Massively released an interview a few days ago that they did with Richard Bartle to find out how he would make World of Warcraft better. Whatever the real point of the interview, if it had any, he went on to answer the following question with an answer that blows my mind:
Massively: “Are you planning on playing games like Age of Conan and Warhammer when they come out?”
Bartle: “I’ve already played Warhammer. It was called World of Warcraft.” …
First thought that came to my mind: People PAY for that opinion?! How can you be a consultant when you’re THAT out of touch with the current mmorpg landscape?
After that dumb comment he rambled on for a few paragraphs talking about Age of Conan, mostly with incoherent rhetorical questions, all while taking every opportunity he had to point out the fact that he is a designer. I get that Richard Bartle is the “grandfather of Muds”. I acknowledge that he is a very intelligent man with a lot of great ideas and knowledge. But saying something as ignorant and downright stupid as he did proves he has not even looked into WAR (and some of his ideas for WoW are also beyond bizarre).
World of Warcraft is a game centered around PvE with raiding treadmills and Battleground/Arena based e-sport PvP. Warhammer Online is a game centered around open-world RvR with tiered gameplay focusing on RvR and PvE split progression. That is the quickest and most basic way that I can explain how these games differ. For more information you’re welcome to view my (somewhat old) post on how WAR does not equal WoW. Both are fantastic games, but so very different. Lumping them together and writing them off as the same game is an insult to both.
Surely as a designer and the “grandfather of Muds” he looked past the superficial cosmetic similarities. Perhaps he even meant it as a joke, in which case Massively owes him a huge apology for making him look like an ass spouting asinine remarks like that of a forum troll. For being a consultant, “grandfather of Muds”, teacher, and veteran in the virtual worlds industry he brought his credibility to question several times throughout the interview. I was not impressed with the interview at all and now I’m not sure how impressed I am with Richard Bartle. As Graev pointed out, “It appears as though the “grandfather of Muds” has gone a little senile”.
Dr. Bartle, I urge you to educate yourself on the differences between these games so that you may avoid further embarrassing yourself.