Stropp's World

Games And Gamery

Failure Is An Option

Posted by Stropp on February 9, 2013

Tobold’s post today is concerned with the nostalgia aspect of being a MMORPG player. It is a post in which he raises some good points. But he also makes an interesting comment. A comment I have heard a lot regarding MMORPG developers, or just game developers in general. And this highlighted something I’ve been thinking about lately.

while Camelot Unchained will only have the PvP part. Does anybody really believe this is going to be a huge success? Especially since Mark Jacobs previous attempt to make a new DAoC-successor, Warhammer Online, was such a big success…

It seems to be a common theme that when a developer lets down the player audience by producing a flop, then he suddenly falls into the category of “will never create a good game again.”

Whenever such an announcement is posted on a gaming site such as RPS, the comment section is immediately filled with butt-hurt comments stating how he failed on such-and-such a game and “I’ll never buy a game he’s made again.”

So Tobolds point of sarcasm in his post stands out and surprised me a little coming from someone who works as a scientist. After all science is not only built on failure, it depends on failure. And if we really think about it, so is life.

The thing is we sometimes learn more by failure than we do by success. Edison when he was asked about all his failed attempts to create the light-bulb said that he didn’t fail on each attempt, in fact with each failed try he learned a new way not to learn how to make a light-bulb. Could we say the same thing about Warhammer Online?

Does the fact that Jacobs has failed with one attempt to create a successor to DAOC mean that all subsequent attempts will also be failures?

On the contrary, for Mark Jacobs, Warhammer Online was an experience in learning how not to make a successor to Warhammer Online. Doesn’t this increase the chance that the next attempt will be successful assuming he learned the lessons of WO?

I just wonder, if Edison had listened to a gaggle of followers who continually complained about his previous light-bulb attempts and how any light-bulb he created was doomed to failure, then would we all be still living by candlelight?

Will Jacobs succeed or fail this time around? Who knows, but if he listens to the naysayers, then we’ll never know, and who knows we may even be deprived of the greatest game ever made.

Everything we have, all our conveniences and necessities, were built by people who failed but then tried again.

Is Rift Starting To Fizzle?

Posted by Stropp on April 23, 2011

Predictions of doom. Every game has them, and bloggers love to give them.

Keen just asked:

I’m anticipating the game to start fizzling out sometime in the next few weeks.  Friends of mine and some people whose blogs/websites I follow have already reported a decline in the overall number of people on servers and actively doing things.  Anyone else notice this?

The short answer is no.

The longer answer is that any noticable differences in population is more likely to be due to players spreading out across zones rather than deserting the game.

Consider that at this stage (6 to 8 weeks) with Warhammer Online, during Australian primetime, I could run across some of the lower level zones and not see a single player. In Rift at 6 to 8 weeks, it’s rare not to see other players. Meridian always has players, and yesterday in Stonefield there had to be at least 30 players battling a major rift invasion.

Sure, Rift will have lost some players. There will always be new players who try out the game, not like it, and leave. That’s not fizzle, that’s just the way it works.

Aside from the fuss over the World Event, it looks like Rift is doing just fine.

It is certainly doing better than Warhammer Online, and that game is still running and under active development.

EA – Mass Layoff Effect

Posted by Stropp on November 10, 2009

The game-o-sphere is all a flurry about the big layoffs at Electronic Arts at the moment.

With 1500 job being dumped at EA, including 80 at Mythic which is a bit less than half their staff, you’d be forgiven for thinking that EA is in financial difficulty. And you’d be right as this year their revenue has declined by something like 20 percent.

There aren’t too many business that wouldn’t lay off some staff under those kind of circumstances.

Still, EA hasn’t really got that great a reputation for employee management. Even in the best of times they tend to work them like dogs, and then dump them when projects fail, and sometimes even when they are successfully completed. So it’s no surprise that the same happens when times are tough.

1500 employees though. That’s a lot, and considering many of those would be the creatives. The people who make the games, there may not be as many in-house games being developed by EA over the next few years.

Which could be a silver lining in all this. EA is certainly going to want to sell as many games as it can, so we can expect it to go outside to get them. This could be a good time for non-affiliate game developers (I’m not talking small indie developers here) to develop their own IP and look to EA to do the publishing. This may even lead to us seeing some break-the-mould games appearing somewhere down the track.

The Mythic layoffs are concerning though. With many of their development staff layed off, it’s hard to see how they are going to do more than just maintain Warhammer Online. It’s entirely possible all we’ll see from now on are patches and minor content updates. New expansions, difficult to see them happening with such a heavily reduced staff.

I’m even going to go so far as suggest that Warhammer might now be on life support with the hand of the EA board hovering over the switch.

I think it also shows that these internal teams are regarded by EA as only as good as (the board of directors perception of) their last game. If Mythic, a popular and successful developer, can be gutted because Warhammer didn’t meet expectations, then perhaps no team is safe.

I’m sure the Bioware team is completely aware of that little fact.

Warhammer Online – Just in it for the Hat.

Posted by Stropp on August 15, 2008


A few of the guys over at Casualties of WAR have been getting their creative on and making up some brilliant recruitment posters for the guild.

[adsense_id="1"]Since I find myself leaning towards the Witch Hunter class for my first character, I promise you there will be others, I thought you might like to see our Witch Hunter recruitment poster. Over the next few weeks, I’ll put up some more of our recruitment posters as they come along — we have some real talent in the guild.

Speaking of that, the other day we passed one hundred applicants and since then there have been quite a few others. The momentum is really building up, not just for the game, but for the guild. At this rate I wouldn’t be surprised if we hit two or three hundred members when the game goes live.

If you are interesting in joining up with a bunch of crazy bloggers, apply here.