[MUD-Dev] Geometric content generation

Dave Rickey daver at mythicentertainment.com
Fri Oct 5 17:58:31 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

-----Original Message-----
From: Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com <Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com>
> From: Dave Rickey [mailto:daver at mythicentertainment.com]

> I think you oversimplify. Whilst AO has the best 'screenshot'
> graphics, it has inordinate texture management problems that make
> it a slide show in populated areas. Perhaps when 128 meg gfx cards
> come out it will be ok, in the mean time, its a hindrance not a
> help.

It doesn't really have "texture management issues" from what I can
figure out, it just has too many player-wearable textures.  All the
texture management tricks in the world can't fit 128 meg of texture
onto a 32 meg card.

> I've actually been spending the last 2 weeks playing AO, and I'm
> beginning to feel that my original judgement was wrong. Its is not
> as socially hamstrung as I had originally thought, in fact if you
> want to gain maximum xp, you are best off grouping outside with 5
> other people. I make friends with people I group with just the
> same as I did in EQ (although that never happened in AC).

Maybe now.  For most of the last few months, the best way to gain xp
was to exploit certain bugs alone.

> Well an xp treadmill is just a way of compelling people to spend
> time together working towards a similar goal. After all, most of
> the people who end up as your friends in these games leveled up
> with you. Its about the shared experience, not the particular
> mechanism you use to enforce it. A large part of my shared
> experiences in EQ were sitting at the zone line, trying to get a
> group because I played a class that wasn't de rigeur. I'd hope
> thats not what you are aiming for?

Nope.  We have a built in UI for finding groups, you flag yourself
as looking for one, group leaders can flag their groups as needing
additions, both sides can peruse the options available within a
fairly large radius (basicly the zone you are in plus any
neighboring zones).  It's *totally* out of context, like some sort
of wireless web classified system, but so convenient players don't
even notice.

> One of the other aspects of EQ, that no large scale game currently
> has, is the aspirational 'uber mob' content. As I've said it
> before, but wanting to kill dragons and gods keeps people going a
> long time in EQ. Then actually doing it as part of a large team
> keeps them even longer.

Yeah, I have other issues with the "Uber Mob" concept, but as a
social building tool it works pretty well.

> Or how about the fact that EQs chat system is the best. You hit
> 'r' and it puts '/tell [whoever you last got a tell from]' in your
> chat input box.  Every other game makes you have to type '/r'
> youself and it ends up going to the wrong person because someone
> else just sent you a tell before you hit enter. Its little things
> like that, which discourage me from bothering to chat.

EQ had that problem at first, as well, preloading a /tell didn't
come for several months.  We do it as well.

> Whilst people loathe EQs item centric nature, one shouldn't
> discount its attraction to the collect and hoard aspect of ones
> psyche. AC and AO suffer from an over abundance of inferior gear
> that no one wants. Sometimes less is more.

> What I'm trying to say is that you can't put EQs success down to
> just one thing. In fact, part of its success is probably down to
> it being the first with 3d gfx. Anyway, good luck with DAoCs
> release, I hope its successful.

It's never just one thing, but often one thing has far more impact
than any other.  Most people playing EQ do not have even a single
character of 50th level or higher, even if they have been playing
for years.  It's not Dragon-Raids and Uber Loot that is keeping them

The technical and stability problems facing AO aren't much worse
than those that confronted EQ, yet the impact has been far greater.
AC did trail EQ to the marketplace, but failed to grow significantly
after the first few months (and may be spiralling downhill, their
server populations have been consistently and steadily dropping for
a year).  Yet UO, graphically inferior though it may be, continues
to thrive, not just in total accounts (which could be nothing but
placeholders) but in apparent actual population.  AO came out with
initial sales that rivalled or exceeded EQ's, and has quickly

Nothing seems to account for the patterns in success or failure in
MMOG's as well as comparing socializing pressures.

--Dave Rickey

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