Design for the 100,000

Yesterday’s reminiscing about Ultima Online and the uncertain future of the MMORPG industry had me reflecting on this question: “What made Ultima Online, the oft-referred grandfather of MMORPGs, successful?”

UO had roughly 100,000 paying subscribers around 6 months after it released in September of 1997. Most people would agree it was an amazing game — it was “the next best thing” of its time.

Have you seen the list of games that released in 1997? Go ahead and Google it. On that list are some of the widely acknowledged best games of all times. Many of them outsold UO. Many of them are far better remembered — probably most of them. And a great many of them sure looked and played a heck of a lot more advanced than UO.

So it wasn’t the prettiest or most complicated game and it didn’t have the widest appeal. What then?

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Smed and Raph agree about AI; Smed wants to make the Next Big Thing

Smedley’s tweet to Raph Koster has made its rounds in the MMO sphere these past few days. Raph was talking about simulationism and Smed chimed in talking about deep ai and machine learning as the future — to which Raph agrees. The next statements are what made the headlines. Raph says to imagine UO’s original ecology, to which Smed says he already accomplished it with Hero’s Song (that game he failed to make a few years ago) and that he ‘will‘ make ‘that‘ game which is the next EverQuest.

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The Biggest Challenge of Playing an MMORPG

We’re all going to have our different answers on this one. What do you think is the biggest challenge about playing an MMORPG? To really answer this question, we have to toss aside some of the obvious disqualifiers. The obvious answers that don’t count (but are indirectly valid) would relate to having an MMORPG even worth playing, having one that doesn’t fail after 3 months, etc. Assuming there is a game that’ll last for a while, what challenges do you face?

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There’s No Shift Back to Old School MMORPGs

I had a friend ask me what I thought about the MMO industry going back to the old school style of games. Then I saw this question from the Pantheon twitter account. What do you think about the industry’s recent shift back to older school games and vanilla re-launches/servers?

MMO industry going back to old school style of games?

Industry shifting back to old school games and re-launches?

I’m not living in the same world, I guess.

The MMO industry has not shifted anywhere. In fact, the MMO “industry” is quickly losing its “industry” status altogether. The MMO genre has been dead for several years now, with a handful of strong titles still living on to keep that flame from going out.

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‘Pokémon: Let’s Go!’ Captures the Spirit of Pokemon

Pokémon: Let’s Go came out this weekend. Both Graev and I picked up the Let’s Go Pikachu edition because… Pikachu, duh! (We will still like you if you picked Eevee.)

As Pokémon fanatics, and Nintendo Switch aficionados, we couldn’t have been more excited for the two to finally come together. Does it live up to the hype and excitement for us?

First, let’s talk about some of the big questions we’ve seen out there. I had a lot of questions going in that I really couldn’t find the answers to in reviews from people who got advanced copies, so I had to wait and experience the game myself. Hopefully these help anyone out there curious about whether or not the game is fun or right for them.

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