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Posts with tag mark-kern

Community Blog Topic: Is leveling too easy?

Community Blog Post Is leveling too easy
Recently Mark Kern, former Blizzard developer, claimed that World of Warcraft and MMOs in general are too easy. He said that the journey is too quick and therefore people are only enjoying the endgame content. Is he right?

There is no disputing the fact that leveling is quick and easy in WoW right now. Players can run random dungeons one right after the other and get from 15 to endgame rather quickly. Questing is more streamlined as well. And there are many other ways to get experience, such as pet battles and archaeology. Add to all of this the heirloom and experience buffs and you can zip from beginning to end without seeing much of the in-between.

But the heirlooms aren't mandatory and neither is running dungeons. Is the speed and ease of leveling in the eye of the beholder?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Former WoW developer Mark Kern wonders if WoW is too easy

Former WoW developer Mark Kern wonders if WoW is too easy
Mark Kern, who left Blizzard way back in 2005 to found Red 5 Studios, is working on a new free to play, sci-fi MMO called Firefall -- and has some less than flattering things to say about the game WoW has become. His top complaint: that MMOs are now too easy. "When was the last time you died in a starter zone?" Kern muses. "Sometimes I look at WoW and think 'what have we done?' I think I know. I think we killed a genre."

The easier content, he argues, means both developers and players focus less on the content in the middle of the game and more on racing to get to the end game -- and by rushing through the game from level 1 to level 90, you miss out on a lot of the game itself. Of course Kern notes that his upcoming MMO has the mix just right -- and that by focusing on the journey instead of the destination, Firefall is a lot more fun.

While we are fans of new games -- and love the art style Firefall has going -- we're less convinced about dying in newbie zones as a gameplay necessity. Time will tell if Kern has the right of things -- Firefall's open beta is starting soon.

Filed under: News items

Former Blizzard devs at Red 5 Studios plan their own MMO

Gamasutra has an excellent interview up with a company called Red 5 Studios. Their CEO, Mark Kern, served as a former team lead on World of Warcraft (though it's been a while -- since a little less than a year after the game's launch), so WoW fans (and Blizzard themselves) are curious about what the studio is up to. Unfortunately, they're staying vague at this point -- while they are definitely working on some kind of fantasy MMO, they're not exactly forthcoming about what it'll be.

They do say what they're not -- "we're not trying to be a sequel to WoW," Kern says. And they don't consider themselves in the same areas as Warhammer Online and Tabula Rasa, two games that showed promise earlier this year but never broke out as their developers expected. Instead, they want to do something different with the MMO idea, but as for specifics, don't hold your breath. They don't have a business model planned out quite yet, and even the game's announcement is "months" off.

So for now, we'll have to wait. It should be interesting to see what, if anything, comes out of the studio -- many people have said that WoW can only be topped by Blizzard themselves, and while having a history at Blizzard doesn't necessarily prepare you for making brilliant games every time (see Hellgate: London, created by former Diablo devs), it would be interesting to see if Kern (who has made his mark on WoW) can help Red 5 get another success together.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money, Interviews

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