Micros...micros were the symbol of everything that was wrong with the world when it was ran by corporations. They came to represent the shortcomings of humankind; greed, inescapable bias social tiers, paying to win rather than earning it, and corruption, soo, soo much corruption, but that’s another story for another time. Now get on your hoverboard and head to class, you’re going to be late for saber practice and it would be very disrespectful to Master K'Kruhk. (logs into Camelot Unchained Forever as the little one heads to class) Ah, I definitely got my money out of that Warrior Forever package didn’t I!”
Oh the future, always in motion it is, but visions of clarity it can provide while drunken and resting next to an open fire while staring up at a starry nights sky :) Never underestimate the power of the unified masses...of gamers...and dark beer...