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Richard Garriott speaks on UO

Discussion in 'UHall' started by MrSomethingSomething, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. Hi all, I'm new to the forums, so please excuse any slip-up in my etiquette here. I have only played the free trial of UO, but have wanted to get involved since my high school/college days when UO was new. I'm still thinking about playing, but I digress...I'm posting to pass along a snippet from an interview with Richard Garriott (full interview to be posted later it seems), wherein he talks about the things that have made UO so captivating to gamers like myself that have grown weary of the battle-heavy MMO's out there. Anyway, here ya go:

    Lord British on what games can learn from Ultima Online
     
  2. Deaol

    Deaol Certifiable
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    Wish they would have posted the full meal deal already, kind of interesting that no one has taken what is good in UO and built upon that. I think in the end it comes down to deadlines, support and the man power to keep the world healthy, ongoing and profitable. Now a days its all about the quick turn around and people play games for the 2minutes of enjoyment on their phones, no longer sitting down at a computer.. social media gaming is what everyone is concentrating on now.
     
  3. Neutron Bomb

    Neutron Bomb Journeyman
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    A new game from Garriot? Please, please, pleeeaaassseee do not be Lineage 3.

    Otherwise, awesome! Now, Ars needs to get the whole interview up!
     
  4. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    His new company is already working on mobile/social gaming type stuff:

    Portalarium

    Their first game is a Facebook poker game :(
     
  5. covert

    covert Journeyman
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    I was disappointed to hear that Raph Koster and Garriott both took the route of "social gaming". If it's what they love to do and enjoy it, fine. I just wonder if they have a little spark left to want to return to MMOs or conventional video games in general.
     
  6. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
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    ...

    "As brilliant as World of WarCraft is—of course it's an astonishingly well-done product—but everyone is pretty much a fighter. Your life is, you're a fighter."

    That statement pegs the issue perfectly and is NOT limited to WoW by any stretch.

    Sure you can be a miner, herbalist, forester, whatever, but to get the materials you need to advance you have to level your character, which means your character becomes a fighter.

    Also looking at the resources and how they are distributed and used, the level-based games push you into the higher resources and give this air of "If you're X levels above the zone you're harvesting, you shouldn't be harvesting here" whereas in UO the resources are more evenly distributed both in terms of harvesting and in terms of using them.

    In UO, the various professions from tradesman to resource gatherer to fighter to fisherman to plant grower to etc are all treated as a more or less equal part of the game. In Level-based games, the fighting is first and foremost while anything else is secondary.

    That balance between fighting and "social games" is what makes UO work and is something that future MMOs if they dare to break the Level/Raid mold should be looking into.
     
  7. NuSair

    NuSair Babbling Loonie
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    It is a means to an end. Social Gaming is where the money is at....period. Farm Town alone is bringing in more cash than WoW, at a much lower development and upkeep cost.
     
  8. covert

    covert Journeyman
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    Yeah, but you know Garriott is beyond well off; not sure about Koster - I'd imagine a guy as smart as himself is doing pretty good, too. You'd think it'd be about fun at this point instead of money.
     
  9. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    That statement does perfectly peg what makes WOW, WOW, and what makes UO so different.

    Love it or hate it, Blizzard does an incredibly good job of forcing you into areas/zones with people of your same level. Even if you are resource gathering, you're all but forced into certain zones, and you better be ready to fight your way into or out of certain areas. That's one major thing that turned me off about WOW. I come back to it every now and then to check out the new content and run around with my old guild, but that aspect drives home the view that you are ultimately a fighter, and to an extent you are riding a rail from this place to that place, and are discouraged from getting off in between those places.
     
  10. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
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    ...

    It's probably about BOTH... if he had money to burn like you imply, he probably would not have sued over Tabula Rasa when it was shut down and he was canned.

    I think his financial position allows him to take a bit more of a risk than most, but I doubt he'd be doing it without getting paid.
     
  11. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Last I read in the newspaper, earlier last year, Garriott won $28 million or so from NCSoft, but they were going to appeal.

    There was some personal stuff going on with NCSoft, including them implying certain things in his name, etc., so I think he would have sued anyways.

    He's wealthy either way - I've seen his houses during Halloween events, and he spent a nice chunk of money on his space and other explorative endeavors. People wish he would buy UO, but he doesn't have that kind of money and EA wouldn't sell it anyways.
     
  12. Tinsil

    Tinsil Guest

    Yeah, no..
     
  13. NuSair

    NuSair Babbling Loonie
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    I meant Farmville... to many damn 'farm' games.

    Yes it (Farmville) is, and that came from a comment that Garriott made after a game developers conference...last year I believe it was.

    And here it is mentioned again....

    Did You Know? FarmVille Vs World Of Warcraft
     
  14. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    WoW brought in around $2 billion in revenue last year, from the 12 million subscribers and from the $40 Cataclysm expansion.

    Zynga made $600 million in revenue last year across all of their properties (not just FarmVille).

    I'm seeing a difference in numbers there.
     
  15. Cogniac

    Cogniac Grand Inquisitor
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  16. NuSair

    NuSair Babbling Loonie
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    Time for you to do some fact checking before you step into the conversation.

    Here, I'll get you started:
    Is Zynga The Most Profitable Company Ever?

    You are making the same mistake most people do, in that you just assume that everyone pays the $15/month and just multiply that by how many subscribers they have, and you'll get how much they made. Sure, that will give you the revenue generated, but that isn't how much they made.

    How much money Blizzard is really making from 10 million subscribers

    That was in Summer 2009.

    WoW's profit margin in 2009 was $113 million.

    Next time, check your facts before you try and step up to the plate.
     
  17. Flutter

    Flutter Always Present
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    I am like a Richard Garriott groupy. Is that bad?
     
  18. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    First of all, don't change the goalposts to being most profitable - you claimed it was bringing in more, which it's not, and then changed that to being most profitable. If you're going to do that, I'd say that Angry Birds is in the running, since it was developed with a team of four people and a budget of under $125,000, and it's sold over 12 million copies, and it's spinoff has sold millions as well.

    You cited an article from three years ago - Blizzard has added another three million subscribers since then, and 10 months after that article, Wrath of the Lich King came out which brought in $120 million just by itself in its first week out - even if you take into account hourly Asian players, they still had to buy the expansions, and usually those come out well after they are released elsewhere since they have to go through a different process. Last year, Cataclysm came out in December and brought in around $150 million in sales just by itself in December and it was not readily available in Asia/China (may not even have passed through approval yet), so there wasn't any discount that came into play.

    I did some digging though, since you asked, and in 2009, a year after the article you cited, Activision reported that Blizzard brought in 1.2 billion. Analysts estimate that WOW was responsible for over $1 billion of that, with the other being from legacy games (Starcraft, etc.). That does take into account the Chinese players who pay an incredibly low hourly rate ($0.06 an hour) as well as those players elsewhere who opt for lower rates (paying by every three or six months) since that is total revenue and not based on any subscription numbers. They also looked at when The9 lost the WOW license and when Netease took it over and were able to get an idea of the revenue from China - it turned out to be a drop in the bucket for Activision/Blizzard.

    For a recent hard number, according to Activision's official financial statements released to the public, SEC, etc., Blizzard brought in $282 million in MMORPG-related revenue for the quarter before Cataclysm (the quarter that ended September of 2010). I didn't readily find Activision's official financial statements that broke out the revenues for the end of 2010, but with Cataclysm, I'm sure they topped that $282 million mark.

    So you are correct that you can't just multiply the subscribers - I didn't realize they had Chinese players who payed a few cents an hour or that WOW in China has to go through a whole process of certification to be released/updated.

    However, Activision has officially reported revenues from Blizzard that are above $1 billion a year, and you claimed with that article that Zynga is bringing in $850 million a year. Just so it's clear, that's reported revenue - that $282 million that was reported the quarter before Cataclysm was released was revenue and not based upon any kind of subscription numbers.
     
  19. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    A lot of us are. I have an RSS feed devoted to him and when it got hit with a load of stories of him talking about UO, etc. this month, I thought something really interesting was going to come out, and not just more talk of his Facebook poker company.

    I'm hopeful, and he's linked up with some interesting people, but he's playing it pretty close to the vest right now. For all he has said, I bet we won't know anything until his secret project launches. I want to say that I'll try it no matter what, but I'm not a fan of Facebook games.

    Mildly optimistic is a good term for me. He's embracing the development model he had used before he sold OSI to EA, and that was successful back then, and while it may not be as successful in the PC gaming business these days, it's very successful in the mobile and social gaming world these days.
     
  20. NuSair

    NuSair Babbling Loonie
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    Yes, when I first replied, I was hasty in my comment.

    Who brings in the most? Blizzard by a landslide, and I conceed that.

    Who makes the most, and in the end, isn't that the most important? That, is Farmville/Zynga.
     
  21. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    As a gamer, I don't think it's the most important.

    If it was the most important, then we'd see nothing but iPhone and Facebook games since those can be insanely cheap to develop.

    Unfortunately, some companies, such as *cough* *cough* EA do see it that way. EA is pushing hard into the social and mobile platforms and they are filling up iTunes with iPhone and iPad games, and have been for quite some time.

    EA has also officially announced earlier this month what most of us suspected, that they are going to develop and promote fewer and fewer titles in favor of larger titles that are very profitable (mostly sequels). This concerns me a great deal as UO does not fit into that scheme, and with Mark Jacobs, UO's biggest cheerleader inside of EA in recent years, being ousted with the BioWare merger/acquisition, and with Star Wars dominating EA's MMORPG division, I'm very concerned. Being profitable is no longer a sure thing for sticking around.
     
  22. NuSair

    NuSair Babbling Loonie
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    I agree. The problem isn't that something makes money, but how much? Because these companies are publically owned, they will go with whatever gives them the highest profit margins and put their development dollars there.

    Which is a sad thing for the gaming industry at large.

    If you are a publically held company, it's hard to argue to your share holders the advantages of making a game with say a 20% return against one with a 40% profit margin.
     
  23. old gypsy

    old gypsy Grand Poobah
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    "That kind of diversity of life has still never been recaptured in any game since, and it's something I hope to recapture in my next work," he said.

    His next work? *cries* Lord British, please come home!
     
  24. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    I like to complain about how EA would start projects such as Wing Commander/Privateer Online (Privateer 3), UO2, Ultima X, Harry Potter online, as well as within other studios, and how shareholders should have been really ticked that EA would just toss those to the side even though they would have made money. Obviously many didn't get out of the design stages, but some did have development teams, and some were killed because of dumb management decisions (EA assuming the Ultima X team would move from Austin to California). There was just so much potential, and it's really ironic because at least those projects I mentioned fit into EA's gameplan of sequels or high-profile games. How could you lose money on Harry Potter online since it was around the days as Harry Potter mania was just starting to really take off? That would be like rolling out a PVP-based Warhammer Online and losing money on it....oh.

    Unfortunately because of this new direction, or refined direction if you want to look at the past five years or so, the days of EA starting up all kinds of projects are gone. Everything is being judged on whether it can spawn sequels, or the track record of whoever is doing it. Even the original properties that EA is rolling out this year have very established people behind them and might as well be sequels.

    I'm curious to see what Garriott does, but I don't see how he can do something as deep as UO within the context of social/browser-based gaming.

    I'm actually surprised EA hasn't tried to shoe-horn Facebook into UO. Imagine your facebook friends being able to help with your plants or buying goods from your vendors and stuff. That would actually mean EA developing a communication system of sorts for UO that consisted of something more than writing on a house bulletin board or dropping a book into a mailbox.
     
  25. Amber Moon

    Amber Moon Seasoned Veteran
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    I am hoping EA will leave the Mythic branch alone to do their thing as long as they remain profitable.

    I am hoping Mythic will remain profitable in spite of things like Warhammer.

    I am hoping EA doesn't fold Mythic into Bioware and then let that group make the decisions.

    I am hoping UO survives another year....
     
  26. covert

    covert Journeyman
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    ^
    I read all of your posts in Sean Young's voice. :D
     
  27. Amber Moon

    Amber Moon Seasoned Veteran
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    Well, it is the voice of reason after all... :thumbup1:
     
  28. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    They are firmly tied into BioWare and Star Wars at this point. It was pointed out to me that some of the UO staff has had to work on Star Wars (and they maybe doing so now).

    The layoffs they've had the past two years all over the company have directly impacted UO/Mythic, as there were a lot of people laid off in Mythic, so EA has not left Mythic alone.
    That started happening a year ago, and it's probably finished for the most part, since they are already sharing resources. The naming is probably the only thing left, but they are definitely considered BioWare properties. I'm surprised the main Mythic site doesn't redirect to BioWare Mythic.

    I'm actually torn though, because if anybody in the upper BioWare management levels cares about UO and sees the value in it, UO has a shot at sticking around, because BioWare has some pull within EA. If Star Wars fails though, then I'm going to panic, because EA would not leave BioWare alone.
    Next year is the 15th anniversary, I think they would be foolish to pull the plug when there is a lot of potential to milk nostalgia next year. Plus if Star Wars succeeds, that will help a lot.
     
  29. Amber Moon

    Amber Moon Seasoned Veteran
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    Ya, I am aware of the layoffs last year. I think Mythic was given budget targets to bring themselves in to profitability but left to figure out the how for themselves.

    And cross studio talent loans are not the unusual, especially at EA.

    So here is hoping. But if I were Cal, I wouldn't be buying a bigger house just now.
     
  30. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Unfortunately Warhammer hurt and Star Wars will make or break things for the MMORPG group. If they've got a budget of $300 million+, that could easily drag down everybody else within the group if they don't make their money back. That would be two expensive MMORPGs in a row that failed and I just don't see how EA would try for a third or try and keep its other MMORPGs afloat.
    I wish they'd go the other way and loan UO a bunch of resources for a few months or so. I don't like the Sims, but they had a lot of artists working on the Sims Medieval game that's coming out next month and now that it's finished, I wouldn't mind seeing UO get an influx of artists for a while. Unfortunately there are other upcoming medieval/fantasy-themed games that need a bunch of artists, not to mention Star Wars.
     
  31. red sky

    red sky Sage
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    Hope, deceiving as it is, serves at least to lead us to the end of our lives by an agreeable route.--François de la Rochefoucauld
     
  32. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    Seeing this made me finally remember, after many years, what seriously turned me off to Garriott.

    He'd said years back that you play an MMO "to feel like a hero," and that the problem with them, therefore, was that you were "by definition average."

    And I disagreed with both. Rather strongly. I consider myself to be below average, actually, and I certainly don't play UO to feel like a hero. Galen is an antiques dealer doing his job, and hopefully does a little good along the way. Sometimes he gets caught up in things and goes further than he intended. But the real answer, to me, wasn't that we played MMOs to be heroes, but rather to experience our characters in something other than the heroic moments. Sometimes, even Aragorn surely had to kill trolls solely for money to pay property taxes.

    Back then, RG missed the boat completely. Paradoxically, based on this quote, Garriott now finally has it right, or at least he's pointing in the right direction. What UO has is the ability to play your character's daily life. And everyone's daily life differs. We have hunters, crafters, antiques dealers, I'm talking to someone right now who makes spending money by harvesting plants to make dyes from. She spent the last 90 minutes doing plants. We have treasure hunters. Technically that's monster fighting, but it's different from "go to the depths of the dungeon and slay the vile orc god." A lot different. We have pirate hunters. Again, technically that's killing but it's different, I think, from what Garriott has in-mind. We have Imbuers.

    Etc.

    So he finally has it right by partially reversing himself from what he's said before. Not everyone wants to feel like a hero in an MMO. When we do, we have dozens or hundreds of single-player games to pick from that force us into the hero mold.

    -Galen's player
     
  33. Gilmour

    Gilmour Certifiable
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    i used to play wow, this is why i quit, bcus the only thing you can do that doesnt involve fighting is fishing.... true story.
     
  34. Larisa

    Larisa Reporting Manager
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    HI UO HALL!

    I just wanted to step in here and say the the very reason I loved and still love UO is the fact that you don't HAVE to fight to play the game...it's so diversified and so...REAL...I like that the most...Go to cotton field, pick cotton, go to tailor, spin cotton on wheel to make thread, use thread to make cloth....

    I LOVE THIS GAME! NO other MMO out there is like it, none...I've tried several that claim to have similar things..housing..and the like...nothing NOTHING beats UO.

    That is all..you may return to your previously scheduled...whatever it was ya'll were doin :)
     
  35. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    Here you go just for old times sake :p

    Richard Garriott wins lawsuit against NCsoft

    by Rubi Bayer [​IMG] on Jul 30th 2010 9:00AM
    MMO industry, News items, Legal
    95

    [​IMG]
    Over a year ago, Richard Garriott filed a lawsuit against his former employer, NCsoft.

    There was a lot of back and forth regarding who said what, but the crux of the suit was that Garriott claimed NCsoft terminated him, costing him millions, as he was forced to sell his stock options at a bad time. NCsoft claimed that the opposite was true: Garriott left voluntarily. There was quite a bit more regarding a forged letter and the handling of Tabula Rasa, but in the end, the decision focused on the loss of profit from the stock options.

    After several hours of deliberation, the jury awarded Garriott $28M USD to compensate for that loss. Garriott is "extremely pleased," but NCsoft is not finished yet. The company plans to look over its options and continue fighting the suit. Keep your eye on Massively for any updates on the case
     
  36. Lady_Rachel

    Lady_Rachel Lore Keeper
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    *hugs*
    Miss ya hun! Hope you are doing well. Don't be such a stranger!
    And yes I am waiting to see just what Richard comes up with too.
     
  37. Larisa

    Larisa Reporting Manager
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    Lady Rachel....my goodness hun I miss you too! *hugs*

    We have to catch up!

    And yeah I'm keepin my eye on Richard ;) NOONE else has been able to do what he did with UO...that man is a genius....
     
  38. Ahuaeyjnkxs

    Ahuaeyjnkxs stranger diamond

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    It was done indeed...

    So what is this supposed to mean after all ?