[MUD-Dev] D&D and MMORPGs

Daniel James d at djames.org
Wed May 21 10:55:34 New Zealand Standard Time 2003

On Mon, 19 May 2003, Chris Holko wrote:

> My biggest inhibition towards MEO and D&D coming out in MMORPG
> form is Turbine.  Simply put their track record is abysmal...

I think that this is unfair. I'm not aware of the details, but I
suspect that many of the problems with AC and AC2 stem from
Microsoft's management of the project. Examples might be AC2's
simplified design, chat server (M$ code, not Turbies) and the
pre-emptive ship date. I acknowledge that this is finger-pointing,
but anyone here who has worked with a publisher on any game, let
alone an MMP, can appreciate that many of the make-or-break
decisions can be taken from their hands.

Also, I believe that it's accurate to say that AC1 is really a quite
successful game, not least considering that Turbine began
development as a basement full of graduates with a demo. UO and EQ
had the luxury of large corporate development and the lack of the
above publisher-developer difficulties.

Finally, one has to ask -- who else would you have given these
projects to? The field of independent for-hire MMP developers who
have proven their ability to deliver large-scale games is extremeley
limited, particularly when you eliminate those who have enough to do
(e.g. Wolfpack) or don't need a publisher (Mythic).

I can see why Atari and Vivendi decided Turbine was an excellent
choice.  In particular the technical risks are mitigated, bringing
implementation down to gameplay and content. Publishers like to
reduce risk. Vivendi has now tried to make MEO with four(?) teams --
this time it might actually ship.

After spending nearly six years of my short life trying to make an
MMP based on LotR, I'm quite happy that Turbine has the job, and
optimistic for their chances of success. I do think that it's
peculiar for them to be doing both, but from what I understand they
are shaping up to be very different games with their own unique spin
on the Elves and Goblins thing.

Daniel, sticking up for the Turbies

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