For a fair part of last week, I had fun engaging in a little MMOG trivia duel. It wasn't anything formal, or even planned. Instead, it just happened. What started out with a question asking for an opinion somehow morphed into a contest to see how well each of us could stump the other with bits of information buried in the dusty corners of our brains.
By mutual agreement, we couldn't look up questions or answers. We didn't do this face to face, so it would have been pretty easy to cheat, but judging by the relatively low proportion we got correct, it seems pretty likely we played fair in this regard. I know I did. And to tell the truth, neither of us even kept score after a while. We just kept going because it was fun. Had we counted, I'd guess the result would have been close to a draw. Both of us have been involved with the category for quite a while, and thus have a lot of not necessarily useful knowledge stashed away.
In any case, that's what inspired this week's column. So, I hope you have some fun testing yourself to see how much you know. I left out any questions I figured almost nobody would get without looking up the answers. However, I've also omitted those I thought most experienced, knowledgeable MMO fans do know. So, my guess is that no one who reads this column with any regularity will lay a complete goose egg. However, I don't imagine many people will ace them all, at least not from memory.
The questions are in no particular order. Some but not all are related to free to play. The answers are at the bottom. Enjoy.
1. Who was the Lead Designer and Producer during most of the development period for Funcom's first MMOG, Anarchy Online? Bonus question: Who took over the former position from him?
Tommy Strand held both positions from quite early in AO's development, and also served as the game's main spokesperson until around the time it launched. The person who took over as Lead Designer was Gaute Godager.
2. What were the first two MMOGs to become major hits in Korea, for which companies, and who led both the development teams? Hint: Both are still running; in fact, the second one is still a pretty major title there.
Nexon launched Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds, which is sometimes known as Nexus TK, in Korea in 1996. Jake Song led the team, but left the year before. He then started work on the game that he brought with him when he joined NCsoft in 1997, Lineage: The Blood Pledge, which generated $125 million in revenue in 2009.
3. What are the seven schools of magic in Wizard101? Bonus question: Who is the game's Lead Designer?
According to Wizard101's lore, Fire, Ice and Storm magic come from ancient Titans who once ruled the world, while Myth, Life and Death magic derive from the casters' power of mind, body and spirit respectively. The magic of Balance is a combination of the other six. The Lead Designer is James Nance.
4. Counting MMOG revenue only, which four publishers ranked after Blizzard last year in global dollar volume?
The first couple may not have been too difficult for regular readers of this column. Tencent rang up about $800 million in MMOG revenue last year. It took over top spot in the Chinese market from Shanda, which was about $100 million behind. After them, NCsoft reported about $540 million, barely edging out Nexon by a couple of million. Netease trailed by another $50 million or so, but only acquired the WoW license in mid-year, and had a couple of months of beta before it started bringing in money.
5. Who led the writing team on the original Middle-earth Online. Hint: He went on to achieve success as the principal behind one of the first prominent and popular web-based MMOGs.
Daniel James joined the team at Sierra's Yosemite Entertainment studio in 1998 after an unsuccessful attempt to acquire the rights to make a Middle-earth online game for his own company. In 2001, he founded Three Rings Design, where he led the development of Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates.
6. Which MMO gamer was featured in her own Playboy pictorial feature a couple of years ago, and since she was selected due to being in the public eye for another reason, what was it? Hint: The answer isn't Stevie "KillCreek" Case.
Jennifer "Jennicide" Leigh was in Playboy in 2008. She had become known as a professional poker player. A gamer since childhood, she was a keen World of Warcraft player, even heading up her own guild for a time.