[MUD-Dev] The Future of MMOGs... what's next? (fwd)

Sasha Hart Sasha.Hart at directory.reed.edu
Wed Jun 19 03:06:07 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


<EdNote: And I thought I'd seen every attribution scheme...>

[Brian Lindahl in post+0]

> I think we're talking about two different subjects here.

I think I didn't make my point clear, and that you are entirely
reasonable for suspecting that I am just ranting about something
else.

[Brian Lindahl in post-1]

> I don't think the corporation mindset has a need to branch into
> other depths of MUDs, such as heavy roleplaying.

Here I picked up on "other depths of MUDs" as the subject, and
"heavy roleplaying" as a token rather than the central concern. I
stand corrected (for me the prior is still of more concern, though).

[Brian Lindahl in post+0]

> I wish you had provided me with an example that I could have
> looked at and said, hey, you're right. But the pure roleplaying
> MUDs you mentioned, such as Armaggadeon, aren't large enough to
> qualify as MMOGs, and the MMOGs you mentioned were strongly hack
> 'n slash centered.

I thought heavy roleplaying was an example. You are right that I
cannot provide an example like the following: "Game X in Korea has
1.2 million people online at any given time, critiquing each other's
descriptions and arguing about whether it is interesting or breaking
character for an evil aligned sorcerer to help a small child."

Dragon realms may be hack and slash, but I find it quite likely that
its financial viability is enhanced by the decision to use text.
Armageddon may be small, but I find it quite likely that your
chances of getting a game with roleplaying are enhanced by making
compromises.  Achaea may not be graphical or enormous, but...
Half-life may not be a MUD, but ...

Each of the games I mentioned suspends some of your assumptions
about what the game must include. They are real games, and the game
you discuss is not. For the same reason they may illustrate the
viability of different aspects of the idea, although we can only
speculate about the combination of these aspects (you were right to
call my bluff on this). I still maintain that a substantial number
of your requirements for this ideal game could be accomplished by
the use of elements from multiple of the games I mentioned - but
there are probably indeed certain ways that it can be done, and
certain that it can't. At strictest they involve taking the exact
compromises from your ideal that these games have taken. I find it
more likely that the compromises you'd have to use would be more
modest by far, but certainly not nonexistent.

[Brian Lindahl in post-1]

> There may be one or two over the next 20 years, but I don't see
> anything profound, even if one or two do pop up. The money just
> isn't there, and thats what graphical MUDs need at this point in
> time.

This is where I think you are really wrong.  Not about the money per
se.

You are wrong that the money isn't there to "do anything profound."
Why you are wrong is that "anything profound" does not necessarily
entail all of the aspects of what you described.

  - graphical (presumably a graphical client-server app with
  efficient network use, custom art and music, patch cycle,
  distribution channels, server farm and heavy duty pipes)

  - "massive" (game must support 500+ players and actually attract
  them)

  - inclusive of "heavy roleplaying"

  - Everquest scale venture (overall budget of several million
  dollars)

It is trivially right that you need $5 million to run a $5 million
game (or a poorly managed game worth less, of course)... but it
isn't right that you need to run a $5 million game, if you
follow. If one cost of running a $5 million game is innovation, then
don't run a $5 million game, run a $2 million game, a $2000 game, a
$200 game.

The money isn't there for a $5 million game which doesn't sell
itself and requires investment to go.  It IS there for innovation,
it is there for your thing minus graphics or with less players or
with something to pitch to the VC's. It is there for a spec which
flexibly deals with the mundane requirements in order to accomplish
the real work, doing a game which is "deep" or "innovating" or
whatever description you are applying.

We don't have devices which allow us to hover above the earth
without vehicular aid. But we do have airplanes, helicopters,
parachutes, gliders, ultralights, hot-air balloons...

This is on-topic to the extent that what you were bemoaning was not
the lack of anti-gravity sneakers, but (say) quiet hovering for 1,
or quiet air transportation, or hovering. Otherwise, I'm sorry that
I mistook what you were saying.

Sasha

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