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Lessons Not Learned

Editorials By Dan Fortier on October 16, 2006

Lessons Not Learned
MMOWTF: Lessons Not Learned

Weekly Column by Dan Fotier

Editor's Note: This is the first edition of a new weekly column by Staff Writer Dan Fotier. The column is called "MMOWTF" and will look at some of the stranger or more frustrating events in MMOs as seen by Mr. Fotier. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of, its staff or management.

So there I was sitting at my PC, staring at the screen wondering how to start off my new weekly column. It should be something appropriate and it seemed like I should start things off with a bang. In the midst of this pondering this, my trusty Yahoo Instant Messenger cheerfully advised me that I had a new e-mail and thus this rant was born.

In my inbox was mail from my friends over at NP Cube, makers of Dark and Light. The introduction line reads:

"The Ganareth Tour will give newcomers to the world of Ganareth a taste of many of the world's most addictive elements. It can be downloaded at no cost."

So... you're like a drug dealer giving a new client a free hit to peak their interest in your product's most addictive elements? The only difference here is that drugs actually have a high whereas your product starts out on the downer and gets worse from there. I could go on, but you get the idea. It is like an episodic comedy that follows the exploits (pun intended) of a group of inexperienced coders and designers who keep trying to get their first online game right.

I only imagine how the meeting of their great minds came to the conclusion that this was their greatest hope of bringing back all their customers they lost by with their downright goofy tactics up till now. I guess they figured the only thing going for them was their engine and that besides being a free subscription for the moment, they also needed to showcase it away from pesky things like other players and class imbalance. Good luck with that guys...

In the history of disasters of cosmic proportions you have a fairly short list and although many disagree I find the MMO list to be far shorter still. Right up there with Mourning and Trammel would have to be the blood red moon called Dark and Light. It shines like a cancerous beacon for all future developers to see and use as a marker for when to turn around and go the other direction. If you don't heed the baleful warning you risk not only going broke, but becoming synonymous with words like incompetence, inept and misleading.

Now you say to yourself why pick on these poor no-name devs when there are lots of other guys to make fun of across the industry who make a living off of screwing up? Frankly I haven't read a lot of 'professional' takes on the epic failure that Dark and Light has become and I thought that a few very important lessons need to be learned from it:

"Don't take candy from strangers."

"Look both ways before crossing the street."

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," and most importantly, "if you don't know how to run an MMO please do yourself a favor and stop because all you will do is embarrass yourself and make fans of the genre less likely to take a chance on less well known projects and push them towards cloned grindfests... with elves."

Stay tuned next week for more ill-informed nonsense from me and don't forget to throw in some abusive remarks you thought up while reading this.