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Current Topic: Multiplayer Online Games

FunCom blows it. Age of Conan in flames
Topic: Multiplayer Online Games 10:24 am EDT, Aug  2, 2008

As posted by Dagmar:

So, in case any of you were out there wondering about the Age Of Conan release (or if you had the misfortune of trying it) it's becoming clear now that Funcom has managed to muck things up pretty severely.

A quick review:
* System requirements for the game were laughably wrong
* Large amounts of the promised PvP content never actually made it in
* Massive errors with billing people after they'd cancelled
* Heavy-handed ban-stick use by moderators in the official forums for
questioning any problems.
* Aggressive hiding and denial of bugs by devs (including a seemingly sexist
problem of melee attack speed for females)

The linked article covers this and more, up to and including a look at their stock performance after release (apparently investors thought it might be a good idea to look at the game, and then started selling).

FunCom blows it. Age of Conan in flames

The Onion: 'Warcraft' Sequel Lets Gamers Play A Character Playing 'Warcraft'
Topic: Multiplayer Online Games 11:16 am EDT, Jun 10, 2008

'Warcraft' Sequel Lets Gamers Play A Character Playing 'Warcraft'

LOL, great video. Be sure to watch the bonus clip at the end, too. ;)

Elonka :)

The Onion: 'Warcraft' Sequel Lets Gamers Play A Character Playing 'Warcraft'

'Virtual' Virus Sheds Light on Real-World Behavior
Topic: Multiplayer Online Games 11:41 am EDT, Oct  6, 2005

All Things Considered, October 5, 2005 · A recent outbreak of a "plague" in a popular online game has scientists considering how the virtual world may provide clues to what people would do in real-world pandemics. In the role-playing game World of Warcraft, a "corrupted blood" spell killed characters and affected players in unexpected ways.

5-minute segment on NPR about the phenomenon of MMORPGs -- specifically about Worlds of Warcraft.

'Virtual' Virus Sheds Light on Real-World Behavior

MMORPG Subscriber Numbers Climbing
Topic: Multiplayer Online Games 6:01 pm EDT, Oct  4, 2005

It seems that the Chinese are the most fanatic MMORPG players. World of Warcraft reached 4 million users after the game was launched on the Chinese market, but Blizzard must have turned green with envy when finding out that the Korean game Yulgang, launched in China in July, has 9 million users!

Of course, it's a bit easier to get lots of users when a game is free, but 9 million is still hefty!

MMORPG Subscriber Numbers Climbing

Asheron's Call 2 Will Shut Down in December 2005.
Topic: Multiplayer Online Games 4:58 pm EDT, Sep  8, 2005

At about the same time Turbine unplugs the servers and ceases all support of Asheron's Call 2, Turbine's West Coast operation will close as well.

Looks like Turbine is shutting down its Santa Monica office, and Asheron's Call 2, and moving everyone to Massachusetts. I haven't been able to find out the exact reasons for why AC2 is closing and AC1 is staying open though . . .

Asheron's Call 2 Will Shut Down in December 2005.

Dragon*Con Review
Topic: Multiplayer Online Games 2:24 pm EDT, Sep  7, 2005

Somewhere upward of 20,000 fans descend on Atlanta for this event every year, filling three massive hotels to share everything from their comic-book collections and home-brewed Lord of the Rings fan fiction to gigantic Transformer costumes they've spent months creating for the Masquerade Ball contest.
 . . .
Elonka Dunin, a game designer at Simutronics, invited fans to demo the company's latest MMORPG, Hero's Journey, in her hotel room. A monster-fighting quest set in a lush, expansive fantasy world of vulnerable villages and devious conspiracies, the game is perfectly targeted for the DragonCon crowd. "This isn't just hack-and-slash," Dunin said as she set up her avatar to cast a spell. "There are creative ways to deal with combat, and a lot of chances to create stories for your characters."

Nice article about the Dragon*Con scene from Annalee Newitz, who along with being a writer and editor for Wired, is also a policy analyst at the EFF.

As for my own Dragon*Con experiences, I had a blast this year. I'm still a bit sleep-deprived, having just gotten back to St. Louis from the 10-hour Atlanta drive, around 1 a.m. last night. I was *really* busy this year, speaking at or participating in about eight different panels, and also giving private demos of my company's upcoming game "Hero's Journey" out of my hotel room. Dragon*Con is *so* huge though -- though I was in one of the convention hotels, it was still a half-mile walk from my hotel to the Electronics track! And I was going back and forth multiple times per day to do all the demos. But in between panels and demos I also found plenty of time to visit various parties, and I met a lot of really fun and interesting people, as well as getting to hang out with friends from previous conventions. I especially enjoyed the Hacking panels this year, hanging out with various representatives of the and Memestreams communities, getting to talk cryptography into the wee hours of the night, and many other conversations I had with really fascinating people. And of course since I was a speaker, I also got to hang out in the "Green Room" and rub elbows with assorted authors and movie and TV stars, such as several members of the Star Trek cast (I never knew that Max Grodenchik, who plays the Ferengi "Rom" on Deep Space Nine, is a very talented singer!). I also really enjoy the Dragon*Con nightly drum circle, with all the creative percussion instruments that people bring, and all the dancers in the middle, ranging in clothing from T-shirts to belly-dancer outfits, to costumes for which the word "skimpy" wouldn't even come close to describing how little was there!

Great fun!

Update: I heard from a D*Con staffer, that it was the biggest convention ever. Over 26,000 attendees, and the charity drives raised over $100,000 for the Katrina relief effort!

Dragon*Con Review

E3 Brain Dump, from 'The Corporation'
Topic: Multiplayer Online Games 1:31 pm EDT, May 25, 2005

] Hero's Journey is a sleeper hit. Simutronics gave us a
] closed-door showing, and it blew my pants off. First and
] foremost, the character designer owned me. Remember how
] everyone was warm in the pants over CoH's character
] designer? This totally blows that away.

Here's a page which reviews many of the multiplayer games shown at E-3 (including mine).

Caution, not to be read by anyone who's offended by profanity. ;)

E3 Brain Dump, from 'The Corporation' E-3 Best of Show award given to Simutronics' 'Hero's Journey'
Topic: Multiplayer Online Games 6:37 pm EDT, May 24, 2005

] Hero's Journey takes the crown
] This game came out of left field to impress. In a year
] full of big budget, big company titles, Hero's
] Journey offered graphics on par with all the major
] players and an extremely exciting look at their game
] play. E3 2005 marked a show where several high profile
] games were touting very similar features (state based
] combat), and in swept Hero's Journey with their
] innovative group combat, highly cinematic missions,
] interactive environments and hands down the best
] character creation ever put into an MMORPG.

:) E-3 Best of Show award given to Simutronics' 'Hero's Journey'

IGDA State of the Industry - Persistent State Worlds White Paper
Topic: Multiplayer Online Games 6:32 pm EST, Jan 11, 2005

As some of you know, I'm on the Online Games Committee of the International Game Developers Association. One of our projects is that we release White Papers on the state of the industry every so often. Our newest White Paper just went live, and it's focused on my own corner of the industry -- Persistent State Worlds. I'm listed as "Editor in Chief" on this one, which means that I was one of the volunteer editors who pulled in contributions from many different individuals, and tried to massage the whole thing into something that has at least a superficial appearance of looking somewhat consistent and professional. ;)

The Paper is about 80 pages long, and gives general "developer to developer" advice about my industry, covering everything from a quick overview of major products, to design considerations on multiplayer gameplay and dealing with online communities, to technical considerations, to some stats about the international marketplace, including the rapidly-growing Asian market.

The official announcement about the White Paper's release hasn't gone out yet, but the paper is up now on the IGDA website. It's a free download, if anyone wants to take a look.

Elonka :)

IGDA State of the Industry - Persistent State Worlds White Paper - MMOG Subscription Numbers
Topic: Multiplayer Online Games 12:16 pm EST, Dec 21, 2004

Not particularly comprehensive, but does have useful data on a dozen popular games. I also like that it attempts to include some of the Asian titles, such as Lineage (which completely dwarfs the U.S. market). However, they don't include MU, which, last I heard, was the most-played game in Asia.

In any case, there's still some interesting data here. - MMOG Subscription Numbers

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