[MUD-Dev] Re: [MUD-Dev] Re: Fantasy clichés (was: Acting cas ual aboutcasualgamers)

S. Patrick Gallaty choke at sirius.com
Thu Jul 13 10:29:23 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

>From: Raph Koster <rkoster at austin.rr.com>
>Date: Saturday, July 08, 2000 6:17
>Just as a counterpoint--I've seen the argument advanced that
>one reason why Asheron's Call isn't doing as well as the
>other MMORPGs is that its fantastical elements are too
>unfamiliar. To people other than the hardcore players, AD&D
>fantasy is as fantastical as they are really able to stomach
[ ... ]

Well, I beta'd AC from the very earliest stages to the end - and I'd put
forward that it is less a matter of the fantasy being unfamiliar as it is
the fantasy just not being very compelling.  I won't criticize it here,
mainly because it ends up seeming harsher than I intend but I feel it's a
quite formulaic game, and exhibits little in terms of variety for the
character or role to assume.

It has little in the way of a hook to hold the player.  Unlike goal oriented
play like EQ, or property oriented play like UO, AC has no clear penalty for
disappearing for a day or week, so it does not reinforce habit.

If you have no goals for the goal-player, and no roles for the role-player
... who do you expect will play the game?  I tried hard, very hard to get
this message across during beta but unfortunately the design process during
the formative stages of AC were completely dominated by internal MS staff.
Turbine (the prog. house) did discuss game issues, but only on the internal
news server which was only open to MS employees.  I was forwarded a few
messages from that board by insiders who knew me and they were issues I
desperately wanted to comment on.

semi-related rant :

What is it with these 'betas'?  I see mmorpg companies invite thousands of
random people, then due to their lack of selection process end up with a
terrible signal to noise ratio on feedback, and then end up largely ignoring
the benefits the beta could have afforded.  UO beta felt that way, EQ felt
that way.
It seems like logic should apply here, doesn't it?  If you invite ten
talented car mechanics to drive your car, you may get feedback that is
useful.  If you invite 100 people who have never driven a car before, your
car gets wrecked and you get nothing.  Why do these MMORPG betas always feel
like 100 unliscensed car drivers?  Is it too difficult to select testers?
Am I missing something?

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