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Jul 20, 2007

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1.

I'd do exactly what you did, Richard.

If I was not to follow in your illustrious footsteps, I'd get Star Wars: Galaxies fixed. Not in the roll-back the NGE sense, but in just taking the universe, taking out the good bits, and making it just plain better. Player government, guild cities, the Star Wars universe... combined with a quest system that doesn't suck.

I would make millions.

2.

I'd choose WoW and order my developers to implement the 32-point list (http://www.digitalalloy.com/da/moralrust/) and let them worry about implementation details. I'm sure that minor stuff like balancing the game cannot take more than a week or two.

3.

Gosh, those spambots don't waste time, do they?

Richard

4.

Neither do I.

5.

I would take over WoW and FFXI and smash them together. The play style of FFXI would be reserved for higher levels only (as it can be harder) and the WoW style for the earlier levels. I would lean more towards the artwork of FFXI, but work the playful look of WoW into it a little more. I would also keep the out door raid bosses of FFXI and the instanced dungeons of WoW in order to give a wider spectrum of choices for differing play styles. I would also keep the quest style of leveling as a stronger component (like in WoW) thus alleviating the grind found in FFXI. I would also keep the server style of FFXI, i.e. not having separate servers for different regions so that players have more opportunity to interact with people from all over the world.

6.

I'd take a single months revenue from WOW and go make a new MMO. Because making an MMO is more fun than running one.

7.

My SO would never touch a MMORPG, but she asked me to install Google Earth, so I guess that would be the most promising platform to evolve. Turn Google Earth more world-like with more social features.

8.

When I saw the title of the article, I expected something more... contriversial, for the reason to close WoW. Sensationalist journalism ftl. I actually like the reason you gave. Though I think I'd still prefer not to have WoW closed, just because it really puts the "massive" in mmo.

I'd probably take over WoW too, but I'd probably just toss in a huge list of changes, most notably, redo everything between lvl 20 and 50, and probably add a bunch of content there too.

9.

My 14 year old nephew wants to take over Conquer Online. He said the open pvp makes it a perfect world.

10.

thoreau>My 14 year old nephew wants to take over Conquer Online. He said the open pvp makes it a perfect world.

Ah, but what would he do with it when he took it over?

Richard

11.

I was almost to mention SL, but then i realised it's not a MMORPG but a Virtual World, a Plarform, the Web 3 and so on; and it's not major anyways.
So i'll stick to WoW : i'd took some money from it and buy an icecream , that's all . Anything else can rest the same , it works fine for me.

12.

Verilzac said, Though I think I'd still prefer not to have WoW closed, just because it really puts the "massive" in mmo.

"massive" is about 200 concurrent per server. =P

Original question: If you could take over control of one major MMORPG - which would you choose and what would you do with it?

I'd take over Vanguard, pretend that I'm capable of convincing people to give me money, and finish the damn thing.

13.

Can I get my hands on the God-knows-how-far-from-completion Marvel or DC MMOs? I have TONS of ideas to force onto those before they go into Beta...for instance, take one server and run it like the old MU*s I used to play on in the 90s, where you COULD play as Spider-Man or the Flash or whomever, but (a) you had to write a thorough application showing you understood the character, (b) you had to log in and roleplay regularly and (c) you could be "fired" and have a character seized if you failed to either stick to established character or didn't login. Commercial suicide? Probably, but nobody said we had to do something that was a GOOD idea. (NON-insipid ideas I'd like to implement on one of those games would include huge "crossover" events, with epic encounters and mission strings only available once, tying into a world-changing live event, customizable super powers and other wackiness not possible in City of Heroes)

14.

Krista-Lee Malone>I would take over WoW and FFXI and smash them together.

You don't get to take over two, just one. That being the case, which of these two would you take as the model and then patch in the bits of the other you liked? And which one's endgame would you go for?

Richard

15.

Shalkis>I'd choose WoW and order my developers to implement the 32-point list

Why choose WoW? Aren't there others closer to having all those points in them already, UO?

Richard

16.

Michael Chui>I'd take over Vanguard, pretend that I'm capable of convincing people to give me money, and finish the damn thing.

So do you feel Vanguard is basically sound yet incomplete (as was, say, the original SW:G)? Or would some of that money be spent on undoing some already-implemented design decisions?

Richard

17.

I’d take over Lord of the Rings Online and turn it into a “casual only” game. The lore is well suited to it. Soft cap experience and loot gain so it is only worth gaming 10 hrs a week. After that, people can do more social stuff.

Then I would get out the Un-nerf bat. Give each class some abilities that are balanced for fun. Give rogues a real pick pocket skill, with experience gain. Give mages some really massive damage spells, but on long timers. All the fun stuff that was removed to prevent the hardcore from leveling to 50 in a month. And I would happily wave goodbye to the gold farmers.

18.

thoreau>My 14 year old nephew wants to take over Conquer Online. He said the open pvp makes it a perfect world.

Richard>Ah, but what would he do with it when he took it over?

His response was, 'I'd ask the players.'

CO went through an economic change recently with the devs adding a new revenue element. Previously Dragonballs (used to upgrade items) could be purchased with real world dollars from the devs or from other players using in game currency. The player trade value was about 5 million silver. Dragonballs are also a rarely looted item.

The price has risen to around 40-60 million silver(depending on server) due to the addition of ingame malls that sell unique/elite items for Conquer Points. These points are earned by trading in Dragonballs. The result is that players who can afford to buy DBs with dollars have a decided advantage.

I think it's interesting that my nephew's first response was 'ask the players.' Perhaps without knowing he believes in the collective intelligence of groups.

19.

Richard>Why choose WoW? Aren't there others closer to having all those points in them already, UO?
There are, but that's not the point. It's easy to make wishlists, but implementing them is a whole different matter. I chose WoW, because Blizzard is currently the market leader in MMORPGs and thus have the largest pool of resources. Even they struggle with such "trivial" things like class balance.

What Blizzard has done well is making the game fun. Even the most tedious grinds in WoW are pure bliss when compared to other games. Sure, being able to create a whole player-driven economy might sound good on paper. I'd imagine it would be great fun to play an admiral commanding a fleet managed by player characters and built from player-gathered and player-refined materials. But who would ever want to play the poor lumberjack who has to grind 100 000 trees to build all that?

Making the perfect MMORPG is pointless if it's not fun to play.

20.

Sigh, ok, I would take over WoW, as it is overall a more enjoyable game to play, but then take some of the visuals from FFXI as well as the server/player make-up (i.e. non-regional). I would also take the sub-job idea and multiple classes for one character from FFXI as I think that might make leveling interesting in the WoW format and also because I think it might effect player identification with the avatar.

21.

Here's another one. Rollback AO by removing all fantasy references that was added later, adding the kind of social simulation features Midgard was supposed to have and turn it into a hard-core roleplay environment that is a true continuation of the background novel. Not cheap, but eh...

22.

I wouldnt close wow. I'd instead grow obscenely rich off it.

However thinking a bit more rhetorically, If I could control one game?

I'd take EVE , make me a titan blob and kill BOB. *shrug* Im just a gamer really.

23.

On second thoughts its not a verry useful post I just made there..... lol. :)

24.

Me>Ah, but what would he do with it when he took it over?

thoreau>His response was, 'I'd ask the players.'

Well, this is certainly a refreshing idea on his part - it's more than most designers would consider doing.

The thing is, though, "the players" don't all have the same opinions as each other. When he says he'd ask "the players", what would he do if they told him they wanted several contradictory things?

>I think it's interesting that my nephew's first response was 'ask the players.'

Yes, so do I - it's actually quite astute.

>Perhaps without knowing he believes in the collective intelligence of groups.

Perhaps he does, although in practice groups don't stack up well against individual experts except in wisdom of crowds situations.

Richard

25.

Krista-Lee Malone>as well as the server/player make-up (i.e. non-regional).

WoW had some non-regional servers in Europe. One of my students played on the Greek/Italian server, and found it to be split along national lines in a very unpleasant manner. I don't know what it's like now, but it wasn't a whole bundle of fun at the time.

Is there something about FF XI that makes it more conducive to non-regional play than other virtual worlds? Or do you think the Greek/Italian WoW server was a result of bad management rather than WoW's design?

Richard

26.

Thoreau said, "I think it's interesting that my nephew's first response was 'ask the players.' Perhaps without knowing he believes in the collective intelligence of groups."

And Richard responds, "The thing is, though, "the players" don't all have the same opinions as each other. When he says he'd ask "the players", what would he do if they told him they wanted several contradictory things?" Almost as if to resist the idea as impracticle and impossible to achieve. Richard, is this what you meant? But aren't players the ones "playing" the game and thus determine success and failure and this innocent remark to ask the players seems to highlight a potential means to offer a truely interactive and down right fun experience by eliminating the frustration of varying expectations.

I think a certain amount of disagreement is inevitable. But as Richard has said countless times in the past games are about rules. Malaby will be quick to point out that a game is a semi-bounded system of unpredictability, an area where a lot of these comments point. The thing is MMOs traditionally offer a limited set of alternatives. Wow has over 100 North American servers and only 3 basic rule variants. It seems the future of virtual worlds lies in developers' ability to offer a multiplicity of gaming environments that are simultaneously seperate and together. Paradox lost: contraditions define the synthetic frontier. Its time developers embrace it. That said, I would choose WoW and integrate Warcraft 3 and dota heavily into the game, restoring the legendary content that Blizzard exiles fought so hard to protect.

27.

His response was, 'I'd ask the players.'

So when the players disagree, you choose the feature that the majority likes. Ad infinitum.

Historically, this has tended to produce niche genres, as Raph Koster has pointed out. A game starts out simple, but gradually becomes more and more complex and in-bred until it has a very small but extremely vocal/loyal population... who eventually die of old age.

One example that Raph uses is Wargames.

Another non-game example is Star Trek, with huge amounts of lore that thrills the Trekkies, but ends up scaring most other people away.

The fundamental problem is that you're polling an audience from a self-selected population, who repeatedly self-select after every poll-induced change.

AI often encounters this problem. To create a speech recognition system, you first have a few people record a hundred sentences each. You then manually identify where all the phonemes start and stop. (Many hours of work.) These are used to train your initial model for what the phonemes sound like.

Next, you get several thousand people to record 100 sentences. Using the training from the hand-labelled phonemes, you figure out the phoneme start/stop for the 100,000 sentences. This produces a new model for what phonemes sound like.

If you use that new model, and re-identify the phoneme start/stop of the 100,000 sentences, your speech recognition system improves. However, if you repeat the process a few more times, you'll (usually) find that speech recogntion gets worse.

28.

So when the players disagree, you choose the feature that the majority likes. Ad infinitum.

Hardly, if designers did that they would have no grind and no players. Kids want to eat sweets, non-stop.

(I think niche-games arise because designers design the games they would like to play themselves.)

29.

Lavant>When he says he'd ask "the players", what would he do if they told him they wanted several contradictory things?" Almost as if to resist the idea as impracticle and impossible to achieve. Richard, is this what you meant?

Not at all, I think designers should listen to players. That's not the end of the story, though, because having listened to the players you have to decide what to do about it. You can't simply do what the players say, because they say different things. They also ask for things you can't deliver because it costs too much (or indeed might be impossible whatever your resources - actual time travel is a common one, for example). Thus, even if you were committed to being merely an implementer of player ideas, you still have to go through an editing process to decide which of these ideas to implement.

>But aren't players the ones "playing" the game and thus determine success and failure

They are the ones playing it, yes. However, they're playing it because they're players, not because they're designers.

The last Harry Potter novel just came out (thank goodness!). JK Rowling has herself said that she looks at fan sites to see what it is her readers think will happen next, so she can be said to listen to her readers. It's possible that some of the suggestions that she read might have made it to the actual books, because she liked them and they fit in with her vision. However, there's no way on Earth that she would change her vision, her plots, her characters or anything else on the basis of what the readers say. "But aren't readers the ones 'reading' the books and thus determine success and failure?".

>It seems the future of virtual worlds lies in developers' ability to offer a multiplicity of gaming environments that are simultaneously seperate and together.

This would be a lot easier if they could guarantee they'd have a large number of servers, but they can't. A new game world may launch with 10 different versions on 10 different servers, only to find they attract insufficient players to fill any of them. Only the ones with a lot of money to spend have a hope of being able to do this, and even they can have problems if critical reception is bad.

What I personally would like to see are virtual worlds that start off the same but change because of what the players do in them. If players can shape the virtual environment and the virtual society through in-context play (building houses and shops, for example) then server X and server Y could be markedly different, even though they're both running the same code from the same starting point. That would be interesting, and would (hopefully) allow players with particular styles to find a server that fitted how they wanted to play.

Richard

30.

If players can shape the virtual environment and the virtual society through in-context play

That's not very different from MUDs that allow users to build.

31.

Richard,
I did not know that WoW had done that in Europe. I don't know that FFXI was more conducive to non-regional play. There were some perceived "problems" that people had with sharing servers (it was mostly split between Americans and Japanese) but it did not seem to me like a major issue. I could be viewing this from an outside of normal perspective however, as I was studying Japanese in school at the time and I did not find it difficult to negotiate my way through groups of American or Japanese players. My reasoning for preferring shared servers is because I enjoyed the cross cultural exchange of ideas and information I had access to too by simply chatting with people from the other side of the world while in town or in groups together. My question would be why did the Italians and Greeks not get along? Is there something about WoW or are we perhaps seeing differing play styles evolving out of the different cultures (as was the case for some of the issues I saw in FFXI)?

32.

The Italian/Greek server problem was probably because very few greeks speak english, and very very few italians do.

Needless to say, it's also rare that greeks speak italian and vice versa.

So how can you expect a server population to mix if it doesnt share a language?

33.

I'd have to take over Linden Research in order to take over Second Life. First off I'd fire most of top management. They had their chance. Then I'd firewall off the existing mess game thingy and let it run as-is for a short while (even including the ill conceived unidirectionally floating pretend money). I'd bring on some folks I know in upper-market, high fashion retail apparel and reorient the platform as a virtual mall, complete with all the immersion and social networks, but taking away most "player created" control, except under very closely monitored situations in regulated sandbox areas. Like a real mall, the riff-raff would be tossed out so as to create an environment conducive to retail commerce.

Then I'd license the laser measurement fitting equipment from Zara and integrate that with avatars so as to allow people to create specifically accurate avatars, with which they could actually attempt to shop, try on, and experience different clothing & accessories.

I'd bring across anyone with skills and maturity who wanted to make real money from the old "Second Life"; mainly designers and artists. Note, I'd replace the existing LSL and custom graphics tools with those more common in the graphics and apparel design industries. LSL would become irrelevant except during the legacy transition. I won't go into my concepts for architectural changes, but suffices to say the goal is an order of magnitude faster delivery of content to client with lots less micro-scripting and lots more cached/pre-delivered content.

I'd support microtransactions for cutesy toys, but all "credits" whatever they'd be called would be in fixed real-world denominations. Most transactions wouldn't be micro anyway as the goal is augmenting real-world commerce.

Over time I'd just spin out the original Second Life as an open source server-project, and I'd unburden the company from the operational costs. My company would still drive some of the standards processes, but I'd expect the OSS codebase to rapidly fragment into a "we liked it the old way" group of pseudo-libertarians and a larger group of "let's establish some general rules for Web3.0 protocols". The latter would be motivated by real world financial opportunities, which would at first be in applying what I described above to appropriate internet retail web commerce.

Seriously, someone should approach the syndicate and offer to buy out Linden. I'm sure the investors are starting to think exit, and LL is in a deceleration mode, so it's ripe. I'd be pursing something like this but I got pulled into the world of CO2e offsets...

34.

Linden will ask for an unreasonably high price, since they drink their own kool-aid, and if you're going to disallow most user-created content why bother with the clunky SL platform?

It'd be cheaper to just roll your own solution to the market needs you're talking about.

--matt

35.

Thoreau’s 14 year old nephew is the future of gaming!

Well, maybe not exactly though it’s not far off. I recently read an interview with Guy Kawasaki and Scott Berkun, speaking of innovation.

“Innovation is difficult, risky work, and the older you are, the greater the odds you’ll realize this is the case. That explanation works best. Beethoven didn’t write his nineth symphony until late in his life, so we know many creatives stay creative no matter how old they are. But their willingness to endure all the stresses and challenges of bringing an idea to the world diminishes. They understand the costs better from the life experience. The young don’t know what their is to fear, have stronger urges to prove themselves, and have fewer commitments—for example, children and mortgages. These factors that make it easier to try crazy things.”

The 14 year olds quick answer “I’d ask the players” is great in its simplicity. Most of us here know the tug of war between the player community and developers. And as thrilling at is, we know people disagree and the developers can’t change their “vision”. That actually reminds me of an old George Carlin joke about praying and God’s divine plan…

The reason I am stuck on this topic is not just because I tend to hire guys under the age of 25, but I think “asking” the player community goes a little more then just talking to them, but data mining would also fall under this category. Since Thoreau’s nephew was talking about the Free to Play game Conquer Online I can give a very good example about “asking the players” in data mining. He mentioned Item Malls. These are essential the life blood of the games. With data mining we can peer into the world of numbers and watch what players actually do in game and not just the vocal minority on our forums. For instance one free to play community of a game I was consulting for was actively fighting over many things like PvP systems, New Quest, new maps , etc. We read the forums and emails and brained stormed how we could change the systems and add new features and what would solve the complaints the quickest so we could make a profit.

We turned to the analytics tools and looked at what players where actually doing in game. We noticed many players trying to upgrade their armor through the crafting system and failing. It seemed to be a small fix, and as low hanging fruits are sometimes the best we decided to ad a solution to the games item mall. That little fix upped sells by 50% and player retention by 10% for a few months after.


Original Question:
If you could take over control of one major MMORPG - which would you choose and what would you do with it?


I would take Everquest II. Keep in mind I have never played EQ1 or EQ2. I would change the games business model to Free to Play. I would add both premium subscriptions and an item mall to generate revenue. I would then have Andrew Tepper in charge of the game’s “vision” as well as allow players to create content ( e.i , they can create their own custom armors) and then I would allow them to sell them inside of the games item mall and I would take a 90% cut.

36.

Krista-Lee Malone,

I like your idea; I would make a small interjection to its possibility.

I have a similar story, as I was studying Japanese and playing on an Ultima Online free shard. It was fantastic to be able to practice my language skills and play games with kids from Chiba.

On the free Shard, the Asian kids hung out in the city of Skara Brae. Whenever I wanted to practice my Japanese or find a partner for 2v2 duels I’d go there.

What I think would be a cool idea for a MassiveMO would be to have islands, and the players IP address would designate what islands they started on. Chinese IP’s would start on the island of “Lu” where American IP’s start on the island of “Smith”.

The islands or continents could allow the players to explore and grow without needing to travel to another island, but the option would be there.

Technically, I’m sure it will be possible in the future to create massive worlds like this. It might already be.

37.

>"massive" is about 200 concurrent per server. =P

Ah, but that changes the minute I enter battlegrounds, I may still be only in a match of 20-80 people, but it's rarely the same people every time, and after dwelling in the right forums, I can start connecting with a community of people spread across more than just one server.

38.

Ola Fosheim Grøstad>That's not very different from MUDs that allow users to build.

Right, but it's different from MOOs that do, which is what I was trying to say. Letting ordinary players hire workers to build a castle to an architectural plan is different to letting them build a zepellin made of ferns. The former works in game-like worlds, but the latter only really works for social worlds.

Richard

39.

Krista-Lee Malone>My question would be why did the Italians and Greeks not get along?

Unless Greeks and Italians hold grudges for 2,000 years, there's no traditional enmity between the two.

There might have been less of a problem if one group constituted a much smaller proportion of the player population than the other, say <10%, but they were pretty evenly balanced.

I agree with Thomas: a lot of the problem was that neither side much shared a common language. They were supposed to talk in English, but they soon reverted to their own languages. This inevitably caused friction, but nevertheless it doesn't explain why it turned into attack-on-sight. They could, presumably, have gone their separate ways and barely interacted a all, rather than interacted through conflict.

>Is there something about WoW or are we perhaps seeing differing play styles evolving out of the different cultures

This is a question to which I don't have an answer. I suspect that it's both. Firstly, it's perfectly possible to create a virtual world that would not implement conflict between players, and therefore the design must play a part. Secondly, there are other games in which different populations have behaved differently. I seem to recall that Shadowbane had servers that could be accessed by Americans and Chinese, and whereas the American attitude was "you're from China, cool!", the Chinese attitude was "you're not from China, MUAHAHAHA!".

EVE has a single server world which draws its populations from across the globe, and some groups organise themselves along national or linguistic lines. It seems to be big enough for everyone, though.

Richard

40.

I'd take over WoW.

Then I'd sack everyone involved in the decision that led to me having to buy a US copy of the game and register a US account to play with a particular friend, which then stopped me from playing with any of my other friends back here in the UK. Such a spiteful piece of business.

Then I'd put some more stuff in to break down the tedious horde/alliance guff.

41.

I would start a fresh Open-Source MMORPG based on Peer2Peer networking. No need to massive central servers. Server load would be shared between clients and a central infrastructure would contain databases, basic synchronisation and stuff like that...

This would be the way to go!

42.

I would take over Club Penguin relaunch it with high-level igloo raids and epic sleds.

43.

I'd take over Areae. I'd let Raph Koster & company finish whatever it is they're working on but since it's mine I'd be sure to get in the closed beta.

44.

i'd convince hasbro on releasing a MMO based on the d&d campaign setting of forgotten realms. it'd crush wow in a few weeks, i'm pretty sure.

45.

One thing I think would be good would be to take over second life, wait for it.......

Ban RMT's , and introduce a $10month fee but have unlimited copy rights. Remove the copy protection bullshit, and finally allow Second life to flourish

For those unhappy with that, I'd produce a tool to get the 'creations' off the server into autocad (or whatever) format then remind them that goldfarmers are not welcome and get the hell out.

Finally the game would see the explosion of creativity its always promised but never been able to achieve.

Games are for gamers , not pricks trying to monetise our fun.

46.

If you could take over control of one major MMORPG - which would you choose and what would you do with it?

Two options:

1. Take over ProgressQuest, rename it, add marketing that sounds completely serious. Collect millions. Retire.

2. (with respect to Mike Rozak) Take over the currently in-development Star Trek Online, use the lore to justify a design that offers story-driven combat/exploration/roleplay content in about a 25/40/35 percentage distribution, rather than the adrenaline-driven 75/10/15 distribution of flippin' near every MMORPG currently or imminently available. Now that games based on the Star Wars and LoTR licenses are set in stone, the Star Trek license is the last best hope for gamers looking for a major mass-market alternative to "kill it before it dies and take its stuff."

What I personally would like to see are virtual worlds that start off the same but change because of what the players do in them. ... That would be interesting, and would (hopefully) allow players with particular styles to find a server that fitted how they wanted to play.

I've been wishing for a while that someone would try a design like this. (Would "dynamically adaptive gameplay" be an acceptable name for this? Must have a name, preferably one that can be smushed into a pronounceable acronym....)

I remember suggesting something like this some months back. The corollary, as I recall, was that when deciding which server to create a new character on, you'd see the most prominent style of gameplay on each server. That way you'd be able to choose the server with the gameplay you like.

The main problem I've imagined with a design like this is the crystallization effect. Suppose that a game server opens with fundamental/generic rules in place that favor no particular style. As soon as it opens, presuming the game is marginally popular there'd be a land rush. Once enough people have played for long enough, the server would "decide" which style of gameplay rules is most prominent and start listing that style on the character creation screen... at which point that server's gameplay would crystallize; it would be unlikely to change. Adaptation stops, at which point the concept of dynamically adaptive gameplay effectively ceases to exist.

Further, what happens if the first people to rush onto every new server are the same type of player? How could this system insure that all designated styles have at least one server that's "theirs?" You could launch with N + X servers, where each of the N servers is predetermined to one of your designated styles and all X servers are free-form until they crystallize -- but wouldn't offering predetermined servers undermine somewhat the idea of dynamically adaptive gameplay?

Finally, I'd note that even a "crystallized" server would theoretically still be free to change its published "most popular style." This could happen if the player population were to change in some radical way so that adaptation once again kicked in. The thing is, what if a server did significantly change its gameplay? The new players would be happy, but what would be the likely reaction of those players whose preferred gamestyle is no longer the most favored on that server? Would a free character transfer utility be a requirement for a game like this where the very nature of the world in which one has invested one's time and care could change?

More questions, questions....

--Bart

47.

@Matt

Linden will ask for an unreasonably high price, since they drink their own kool-aid, and if you're going to disallow most user-created content why bother with the clunky SL platform?

It'd be cheaper to just roll your own solution to the market needs you're talking about.

Two reasons:

1. Maybe "The Lindens" drank their own poison punch, but the investors are just playacting. They will sell for a reasonable exit. I don't know Linden's cap table, of course, but even a significant minority stake by Benchmark, Globespan, et. al. can force them to sell. VCs don't drink Kool-Aid, they market it.

2. It is very hard to convince VCs to fund development like this. So even the klunky client and poor architectural decisions are easier to sell than a blue-sky new project.

Further, there is real value in Second Life's "player generated content system". Buy opening up to more standard, non-proprietary design tools and layering very tight security and authorizations it should be possible to leverage "player generated" for "consultant generated/ad agency generated/design studio generated" ecosystem not unlike the current Web 1.5 e-commerce sphere.

Anyone can create an AJAX web site. But only people The Gap permits can implement what they create on their site. That model should extend to Web 3.0.

The smallest worry in all this is whatever LL's current management wants. The danger of drinking Kool Aid is that if and when goals change, so do the Kool Aid drinkers. I'd guess very few would make the transition.

Hey, just my $0.02USD, nominal (but still backed by a sovereign power).

48.

Ace Albion says, "Then I'd sack everyone involved in the decision that led to me having to buy a US copy of the game and register a US account to play with a particular friend, which then stopped me from playing with any of my other friends back here in the UK. Such a spiteful piece of business."

Know how you feel. Having to own a Euro copy bought off of ebay and figuring out how to get it shipped here and then paying double subscriptions just to be able to play in German, French, Spansish and English x2 is one pain in the pocket book, not to mention the characters that get spread thin...In light of this I would take over wow and integrate instancing as they have already done for Battlegrounds, make PVP a zero sum game as they have done for the arena and make a global chat channel. As was said above 200 concurrent users is hardly massive. Lets see truely MMORPGS. 8.5 million and only a small fraction of people to find.

49.

LEKO>I would start a fresh Open-Source MMORPG based on Peer2Peer networking.

So your answer to the question "If you could take over control of one major MMORPG - which would you choose and what would you do with it?" is that you would start your own P2P world?

>This would be the way to go!

It may well be, but that wasn't the question.

thiago falcao>i'd convince hasbro on releasing a MMO based on the d&d campaign setting of forgotten realms. it'd crush wow in a few weeks, i'm pretty sure.

Again, you may have a point there (if the design, development and operation of Forgotten Realms Online were good enough), but it doesn't answer the question.

Are you both saying that the original question is unanswerable in your cases? You wouldn't take over any worlds and do anything with them? I can see this point of view - I'd rather design my own worlds than redesign someone else's - but I still answered the question when asked.

Richard

50.

Like randolfe, I'd take SL. But I'd do some different stuff with it.

We've seen from Google (and others) that advertising is a great way to monetize a discovery platform. If Google charged its public users to search, they'd be dead. If they charged advertisers to put Google ads on their sites, they'd be dead. You enable a transaction, make transparent money on the fly-by, and get out of the way.

I (like randolfe) would get rid of the $LD. We have money; don't need fake money if you're actually going to translate it back. If there is a need for micro-transactions, you just horde them until you get to a point of reasonable transfer.

I'd stop charging for land in terms of dollars, but make people earn it in terms of participatory activities. Free to play, free to build, free to expand... as long as you're doing stuff that adds value. Everybody gets a starter chunk of land, even for free. Enough for a house. Fine. If you want a bigger chunk of land... you have to participate. That could be anything from engaging in conversations and getting good ratings from others, to hosting events, to creating new prims/textures/animations, to importing new music, etc. etc. Anything that adds to the collective creation, that's rewarded with more space. Groups/guilds that want to combine and add their collective juju... great. At that point, you end up with the beginnings of real government (or at least guilderment), because if I'm going to contribute my creative earnings to an establishment, I'm going to want a say in how they're used to expand the domain.

Same should be true for commercial ventures. If you're a Gap or Old Navy... you start with a house, just like everybody. Want a "Gap Island?" Earn it in creative levels like everyone else.

Creativity and contribution, in a space like SL, should be the prime determinants of visibility and land availability. If you're doing interesting stuff that makes the space more compelling for others, you get more of it. If you're boring (or if you just want to consume), you don't deserve (or need) space.

Power to the crafters! Power to the writers, musicians, event organizers, conversationalists and painters! Power to the people who improve the experience, not to those who can afford the rent.

51.

> Letting ordinary players hire workers to build a castle to an architectural plan is different to letting them build a zepellin made of ferns. The former works in game-like worlds, but the latter only really works for social worlds.

But zepellins made of ferns are so cool!
I've been thinking for a while about how to build a social world so that as it evolves it tends towards game like worlds. I think it could be done. You would need some sort of peer-review for content to actually be 'in game'. I think it would work a little like wikipedia, but as a game (Bruce Sterlings closing remkarks at SXSW are worth a read for more on what I mean, starting with 'Yochai Benkler' on http://blog.brian-fitzgerald.net/?p=174.) You may also need to have the structural 'game' logic be defined externally so that nobody meta-games the content so that their guild becomes uber powerful.

As to the actual question of this thread:

Playful answer: WoW. Hire some profesional writers (and editors) to create new quests. Create a new skin for the client so that the colors are less garish (but keep the old one for those players who like that). Or maybe even make the client open source because there's bound to be something nice coming out of that (may have issues with cheating though). 'Improve' the combat (not sure how, needs to be practical, needs to be 'deeper', needs to stay simple for those that currently like it and needs to have a better balance between frantic and boring). Provide some way for solo players to see the 'raid' content without needing to be on a raid (probably save something for the 'raid' players though, such as the best drops). Expand on the crafting system, try to add some skill to it. Basically, take the game and make it something that I would enjoy, since it looks like my wife is going to keep wanting me to play it with her for the next few years.

Serious answer: Depends, the question seems to have the subtext of 'and you don't need to worry about the bottom line'. If that is actually the case, then I would take a game which I already like, but that is currently small scale and increase the scope. Not so much make it mainstream, as add features that I would like to see in them. At this point, that would be Skotos (and make it graphical, in the style of an adventure game rather than a CRPG). But if I was given the oportunity, I'd probably do a fair bit more research on what was out there first. (And yes, I guess Skotos isn't realy 'one' game, so my second uninformed choice would be puzzle pirates, and add more 'story' elements).
If money was a constraint, I'd probably be back on WoW, but my focus would be on ensuring that new content was targeted at different types of players rather than just high level hard core players. Oh, and I'd also put a bunch of energy into improving their tools. I don't know the quality of them currently, but whatever they are, they're not good enough. Excelent tools are a good investment when you know you are going to keep using them to create new content for a long while yet.

-Kalev

52.

Richard Bartle: Right, but it's different from MOOs that do, which is what I was trying to say.

I was more thinking of LPs that allow you to build after playing through what exists. That way players are (somewhat) more likely to build to that worlds uniqueness (though, even more likely to follow their own ideas).

If you have 10 servers with 3000 players each, they probably (in a rather statistical way) will become too similar to distinguish themselves. You need a 10 different visions and some editorial control if you want them to take different directions.

Non-visionaries, or even large numbers of visionaries with no coordinateion, create suburbs.

53.

@Richard Bartle

I know I didn't answered your question directly, but taking over something already running with a community that already grew is way too risky and complicated. And anyone answer would be good. All MMOs can be improved in a way or another.

I would take over a blank sheet, with all modern concepts and ideas.

The main problem with current MMOs in my opinion is the inability to match casual and hardcore players together. An hardcore player should find in casual/low-experience player a great help or support.

My answer to your question would be : I'll take over [PUT_ANY_MMO_GAME_HERE] and make it that interaction between casual/hardcore possible and rewarding for both parties.

54.

> Non-visionaries, or even large numbers of visionaries with no coordinateion, create suburbs.

Not quite. In an environment in which the location that you build your castle or house has no gameplay effect, everyone will build everything everywhere. If the location does mater, but all your feedback loops are negative (or you just don't have feedback loops), then your visionaries will quickly learn to copy whatever the other servers have done 'right'. However, in the case where you have both meaningful gameplay effect, and strong positive feedback, each server will quickly gain its own personality as players learn to maximize their gains within the environment particular to that server.

-Kalev

55.

Got any examples? All the examples I can think of, where there are multiple participants with no coordination mechanisms, have shown tendencies towards unstructured (fictionally) senseless layouts.

What do you mean by "positive feedback" and what makes it so different from "negative feedback" in this context? Why do you feel that negative feedback lead to homogeneity while positive feedback does not?

56.

@andy

Power to the crafters! Power to the writers, musicians, event organizers, conversationalists and painters! Power to the people who improve the experience, not to those who can afford the rent.

...and power to those who provide the capital, means, markets and management knowhow to make all those things valuable in a way that is meaningful beyond one's own playgroup.

57.

> Got any examples?

Nope, I'm far too much of a theorist for that. :p

> What do you mean by "positive feedback" and what makes it so different from "negative feedback" in this context?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feedback#Types_of_feedback

> Why do you feel that negative feedback lead to homogeneity while positive feedback does not?

All other things being equal, a strategy that works well in one case will work well in another case. If two servers start the same, as the begin to diverge, if there isn't any positive feedback to make the divergence have a signifigant game effect, a strategy that works well on one server will also work well on all other servers.

However, from a design perspective positive feedback is scary. It is, by definition, unmanageable (mostly). If not used very carefuly, it can easily unbalance any system (including a game). So we are unlikely to see any successful games that allow for this until game designers get much better at designing games.

-Kalev

58.

Ok, the link describes positive feedback as feedback that produce more output, and negative feedback as feedback that produce less output.

In that case you probably need more in order to balance the system, we might talk about exhibitors and inhibitors. Yes, that can work to some extent. You can get both variation and stability, but then is more a question of designing a system that is able to adapt to different topologies.

You'll get zebras that have slightly different stripes, but most people won't be able to tell the difference unless they are allowed to compare them directly. You could do better than that probably, but designing such a system is not easy, since humans are likely to understand the system and mess it up.

I've got a feeling this isn't what you meant, I guess we lack some examples here. ;-)

59.

No, you've got it, and the inherent problems. I'd suggest that in the case of a virtual world though, we're essentially looking at two different zebra's from the point of view of a flea that knows it starts on the head. And from the flea's perspective the differences are black and white. And yes, you can do slightly better than that without too much detriment anyways.
But the problem isn't just from players messing things up by understanding the whole system. All you need is for one player to accidentally find one small loophole, and not even understand why it works, for everything to come crashing down.

-Kalev

60.

@dmx

The Second Life you long for already exists. All you have to do is find 29 other people in the world who agree with you, and start with one sim, at $10 each per month after the initial startup cost. Keep it to yourselves, advertise it, gather more people, expand to more sims, and build, create, share, in any way you like, in a continent of cooperation and creativity.

You can do that today. The real question is, why aren't you?

61.

Not sure exactly what you are proposing, but the gist of 'why talk about what you can do instead of doing it' is an easy answer: time.
It takes much more time to do than to talk, and I have other projects/experiments that I am doing that also take time.
As to why talk about something that I'm not doing: I enjoy playing with ideas, and in a discussion I am likely to find new ways (or even refinements of existing ways) to play with those ideas.

-Kalev

62.

oh, you were asking someone else... never mind :p

63.

If it's just MMORPGs, I wouldn't bother. Killing WoW might be amusing to watch a few million (1 "registered account" < 1 user) fanboys scream and then swarm some other MMORPG.

If we change this to the broader category of Virtual World instead of the far less interesting subspecies "MMORPG", I'd take over Linden Lab, quite naturally, and direct them to do three things:

First, make a simplified novice user interface mode, probably eerily similar to The Lounge's UI. All people initially want to do is move, chat, gesture, touch things, and change clothes. No reason to throw them into the advanced UI right up front. Stop sending people to the evil Linden Disorientation Island, send them to simplified OIs with helpful staff and a better selection of free appearances/outfits. Instead of the current complex Inventory and Appearance controls, you'd use a mix-and-match "closet" to select items from a flat-file inventory to combine into an outfit, and then could quickly switch between outfits from the novice UI.

Second, split the servers into an authentication/financial layer, a grid layer (sim placement and assets), and a simulation layer. This is already mostly done, but there is some work left to do.

Third, license the sim server and a local-copy-only grid server as a commercial product (say, the current island setup cost of $1700 minus hosting costs of $300/mo. = $1400). This will allow any adult with a bit of investment to run a local sandbox with no authentication, money, or Agni-based objects, or connect up to Agni like you do today ("Agni" is the SL main grid). There are some ugly questions about content at this point; copying content off the originating grid will basically destroy copy protection. But we knew that day was coming, and will have to switch to legal protections instead of a cheap technical fix. The current copyright dispute by Stroker Serpentine is hugely important in this coming situation. Thieves can be sued or prosecuted in the meatworld legal system, just as they can when they steal assets from a web site.

Rake in the dough as you no longer have the obscene operating costs of the current grid, but still make money on the software, Lindex, land listings, classifieds, search, etc.

Way down after that, finishing HTML-on-a-prim, speeding up scripting, and upgrading the physics engine, and so on. Features are less important than ease of use and reducing operating costs.

Actually, I'm apathetic on even having a physics engine. It's part of the "games" legacy crap that has nothing to do with SL. There are plenty of games for people who like those, and WoW-playing teenage males are an unwelcome vermin species in SL. Killing physics would massively reduce the CPU load, and make scripted objects run much faster. You can currently disable physics at the sim level, but it makes it impossible for avatars to move; fixing that to enable non-physical movement with bare-minimum collision-checking in non-physical sims would hugely improve a lot of places.

Most of this is in LL's long-term plans, but their current priorities are different than mine.


64.

@randolfe: Indeed! Power to the publishers, owners and operators. I agree. In terms of SL, though, I think that they would create a more powerful, interesting and lucrative platform by making creativity the main medium of exchange.

Right now, all I need to create a big space in SL is money and time. Or money to hire a handful of designers... and time. And then I can have my big, lonely island sitting there with nobody on it and thousands of prims and textures and content that nobody knows about or will visit, because it's very, very hard to find interesting things except by WOM or "who's visiting now" stats.

The basis of ownership right now in SL is virtual land. Which is mad, because it's not a fundamental requirement or element of virtual experience where player (or user, anyway) created content is the norm. In a gamey world where you use land to grow crops, train troops, mine for craft stuff... yeah. Then land is a thing that is worth having from a "points" basis.

What are "points" in SL? Why would I want to visit the home of Mr. Smith as opposed to Ms. Jones? Assuming they want more interaction, that is. Should I visit Mr. Smith because he has a bigger island and more content? Well, right now, "big and more" doesn't equal interesting or good.

So, by all means, I want SL (or something like it) to succeed for the owners. But I have a fundamental problem with the idea that money = land = prims = ability to do more. There are probably many, many players who could ratchet up into selling really interesting stuff and services (making money for SL in sales tax, which I think should be the main form of revenue), if there was a point system based on creativity that rewarded adding "good stuff" to the system.

For example, let's suppose that at Level 1, you get your house, a max number of prims, and the right to engage in a certain level of economic activity. Perhaps, at Level 1, you only make X number of transactions per day, or have a total of X items on sale in your house/store. If you do some stuff that shows you're adding value (again, not just content creation; conversations, player ratings, buying other's stuff, service provision), you move to Level 2, get a bigger place, and earn the right to sell more, buy more, do more.

SL is missing game elements that allow for folks to have a more granular, smooth-curve experience. There isn't a way for me to see, "Ah. You're serious about improving the space, not just a tourist or a rating hog or compulsive group-joiner."

So, yes. Power to the owners! But in the case of SL, that power comes (or will come) from good content, which comes from good players, which is based on creativity. Reward that, and you reward everyone.

65.

@Andy Havens: "if there was a point system based on creativity that rewarded adding "good stuff" to the system."

Uh, there is. It's called "Linden Dollars". You make stuff, and use a small initial investment (and there are in-world banks which will give you small business loans!) to rent a vendor in some mall. People "vote" for your work by buying it. When you have enough "points", you can use those "points" to rent land. Now you can set up a real shop, and sell more products.

Traffic has been horribly abused by casinos and camping chairs, but in theory it represents how interesting someplace is. It's pretty easy to find stuff, in my experience, by actually using the LL search system (not too good, but still worth a small classified fee IMO) and the web-based searches (SLBoutique or whatever it's called now, SLExchange, SearchSL, etc.)

I would suggest reading a few books on starting a small business (in the real world), and applying the same principles in SL. That's the primary "game" played by most creative people in SL, and it uses a much more advanced, well-tested, and interesting system of feedback than you're proposing: real economics.

66.

Andy: Power to the crafters! Power to the writers, musicians, event organizers, conversationalists and painters! Power to the people who improve the experience, not to those who can afford the rent.

Randolfe: ...and power to those who provide the capital, means, markets and management knowhow to make all those things valuable in a way that is meaningful beyond one's own playgroup.

Like Randolfe and Andy I'd take SL and 1) peg the Linden directly to RL currency, 2) implement new top-down monetization strategies (like prototyping avatars and objects, creating Avatar cards and online 3D greetings, create rich 3D pokes --Facebook on steroids-- for sale, etc), 3) encourage more complex bottom-up creativity by providing more real rewards like land and social status / recognition (builder of the month awards,etc), bring back DWELL as a force that encourages socially-centered emergence 4) leave a huge section of SL (say 80%) as is (laissez faire), and zone 20% of the servers for well thought out cells of worlds (the Multiverse strategy - top-down and contest based) like a WoW/Fantasy clone, Myst clone, Star Wars / Sci-Fi area, Furries Land, Night Club land, Best of All Builds land, International It's a Small World Land, Best Designed Land Contest Land, etc, 5) implement deliberate proven Web 2.0 UGC strategies either by creating such structures around zones, guilds, certain demographics or by striking deals with Facebook/MySpace/etc and letting them take care of business in-world, 6) launch a campaign to recruit new businesses / groups / organizations with a lot of real-world clout / brand presence to join well thought out zoned areas or malls and create dense, rich, more valuable thematic areas, 7) design a comprehensive top-down / bottom-up learning island system. Etc.

Basically, the new approach would set aside a big chunk of SL for Top Down LL strategies that would encourage more complex social, building, gameplay, and economic behavior. If SL is a sandbox, the parent company should be playing as well and guiding along the emergence by setting really cool, complex, fun to use examples.

67.

I'd also hire Kami to implement her big three changes, make Randolfe the monetization czar, and pay Andy as a gameplay consultant.

68.

> Again, you may have a point there (if the design, development and operation of Forgotten Realms Online were good enough), but it doesn't answer the question.

> Are you both saying that the original question is unanswerable in your cases? You wouldn't take over any worlds and do anything with them? I can see this point of view - I'd rather design my own worlds than redesign someone else's - but I still answered the question when asked.

--

I dont think the question is unanswerable. Let's get straight to it, I'd take over WoW, and what I'd do has nothing to do with the 'virtual'. I'd hire some handful of writers to 'translate' whatever was happening to the MMO into books, the same way Wizards of the Coast does with their tabletop RPG Worlds. This would expand the market in a good sense, as long as I managed to make the users to BE IMPORTANT. Being a character in a printed book merely 'cause you were having fun would be extend the virtual to a non-touched frontier. And I say 'make the characters important', cause there's a lot of literature (even comics written by good writers, like richard knaak) that are author-created, and not colaborative, in that way.

But i honestly still think that if Forgotten Realms become a MMO, it'd be crushing. It's the most famous secondary world in the globe - there is no way it'd fail, even if it was a lousy VW.

69.

If I could take over any one MMORPG, I think I'd take over Magic the Gathering Online, and put a "shell" around it based on my Furcadia engine, so people had a world to socialize in between games. I'd add a variety of things other than cards and avatars for players to acquire either with their existing virtual currency (tix), or through accomplishments in the game, or both.

I think virtual item sales in the US market is still in it's infancy, we're still way behind Korea on that score.

70.

@Kami: "Uh, there is. It's called "Linden Dollars".

Well... yes and no. Yes, in that I can spend/earn Lindens on/by creating stuff. No, in that I can also pay Linden in RL dollars for as many Lindens as I can afford, and I can buy land with real money, regardless of my creative abilities or contributions.

"Traffic has been horribly abused by casinos and camping chairs, but in theory it represents how interesting someplace is."

Again... kinda. Traffic is to *places.* Because land is the root of commerce. And traffic isn't a measure of interest or newness or creativity or content, but of popularity. If that popularity was based on scales of interesting content driving people, that'd be fine. And, I agree, in some cases it is. But in many, popularity is based simply on where people decide to gang up, not on the content/experience of the place, per se.

"It's pretty easy to find stuff, in my experience, by actually using the LL search system (not too good, but still worth a small classified fee IMO) and the web-based searches (SLBoutique or whatever it's called now, SLExchange, SearchSL, etc.)"

Sure. You can sometimes find what's there now. I'm not arguing with that. But the embedded search engine is deeply crappy, and the popularity rank attached to it isn't helpful if you're looking for popularity over time, length of time people spend somewhere, etc. etc.

"I would suggest reading a few books on starting a small business... That's the primary "game" played by most creative people in SL, and it uses a much more advanced, well-tested, and interesting system of feedback than you're proposing: real economics."

Real economics work in situations where economics are the basis for all transactions. But you don't have to "earn" land or Lindens in SL; you can buy them with dollars. If I felt like it, and had the money, I could get the "high score" on SL currently by buying all the available land. That's not earning the right to present content, it's buying it.

Imagine a blog where authors are invited to write based on purchasing a number of words. Yes, some would write great stuff in a very few words; some would do so with larger chunks of purchased words. But if you use a search engine to then drive people to posts, those who spend the most on their word count get the most access.

RL economics is fascinating; I've been working in marketing and advertising for almost 20 years, and it is a great "game." But it's not being purely ported to SL; it's two games in one. They overlap, and, I think, badly when it comes to economics and rewarding creativity.

71.

@Thomas
Whereas i can see that the lack of a common language can be a serious problem for interaction, FFXI tried to accommodate this with a rudimentary translator. This in itself made for interesting conversations through the creative use of spell names in the translator being used to reference other actions. For example, there was a spell "bio" in the translator that also came to be recognized in context as someone informing the party they are going afk for a bathroom break. I also think the physical gestures available (and could be elaborated upon) can be successfully used to communicate in parties.
I can however, understand that many people may not want this type of challenge in their play and in that respect I think Steve Wade's idea of separate language based islands would be a solution to make everyone happy.

72.

@Andy

Well said. On this particular SL-related topic I think we're largely in agreement. I think one of the issues with the whole SL-economy/business/commerce thing is that so many people think it *is* equivalent to, or even a replacement for real economics/business/commerce; something I've gone to some pains to document as a fallacy. It's something different, with aspects of those things.

My comments were really not an answer to the original question because I'm not really interested in doing a MMOG/VW game, per se. I'm interested in leveraging the SL platform and structure to enable much more accessible and compelling retail e-commerce/web shopping. Virtual malls where people can meet, pout and preen, and get a real immersive feel for what they're about to blow $350 bucks on sight unseen. And when it arrives, have it be liked enough to not be returned.

But in my vision the fashionistas and soccer moms e-shop not so they can buy a $0.45 cartoon dress to hang out with their cartoon friends. They and their friends get the cartoon dresses for free to entice them to buy a $350 dress (which they'll inevitably wear in the real world with their real friends).

And if anyone was going to say "you can do that now, *inside* Second Life! All hail Great Leader Rosedale Linden!": save your breath. I'm talking about a scale many times bigger than all of your precious "Linden Economy" on its most euphorically exaggerated media day.

I wonder Linden Research's management are sharing what they're smoking with their VCs. I mean, come on already. It's sorely obvious at this point. Or perhaps there's something to the whole Fox-I buyout rumor after all... That would be a shame, because they'll just manage to kill it slowly.

73.

thiago falcao>I'd hire some handful of writers to 'translate' whatever was happening to the MMO into books

Would you do this at the level of the story arc ("scourge invasion", that kind of thing) or would you do it at the level of the individual? The former isn't all that different to what happens anyway with spin-off products, but being able to buy a book which was a personalised account of your avatar's activities, based on their quest history and a great deal of data mining but strung together with generic yet powerful narrative chunks written by those writers you hired - now that would would be interesting. Even a weekly account of goings-on on the server based on the actions of individuals and guilds would be popular and could make people feel they'd made a difference (or at least been noticed).

>This would expand the market in a good sense, as long as I managed to make the users to BE IMPORTANT.

The spin-offs would have to be good, though. The ones for EverQuest were aimed at the younger end of the player base and not all that thoughtful.

>But i honestly still think that if Forgotten Realms become a MMO, it'd be crushing.

I agree - if it were done right. It's all too easy to take a good intellectual property and ruin it through poor design.

>It's the most famous secondary world in the globe - there is no way it'd fail, even if it was a lousy VW.

Oh, I think you'll find there are plenty of ways it could fail...

Richard

74.

> based on their quest history and a great deal of data mining but strung together with generic yet powerful narrative chunks written by those writers you hired - now that would would be interesting. Even a weekly account of goings-on on the server based on the actions of individuals and guilds would be popular and could make people feel they'd made a difference (or at least been noticed).


That was precisely my point. Glad u enjoyed it.


> The spin-offs would have to be good, though. The ones for EverQuest were aimed at the younger end of the player base and not all that thoughtful.


Yeah, u right. I'm afraid that, tho, I dont know a lot about EQ, except for the read of the previous Lisbeth Klastrup work. Being brazilian, I have awakened to the VWs very lately. I saw, tho, that Discovery series, and got a little bit of info.


> I agree - if it were done right. It's all too easy to take a good intellectual property and ruin it through poor design.


I'm not sure I'm the proper one to argue on it, 'cause there's a lot of fan of the D&D line in me, but when I look at Gen Con and the lots that Wizards of the Coast products worldwide sold, I see the lack of a VW that, sooner than later, I expect, they'll notice.


> Oh, I think you'll find there are plenty of ways it could fail...


Perhaps you're right - probably you are, anyway. But Hasbro is a kinda billion dollar company who COULD hire the best designers in the world, alongside with the power to unite them under a lot of powerful services. Let's not forget there's a "D&D Warcraft" printed by WotC, and if they took to this VW half of the quality they take to their printed products, oh, this would be a cool VW indeed. And I couldnt wait to lose myself within.

And the fact here is not either if i'm fan or not. It's the unquestionable quality control they apply to their printed line.

75.

thiago falcao>Hasbro is a kinda billion dollar company who COULD hire the best designers in the world, alongside with the power to unite them under a lot of powerful services.

Yes, they COULD, but according to what you wrote earlier "there is no way it'd fail, even if it was a lousy VW". If Hasbro shared that point of view, would they spend a pot of money making a first class product or spend half a pot of money making a second class product?

Richard

76.

Dr. Cat>If I could take over any one MMORPG, I think I'd take over Magic the Gathering Online, and put a "shell" around it based on my Furcadia engine, so people had a world to socialize in between games.

Isn't this the thinking behind Sony's Home world? (Except sadly they won't be using the Furcadia engine).

Richard

77.

Bartle > Yes, they COULD, but according to what you wrote earlier "there is no way it'd fail, even if it was a lousy VW". If Hasbro shared that point of view, would they spend a pot of money making a first class product or spend half a pot of money making a second class product?

Now, THIS is a tricky question. :)

78.

Well I'd probably take over WoW get rich and then use the cash to fund any number of seemingly crazy more experimental worlds.

I'd also start adding more content that more players can see and less raids. When only 3% of your players are expected to see some content I don't really thing it's worth the amount of effort they use to create it (Naxx, Black Temple)

79.

Forgotten Realms...It's the most famous secondary world in the globe. ???

Besides Tolkein, Star Wars and Harry Potter, of course ;-)

80.

I just learned that Barbie Girls signed on 3 million girls (I can only assume) in the first 60 days, and is now getting 50K new sign-ons a day. It is still in Beta. I would like to be a fly on the wall in Mattel's boardroom as they discuss this one. If it were mine, I would do a lot of user testing and make damn sure the 1.0 release doesn't let down my audience!
http://blog.sciam.com/index.php?title=guess_who_just_launched_the_fastest_grow&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

82.

I would take over Lord of the Rings online Shadows of Angmar

Change it to permadeath Then let the monster players out of Ettenmoors free to roam middle earth.

It would be messy at first, but in time and with some other minor changes I feel players would learn to form close knit communities for mutual protection.

You never know they might even learn to live in peace for periods and respect each others territory.

The minor changes off the top of my head:

Wargs would loose their invisibility in return for greater run speed and be able to carry another player as a mount.

Monster players would need to level and craft etc. the same as the free peoples and therefore be subject to the permadeath rule.

No fighting inside buildings so they become sanctuaries

High level guards in low level “newbie” areas

Towns and keeps capable of falling into enemy hands like the current ones in Ettenmoors.

Some rules to prevent one side dominating the other.

That’s about it.

I’m not a fan of PVP I find it quite boring, perhaps that’s because my characters are always immortal or because there is nothing really worth fighting for.

Roy,

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