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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » SWTOR: How to makee a successful MMORPG by Gordon Walton ( Zenimax Matt Firor beware)

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64 posts found
  ste2000

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/28/04
Posts: 4742

 
OP  7/17/12 5:43:36 PM#1

I just remembered few years ago an interesting lesson by the ex General Manager of Bioware Austin and daddy of SWTOR, Gordon Walton.

He was giving a lesson on how to build the post WOW MMOs and indirectly describing how Bioware future MMO (SWTOR) should look like in order to be a successful game.

Incidentally, by reading it, I was thinking to myself, "This guy hasn't got a clue", but he was the professional, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Looking at how SWTOR turned out, I must say my first gut instinct was right after all.

I am mentioning this guy because, recently I came across another person that sounds a lot like Gordon Walton and gave me the same unconfortable feelings.

This guy is non other than Zenimax Online studio director Matt Firor.

The way he talks and what he says reminded me a lot about Gordon Walton and his pompous lessons on how to make a successful MMO.

Reading and watching Matt interviews describing what TESO is going to look like, I often went "WTF" or "What is he talking about", and came to the conclusion tha Mr. Firor lost touch with the MMO community and doesn't know how to make a MMO anymore (He was one of DAOC creator together with Mark Jacobs who then developed Warhammer Online)

I am really worried that Matt Firor could follow Gordon Walton and his theory,  and screws the TES IP, like Walton screwed KOTOR Online.

 

Anyway if you want to learn how to make a succcessfull MMORPG like SWTOR here is a link with the useful lesson (/sarcasm):

>>> Gordon Walton MMO lesson - Sept 2007

Enjoy yourselves............and please take notes

  Karteli

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/09/12
Posts: 2704

7/17/12 5:53:03 PM#2
Originally posted by ste2000

I just remembered few years ago an interesting lesson by the ex General Manager of Bioware Austin and daddy of SWTOR, Gordon Walton.

He was giving a lesson on how to build the post WOW MMOs and indirectly describing how Bioware future MMO (SWTOR) should look like in order to be a successful game.

Incidentally, by reading it, I was thinking to myself, "This guy hasn't got a clue", but he was the professional, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Looking at how SWTOR turned out, I must say my first gut instinct was right after all.

I am mentioning this guy because, recently I came across another person that sounds a lot like Gordon Walton and gave me the same unconfortable feelings.

This guy is non other than Zenimax Online studio director Matt Firor.

The way he talks and what he says reminded me a lot about Gordon Walton and his pompous lessons on how to make a successful MMO.

Reading and watching Matt interviews describing what TESO is going to look like, I often went "WTF" or "What is he talking about", and came to the conclusion tha Mr. Firor lost touch with the MMO community and doesn't know how to make a MMO anymore (He was one of DAOC creator together with Mark Jacobs who then developed Warhammer Online)

I am really worried that Matt Firor could follow Gordon Walton and his theory,  and screws the TES IP, like Walton screwed KOTOR Online.

 

Anyway if you want to learn how to make a succcessfull MMORPG like SWTOR here is a link with the useful lesson (/sarcasm):

>>> Gordon Walton MMO lesson - Sept 2007

Enjoy yourselves............and please take notes

Your experiences are your own, can you give citation examples here?  Saying in 20/20 hindsight that someone wasn't any good is about as good as guessing the lottery numbers.  You see where this is, elaborate pls?

Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8NNHmV3QPw&feature=plcp
Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.

  MMOarQQ

Novice Member

Joined: 2/20/12
Posts: 659

"Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain."

7/17/12 5:56:15 PM#3

Ahh yes, "embrace solo play".

Now I see what happened.

  SpottyGekko

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/26/04
Posts: 3591

7/17/12 6:20:49 PM#4

Interesting view back in time, lol

 

But according to Walton "a common developer mistake is to give people good choice, bad choice, medium choice. They need to all be good choices. People want to feel like things are complex, but they don't really want them complex. You have to give them the illusion of complexity but keep it super-simple."

 

Yup, everybody wins, all the time. There should only be good consequences, regardless of what the player does, etc.

 

The most depressing part of it all is that he was mostly correct on all points. It was a fine analysis of what made WoW appeal to the masses.

  Korusus

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/19/04
Posts: 832

7/17/12 6:32:35 PM#5

Without a doubt.  I agree wholeheartedly.  TES:O will fail sure enough.  It's not even worth debating.  I've had enough of these insulated, bunker-mentality devs that waste hundreds of millions of dollars developing games to compete with decade old design mechanics.  It's ironic that these AAA studios that have no experience with MMOs try to steal all of the talent in the industry with familiarity with developing MMOs...only problem is that these people are competing in an industry that no longer exists, this isn't 2004 or 2006, it's 2012.  A successful game a decade ago is not going to compete in the modern industry. 

And considering the first thing TES:O did was alienate the core Elder Scrolls fans...that's not off to a good start.  At least SW:TOR has the hardcore Star Wars fans to keep it afloat.

Totally agree, Matt Firor belongs in the same category as a Brad McQuaid or <insert any BioWare Austin dev here>

----------
Life sucks, buy a helmet.

  3-4thElf

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/03/12
Posts: 497

7/17/12 6:39:04 PM#6
Originally posted by ste2000

I just remembered few years ago an interesting lesson by the ex General Manager of Bioware Austin and daddy of SWTOR, Gordon Walton.

....

I am really worried that Matt Firor could follow Gordon Walton and his theory,  and screws the TES IP, like Walton screwed KOTOR Online.

 

Anyway if you want to learn how to make a succcessfull MMORPG like SWTOR here is a link with the useful lesson (/sarcasm):

>>> Gordon Walton MMO lesson - Sept 2007

Enjoy yourselves............and please take notes

If you say it loud enough and repeat it often enough it'll eventually be true.

Or so these professionals seemt to think.

I have to say I don't really care for any of the dev talk coming from TESO and it's like they're already making excuses for 90% of the game being like other MMORPGs. Plus what they're selling as it's unique points just don't ring of "oh wow can't wait to try this Elder Scrolls game".

Professional now a days the globe over just means.. "The smoke coming out of my ass is covered in the EULA."

a yo ho ho

  ZombieKen

Elite Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4575

I don't Forum PVP. If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.

7/17/12 6:39:13 PM#7

SSDD - Same stuff different developer.

 

Okay, that's not quite what the acronym stands for, but in a quirky way it fits.

Realm Lords 2 Graphical MUD - Opens October 1st, 2015 - Very, very, very, very low budget Indie. For real, we don't even feed the employees.

  kanezfan

Novice Member

Joined: 4/03/05
Posts: 496

7/17/12 6:39:16 PM#8

TESO is already dead and we all know it.

  Korusus

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/19/04
Posts: 832

7/17/12 6:45:30 PM#9
Originally posted by 3-4thElf

I have to say I don't really care for any of the dev talk coming from TESO and it's like they're already making excuses for 90% of the game being like other MMORPGs.

When the very first article about the game quotes the devs as saying they aren't implementing a feature (in this case, player housing) because it would be "too hard" you know the game is dead in the water.  Not because of no player housing...but the part where they can't even come up with a decent excuse or even justify it as "not in the vision".

  Just...nope, too hard so we're not gonna.

Try something new and implement an MMO in keeping with the Elder Scrolls tradition?  Nope...easier to just make it like every other fantasy MMO ever made, maybe throw in some story which is the new in thing to do.

----------
Life sucks, buy a helmet.

  ste2000

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/28/04
Posts: 4742

 
OP  7/17/12 6:50:41 PM#10
Originally posted by Karteli
Originally posted by ste2000
 

Your experiences are your own, can you give citation examples here?  Saying in 20/20 hindsight that someone wasn't any good is about as good as guessing the lottery numbers.  You see where this is, elaborate pls?

I don't need to elaborate every single point, since it is quite long,

The general feeling I had is that he had the MMO players and the WoW players in particular, completely wrong.

His view was that WoW players are casual players (many developers think so), my view is that WoW players are quite hardcore, that's why every developer is getting it so wrong and could no replicate WOW success.

They are designing MMOs for the wrong crowd IMO.

I played WoW for 4 years after playing EQ and EQ2 for 6 years, and players didn't looked any less hardcore than EQ players.

Since Walton bases all his theory on WoW players as being casuals, he gets everything wrong from there, and goes on describing a MMO with zero challenges, and so watered down so to make everyone an instant winner.

Matt Firor is making the same mistakes as Gordon Walton, by thinking MMO players want the "I WIN" button, therefore designing the game to achieve the kind of result.

But this is not the case.

In fact players do want to win (who doesn't), but they don't like to be spoon feeded all the way, they like the challenge of achieving a determinate goal, they don't want to beat the game in 2 weeks, and certainly they won't like a game where everyone and their dog achieve the same exact results as them.

While the leveling can be fairly casual (particularly with the latests expansions), WoW end game is as hardcore as you can get.

"If everyone wins, everyone lose" (That's a motto I just created but I believe for MMOs is quite appropriate), and that's the opposite view of Walton, Mark Jacobs (Warhammer) and Matt Firor who all thinks that by giving everyone the same price everyone will be happy and will keep playing their lovely MMOs

 

This is actually basic psychology.

Would you take part in a race where everyone gets the first prize?

Of course not, you compete to beat others, to achieve more than others........... if everyone come first where is the fun?

Would you bother to take part in the next race if you knew that no matter how much effort you put in it, everyone wins (Which basically means there is no real winner)?

The same can be applied to gaming and MMO in particular.........and this is where they are getting it wrong.

 

  3-4thElf

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/03/12
Posts: 497

7/17/12 6:51:10 PM#11
Originally posted by Korusus
Originally posted by 3-4thElf

I have to say I don't really care for any of the dev talk coming from TESO and it's like they're already making excuses for 90% of the game being like other MMORPGs.

When the very first article about the game quotes the devs as saying they aren't implementing a feature (in this case, player housing) because it would be "too hard" you know the game is dead in the water.  Not because of no player housing...but the part where they can't even come up with a decent excuse or even justify it as "not in the vision".

  Just...nope, too hard so we're not gonna.

Try something new and implement an MMO in keeping with the Elder Scrolls tradition?  Nope...easier to just make it like every other fantasy MMO ever made, maybe throw in some story which is the new in thing to do.

Yeah, after the Game Informer article I bought my first fifth of liquor in 7 years. Not saying it drove me to drinking per say, but it seemed like a more worthy investment of time and money than TESO after I read that article.

a yo ho ho

  zevni78

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/02/10
Posts: 1132

7/17/12 6:51:28 PM#12
I think the parallels between the developer culture at Bioware with SWTOR 3 yrs ago and Zenimax now with TESO was incredibly obvious from that first leaked interview. They could not have given a worse first impression, a multi-player mod for Skyrim would make a better mmo that these guys could.
 
I would like to talk about any other future mmo than this now.
  jiveturkey12

Novice Member

Joined: 12/22/04
Posts: 1284

7/17/12 6:53:58 PM#13

"He suggested that too many choices are paralyzing. If a player sees 10, he thinks, "I can make nine bad choices!" According to studies Walton has read about the human mind, "If you want people to do well, give them two, no more than four choices."

 

This part had me in pure amazement, I cant believe this guy was in anyform of power for any company. The guy apparently "Studied the human mind" and all he got was that limiting choice is BETTER?!

 

Let Corporate MMO's Burn and lets bring on the new wave of indie talent. Ill wait patiently rather than playing any of this trash.

 

We need more Young Mcquaids, and less old Waltons.

  Zezda

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/27/09
Posts: 710

7/17/12 7:03:42 PM#14

If you want to hear someone who knows what they are talking about on the subject then look no further than this speech by Jeff Strain

http://www.guildwars.com/events/tradeshows/gc2007/gcspeech.php

He worked on Diablo and Warcraft III as well as created the Starcraft campaign editor and was the Lead Programmer for WoW before he moved to found ArenaNet with Mike O'Brien and Patrick Wyatt. The three of them played a major part of the success Blizzard North had during the early Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo series. For example Mike is responsible for the creation of the MPQ file format that Blizzard has used in all it's titles since Diablo and all three of them worked on creating Battle.net.

  fundayz

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 10/14/10
Posts: 471

7/17/12 7:09:38 PM#15
Originally posted by Zezda

If you want to hear someone who knows what they are talking about on the subject then look no further than this speech by Jeff Strain

http://www.guildwars.com/events/tradeshows/gc2007/gcspeech.php

He worked on Diablo and Warcraft III as well as created the Starcraft campaign editor and was the Lead Programmer for WoW before he moved to found ArenaNet with Mike O'Brien and Patrick Wyatt. The three of them played a major part of the success Blizzard North had during the early Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo series. For example Mike is responsible for the creation of the MPQ file format that Blizzard has used in all it's titles since Diablo and all three of them worked on creating Battle.net.

And thus why I cannot wait for Class3 and Class4, as well as GW2.

Decent developers make a few good games and then rest on their laurels; great developers never stop making great games.

  ste2000

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/28/04
Posts: 4742

 
OP  7/17/12 7:23:52 PM#16
Originally posted by Korusus

When the very first article about the game quotes the devs as saying they aren't implementing a feature (in this case, player housing) because it would be "too hard" you know the game is dead in the water.  Not because of no player housing...but the part where they can't even come up with a decent excuse or even justify it as "not in the vision".

  Just...nope, too hard so we're not gonna.

Try something new and implement an MMO in keeping with the Elder Scrolls tradition?  Nope...easier to just make it like every other fantasy MMO ever made, maybe throw in some story which is the new in thing to do.

Exactly that's why I wrote the OP.

The similarities between Bioware and Zenimax attitude are striking.

They seems to think that all MMO players want to do is to grind quests and storylines in solo mode, while they can overlook everything else, and players won't notice it.

Problem with TESO is that players can actually compare Skyrim with TESO, so if Zenimax think they can take out some of the Skyrim features because they are "too hard" to implement, they can alrady pack their stuff now, because when TESO will release it will be a massacre.

Star Wars fans bought SWTOR for loyalty to the IP, but TES fans are already kinda upset and I doubt they will buy the game just because it bears the TES logo on the box...................just saying.

TESO needs to be a TES game first, then a MMO...............if they do the other way round, they are screwed

  Zezda

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/27/09
Posts: 710

7/17/12 7:30:42 PM#17

The attitude that the TESO devs have shown so far is pretty much a slap in the face to every creative profession that exists. 

Just gonna leave this link here that were posted a while back.. 

http://www.gamefront.com/eve-devs-disagree-with-teso-dev-about-innovation-in-mmos/

Regardless of wether you like CCP and Eve Online or not credit is due for creating quite possibly the only MMO to have consistently increased it's subscriber base as it progressed while still being classes as a 'hardcore' or 'niche' game. It's their job to come up with stuff that that Matt Firor seems to think is either worthless or not possible and they seem to be doing it without any problems. The integration between DUST and Eve is a brilliant example of why we are nowhere near finished with what we can achieve.

If I was working on TESO right now I would be absolutely ashamed to be affiliated with Matt Firor.

 

 

  Souldrainer

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 5/21/06
Posts: 1878

7/17/12 7:39:30 PM#18
TESO is following the old WoW-clone formula. Take ONE thing the industry has done right since 1998, make it the center piece of your game, and use filler content to cover the gaps. They should have just bought and polished the Skyrim Online mod.

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  GamerUntouch

Novice Member

Joined: 5/11/12
Posts: 491

7/17/12 7:43:15 PM#19
One thing that WoW is frequently recognized for is its solo play. Walton's fourth lesson was: support this, because gamers want it.

No!

That's the opposite of what you're supposed to do!

 

GAHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  Zezda

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/27/09
Posts: 710

7/17/12 7:45:58 PM#20
Originally posted by Souldrainer
TESO is following the old WoW-clone formula. Take ONE thing the industry has done right since 1998, make it the center piece of your game, and use filler content to cover the gaps. They should have just bought and polished the Skyrim Online mod.

The combat would be terrible in any sort of skyrim mod unless it was quite extensive.

They can't even get the combat right in a single player game. Jeez, they can't even stop power creep in a single player game. Making something with a multiplayer component for the guys that made Oblivion and Skyrim is like asking a toddler to calculate a satallite trajectory.

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