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News & Features Discussion  » World of Warcraft: GDC Online Honors Raph Koster and World of Warcraft

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  garrett

MMORPG.COM Staff

Joined: 6/30/09
Posts: 231

 
OP  8/31/12 1:38:26 PM#1

 Organizers of the Game Developers Conference® Online (GDC Online) have revealed that Raph Koster, a key industry veteran behind the prodigious massively multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPGs) Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, will be honored with the Online Game Legend Award at the third annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards. Blizzard Entertainment’s influential World of Warcraft® MMORPG will be inducted into the Choice Online Awards Hall of Fame during the ceremony, taking place Wednesday, October 10 at GDC Online in Austin, Texas. The special awards categories recognize developers and titles that have had significant impact in the world of online games.

Raph Koster has led a prolific career. As the lead designer on Ultima Online and the creative director on Star Wars Galaxies, his contributions helped lay the foundation for the many massively multiplayer games that followed. Koster’s professional credits span nearly every facet of game development, including writing, art, soundtrack music, programming and design.

Raph Koster is considered a thought leader, as a frequent lecturer and published author on topics of game design, community management, storytelling and ethics in game development. His A Theory of Fun, published in 2004, is considered seminal by educators and members of the art game movement, as well as being one of the most popular books ever written about games.

In his youth, Koster taught himself programming on an Atari 8-bit computer that he used to create the first game he ever sold, to a fellow classmate. His early professional years include work on the award-winning multi-user dungeon LegendMUD, which he later parlayed into a position as lead designer on the seminal MMORPG Ultima Online. Koster’s varied interests in writing, art and graphic design served him well when he joined Sony Online Entertainment in the role of creative director on Star Wars Galaxies, a game praised for its lush graphics, authentic movie-based soundtrack, expansive in-game world, customization options and sophisticated gameplay mechanics.

After serving as chief creative officer at Sony Online Entertainment, Koster established his own firm, Metaplace, a software platform developer for social worlds and the company behind popular Facebook games Island Life and My Vineyard. In 2010, Metaplace was acquired by Disney Interactive Media Group’s online social development arm, Playdom, where Koster currently serves as vice president of creative design.

This year’s Choice Online Awards Hall of Fame inductee, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft, was released in November 2004, 10 years after the launch of the company’s venerable Warcraftfranchise (1994’s Warcraft®: Orcs & Humans). Now regarded as a legacy in its own right, the game has dominated the MMORPG landscape, setting the standard for countless other games in the genre.

With its focus on delivering a polished player experience, World of Warcraft propelled MMORPGs into the mainstream. The game offered the community a reprieve from long load times and steep learning curves, which only made the colorful graphics, engaging gameplay, exciting quests and raids and immersive world more impressive.

As the title nears its eighth anniversary, World of Warcraft remains one of the top-rated PC games of all time and continues to thrive globally with a massive and passionate subscriber base.  With three released expansion packs since launch and a fourth, Mists of Pandaria, around the corner, World of Warcraft is one of the most profitable and popular entertainment franchises in history, a pop culture fixture that is sure to transcend generations. Members of the Blizzard Entertainment World of Warcraft team will be on stage to accept the Hall of Fame award.

More information about the 2012 Game Developers Choice Online Awards is available at the official website for the GDC Online awards, www.GDCOnlineAwards.com. GDC Online takes place at the Austin Convention Center, October 9-11, 2012. More information about sessions and registration is available at www.GDCOnline.com.

  MrNo

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/18/12
Posts: 81

The Shadow has nothing on me. This I know.

8/31/12 3:33:07 PM#2
Raph Koster is a prim example of what people can acomplish from dreams of a child hood to making a living at having fun. He inspired WoW in a way that allowed many people to enjoy counless hours of game play.

  kishe

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/28/04
Posts: 1942

firefighter lvl90

8/31/12 3:58:46 PM#3
Raph took Richard Garriots world and made a great MMO out of it, he also developed SWG to a good MMO which must of been awesome feat considering how SOE is led by hyper capitalistic investors who only care for short term profit.
  Ozmodan

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 6456

8/31/12 4:21:59 PM#4
Ralph knew, better than many, how to make games that kept you interested in playing for a long time.  I guess his biggest problem was making them too complex.  At least his games were challenging, not like what we have today.
  shava

Novice Member

Joined: 3/09/05
Posts: 278

8/31/12 8:30:15 PM#5
Ave, Raph!  Couldn't happen to a better man.  Anyone interested in game design should read his _A Theory of Fun_ just for the sake of the basic philosophy involved.  He's a sage of the field.  And interestingly @Ozmodan, it's a book about simplicity, not compexity.  Often the smartest people have problems taking their own advice, I guess. ;)
  wormywyrm

Novice Member

Joined: 11/01/04
Posts: 1719

8/31/12 11:58:39 PM#6
I am a huge fan of Raphs!  His concentration on social game and player content without losing a games theme is really brilliant and I know that we will see a game that better utilize his ideas soon. Themepark AAA games will come and go but until they learn to utilize strong social play and player content the way that pre-CU SWG did and UO of course they won't get the sort of longevity that they need to be a strong long term asset for a company.

Play as your fav retro characters: cnd-online.net. My site: www.lysle.net. Blog: creatingaworld.blogspot.com.

  rdrakken

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/15/12
Posts: 435

9/01/12 10:12:26 AM#7

Raph Koster is a fine example of why the MMO genre is stagnant.

Game leaders asking a man that no company wants to hire because he ruins games yet still listen to his ideas about making them. Thats right, I said it...7 years, no company wants him. Why? BECAUSE HE RUINS GAMES.

Oh he was part of UO, yeah he was wasnt he...he was part of a TEAM with THE man, Garrot. And when control was handed over to Koster the game went to crap and what did he do? Left the company and blammed others for it. The expac that killed UO was KOSTERS, he left the company a few months before release which means the entire setup was HIS because it takes 6+ months to design an expac.

SWG? sure it was a good game, not a GREAT one. Worlds made with a random generator, can shoot through the ground and walls, no 3d x/y axis allowing for no jumping and mounts that somehow hover 3ft above the ground yet will stop if you hit a pebble...databases that were so piss poorly designed the game required a reboot EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Oh and how about EQ2...the ball dropped so hard he was EXILED by Sony to make single player console games and it took TWO expansion packs to fix his mess.

So how great is Raph Koster, 7 years...7...no company wants him, he cant even get financing for his own company. The genre needs to move forward and stop listening to this man, a man they wont even hire...seriously, how STUPID are developers. Oh, we dont want you working for us, but please...do talk and we will listen to your advice!

  Ramonski7

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 5/21/03
Posts: 2595

"A wise man has something to say, but a fool just has to say something."

9/01/12 12:21:33 PM#8
Congratulations to Blizzard and World of Warcraft for an award well earned! And to Ralph, thanks for your contributions to the genre and congratulations for being inducted into the COA hall of fame.


"Small minds talk about people, average minds talk about events, great minds talk about ideas."

  Xstatic912

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/20/11
Posts: 367

9/01/12 3:37:45 PM#9
@ rdrakken

Wow bro, you pretty much hit the nail on the head!!
  Kraylor

Novice Member

Joined: 2/05/12
Posts: 95

9/01/12 3:47:26 PM#10
Originally posted by rdrakken

Raph Koster is a fine example of why the MMO genre is stagnant.

Game leaders asking a man that no company wants to hire because he ruins games yet still listen to his ideas about making them. Thats right, I said it...7 years, no company wants him. Why? BECAUSE HE RUINS GAMES.

Oh he was part of UO, yeah he was wasnt he...he was part of a TEAM with THE man, Garrot. And when control was handed over to Koster the game went to crap and what did he do? Left the company and blammed others for it. The expac that killed UO was KOSTERS, he left the company a few months before release which means the entire setup was HIS because it takes 6+ months to design an expac.

SWG? sure it was a good game, not a GREAT one. Worlds made with a random generator, can shoot through the ground and walls, no 3d x/y axis allowing for no jumping and mounts that somehow hover 3ft above the ground yet will stop if you hit a pebble...databases that were so piss poorly designed the game required a reboot EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Oh and how about EQ2...the ball dropped so hard he was EXILED by Sony to make single player console games and it took TWO expansion packs to fix his mess.

So how great is Raph Koster, 7 years...7...no company wants him, he cant even get financing for his own company. The genre needs to move forward and stop listening to this man, a man they wont even hire...seriously, how STUPID are developers. Oh, we dont want you working for us, but please...do talk and we will listen to your advice!

 

You seem to make a lot of assumptions based on timing of games going downhill and him leaving companies.  7 years, keep that number fresh in your mind.  7 years of absolute shitty themepark MMOs.  7 years of MMOs going away from the roots of the MMO genre, sandbox games that were bold and complex.  It is no coincidence that he is not being hired to be a designer for a MMO when all the MMO companies just want to create story based casual themeparks to try and capture WoWs player base.

Waiting on: The Repopulation

  Ozmodan

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 6456

9/01/12 4:03:55 PM#11
Originally posted by rdrakken

Raph Koster is a fine example of why the MMO genre is stagnant.

Game leaders asking a man that no company wants to hire because he ruins games yet still listen to his ideas about making them. Thats right, I said it...7 years, no company wants him. Why? BECAUSE HE RUINS GAMES.

Oh he was part of UO, yeah he was wasnt he...he was part of a TEAM with THE man, Garrot. And when control was handed over to Koster the game went to crap and what did he do? Left the company and blammed others for it. The expac that killed UO was KOSTERS, he left the company a few months before release which means the entire setup was HIS because it takes 6+ months to design an expac.

SWG? sure it was a good game, not a GREAT one. Worlds made with a random generator, can shoot through the ground and walls, no 3d x/y axis allowing for no jumping and mounts that somehow hover 3ft above the ground yet will stop if you hit a pebble...databases that were so piss poorly designed the game required a reboot EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Oh and how about EQ2...the ball dropped so hard he was EXILED by Sony to make single player console games and it took TWO expansion packs to fix his mess.

So how great is Raph Koster, 7 years...7...no company wants him, he cant even get financing for his own company. The genre needs to move forward and stop listening to this man, a man they wont even hire...seriously, how STUPID are developers. Oh, we dont want you working for us, but please...do talk and we will listen to your advice!

You do not have any idea what you are talking about.  Way to post a lot of nonsense.  Ralph was long gone when "Age of Shadows" was released and that was the first bad expansion UO had.  Ralph had nothing to do with EQ2 either, he left SOE when they supersceded his design with NGE.  While SWG had a few bugs, they did not hurt game play.

As to no company wanting him, he formed his own company, he does not want to work for clueless companies.  Besides most of these companies are designing themepark games, definitely not something he would associate with.

  Raph

MMO Designer

Joined: 9/11/06
Posts: 116

9/01/12 4:07:47 PM#12
Originally posted by rdrakken

Game leaders asking a man that no company wants to hire

Oh he was part of UO, yeah he was wasnt he...he was part of a TEAM with THE man, Garrot.

And when control was handed over to Koster the game went to crap and what did he do? Left the company and blammed others for it.

The expac that killed UO was KOSTERS, he left the company a few months before release which means the entire setup was HIS because it takes 6+ months to design an expac.

SWG? sure it was a good game, not a GREAT one.

Oh and how about EQ2...

the ball dropped so hard he was EXILED by Sony to make single player console games

So how great is Raph Koster, 7 years

he cant even get financing for his own company.

To tackle these inaccuracies one at a time... :)

- Yes, companies want to hire me. Currently at Playdom as a VP. And yes, I got other job offers too!

- I love Richard. Richard was not very involved with UO's design. He spent most of his time on U9. Ask him. Or, better yet, go check the video of when UO was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

- My tenure on UO ended a while after Second Age shipped, but before work began on Trammel/Felucca. Sunsword (Anthony Castoro) did that change.

- I didn't leave the company then. I worked on Privateer Online, which never shipped (it was cancelled in favor of Earth & Beyond). THEN I left for SWG.

- I have plenty of regrets about SWG, but everything you mentioned is a tech issue except for the procedural code that generated planets. I was heavily involveed with that. There was a handcrafting tool that the artists used, and it won a graphics award. *shrug*

- EQ2? Most of my involvement was critiquing the newbie session and the crafting system. I was not on the team, and certainly nothing I wasinvolved in had anything to do with the expansion packs...?

- 7 years during which I was CCO for SOE, founded a company, created some pretty cool web-based MMO technology, was awarded a patent, and sold the company to Playdom/Disney.

- The company I founded was funded for millions of dollars.

Dude, hate me but don't contradict reality. :)

 
  tawess

Elite Member

Joined: 3/24/05
Posts: 1708

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9/01/12 4:57:24 PM#13
Originally posted by Ozmodan  While SWG had a few bugs, they did not hurt game play.

 

Black rot, macro grinding, house exploits (all of them) broken player cities, broken flourish system, broken class quests, severly broken AI pathing in several instaces.

 

Add to that the complete and total ignoring of several of the launch proffesions (pretty much anything not combat) the complete and utter shafting of the performer proffesion from a PvE standpoint in spite of what was promised... Did i mention macro grinding... I never did pvp but iirc it was not in tip top shape either.

 

Pretty much the only thing the game had going for it was a rock solid crafting system and a "class" system that you could abuse seven ways to sunday.

 

Perfectly OK indeed...

This have been a good conversation

  Ozmodan

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 6456

9/01/12 7:28:46 PM#14
Originally posted by tawess
Originally posted by Ozmodan  While SWG had a few bugs, they did not hurt game play.

 

Black rot, macro grinding, house exploits (all of them) broken player cities, broken flourish system, broken class quests, severly broken AI pathing in several instaces.

 

Add to that the complete and total ignoring of several of the launch proffesions (pretty much anything not combat) the complete and utter shafting of the performer proffesion from a PvE standpoint in spite of what was promised... Did i mention macro grinding... I never did pvp but iirc it was not in tip top shape either.

 

Pretty much the only thing the game had going for it was a rock solid crafting system and a "class" system that you could abuse seven ways to sunday.

 

Perfectly OK indeed...

Gee, I never played a combat profession yet had a great time in the game.  What was there to macro, nothing I could see.  It  was not a perfect game, but it certainly had a ton of things to do in it and the space addition was excellent.

There were no 1-10 ,11-20, areas, you could do whatever you wanted to anywhere.  As to housing bugs, probably were some, nothing I noticed.  It was a far better game than anything out there right now.  Player cities were fine, they were not broken.  So what you posted was basically more nonsense. 

  tawess

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Joined: 3/24/05
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9/02/12 1:24:46 AM#15

If you say so Shirley... Who am i to intrude in to your cottoncandy land of nostalgia.

 

 

This have been a good conversation

  Kraylor

Novice Member

Joined: 2/05/12
Posts: 95

9/02/12 1:31:16 AM#16
Originally posted by Raph
Originally posted by rdrakken

Game leaders asking a man that no company wants to hire

Oh he was part of UO, yeah he was wasnt he...he was part of a TEAM with THE man, Garrot.

And when control was handed over to Koster the game went to crap and what did he do? Left the company and blammed others for it.

The expac that killed UO was KOSTERS, he left the company a few months before release which means the entire setup was HIS because it takes 6+ months to design an expac.

SWG? sure it was a good game, not a GREAT one.

Oh and how about EQ2...

the ball dropped so hard he was EXILED by Sony to make single player console games

So how great is Raph Koster, 7 years

he cant even get financing for his own company.

To tackle these inaccuracies one at a time... :)

- Yes, companies want to hire me. Currently at Playdom as a VP. And yes, I got other job offers too!

- I love Richard. Richard was not very involved with UO's design. He spent most of his time on U9. Ask him. Or, better yet, go check the video of when UO was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

- My tenure on UO ended a while after Second Age shipped, but before work began on Trammel/Felucca. Sunsword (Anthony Castoro) did that change.

- I didn't leave the company then. I worked on Privateer Online, which never shipped (it was cancelled in favor of Earth & Beyond). THEN I left for SWG.

- I have plenty of regrets about SWG, but everything you mentioned is a tech issue except for the procedural code that generated planets. I was heavily involveed with that. There was a handcrafting tool that the artists used, and it won a graphics award. *shrug*

- EQ2? Most of my involvement was critiquing the newbie session and the crafting system. I was not on the team, and certainly nothing I wasinvolved in had anything to do with the expansion packs...?

- 7 years during which I was CCO for SOE, founded a company, created some pretty cool web-based MMO technology, was awarded a patent, and sold the company to Playdom/Disney.

- The company I founded was funded for millions of dollars.

Dude, hate me but don't contradict reality. :)

 

 

In the flesh!  Congrats on your award Raph.  You are greatly missed in the MMO space.  Save us from this themepark bullshit!

 

Thanks in advance.

Waiting on: The Repopulation

  TomBaker_fan

Novice Member

Joined: 2/12/12
Posts: 136

9/02/12 2:08:45 AM#17
Originally posted by rdrakken

Raph Koster is a fine example of why the MMO genre is stagnant.

Game leaders asking a man that no company wants to hire because he ruins games yet still listen to his ideas about making them. Thats right, I said it...7 years, no company wants him. Why? BECAUSE HE RUINS GAMES.

Oh he was part of UO, yeah he was wasnt he...he was part of a TEAM with THE man, Garrot. And when control was handed over to Koster the game went to crap and what did he do? Left the company and blammed others for it. The expac that killed UO was KOSTERS, he left the company a few months before release which means the entire setup was HIS because it takes 6+ months to design an expac.

SWG? sure it was a good game, not a GREAT one. Worlds made with a random generator, can shoot through the ground and walls, no 3d x/y axis allowing for no jumping and mounts that somehow hover 3ft above the ground yet will stop if you hit a pebble...databases that were so piss poorly designed the game required a reboot EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Oh and how about EQ2...the ball dropped so hard he was EXILED by Sony to make single player console games and it took TWO expansion packs to fix his mess.

So how great is Raph Koster, 7 years...7...no company wants him, he cant even get financing for his own company. The genre needs to move forward and stop listening to this man, a man they wont even hire...seriously, how STUPID are developers. Oh, we dont want you working for us, but please...do talk and we will listen to your advice!

Why is it whenever this site tries to say something nice about someone, people like you come in with BS and half truths to make him look bad. You speak personal opinion not fact.

Ever wonder why Raph has nnot been hired in 7 years? Because he wants it that way. He does his own thing.

The guy is the brains behind UO, and SWG was a great game, that was ruined by the stupid NGE,

Can't you for once just tip your hat to someone that did a lot for the genre, instead of shitting on him?

Like him or not, you cannot deny his accomplishments.

  TomBaker_fan

Novice Member

Joined: 2/12/12
Posts: 136

9/02/12 9:33:10 AM#18

Raph,

Do you remember doing a "podcast", even though they weren't called podcasts back then back in 1998 wth some guy in Hawaii. 

I remember you talking about the future and how you wanted to make Orcs, Trolls, and other monsters playable characteres. This was long before WOW, and I was so  mesmerized by that interview. I listened to it the night I had the most fun in the history of my MMO experiences, the Halloween shard where we could play monsters. Soooo much fun.

  Amaranthar

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 2146

9/02/12 11:01:02 AM#19
Originally posted by Kraylor
Originally posted by Raph
Originally posted by rdrakken

Game leaders asking a man that no company wants to hire

Oh he was part of UO, yeah he was wasnt he...he was part of a TEAM with THE man, Garrot.

And when control was handed over to Koster the game went to crap and what did he do? Left the company and blammed others for it.

The expac that killed UO was KOSTERS, he left the company a few months before release which means the entire setup was HIS because it takes 6+ months to design an expac.

SWG? sure it was a good game, not a GREAT one.

Oh and how about EQ2...

the ball dropped so hard he was EXILED by Sony to make single player console games

So how great is Raph Koster, 7 years

he cant even get financing for his own company.

To tackle these inaccuracies one at a time... :)

- Yes, companies want to hire me. Currently at Playdom as a VP. And yes, I got other job offers too!

- I love Richard. Richard was not very involved with UO's design. He spent most of his time on U9. Ask him. Or, better yet, go check the video of when UO was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

- My tenure on UO ended a while after Second Age shipped, but before work began on Trammel/Felucca. Sunsword (Anthony Castoro) did that change.

- I didn't leave the company then. I worked on Privateer Online, which never shipped (it was cancelled in favor of Earth & Beyond). THEN I left for SWG.

- I have plenty of regrets about SWG, but everything you mentioned is a tech issue except for the procedural code that generated planets. I was heavily involveed with that. There was a handcrafting tool that the artists used, and it won a graphics award. *shrug*

- EQ2? Most of my involvement was critiquing the newbie session and the crafting system. I was not on the team, and certainly nothing I wasinvolved in had anything to do with the expansion packs...?

- 7 years during which I was CCO for SOE, founded a company, created some pretty cool web-based MMO technology, was awarded a patent, and sold the company to Playdom/Disney.

- The company I founded was funded for millions of dollars.

Dude, hate me but don't contradict reality. :)

 

 

In the flesh!  Congrats on your award Raph.  You are greatly missed in the MMO space.  Save us from this themepark bullshit!

 

Thanks in advance.

Hell Yeh !

Don't bunt !

Once upon a time....

  Amaranthar

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 2146

9/02/12 11:09:52 AM#20
Originally posted by TomBaker_fan

Raph,

Do you remember doing a "podcast", even though they weren't called podcasts back then back in 1998 wth some guy in Hawaii. 

I remember you talking about the future and how you wanted to make Orcs, Trolls, and other monsters playable characteres. This was long before WOW, and I was so  mesmerized by that interview. I listened to it the night I had the most fun in the history of my MMO experiences, the Halloween shard where we could play monsters. Soooo much fun.

I wish that players playing monsters, social types like Orcs and Undead covens as well as lone critters like Sphinxes and Dragons, could be part of an open world PvP system separated by loose/floating territorial controls. The original idea for Horizons was doing that, and it seems like a fascinating idea to me for a much more meaningful world to run around in and make things happen that "leave a mark" on the very game itself. But that's probably too much to ask for.

Once upon a time....

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