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Posts with tag EQ

EQ dev: WoW wouldn't exist without EQ

Videogamer.com has an interview up with Ryan Barker, the lead designer for seminal MMORPG EverQuest. When asked if he thought WoW would exist without EQ having been around, he replied that he didn't think so, and that Blizzard designers would likely agree with that statement.

I think he's right, too. The success of EQ allowed for countless imitators and innovators to follow in its footsteps, and WoW is certainly both of those things. What made WoW successful in the first place, beyond brand recognition, was the fact that the developers -- whose team consisted of a number of former EQ devs and prominent community members! -- refined and added on so many features cribbed from EQ. They made the formerly hardcore-only genre accessible to a wide variety of players and age groups, and in doing so broke subscriber and sales records -- thus continuing to make new MMOs financially plausible. And with WoW's improvements to the diku formula, the genre is now filled with WoW imitators as well. History repeats itself.

Sure, it's entirely possible that WoW could have existed without the advent of EQ, but it would have been a very different game if it existed at all. And I doubt it would have been anywhere near as good without having been able to learn from EQ's myriad mistakes or study its successes. We owe a lot to Old Man EQ. Now get off his lawn.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

15 Minutes of Fame: WoW's new wave of new gamers

15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes – from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about at 15minutesoffame (at) wowinsider (dot) com.

When I received a news tip from from Rainnajax of US Uldaman-H about being an "older female gamer," I admit that I rolled my eyes. Please, not another one who thinks having two X chromosomes makes her the most special snowflake ... Not another one who thinks being over 30 years old qualifies her as one of the Ancients ... When I read her entire email, though, I realized Rainnajax's experience was actually intriguing – but not for the reasons she thought.

While Rainnajax may perceive herself as something still a little unusual among WoW players, I see her as the type of player who's becoming the new norm. She's less remarkable for being female or "older" – or even for belonging to a well known gay and bi-friendly guild -- than she is for being among the new wave of players who'd never imagined themselves playing a video game ... until they tried WoW. MMORPGs are no longer the province of a single type of player anymore. Rainnajax is here as an example of today's new-to-gaming, non-gender- or age-specific player.

Read more →

Filed under: Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

A Tigole flashback to Legacy of Steel

Reader Dbandith sent us this little gem-- it's Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan's old EQ guild page from back in 2002. Back before Blizzard really got started with World of Warcraft, they raided (pun intended) the biggest guilds in a few other MMOs, most notably EverQuest, for developers, and some of those folks became the Blues that we know and love today. I know both Tigole and Alex "Furor" Afrasiabi came from EQ guilds (and in fact, their old guilds still play WoW, and it's gotten them in trouble at least once), and Rob Pardo originally ran Legacy of Steel, the guild that Tigole came from.

But this little flashback is extremely interesting, not only for the post at the top of the page-- it's very cool to see a fresh-faced Tigole, one excited about breaking the MMO mold and not a guy concerned with balancing Arena Ratings and an expansion beta schedule-- but also for the expletive-filled post at the bottom. "Fix your goddamn buggy bull**** half-assed encounters," rages Tigole at the EQ staff. And he sounds just like the same folks raging on the forums about Blizzard's current problems, even if their language isn't quite as strong as his.

Now don't get me wrong-- Kaplan and Blizzard have done an amazing job, and created one of the best games in history. Fighting over Brewfest bugs (or even one tree of one class in the game) is 1000% better than fighting over the entire act of playing the game itself-- there's no question in my mind that Kaplan and all of the other raiders brought on board at Blizzard pushed the MMO genre light years ahead of where it was back in their raiding time. But it is an interesting sight to see Blizzard devs on the other side of the message board posting button, raging against mistakes in implementation just as so many on Blizzard's forums are today.

Thanks, Dbandith!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Leveling

Why other MMOs remain the underdogs


Over at MMOG Nation Michael tries to answer the question of why Everquest 2 remains an underdog in the MMO market despite numerous updates and improvements to the game by SOE. And I've got to say I agree with his answer -- whether we're talking about Everquest 2, Lord of the Rings Online, or even Star Wars Galaxies (do people still play that game?). Despite how good other games may be, if all of your friends play World of Warcraft, I bet you're going to be playing World of Warcraft, too.

While MMOGCHART hasn't been updated in nearly a year now, their last set of data breaking down the number of active subscribers maintained by all of the major MMOs at the time showed World of Warcraft holding over 50% of the market, leaving a dozen games to split the remaining half of the market. And just looking at my circle of friends, all of them play World of Warcraft -- a couple of them play Everquest on the side, several of us play Lord of the Rings Online as well, and one dabbles in the world of Final Fantasy. But if I want to hang out with all of my friends, I've got to log on to World of Warcraft. So how's the next big thing going to break into the market when all of my friends -- and probably yours -- play WoW? I'm guessing it won't be able to simply be a Warcraft-alike, but be something so far beyond World of Warcraft today that it will draw in the same mass of subscribers WoW did in its initial release.

So what do you think the next big thing will be in the MMO market -- or is it so far off that we'll all just be playing a different Blizzard game by then? (I'm still waiting on World of Starcraft, thank you very much!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

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