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Expansion Preview, EA & Salvatore!

Dana Massey Posted:
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Dark Age of Camelot Roundtable Report (Page 2 of 3)

Mythic: EA's MMO Company

Later, Dark Age of Camelot Producer Walt Yarbrough submitted to an interview with MMORPG.com. Having covered the expansion in the presentation, we concentrated on other things; namely Electronic Arts.

Yarbrough, naturally, had nothing but good things to say about the effect the deal had on the newly dubbed EA Mythic and their original product Dark Age of Camelot. Many of the immediate changes were procedural, corporate changes that the company had coming anyway due to its size.

Since the deal came down, EA Mythic has been positioned as the large-scale MMORPG experts in the Electronic Arts empire. Now, just as the producers for Dark Age of Camelot and Warhammer Online report to senior Mythic staff, so too will the producers of Ultima Online and eventually The Sims Online. Electronic Arts has often been criticized for a lack of understanding in the MMO-space. Thus, it makes a lot of sense that they purchased Mythic, in part, to bring them that experience.

The deal also allows EA Mythic to invest a more resources back into Dark Age of Camelot. He pointed out that the box sales alone for their next expansion should win them back the development costs and be a positive influence on their overall bottom line without even having to calculate in the long term impact on their subscriber base. This should mean better things are coming for fans of DAoC that otherwise may not have been possible.

Keynote: R.A. Salvatore - The Author

The presence of famed Forgotten Realms author R.A. "Bob" Salvatore, who was recently announced as the Creative Director of high profile MMO start-up Green Monster Games along with Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and the famed artist behind Spawn Todd McFarlane, added an extra level of curiosity to the event. Salvatore delivered the keynote address.

Salvatore's speech was more of a story. Always engaging, Salvatore took the guests from his earliest days in grade school when he loved to read stories to his current status as a New York Times bestselling author.

Salvatore has been a gamer for 26 years, but there was a time when he would have laughed if you told him how his life would turn out. As a child, he loved to read and write, but as many of us do, he lost his passion to the dreadful books many are forced to read in grade-school. It took a blizzard to get it back.

His sister had given him Lord of the Rings for Christmas 1977, a present he initially dismissed. Salvatore, at this time, was a college freshman and a math major. He had no interest in Hobbits. Yet, in February of that year, he told us of the great blizzard that hit New England. For seven days, the entire community he lived in was shut down as they tried vainly to dig out. A 19 year old, Salvatore had nothing to do in his parent's house, so he finally picked up those books. With a passion that could still be seen in his eyes nearly thirty years later, he told us how he read the whole trilogy three times that week. The next week, he changed majors.

It wasn't until 1983, after he'd graduated and read all the fantasy he could get his hands on - and at that time there was not nearly the wealth of novels there are today - that he decided to turn his hand to writing. During the day, Salvatore labored in a factory and at night he was a bouncer. Yet, somehow, he found time to write his first book. It took him six months.

He held no delusions. He didn't think it was possible to make a living as an author. He simply wanted to write and share something with his wife, kids and those who came after him. This is no simple story of rags to riches though. The book, written by hand to candle-light, wasn't picked up immediately. Eventually, he was convinced to send it out and met a round of rejection letters from publishers.

Despite the rejections, Salvatore continued to write for passion. In 1987, he sent out a book to another round of publishers, including TSR. TSR, who later sold their Dungeons and Dragons property to Wizards of the Coast, didn't buy that book either. Yet, it did impress them enough to open a door. He got a call and as luck would have it was offered a chance to audition for a job writing the second novel in a newly created Dungeons and Dragons world: Forgotten Realms. He got it.

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Dana Massey