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News & Features Discussion  » [Interview] General: The Veteran MMO Devs Speak

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22 posts found

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 16272

OP  9/27/12 6:38:22 PM#1

GDC Online seems to be right around the corner. We managed to corral the Advisory Board consisting of Eugene Evans, Gordon Walton, and Valerie Massey, hardcore MMO veterans all, to talk about the convention and about general online gaming trends. See what they had to say in this exclusive interview.

Gordon Walton has been around MMORPGs from the beginning and explains that he always comes away from the convention with new ideas and energy. One of the biggest values is networking for new developers or veterans. Gordon feels like this truly is the place to meet people who have been through the wars with games and exchange knowledge to help anyone on the design path. The convention is definitely small enough where you can walk up to people and say hello. The board and the speakers try very hard to keep the format open with questions and networking. 

Read more of Garrett Fuller's Hardcore MMO & GDC Online Vets Speak .

Associate Editor:
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom


Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/24/05
Posts: 881

9/28/12 9:29:35 AM#2
That whole article really didnt have any 'interview' content, it sounded like a resume.

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/17/10
Posts: 1068

9/28/12 10:04:13 AM#3

And here I was to expect some interviews with these veterans and what they think about the current state of MMORPGs in general.


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/10/12
Posts: 1403

9/28/12 10:35:45 AM#4

I was expecting to read something like this:


"MMOs started to suck when Battlegrounds took over PvP".

"MMOs started to suck when questing became nothing more than "push 'M' and follow the 'X'".

"MMOs started to suck when the adventuring areas, zones or worlds became nothing more than small funnel-zones."

"MMOs started to suck when paying $50 for the game + $15 per month wasn't enough."

"MMOs started to suck when the terms such as "depth" and "complexity" are considered bad words during development."

"MMOs started to suck when most of their budget goes towards marketing."

"MMOs started to suck when "exploration" started to refer to the small areas of land between the main path and the invisible walls or mountain ridge."

"MMOs started to suck when "innovation" became nothing more than "copy game and add a small twist of flavor".

"MMOs started to suck when the developers decided that it was a good idea to completely remove the social realm of the MMORPG.

"MMOs started to suck when developers refused to understand the importants of player-generated content."



MMOs suck now because we've all done it... many times. Battlegrounds? Arenas? Warzones? All the same... Rangers? Archers? Scouts? Snipers? All the same...


Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 7205

9/28/12 11:21:39 AM#5

Gorden Walton is one smart guy, getting out of Bioware when he did.  Obviously he saw where SWTOR was going and did not like it.  Would have been nice to hear his thoughts on the state of gaming.

Valerie Massey is known to most of us as the CCP connection.  I am sure she can tell some stories about customer discontent.

Eugene Evans kind of joined Mythic at the wrong time on their down hill slide.  His gaming career speaks for itself.

Don't understand the point of the article, you did not discuss one thing these people might have said about gaming?  It would have been interesting if you had.


Novice Member

Joined: 2/14/04
Posts: 992

9/28/12 11:35:29 AM#6

Originally posted by Garret Fuller

... the move to social games ... more and more games online ... multiple platforms ... changes to market ... downloadable content ... more browser and mobile games ... social media ... social games ... marketing and business side ... Free to Play, Mobile, and Social games ... new platforms ... talks to three veteran MMO developers. The only thing they don't talk about are MMORPGs.

Looks like the whole industry is following Zynga and Facebook. Not that those make any money, but hey, EA's stock went down, Zynga's stock went down, Facebook's stock went down - let's follow them anyway.

I maintain this List of Sandbox MMORPGs. Please post or send PM for corrections and suggestions.


Novice Member

Joined: 11/14/11
Posts: 5

9/28/12 2:27:35 PM#7
I agree

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/18/10
Posts: 3224

Veni, Vidi, Converti

9/28/12 2:55:27 PM#8
I wish there was explanation and references given when people say "Social gaming" really IS/NOW/PRESENT the "new thing". I just want to see the evidence and the context for these commments. Otherwise I keep hearing the same thing.

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/18/04
Posts: 392

9/28/12 7:14:30 PM#9

What these veteran MMO devs fail to understand is that THEY are the problems in the genre.  It takes about 5 minutes of reading and it's a pretty well known event.


The bubble burst of early cartridge video games in the 80s.  How and why it happend.  Basically the games all became bad clones of themselves as developers tried anything to make a buck.  The supply became so great and there just were not that many players, so they dumped them all in Mexico.


Same thing is happening again.  Developers crap-clone WOW, try anything to make a buck.  The number of games released/in development has become totally inflated and there just are not that many players for the number of games.  Even the good games have started to tank.


It's not about social gaming, it's not about multi platform, it's not about a tried and true business model.  It's about creativity.  That is what drives the genre and that is what drives video games.  Creative products that are engaging to play.


It took a Japanese developer to resurrect console gaming after the 80s fiasco.  It's is going to take another outside developer to resurrect the MMORPG genre, but it will be a lot harder to do because the money needed to make that game is much, much more than what Mr Nintendo had to play with (or whatever his name was).




Spotlight Poster

Joined: 7/09/11
Posts: 2233

May the game be ever in your favor.

9/29/12 12:17:23 AM#10
What the fuck... I just read peoples resumes... Where are the interviews?



Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/02/07
Posts: 1915

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.

9/29/12 12:36:38 AM#11

what i learned from this is. 

Never go to GDC and talk to any veteran MMO developers.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/27/04
Posts: 1848

"Pablo Picasso said art is a lie that tells the truth."

9/29/12 1:59:44 AM#12
Yeah, this was misleading and uninteresting.

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5731

9/29/12 4:47:32 AM#13

Harsh crowd even for us here on How much do you expect them to say before the event? Unless you want them to read from prepared scripts? But yes the views expressed were mostly generalizations.

“Another area we talked about was the move to social games and bringing more and more games online.”

This has been the curse of MMO’s have suffered under for years and I have been talking about it for years. One size does not fit all but to maximise the player base that is what we are getting. This idea that MMO’s

“With downloadable content ever day and more browser and mobile games of high quality coming to market,”

This is the new curse for MMO’s, browser and mobile games are going to lead MMO’s by the nose to even more easymode play and community only through a social network, not through the game itself.

In the past what was important to console solo players replaced what was important to MMO PC grouping players. What is important now to browser/mobile players and social network users is replacing the design priorities of current ezMMO’s.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/25/08
Posts: 1042

"If you can''t laugh at yourself there''s always someone around to show you how it''s done!"

9/29/12 5:21:37 AM#14

Sorry Garrett Fuller but the writing of this piece was lacking in any sort of substance, you glossed-over evrything that was discussed and gave zero depth - am I to assume that you will elaborate upon the discussions in a series of follow-up pieces or what? because I want the 5 minutes I spent reading this given back if not.

I've read "fluff" articles with more depth.


Novice Member

Joined: 2/10/12
Posts: 193

9/29/12 10:46:49 AM#15

I can't believe the people commenting with complaints. This is just a warm-up piece for the GDC.


I guess the title is a little misleading but the GDC hasn't happened yet so I don't know what people expected in terms of actual dialogue.


At any rate, I found the bit about old school games being more in line with the modern social game than many of the newer ones pretty intriguing.


Novice Member

Joined: 3/22/04
Posts: 57

9/29/12 6:50:41 PM#16
This article lacked any real substence just like the MMO's that are released today. It is fine and dandy to hear about someone's personal background, but I want the OP to get to the nut's and bolt's of the MMO industry and how these people expect to make a change to the ever so sad industry.

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/11/06
Posts: 482

9/29/12 11:29:53 PM#17
Speaking without saying anything is a waste of time no?

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/25/07
Posts: 3590

9/30/12 3:04:28 AM#18

3 MMO Veterans that succesfully completed their media training and are able to say a lot about not much in particular.

I'm also not sure how much being a 'veteran' in the MMO industry actually means anything besides being expert about what used to work in the past.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5731

9/30/12 4:27:35 AM#19

"I'm also not sure how much being a 'veteran' in the MMO industry actually means anything besides being expert about what used to work in the past."

Tell that to the armed forces, private sector or for that matter any other area of society. Let me put this in simple terms, they know more than a guy who started the job last year.

Besides these guys are still working in the sector, its not like they got moth balled and are only taken out for conventions. :)


Advanced Member

Joined: 1/25/07
Posts: 3590

9/30/12 4:41:53 PM#20
Originally posted by Scot

"I'm also not sure how much being a 'veteran' in the MMO industry actually means anything besides being expert about what used to work in the past."

Tell that to the armed forces, private sector or for that matter any other area of society. Let me put this in simple terms, they know more than a guy who started the job last year.

Besides these guys are still working in the sector, its not like they got moth balled and are only taken out for conventions. :)

No I would not tell that to the armed forces or any other random sector in society you could come up with that is not comparable.

The reason why I said it in this particular case, is that other 'veterans' from the MMO industry at the same time like to say that whatever worked in the past is no guarantee for success in upcoming MMO's. And you don't even have to look that far to notice that. Look how many of the late MMO's made by veterans from the MMO industry became a success. SWTOR/TSW anyone?

The whole article just made me cringe.

"You should never write off previous models because you don’t know when that trend will come back into vogue." Basically means : Well, you never know what will happen.

"Eugene’s focus when we talked was all about helping the start ups. He wanted to let attendees know that they should come away from GDC with the tools to focus on what makes a successful game. GDC brings that culture to life." Yeah, that sure worked in the past. Most of it is just silly empty marketing blabla.

This was just a sales pitch for this conference. Because if you want to have the best chance on success in the future as MMO developer, you really don't want to miss this chance to meet your competi...ehrr your friendly collegues who will do their best to make your success become reality!

This sounds more like a conference for the sales and marketing from the MMO industry. Or where you can network to safeguard your future in the MMO industry.

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