This post by Lum is a little funny. Funny given the source, and funny given the ideas within. It’s also funny because in parts it’s more or less a time capsule of, oh, 5-10 years ago? I won’t bore you with all the details between Lum and DF, but let’s lay out some facts before we move on, shall we?
- Number of MMOs Lum has launched in the last 5 years: zero.
- Number of MMOs Tasos has launched in the last 5 years: one.
- Current game Lum is working on (chasing bots): Aion
- Current game Tasos is working on (not chasing bots): DarkFall.
- Current MMO growing in the US/EU since launch: DarkFall.
- Current MMO bleeding out in the US/EU since launch: Aion.
Amusing that Lum lumps SB, Fury, and DF together as one example in the post. Cute, but not exactly correct.
Fury was indeed a shitshow failure, but its PvP base was the least of its troubles. I would start with “The game failed to actually be playable” as my first item to address. I would then address “when playable, Fury was not remotely fun, for anyone, ever”. After that and perhaps another hundred or so issues, I’d start to think about PvP-related problems. I’d also stop calling a terribad medieval Counter-Strike clone an MMO, but that really does not matter at this point, does it?
ShadowBane had the problem of launching in a state that well, also made the game unplayable. SB.exe is a joke, but it’s really not. It’s more like dark humor, because sadly it’s true. That SB in any form was able to survive and last as long as it did is actually a tribute to its open-ended PvP base, considering once it failed at launch its financing was cut and development basically stopped. How many other forms of MMO content could survive YEARS without any meaningful updates?
And finally of course we have DarkFall, which Lum puts in the group above despite the fact that, you know, DF is growing, making money, and rapidly improving. Lum cites EVE in another example, so maybe he got his groupings mixed up?
Lum also mentions message boards and how they should be avoided at all costs by the developers. While 99% of ANY message board is at best garbage, in that 1% you CAN find some value. Consider this: if you were a teenager when Ultima Online launched, you are now in your late twenties or early thirties, hopefully educated and employed, and overall not a 13yr old basement dwelling degenerate yelling at your mom for another hotpocket. If you are the above-described gamer, you’re likely an Aion player anyway, since kids that age enjoy being an emo fairy.
Given that some of today’s MMO players have more MMO experience than some of the devs making the games, it’s not exactly out of the question that they might have an idea or two worth considering. Add in that we are talking about a genre that is still in its infancy, one that (unless you are making an EQ-clone) is still tossing out radically new ideas that may be sliced bread+1 or the next NGE, and you can’t exactly be an SME in MMO design. I mean Richard Garriott might count, but that expertise gave us Tabula Rasa, and then RG flew off to outer space.
And as Lum accurately puts it, given that a PvP-based MMO is more likely to attract the dedicated MMO player, that’s not the worst user-group to get feedback from. I’d safely say the Hello Kitty Online devs can avoid their suggestion forum however.
Looking over DF’s brief history, it would only take a little searching to see that many of the games positive changes (GC on spells, whirlwind) originated on the forums. Again, you don’t take everything written as gospel and write code based only on that, but to assume you can’t get any value out of such a dedicated and in-touch group is ridiculous. Add in the knowledge that had DF failed, those looking for a PvP MMO would either have to return to EVE or, god help us, play an emo fairy, and it’s not hard to see why those who truly are trying to help the game along are willing to put aside personal gain to improve things overall (players with high-end magic asking for magic nerfs, those who favor mounted combat explaining why it needs to be adjusted, etc).
Luckily for DF fans Aventurine does not share Lum’s stance on all of this, and so far DF is a better game for it. Good luck chasing those bots though, give em hell!
(DarkFall-related post disclaimer/reminder. If you click the image link near the top-right of this page and buy a DarkFall account, I get paid 20% of the client cost. If you believe this taints my views and reporting on DarkFall, your opinion is wrong.)