[MUD-Dev] RE:

Derek Licciardi kressilac at home.com
Sat Nov 24 22:04:04 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Lee Sheldon
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dave Rickey

>> No storied online game has ever reached 1/100th the numbers of
>> the non-storied.  No attempt to inject story into the existing
>> games, however many resources were committed to it, has ever
>> gotten much response beyond "So what?" and "Go away."

[sniped argument that the statement above is ludicrous and kept his
conclusion.]

> The truth is so much simpler.  People LOVE to tell their own
> stories, AND they love to have stories told to them.
> AND. AND. AND.  For the first time in modern entertainment we have
> an industry with the theoretical capability to provide both in a
> single mass media product.  But it hasn't done it yet.  Apparently
> this industry hasn't the imagination to do it.  So it says it
> can't be done, and even worse, that the hundreds of millions of
> people who have responded to stories told to them over the
> centuries don't want it either.  It is to weep.

[snip I think there was something here]

>> If they don't vote with their wallets, why should I listen to
>> them?  They can get a far better story told *to* them by TV, why
>> would they pay me for a bad one

> They shouldn't.  And they don't.  That's why such a small portion
> of the potential market is even aware of MMO's, let alone playing
> any.  

[snip]

>> It seems far more promising to me to do a better job of equipping
>> the players to *live* stories.

It is true that everyone loves to be told a story, but on the same
token everyone does not like the stories that you want to tell.  I
have to agree with Dave here, in that it is easier and more
economically feasible to let your players tell stories for you then
it is for you to tell them stories.  When players make up their own
stories while in your game, they by default are interested in the
story.  You could throw them ten man years of authorship work and
none of it be to their liking.  If a game wants to make money in
this industry, I am of the belief that any story they tell is at
best a backdrop to the stories the players create.  You'll lose the
battle of outdeveloping content fast if you try to tell 50,000+
players a story that each of them finds entertaining.

> Just like it seemed promising to let PvP alone solve the high
> level game?  I'll give you an example from the game I'm currently
> playing, and therefore most interested in: DAoC.  People on the
> whine boards sort of just shrug off the lack of content in DAoC
> because they really didn't expect much more.  They'd much rather
> complain about class nerfs because they realize that some action
> might be taken.  They're under no illusions that the content will
> improve.  And these are the very same customers who are already
> attracted to the level and loot treadmill.  I have yet to meet a
> single player in DAoC who is not a refugee from EQ or AC or UO, or
> is playing multiple games.  Not one. Many are already looking
> beyond to Shadowbane, another game that seems aimed at exactly the
> same niche.  They're all sucking at the same MMO teat, and at some
> point the milk will run dry.  It will take a franchise like Star
> Wars to attract some larger portion of the potential market.  If
> all it does is provide the same levels and loot structure (I have
> hopes it won't) as its predecessors, after the initial rush, it
> will settle in just like the others.  And even if it doubles the
> market, that will be as a grain of sand in the desert.

Obviously you're jaded about the current crop of offerings.  You
don't have to play them.  If you think Star Wars is going to save
the MMOW world, then you need to take a look at the game again.
While it will be vastly popular and a significant upgrade from
today's offerings, Verant is going to be hard pressed to not make it
an EQ sequel set in George Lucas' world.  EQ has proven what makes
money.  I guarantee Lucas Arts chose Verant because they know how to
make these offerings work (ie track record).  will Lucas Arts gamble
with the Star Wars license?  Not measurably so.  The game will be
evolutionary at best.  The hordes of people you see joining the MMOW
masses will for the most part be newbies to the genre.  I think
you're expecting too much from Verant.  That being said, I sure hope
it is a suprise and my thoughts here are completely wrong.  Taking
the challenge of using an established franchise to build an MMOW is
a HUGE task.  As with many of the other franchise games, they
usually fail to meet the players expectations through very little
fault of their own.

Elysian Productions is going to attempt to answer this thread.  We
are attempting to design a game that will allow players to have a
significant impact on the world they live in.  We believe that our
design will have players telling their own stories and creating
their own virtual lives in the manner that this thread speaks of.
In the future, you will be able to see more about our project, but
since we are in the process of obtaining funding, our ideas and
designs are not quite public information yet.  Rest assured, I and
my colleagues have been following threads like these and have been
imaginative enough to design a completely new playing paradigm that
attempts to address these weaknesses in the MMOW market.  Here's to
the future of MMOWs and plentitude of the milk that you speak of.  I
have to think that the milk will not run dry any time soon and the
introduction of Star Wars and World of Warcraft will only make the
genre that much bigger.  Truly exciting times if you ask me.

Derek
President
Elysian Productions Inc.

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