We recently reported on the re-launch of Alganon, which was undertaken to, among other things, reduce the similarities between Alganon and World of Warcraft, starting first with the game's UI. However, according to the folks at Kill Ten Rats, Quest Online is allegedly copying other things -- press releases. Namely, a press release for Star Wars: The Old Republic issued in 2008.
In our original story, a number of our own readers noted the similarities to BioWare's marketing language regarding Star Wars: The Old Republic in the discussion that followed. Ethic at Kill Ten Rats took it a step further and managed to track down a specific press release that appears quite similar to the one issued by Quest Online to announce the re-launch of Alganon.
From the recently issued Alganon release:
“Traditionally, massively multiplier online games have been about three basic gameplay pillars – combat, exploration and character progression,” Derek Smart continued. “In Alganon, in addition to these we’ve added the fourth pillar to the equation; a story. We delivered a fun, immersive adventure that gamers expect in a top quality massively multiplayer online game. To top it all off, we’re not done yet. A whole new adventure with new updates will follow soon, starting with a consignment house, new classes, PvP and much more.”
And a press release issued by BioWare on October 21, 2008:
“Traditionally, massively multiplayer online games have been about three basic gameplay pillars – combat, exploration and character progression,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder and General Manager/CEO of BioWare and General Manager/Vice President of Electronic Arts Inc., “In Star Wars: The Old Republic, we’re fusing BioWare’s heritage of critically-acclaimed storytelling with the amazing pedigree of Lucasfilm and LucasArts, and adding a brand-new fourth pillar to the equation – story. At the same time, we will still deliver all the fun features and activities that fans have come to expect in a AAA massively multiplayer online game. To top it all off, Star Wars: The Old Republic is set in a very exciting, dynamic period in the Star Wars universe.”
Derek Smart has since provided his take on the story, stating that this is all "much ado about nothing," as the language used is fairly typical, noting a statement by SOE CEO John Smedley that reads much the same, which apparently predates Ray Muzyka's commentary:
John at the 2004 SOE Fan Faire:
"Traditionally, massively multiplier online games have been about three basic gameplay elements - combat, exploration and character progression. In Everquest 2, we've added a fourth element to the equation; a story"
Derek Smart then asserts that pretty much every press release "reads like the next one," and that "only words are mangled in order to avoid sounding like a broken record."
According to Mr. Smart, they simply chose to use the line to precede the commentary that followed, and he goes on to admit that they should have either reworded or credited and sourced the referenced lines, stating that this was in fact the original intent, but for whatever reason did not make it into the final draft that was released to PRWeb. Derek seems to lay the blame with Quest Online's PR firm PR Sirens, as he notes that most developers that hire outside PR firms "don't have to fact check press releases," and claims that Quest Online had no knowledge of this mistake until "my inbox started lighting up on Sunday morning."
In the end, Derek Smart calls this an "unintenional oversight," and balks at the fact this is even news:
"This was clearly an unintentional oversight and shouldn't even be news; but here we are. Just another glorious day in the gaming industry. It's all about hits and giggles."