When smart people say stupid things…

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.

  • Embarassing? Hammer, head, hit the nail on the.

    Seriously, how can anyone take him seriously after reading this interview. It’s horrendous and if I were him, I’d be begging Massively to take it down to save my credibility (what’s left of it anyway).

    Not only is he all over the place – speaking for the sense of speaking, verbal diarrhea, very hard to follow – he totally contradicts himself on a number of occasions.

    He points it out himself that you need credentials to criticize something like an MMORPG. Some random journalist who hasn’t even played a game making asinine remarks about it has zero credibility. So, to lend weight to his arguments he picks up WoW, makes a few level 70 characters, and makes some criticisms about it that I actually agree with.

    Then he shoots his mouth of about WAR with zero beta testing experience, zero behind-the-scenes designer “consultancies,” and obviously, zero general knowledge about the core, marketed differences between these games.

    His statement has no salt, but because of who he is, it will be regarded by people who haven’t bothered doing research of their own as gospel. What a general lack of responsibility he has for the genre when he’s obviously pretty cocky about the weight his words hold.

    He obviously knows very little about the current MMO landscape and has resorted to resting on his laurels.

  • That guy has lost it. Sounds like John Lennon just before the Beatles were breaking up. He’s incoherent and nonsensical. You’d make a better ‘consultant’ than him Keen. I know which I’d rather pay money to hear the opinion of, if I were a designer…

    But you just said [about WoW and WAR]’Both are fantastic games’ Eh what? Thought you despised WoW? We’re a dying breed Keen, don’t say you’ve climbed aboard the SS Hamster Wheel! 😛

  • @Gordo: For what it is, WoW is a fantastic game. I do not like it anymore (Most of it.. I still enjoy the “leveling game”) but I must concede the fact that they have something successful and, in the most horrific sense of the word, fantastic. I’m also trying to show that it’s not about me liking WAR over WoW here; it’s about Bartle calling the two one in the same.

  • Fair enough. I agree, WoW is an amazing feat of game design and production, and brilliant for the MMO and gaming industries as a whole. The fact that it kind of tricks people into continuing to play by tempting them with the levelling, then suddenly at the end, switching from a game of quests and progression to a stagnant game of no progression, but requiring countless hours to simply remain competitive is both its secret of sucess, and will be its downfall.

  • On the plus side, at least we know the RL identity of one of the ‘Chuck Norris I PWNZ JOO Ur MOM’ people trolling ‘Barrens Chat’, with that attitude. Probably the only one with a doctorate, mind you.

  • It seems Mr Bartle does not realize leveling to 70 is the tip of the iceberg in the wow experience. He is out of touch with some aspects of mmo gaming, like what it’s really like to be part of a guild and how games like wow and war have substantially differentiated themselves from each other, going on to imply that these game designers among others don’t want to improve the mmo genre.

  • He sounded just like a pompous indie movie snob who thinks because he watched some obscure crap that suddenly puts his level of perception into a whole new dimension.

    As if we, as players, have no way of dissecting various parts of gameplay into coherent elements. As if none of us can comment on how well soandso was able to maximize the use of polygons in a certain model, or how well balanced the economy is. Noooo, all we can do is sit at our desks like the troglodytes we are and say, “ooooh, pretty pictures.” Blow me, Bartle.

  • Lighten up a bit, no reason to get upset over one sentence in a transcription.

    If Mr Bartle actually had an actual opinion on Warhammer Online I am quite sure he would have said something more than that. It is not as if he avoids expressing opinions in other areas.

    I do not think game companies would pick up Mr Bartle as a lead designer for a new MMORPG if the opportunity was there; he is an academic and the skill sets there are likely a bit different from what is best suited for the industry.

    But as an academic he may have an analytical mindset and frame of reference when it comes to game play theory that can be useful. Not to create new things, but pretty much as he said himself – get a second opinion, an outside view or a validation of designs.

  • @Sente
    I agree with ya man. No reason to freak out about a snarky remark.

    There is a prickly nugget of truth in his statement, WAR still has the perception of being a WoW clone. Some of my old WoW guildies are not interested in WAR at all because it looks like WoW. It doesn’t matter how much information they read and watch about the game because WAR will always be a copycat to them.

  • Bartle left a longish comment on my blog about this same issue — he does clarify who he was saying it to, but at the same time, I don’t think he vindicates himself, especially in the light of the rest of the article.

  • Not to rain on your parad but I think most who don´t know anything about War and see screenshots and movies from it thinks it is warcraft.

  • Well, I am sure of WARs qualities.

    They way things shape up, in a year, even the most ignorant fool with an interest in the MMO genre will know about WAR and how it kicks ass!

    I just hope, that the Bartle guy feels a little sting, everytime he’s proven wrong. Because then, he’s in for a world of pain!

  • Anyway, academics are just people with the licence to think freely and pursuit their thoughts.

    Even though the long pursuit of becoming an academic does filter out quite effectivly most of the minds actually fit to do so. That’s why the fewest academics come up with really worthwhile thoughts to pursue and research nothing else but utter crap.

    Now I shared some of my free thinking with you. And I ain’t got a licence to do so. Lock me up already!

  • That interview was just plain embarassing. Bartle comes off as a clueless, self-aggrandinzing, incoherent fool.

    He said nothing that wasn’t either entirely obvious or completely nonsensical, most of it being of the latter variety. The WAR comment was the least of it.

    I think he’s out of it. He might have significantly contributed to design theory of online games in his youth, but that was a long time ago. Now that he has his cushy academic career, he is only using his gaming credentials to maintain his professional prestige.

    I’ll go one step further. He’s not the only one. Half of these gaming “gods” have become nothing but frauds with fat consulting salaries and/or corporate spokesmen for attracting investment. Go read Terranova to really see how clueless and full of themselves these people really are.

  • I thought it’s been obvious for almost a decade now, Richard Bartle detests the EQ-model which most of the popular MMORPGs are built upon.

    Take his AH comments for instance: He’s playing dumb, he knows why they emphasis a sellers-market, he’s just baffled that people actually want to play that. He’s always pushed zero-sum economics in games, he likes real-world economies with actual supply & demand. But WoW, EQ, etc. are ALL more of an infinite-supply-so-you-better-support-selling with artificial money-sinks to clean it up.

    His PvP references were much the same again, one perma-death zero sum PvP.

    I understand that to Richard Bartle it must be very frustrating, because supposedly MUDs are the model for MMOs and they ‘solved’ many of the grinding problems a long time ago and those solutions never carried over. He wants a virtual world that means something to him, with real weighted choices and character progression. WAR isn’t any different than WoW from that perspective, he’s right.

    I don’t think that makes him clueless, stupid or an asshole. Incoherent? He was clearer with his “shut down WoW” sentiments, but people misunderstood that too. It wasn’t just about the 800lb gorilla in the room, it was that Richard Bartle would like that entire model thrown out and redesigned from scratch.

    His disconnect here is that his audience currently ~has~ bought into the EQ model. “The Vision” or whatever else you’d like to call it. Some of them even enjoy it. I personally think it’s a reflection of aggressively competitive Western culture, the hamster wheel and all.

    If you assume that the EQ model is necessary and inherent to the genre, like a wheel is the necessary part of a car, then WoW and WAR are all about the differences. This blog and its peers are about discussing / debating the minutia in differences between these games. That’s the focus here and your anger is not that he’s belittled your perspective, he’s discounted it out of hand.

    Last I checked, WAR didn’t have any sort of naturalized character progression, you choose sides and classes. It has levels and the same damn grind of quests. It ~is~ more similar than different to WoW / EQ / etc.. But that’s part of being in a genre, just like when people say RTS they assume the Command & Conquer model (well actually Dune 2, but that’s nitpicking) and would ignore the variations like Powermonger or the Settlers.

    . . .
    Realize also that Richard Bartle does have connections with Mark Jacobs (they shared some of the same colleagues via Kesmai). In a way he’s closer to WAR than anyone posting here. That probably just infuriates you more. =P

  • That’s like saying when you’ve seen one human you’ve seen them all… because we’re all Humans, right?

  • @Keen: No, it’s not like that at all, unless you have bought into it being an invention like the wheel.

    Will WAR be a great improvement on the EQ genre? Sure, I think so. But if you didn’t like EQ, WoW, CoH, DaOC or any of the other games in the sub-genre that’s currently dominating the MMO market, how could you possibly like WAR?

    Me, personally, I’ll probably love the game as the next evolutionary step in the genre, but I also recognize that it IS a victim of the genre too. I think 99% of the fun factors in WAR could have been applied on their own instead of a bandaid on the EQ model.

    Allow the man his opinions, he did give a great big disclaimer about how he’s being interviewed as if he designs these particular games when he doesn’t. He’s into virtual world design and that’s what he consults for. Yes he’s out of his element here, but telling him to educate himself? Waaaaay more assholish than his opinions.

  • Bartle Cleared up the misunderstanding here http://waaagh.wordpress.com/2008/06/21/im-feeling-snarky/

    Hmm, I think perhaps it didn’t come across very well what I was saying with that “I’ve already played Warhammer” remark: I wasn’t saying that WAR was just a knock-off of WoW, I was saying that the Warcraft universe was a knock-off of the Warhammer universe.

    That said, when you take the wider perspective, WAR is indeed quite close to WoW, in the same way that AoC is; it’s an evolutionary change, but it’s not a revolutionary one. It has a very different atmosphere, yes, but what is there that’s new? What’s going to inspire other developers to say “what a great concept – I’m putting that in my game”? Is there anything that’s going to knock our socks off, or are all the changes incremental?

    Remember, by the way, that I was speaking at a conference for independent game developers when that interview was recorded, and that my intended audience was therefore designers, not players. It’s rather ironic that my complaints about complacent design, about lack of experimentation, about giving players the same old fare they’ve been fed for years, is taken as somehow being anti-player and anti-MMO; what I want is a stream of newer, better MMOs, taking us to places we haven’t been dozens of times before, offering experiences that aren’t mere retreads with “more realistic graphics” or “grittier atmosphere”. I want virtual worlds to leap ahead to fulfil their potential, not cling to aging paradigms that hold them back.

    If you seriously think that WoW or WAR or whatever is just a smidge off being the best we’re ever going to get, and that only minor changes to gameplay or atmosphere are all that’s needed for MMOs to reach the pinnacle of what they can be, OK, feel free to take pot shots at me on that basis. If, however, you sense that there’s a sterility to the designs of these worlds, that they have much more promise than what they deliver at the moment, and that there are games that have yet to be written which will blow today’s out of the water, why wouldn’t you want to say so if you were talking to people who have a chance of making them? I was talking to such people, so I said it. Believe it or not, I’m on your side here. Why would I want to design MMOs otherwise?

    Another point: when I said I didn’t play MMOs for fun, I wasn’t saying that MMOs weren’t fun for players, I was saying that they weren’t fun for me. I envy players, in a way, because they get 18 months of fun from an MMO whereas I only get a few hours’ worth. When you’ve looked at play for long enough, you grok the concept. If you think you’re going to play the same kind of way 20 years from now as you do at present, think again: you can’t help but pick up on the patterns, and you can’t help but learn from them, and then you can’t help but lose the desire to run through those patterns time and time again every evening.

    In terms of having fun playing MMOs, this is bad news. In terms of design, though, it has some benefits. If I did enjoy playing MMOs as a player, that would mean I couldn’t really be an unbiased designer. People play MMOs for many reasons, and their different playing styles are all in balance. The key to design isn’t to enjoy play, it’s to understand what the players will enjoy – yet the players enjoy different things. If I were looking through some particular lens of experience (gaining in power, PvP, figuring out how the virtual world works, whatever), that would compromise my ability to provide fun experiences for other types of player. My fun comes from designing and interpreting designs, not from playing; if it came from playing, I couldn’t design for other playing styles.

    As for the “aging rock star” analogy, that would work if I’d ever been a rock star in the first place. I haven’t. People don’t invite me to speak at conferences because of what I did 30 years ago, they invite me because of what I’m saying now. As soon as they think what I’m saying is irrelevant, they’ll stop. That’s the same rationale behind the consultancy work I do, by the way (which, incidentally, means I’m not only “in touch” with today’s virtual worlds, but am also apprised of what the immediate future’s virtual worlds will be, too). In turn, this just adds to my frustration that this industry isn’t moving forward anywhere near as fast as it could and should.

    I believe virtual worlds in general and MMOs in particular are a force for good. I just want to see better ones, before I drop dead of old age.

    by Richard Bartle June 22, 2008 at 6:03 am

  • @Rog: Yes it is like that, however you view them. I agree that he is out of his element. If he wants published interviews on massively, he should actually play the mmos that he pretends to understand. He hasn’t. He may not think he should or does not know how to, but the big wheel keeps turning.

  • Talkin about Bias…

    “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”

    just shows your Bias ProWAR / ContraWoW.

  • ‘Bartle guy’ is about the ‘imitating real life’ approach to the genre. Applying real life limitations, restrictions and consequences to a made up world. Due to the fact, that even ‘Perma Death’ is nothing like ‘IRL Death’, he believes that people will enjoy acting differently in virtual space.

    I believe, there is an audience for this approach to the genre. EVE online is proof of it.

    On the other hand, it’s with MMOs like with s.e.x. Some like their s.ex. to be about fun and enjoyment without ‘suffering’ from the consequences. Other like to build a life around their s.ex.

    I believe most players are more about p.o.r.n s.ex. Come and go f.ck the pain away, so to speak. Because wifey s.ex may not be bad, even better once in a while, but it sure has you set up for life with responsibilties and recurring money sinks.

    Sorry for the wierd s.ex and f.ck stuff. The original comment hasn’t made it somehow. I figured it had to do with the explicit language used.

    Anyways – I hope ‘Bartle guy’ doesn’t get a chance to mess with the games I intend to play. I don’t like his whole ‘adapt the hard knock life to virtual spaces’ approach at all.

  • Btw. I’d really would like to see my original comment published here. I had a lot of fun writing it. More power to explicit se.xual strong language and ana.logies.

  • @Ruursquig: Again, no it isn’t. The human race comparison is a wee bit stretched, the EQ model isn’t the be-all and end-all of games. If you walk up to a golf expert that dislikes baseball and ask for a baseball quote, you’re expecting knowledge of the particular teams? But he may have sporting insights as a whole. That’s what this is akin to.

    I don’t think Richard Bartle is fishing to have published interviews on Massively. This isn’t some guy chasing his Googlerank. He was at a conference, to which he was invited, at which they requested an interview and by accounts he gave them an abridged version of his conference talk.

    So Massively held this for months and then published it now for a bit of a reaction from WAR fans. Classic journalistic stirring up dust, so it’s kind of funny you’re accusing exploitation the other way around. =P

    Here’s a clue, his profession isn’t keeping up on the latest games he doesn’t like. But he went ahead and played around with them anyway for the sake of the press and they’re all too eager to have his insights misunderstood for some page hits.

    All this is, is some fans that feel slighted because their anticipated game wasn’t given much distinction from the guy they’ve accoladed as ~inventing~ what they’re playing.

  • Rog sums it up in post #17. I actually agree with Bartle, of course it’s rather blunt and it’s understandable that people react like Keen and Graev and Tobold, but some provocating words are a good thing every now and then.

    I’m also very much ‘done’ with the EQ-model, the item/level-hunting thing. That’s why I’ll skip WAR/AoC and just wait for EVE like games.

  • @Lumio #21: He didn’t clarify anything for me except making it even more clear that he has never even looked at WAR by saying, “…WAR is indeed quite close to WoW, in the same way that AoC is; it’s an evolutionary change, but it’s not a revolutionary one. It has a very different atmosphere, yes, but what is there that’s new? What’s going to inspire other developers to say “what a great concept – I’m putting that in my game”? Is there anything that’s going to knock our socks off, or are all the changes incremental?”…

    Nothing revolutionary? How about Public Questions? How about the Tome of Knowledge? These will change the way we quest and develop our characters in WAR and any game that chooses to implement a similar design.

    @Sel #23: I lost the bet. I was betting that it would only take 4 hours for someone to come in and try to start a “omg you like WAR more than WoW!” fight; it took 17. I said in that post and in the comments that WoW and WAR are both great games and I showed zero bias in the description. Can you do a better job at explaining their major design differences in 1 sentence?

    @Bowman 25: I’ll try to find it. I wasn’t notified of a comment held for moderation so perhaps it was put in the spam folder.

  • People say that all MMOs are a clone of the ‘EQ model’. That got me thinking – is that really restricted to MMOs? It seems to me that many non-MMO RPGs (that’s singleplayer RPGs) stick to the EQ model, albeit with a couple variants.

    And also, how would a non-EQ MMO work? It’s a totally alien concept to me.

  • He does sound like a pompous ass in the interview, but when I read it I was pretty sure he was just insinuating that WoW is a ripoff of Warhammer, which it is. He never made that overly obvious, but I am pretty sure that is what he meant.

  • Although WoW is a rip off of the IP, it plays absolutely nothing like Warhammer. The lore and basic elements of the game were once similar to Warhammer but over the years Metzen has bastardized the lore and very essence of Warcraft so badly that it’s now almost unrecognizable.

    I don’t buy into the whole “EQ Model” games all being alike or the line drawn in the sand between types and styles of games. That’s like saying “I’ve already played Call of Duty 4, it’s called Counter Strike”. They’re both FPS games and share MANY of the same basic elements. But anyone with half a brain knows how incredibly different these games are from eachother. Everyone knows what CoD4 brought to FPS games and how it sets itself apart.

    As mmorpgs these games are almost nothing alike.

  • Before I read that article I thought Bartle would be a cool person to take a class from, if such a thing were feasible (it’s not).

    After I read that article I realized I’m not missing anything. Seriously.

    He helped create MUDs, and, you know, good for him. But he hasn’t, to my knowledge, ever created anything more modern than that. It would be like Henry Ford telling engineers working on the latest Mustang how they’re doing it all wrong and only he can set them right, because he created the Model T. “I’ve already driven a 2009 Mustang GT, it’s called a 2004 Chevy Corvette”. Well, at least they’re both sports cars.

    Regardless of whether he was trying to say WoW was a ripoff of the Warhammer universe is irrelevant, because the context in which he made his statement makes it clear he’s dismissing the game as no different than WoW, and thus not worthy of his ‘tortured artist’ time.

    He just comes across as a pompous blowhard, and the only reason people take him seriously is out of veneration for something he accomplished a very long time ago. Gamers like to worship and defend their ‘gaming gods’. If he’s not actually a pompous blowhard, then I highly recommend he take some public speaking and speech writing classes, because he’s not doing himself any favors currently.

  • Keen I think all MMOs are similar to the EQ model in the following ways:
    – You have skills accessed from clicking a button.
    – All the content for your level is contained within a short travel of each other.
    – There is no permadeath, just a (varying in size) death penalty.
    – NPCs respawn (Except that bloody wounded child in the Wil Lands of Zelata, eh!?).
    – As you progress, you become stronger, but you can only progress further by moving on and fighting stronger opponents.
    – The game focuses mainly on combat. Crafting, diplomacy, etc are minor aspects of the game.

    But my problem is – how would an MMO work without following that structure? AS far as I can see – it wouldn’t. While there are ‘tweaks’ that can be done to one particular area (ie combos instead of auto-attacks in AoC), they aren’t fundamental changes to the mechanic of the game, and someone who’s experienced in MMOs would adapt to the change in a very small amount of time.

    I kind of think of it like a sheet of paper. It’s the best medium to write on. Every story is written on paper. But saying all stories are the same, just because they’re written on paper, is ludicrous. Each MMO can bring its own features to the table, but, at least within in the forseeable future, they will, invariably stick to the same basic mechanic that EQ used. And because the EQ model is very different to the MUD model, maybe that is the reason Dr. Bartle seems to show a lack of being in touch with the modern MMO scene, as someone else above said.

  • Plenty of other games, RPGs included, work just fine not following that structure.

    It’s a very limiting base model to work from IMHO.

    That said, I’m not completely unhappy with it, I’m just aware that I’d like to see some better, deeper RPG with less of the trappings.

  • Gordo, EVE Online is currently the MMO out there that is much different than other MMO’s on those points. It still borrows a bit from the EQ model, it got the mission-running (quests in EVE) thing to appeal the players that like it, it got the npc’s that still play a big role in the game. It isn’t a ‘pure’ sandbox game, but it’s the closest to that of all the MMO’s. And I think it’s possible to have ‘purer’ sandbox games than EVE. It won’t be most popular games, but it’s possible.

    Also, I’ve never played MUD’s, but a lot of those also kind of followed the ‘EQ’-model. (The makers of EQ also played MUD’s iirc). Back then the MUD’s where you could ‘grind’ levels and items for years were the most popular ones as well.

  • Keen said: Nothing revolutionary? How about Public Questions? How about the Tome of Knowledge? These will change the way we quest and develop our characters in WAR and any game that chooses to implement a similar design.

    Evolutionary would be the right term here. We already have quests and they were a grind. So now we get to grind together seamlessly. The Tome of Knowledge is LOTRO’s Deeds on crack with extra lore. Not being negative. Just saying.

  • Yeah I’d agree Nuyan that EVE is the furthest from your ‘EveryMMO’ out there at the moment, and it’s obvious that from the outset that that is how CCP designed it. Personally I like how that works in theory, but it’s much more difficult to get immersed and dragged in to that kind of game. I agree that there could be more towards the ‘sandbox’ model in MMOs, but the further you stray from the EQ model, the less potential customers you can get. Therefore most companies would stick to the higher sub number.

    And btw, I’m just starting out in EVE (I saw you’re a player from your blog). If you want, I’ll be talking about my experiences in it on my blog 🙂

  • What about a player-skill based game with spontaneous PvP and no death penalty? Is there anything like that released?

    If All Points Bulletin doesn’t become as frustrating as being fragged in CS or TF2 with a monthly payment, then it’s good to go.

    And my opinion on Bartle. Tome of Knowledge and Public Quests provide nothing very different from WoW. If Bartle hasn’t done RvR, he ought to play WAR; if anything for credentials. Thank goodness it’s only to level 40. Other than that, I see where he’s coming from. By saying WAR is WoW, he’s saying WoW is WAR and nobody is making a change in the MMO genre. Which isn’t true, but I see what he means.

  • WAR quests= basically WOW quests but before you do the quests you can kill the monster and get the reward. Basically the same thing but you can do it the other way around.

    RVR= basically a copy of DAOC R V R V R but with two races instead of three, WOW had two races and you could kill the opposing race.

    I can see why he thinks there the same, and I can see why he doesn’t like the EQ model as it seems to be replicated through all MMOs.

    I think if he played EVE Online he would love it, it has more of what he wants in a game then all the rest of the MMOs. Sure it doesn’t have everything, but we will never have because the mentality of the populace is not ready for that kind of game.

    Also I just have to say this small rant on single player games


    What the hell happened to RPGS? They used to be so great you have your storyline you go through you beat some bosses, you go through the plot twists and you beat the final boss which was easier then the second to final boss. Now a days RPGs are just looking at the MMO games and copying them, you have a bare bones plot, your quests boil down to go in cave and defeat rats and there are no bosses in sight. What happened to thinking about your equipment and thinking about what kind of magic you want because you had a low magic pool. Now a days equipment comes in two flavours brown or red and you progress in a linear fashoin and magic is just at a click of a button and you automatically learn them. No fun side quests, no treasure hunting for rare Sword +6. Its just horrible.

    *END RANT*

  • Sylar, I don’t agree with your analysis of WAR, but I do see where you’re coming from. It isn’t revolutionary, but it certainly is evolutionary in many places, taking the faults of previous MMOs and attempting to set them right. On the topic of your rant, I agree. MMORPGs and normal RPGs should be different in more than just the name. There are reasons why MMORPGs must be the way they are, but there is no reason for traditional RPGs to emulate them. They are allowed greater freedom as you’re not attempting to create a persistent world.

  • But my problem is – how would an MMO work without following that structure?

    EVE has been mentioned, another example would be A Tale In The Desert. If Atriarch would ever be finished, it would also be one that deviates in significant ways towards that MMOG structure you mention.

    Look these up. You might not like them, but they do have some different ideas on how to do things.

  • Will do. As I said I’ve recently started EVE (see my blog :)) and I’ll look up the other two you mentioned.

  • You aswell are ignorant for not even thinking that mr.bartle might be actually right. And not look at warhammer from a different point of view.

  • […] recently as a Richard Bartle interview on Massively caused eyebrows to crinkle, and when some folks raised questions about Bartle’s current relevance, such discussion was met with rebuttal or […]

  • Hey Keen! What do I get for winning that bet?! 😛

    This will definitely be the hottest WAR topic this week and it wasn’t even intended to be so!

  • “But my problem is – how would an MMO work without following that structure?” – Gordo

    EVE Online, Ultima Online, Puzzle Pirates, A Tale in the Desert, Second Life, There… plenty of other roads to take other than level-based class-restricted grind-to-cap-then-raid designs.

  • @Keen: “That’s like saying “I’ve already played Call of Duty 4, it’s called Counter Strike”. They’re both FPS games and share MANY of the same basic elements. But anyone with half a brain knows how incredibly different these games are from eachother. Everyone knows what CoD4 brought to FPS games and how it sets itself apart.”

    There you’re doing the equivalent of comparing WAR (CoD4) to UO (CS), rather than WoW (BF*).

  • @Michael: Replace CS with BF and there is still a huge difference. I picked two games at random that were years apart.

    @Zelmor: Actually, I can appreciate the game at a lower level of game design – something Richard Bartle has shown he can not. I know EXACTLY what Bartle is trying to say he meant. I simply disagree completely. When I look at EQ and WoW I see two mmorpgs, yes, but I see two completely different games that can be enjoyed for what they are and celebrated for what they bring to the table.

    I did not and will not ever say “Oh, that’s just another WoW clone so I’m not going to play it” or lump games together in a category because they use the same basic principles. That makes them similar in scope but says nothing to their vastly different approaches to gameplay.

  • What a pointless post. What were you trying to acheive with it? It certainly highlights where your talents lie.

    Just like this comment, it does nothing but highlight the bias of the poster. It adds nothing to the debate.

    What I do like is the fact that Bartle can make the tiny world of the MMO blogosphere go beserk with frothing fanboys and armchair designers coming out of the woodwork with one small statement (taken completely out of context and, to my mind, the least interesting part of the interview). This is not the first time he’s done it, nor will it be the last.

    What he says gets people thinking about the subject, right or wrong, he starts debates.

    When was the last time _you_ did that?

  • @TickledBlue: You’re right, this post does nothing except state my opinion that I see what he says as completely ridiculous. What’s that? Can it be that I have fulfilled the requirements for a blog post?!

    Oh, and to answer your question: June 25th, 2008 at 8:10pm.

  • @Keen: My point was that the differences there appear to be between WAR and WoW are more akin to the systemic progression between between BF2* and CoD4, then the more substantial dissimilarity between their “modern” playstyle and the CS match model. Small changes can have an enormous impact on a social environment, so by describing something as evolutionary I’m not intending to dismiss the effect those changes will hopefully have on the end-user WAR ecosystem.

    You’ll have read Bartle’s explanation that the Sentence Of Doom was intended to be a snark about the Blizzard/GW failed-licence mythos. With that in mind, what might you change if you were to update your original article?

  • I would change nothing. Reading the interview at Massively it’s clear the tone and context in which Bartle made that statement do not fix any snark at the failed license. It’s very clear what he meant. Following Bartle’s career he has made his mark out there by saying stupid things like shutting down WoW. His opinion of mmorpgs is very black and white. I mean come on, he pushes perma-death with a cult-like dedication.

    He meant what he said exactly how he said it. He thinks, or thought at the time, that WAR will be exactly like WoW. Even though we all know that these games have things in them common to all mmorpgs of this particular type, his comment was meant to be snarky. I refuse to allow stupid statements like that be propagated by someone who DOES have influence that reaches beyond the employees of Areae defending him. People listen to him and for him to say something like that without the slightest bit of clarification is stupid.