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Wizards of the Coast Declares Gleemax Site a Critical Failure 242

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the rolled-a-natural-one dept.
In a recent blog post, Wizards of the Coast Vice President of Digital Gaming Randy Buehler announced that they were killing their Gleemax social networking site. Originally designed to create a central hub where gamers could meet, discuss, and play games online, it has thus far been unable to deliver on the grandiose promises made at launch. "The mistake that I made, however, was in trying to push us too far too fast. I still think the vision for Gleemax is awesome: creating a place on the web where hobby gamers (or lifestyle gamers or thinking gamers, or whatever you want to call us) can gather to talk about games, play games, and find people to play games with. But I've come to realize that the vision was too ambitious. We've made progress down about ten different paths over the past eighteen months, but we haven't been able to reach the end of any of them yet."
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Wizards of the Coast Declares Gleemax Site a Critical Failure

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  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:14PM (#24740677) Homepage Journal

    Wow, that site sounded like it'd be a lot of fun.

    Posted by: DarkEliteAvenger1975

    Single, Human male. 33 years old, lives in mom's basement.
    Prefers slim, female Dark Elves who are as flexible as a well crafted Elvish bow.

    Must like Cheetos, pizza, and Mountain Dew.

    Sorry, no Liches need respond.

    Please include a clear picture of your dice in replies.

    • It failed... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RingDev (879105) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:32PM (#24741019) Homepage Journal

      After 2 years of being in 'alpha' status with nothing spent on advertising...

      hmmm. Imagine that.

      -Rick

      • by Bigbutt (65939)

        Not only that, but apparently not especially easy to find (based on others comments as I don't hit the WotC site).

        [John]

      • by Kamokazi (1080091)
        Exactly...had I actually known about the site I would have probably at least checked it out, and likely stayed a while.
      • Re:It failed... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by IronChef (164482) on Monday August 25, 2008 @05:19PM (#24742709) Homepage

        After 2 years of being in 'alpha' status with nothing spent on advertising...

        hmmm. Imagine that.

        Wait, doesn't that work for Google's web apps?

      • Re:It failed... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Praedon (707326) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:01PM (#24744043) Journal
        Boy oh boy, I saw this coming. I would like to point my fellow slashdot users to my old old comment here [slashdot.org] first, about how WotC and I had a contract to offer exclusive advertising, then a few months later, they took my idea, all my private proprietary concepts and already made features, then pulled their exclusive advertising deal, and called me up and told me how lucky I was that they didn't sue me a few weeks later after that comment in Slashdot.

        All of this is no joke, I swear it. You can call me bitter, you can call me a poor sport, but in the end, I got the last laugh when Gleemax decided to shut down. They were never going to make it featuring their own material, and everyone knew this.

        Peter Adkison met with me in private at Origins Gaming Convention back when Gleemax was about to go live at Gen Con, and told me that he would focus everything around Geekalize at Gen Con if I could focus a little more funds around it, to provide fun stuff and prizes and such, but at that time, Origins was our last ditch effort to drum up sponsors, and the like. We went bankrupt in November or so of that year, after being up for one year, spending over 20,000 dollars in advertising, watching Wizards pull an over 20,000 dollar advertising deal from under me so they can steal my ideas, and watched as they took and took and took from anyone they could to try to put together SOMETHING to resemble a social networking site.

        So I announce this... if Geekalize could get funding again, and not get ripped off like it did with Dead Mages on the Shores, I would bring it back, and make the social networking site for geeks purely open source, with API's, project management, and among other things, a chance for the community to seriously focus upon the site as a whole, and contribute features, abilities, etc, and all of the coding would be via a GNU license. I want to do this right this time, and I want to see a community for geeks and gamers succeed this time. All who would be interested in bringing forth a community for ALL THE Right reasons and ALL THE RIGHT measures to maintain it and contribute to it, feel free to message me, or visit Geekalize.com [geekalize.com] and click on the blog link that's on the filler page. I have also provided a link to the web archive on Geekalize to show we were in fact in existence.
      • Re:It failed... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by eonlabs (921625) on Monday August 25, 2008 @11:55PM (#24747077) Journal

        They should have extended off an existing social networking tool.

        Try a facebook app or something.

        They'd get the infrastructure for free, and be able to just focus on the gaming tools.

        I'm sure myspace or something like it would LOVE the extra app. WotC endorsed and everything...

    • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:36PM (#24741085)

      And one day he'll learn that stats "36-24-36" don't mean "hitpoints, mana, and dexterity".

  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:15PM (#24740697)
    An online hub for gamers to meet already exists. It's called "World of Warcraft."
    • by everphilski (877346) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:19PM (#24740777) Journal
      He mentioned "thinking gamers", this would clearly exclude WoWers (I kid, I kid)
    • by vux984 (928602) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:28PM (#24740961)

      An online hub for gamers to meet already exists. It's called "World of Warcraft."

      If you are playing WoW and think you are a gamer with other gamers, by all means, PLEASE just keep on doing what you are doing. You are where you belong.

      I quite like the fact that WoW acts like a honey pot, keeping you entertained, and away from the rest of us. Ooops... was that out loud? ;)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Uniquitous (1037394)
        Before we hate on the WoW'ers too much, let's bear in mind that we dyed-in-the-wool Real Gamers have many more similarities with them than differences. Who would you rather hang with: a WoW'er, or an American Idol devotee? That said, WoW has had a deleterious effect on D&D. Screw Blizzard, and screw 4th edition. :-(
        • by afabbro (33948) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:51PM (#24741291) Homepage

          or an American Idol devotee

          Depends on her stats.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by badboy_tw2002 (524611)

          That question remains in the air, but the answer to "Who would I rather smell?" has a clear cut winner. ;)

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Shinmizu (725298)
          As a WoW-player that refuses to migrate to 4th edition, I'm laying the blame squarely on Wizards of the Coast. Hell, most of the members of my WoW guild refuse to migrate to 4th edition as well. (Some of us are going with Paizo's Pathfinder, which is a bit of a spiritual successor to 3rd edition.)
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Gilmoure (18428)

            Yup. Got the free beta download [paizo.com] and it looks pretty good. Figure we'll try a game with it and see if it's worth grabbing the hard cover.

            • by RogerWilco (99615)

              I just bought the hardcover, because I really like what Paizo is doing.

              And I hadn't purchased anything from them before.

              • by Gilmoure (18428)

                This has been my intro to Paizo as well. Does the HC look as good as the PDF? Production in online version looks totally professional.

        • Re:Already Exists (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Fozzyuw (950608) on Monday August 25, 2008 @05:52PM (#24743157)

          Screw Blizzard, and screw 4th edition. :-(

          I find it unfortunate that some people are very unhappy with 4E. From my limited D&D experiance, I'm actually finding 4th's combat system to be quite good and far better than anything in 3rd edition (including 3.5). And I've already done fare more creative roleplay things in 4th than I did in 3rd.

          Though, on that matter, our 3rd Edition DM had plenty of vile for 4th edition (and 3rd edition for that matter, he was a core AD&D person), but found out that 4th edition was quite fun once he got actually played it and not just heard people saying things like "in 4th edition, hobbits don't have harry toes" kind of thing that just throws some people off the deep end.

          It's too the point that I think most 4th edition haters simply haven't played the game for any reasonable amount of time. Surely it's not perfect, but I find the game mechanics to be very good and a great effort at just trying to make an entirely different style of game.

          Perhaps it's also because I haven't sunk any money at buying 3rd edition books (and again when 3.5 was released) because I only started casually D&Ding a couple years ago and I've only been borrowing a friends book. Some of the resentment seems to come from people getting sick of spending lots of money on products.

          Either way, I'm enjoying 4th edition immensely and would recommend anyone to at least try it out, roll up a character, see what they think. Maybe it's not for you, but don't knock it till you've tried it.

        • Who would you rather hang with: a WoW'er, or an American Idol devotee?

          Irrelevant; the WoWer would be too busy WoWing to hang out with you. American Idol devotee it is.

          • But after a few hours of the inane prattle, you'll log on to your shammy and hope you can get invited to a raid just so you can pretend to be killing that American Idol Devotee over and over again.

        • Re:Already Exists (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Casualposter (572489) on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:49PM (#24743917) Journal

          Wizards being owned by HAZBRO has had a more deleterious effect on D&D than WOW.

      • by Asmor (775910) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:51PM (#24741295) Homepage

        Drop the snobbery. All that does is make you look bitter.

        Do you really think your D&D character who you've been playing off and on for 30 years since BECMI is so much more legitimate than someone's Tier 6-geared character with thousands of hours of play time? Hint: it's not.

        Disclaimer: I play WoW. I have 2 70s, neither of which are geared for raiding (yet...). I also run a weekly D&D game and I started a board game club at my college. So if you want to try and argue I'm not a gamer... Well, go right ahead. I don't need your validation.

        Oh, and my penis is HUGE (in Japan).

        • by ByOhTek (1181381)

          Only one game a week and you claim to be a gamer?

          ok, well mine is every other week, so you are more of a gamer than me anyway...

        • Re:Hooray snobbery! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by vux984 (928602) on Monday August 25, 2008 @04:32PM (#24741985)

          Drop the snobbery. All that does is make you look bitter.

          I think you have soft spot. It was mostly a joke.

          Do you really think your D&D character who you've been playing off and on for 30 years since BECMI is so much more legitimate than someone's Tier 6-geared character with thousands of hours of play time? Hint: it's not.

          Seriously though. The thing about WoW is that you can't lose. You really can't. You can't even really experience a setback. The worst that happens is that you don't move forward for a day, and even that only happens at endgame. You also don't need to even think about teamwork until endgame. This is a big part of what its appeal is to a lot of people, and why it sprung ahead of its predecessors like EQ.

          This is why I think WoW is equivalent to MMO pablum. In order to advance all you have to do is show up; it doesn't exactly require tactics, strategy, problem solving, imagination, mathematics, or any other cranial exercise, and their is simply zero risk of ending the day behind where you started.

          Disclaimer: I play WoW. I have 2 70s, neither of which are geared for raiding (yet...).

          Oh, so you should know what I'm talking about then. Great.

          I also run a weekly D&D game and I started a board game club at my college. So if you want to try and argue I'm not a gamer... Well, go right ahead. I don't need your validation.

          Everyone likes to slum around from time to time. And besides, its not like you -can't- think in WoW, its just that you don't have to.

          FWIW I played WoW for a while too, and a friend and I quite enjoyed doing instances as a duo while they still conned yellow using gear we quested or looted or crafted ourselves as we levelled up. It really was quite challenging, and fun. But most people we saw just had a much higher level friend come along, or brought a full group of twinks, or just ground xp solo and bought all their gear in the AH or got it from guildmates, etc.

          And yeah, you do have to up your game as a raider, and as you approach the raid endgame, but to do that you also have to pretty much give up on having any life outside of WoW, which is pathetic. And even then the biggest requirements of the top tier guilds is being able to show up and follow instructions.

          Oh, and my penis is HUGE (in Japan).

          Um. Thanks. I'm flattered. But I'm just not interested.

          What is the best way to turn down unsolicited gay advances as a happily married heterosexual male anyway? Be a good topic for 'ask slashdot'...after all who better than a bunch of socially inept guys to give advice for socially awkward situations? ;)

          • by Fozzyuw (950608)

            Seriously though. The thing about WoW is that you can't lose. You really can't.

            I see what you're saying, but why couldn't this be any more true in D&D? The same mindless stuff could happen if you had a DM that granted it. Picking on a game because of how people choose to play it is kind of silly. After all, it's not WoW's fault some level 70 powers a level 10 through a dungeon anymore some God coming down to help a D&D party out in a dungeon is.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by vux984 (928602)

              I see what you're saying, but why couldn't this be any more true in D&D? The same mindless stuff could happen if you had a DM that granted it.

              Sure it could happen. The difference is that in WoW, this playstyle is a norm. In D&D it would be a relatively isolated exception.

              After all, it's not WoW's fault some level 70 powers a level 10 through a dungeon...

              Isn't it? I call that poor game design that this is an 'effective way to play'.

              There are all sorts of possible rational responses the game engine co

          • most of the bad stuff you're saying about wow doesn't have to be true: Re setbacks: we got stuck on gruul (end game boss) for 2 weeks, i'd call that a setback. Re no life outside of wow: We have raid signups, i sign up for sundays and wednesdays and play from 8pm till 10:30pm, i'd hardly call that not having a life. Most guilds just want people who can turn up when they say they will, not spend every moment on there.
        • by 2short (466733)

          I think the point he was making is that if one person says they are a "gamer" based on their D&D playing, and another does so based on their WOW playing: they may both be valid from their own perspective, but there is little reason to assume the two people will enjoy hanging out together and chatting about their gaming experiences. So regardless of whether either is actually "better" than the other, it is in fact best if they maintain separate communities.

          He tried to put that humorously because, as a D
      • by Sandbags (964742)

        I'd post a smart comment, but I'm laughing so hard my brain won't work! Mod parent up!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Berkyjay (1225604)

      An online hub for gamers to meet already exists. It's called "World of Warcraft."

      First of all, not all "Gamers" play WoW. And not all WoW players can be considered "Gamers". Besides, WoW has been a horrible influence on Wizards of the Coast. All they see is dollar signs when they look at WoW and so they go and try to make all of their products into WoW clones. Thus they are ruining games that used to be great like D&D.

    • by santiago (42242)

      In all seriousness, it does exist. For the sort of audience WotC was going for, the people are already on RPG.net, ENWorld.org, or BoardGameGeek.com. Gleemax was a set of mediocre forums and some blogs without any decent way to browse through them. Of course it failed to attract the people that were busy discussing games elsewhere already.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:17PM (#24740735)

    I'm sorry. There's a reason you failed. You called it Gleemax.
    Now, the internet is full of stupidly named stuff - a side-effect of trademark law, particularly in the American Corporate Reich, sorry "USA" - but gleemax is really dumb. Like having a disgusting headless dog with a leg bone jammed down its neck as your mascot dumb.

    Feminine sanitary towel with gentle vibrating action? Real estate that comes with free MDMA ? Either way, gleemax is a terrible name.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:22PM (#24740827)

    Back then this COULD have taken off. But today, with a billion "social networking" sites (read: you make the content, I make the profit) around, hammering out yet another one is about as sensible as creating the better mousetrap or the better search engine. Yes, you could succeed. But the chances are so slim that you're better off trying something else. Why? Because EVERYONE does it. Everyone is out there creating the next better social networking page. With this bell or that whistle, but basically, in their core, they're just the same that myspace and its copycats have been for years.

    How about trying something new instead of trying to recreate something that has been done so many times over that nobody cares anymore?

    And no, I don't know what "something new" would be. If I did, I'd probably create it and become rich myself.

    • by Nymz (905908)
      I don't know, it sounds like a pretty good idea. Combining smaller gaming communities, into a larger one, so that migrating between your favorite games is easier, and you don't lose you online friends.

      I was a big MTG player for the first 2 years, when it was massive fun. But when focus shifted completely to 'buying' new decks, in order to play less interesting sealed games, and eliminated 'building' new decks, in order to play more interesting constructed tourneys, they lost me.
    • by SirGarlon (845873)

      How about trying something new instead of trying to recreate something that has been done so many times over that nobody cares anymore?

      Industry leaders are not good at that, and Wizards of the Coast is no exception. The only really compelling idea that came out of WotC was Magic: The Gathering back in the early 1990's. (WotC didn't invent D&D, they bought TSR, the company that did.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      today, with a billion "social networking" sites (read: you make the content, I make the profit) around, hammering out yet another one is about as sensible as creating the better mousetrap or the better search engine.

      Only if you confuse 'social networking' with 'a site for everyone and his uncle doing everything under the sun that interests them' in the manner that Facebook/Live Journal/MySpace does. On the other hand, I'm a member of multiple niche social networking sites and they are excellent resources t

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:24PM (#24740855) Homepage Journal

    Trying to establish a name as a place where idiots can blather mindlessly about irrelevant(though perhaps entertaining) subjects on the Internet?

    That's not a crowded marketplace at all.

  • Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aztektum (170569) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:25PM (#24740871)

    They roll out Tiny Adventures [facebook.com] for Facebook (which is still having some issues it seems) then drop their social site. I wonder if this is part of a plan to focus on "apps" or ways of connecting to the already established bases of MySpace/Facebook?

    1) I'm sure more than a few D&D/P&P RPG fans are on those sites already.
    2) More visibility. Running your own site dedicated to just RPGs will only attract a certain crowd.

    Regarding #2, I'm slightly above "casual" P&P RPG follower, but I hadn't really even heard of their site until this /. posting.

    • by Koiu Lpoi (632570)

      Frankly, before this Slashdot posting, my reaction to gleemax has been "Oh, I have to search site:forums.gleemax.com now instead of site:forums.wizards.com, except nothing's different. How stupid of them."

  • by sm62704 (957197) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:25PM (#24740877) Journal

    ...who remembers a slashdot-like site named Planet Crap, where gamers, game webmasters, and game developers gathered, posted, discussed, flamed, and trolled?

    I'd say 1999 called and wants its idea back!

    • by fm6 (162816)

      You do know the difference between a discussion site and a social networking site, right?

  • wrong mistake (Score:5, Insightful)

    by petes_PoV (912422) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:27PM (#24740931)

    The mistake that I made, however, was in trying to push us too far too fast

    More likely the reverse was true. Not enough promotion (to the sort of people who would use it) or that they were turned off by what it offered, or how it was presented.

    You can never have too much progress, unless of course you outrun the capabilities of your website providers or programmers.

    • Re:wrong mistake (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Boogaroo (604901) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:30PM (#24740973) Homepage

      Yeah, I never heard of it until today. Sounds like they did a great job letting people know about it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The problem wasn't in promoting the service. The problem was in BUILDING the service. They never had an official launch because, in part, they kept changing directions on what the main focus of the service was going to be.

      • by pluther (647209)

        Too bad there isn't some kind of internationally distributed magazine, read primarily by pencil and paper style gamers, that they could have advertised it in...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RogerWilco (99615)

      I used to frequent their old forum a lot, but the way they launched this new thing was a massive failure. They started by alienating a significant part of their existing user base, and didn't advertize enough to replace those with others.

      Even the name they choose was a failure, as it references some obscure M:TG card, so is basically a corporate insider joke, not something the average joe internet user will recognize.

    • "Too much ambition" != "too much progress"....
  • by anomnomnomymous (1321267) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:32PM (#24741031)
    Before this, I'd never heard of Gleemax, and apparently, so hasn't Slashdot:
    I find it quite weird that there doesn't seem to be a post about Gleemax in Slashdot's history [slashdot.org]: I wonder how many other sites they missed out on.
  • Not enough crunch (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cyphertube (62291) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:33PM (#24741045) Homepage Journal

    Having written, albeit small bits, in the gaming industry, we often talk about crunch, the real rules and meat that you can really grip onto and take and run with. I mean, the backstory is nice on some products, but the crunch is the stuff I can use as a player or gamemaster.

    Gleemax never had much in crunch. It was all fluff and drove me crazy. It had a crappy name. (Seriously, the concept of maximum glee brings up either the image of a hyperactive 5-year-old or a massive of singing sweater vest people - either way, not attractive.)

    It also seemed to try to be everything to everybody, which is a failure.

    They SHOULD have tried a scaled back thing oriented towards a product line and then expanded slowly to guarantee enough content and interaction. The way it was, when I first checked it out, was that I couldn't do anything, and there was rarely enough new to see, so I stopped coming back.

    And seriously, if I play an MMORPG, then I already HAVE a community. I don't need a second. I play a few single/multiplayer games (Civ IV, NWN2, etc.) and one MMORPG (EVE).

  • Saturated Market (Score:5, Informative)

    by kingmundi (54911) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:36PM (#24741089)

    They had well entrenched websites already that did a lot of what they initially offered.

    www.enworld.org though simple, has a plethora of reviews, forums, news, chat

    www.paizo.com was able to get interest because they carried more than just wizards of the coasts products.

    It's a tough market I would think. People that want to socialize in an alternate setting probably use something like second life. People that want to mindlessly kill stuff and gather equipment and power game probably play warcraft.

  • by JeremyBanks (1036532) <jeremy@jeremybanks.ca> on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:40PM (#24741141)
    For those who weren't members of the site, when they started their "Gleemax" project they replaced large numbers of the board staff, whom most members got along with well and respected, with new staff that nobody knew. The moderation process was changed, making it stunningly ineffective, and problems were handled in absurdly poorly-thought-out ways.

    Wizards of the Coast seems to be trying to do as much as possible to damage itself online. Magic Online v3 brought a new client that almost everyone hated, has compatibility problems galore and was still delayed for something like two years.

    It's pathetic.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sesshomaru (173381)
      Reading Tea Leaves...

      .

      Okay, time for some ancient history. Let's begin. Who remembers back when our beloved New Zork Times was running articles about something called Cornerstone a completely worthless database program that nobody was ever going to use? Hmm... it's possible some aren't familiar with the story, so I present: Down From the Top of Its Game [mit.edu]. Long story short, Infocom lost huge amounts of money, got absorbed into Activision and disappeared into the ether. Why? Because of destructive, inc

    • by Is0m0rph (819726)
      When hasn't WotC been making a mess of Magic Online? V2 was a mess for a long time, V2.5 was a bit better, V3 is back to the mess. They are the most incompetent developers ever. Still have an account but I haven't played it in a couple years. I played a bit of V3 beta, saw that hadn't improved themselves and just stayed away.
  • Poor design (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    There seems to be a fairly sizable community there though so I don't know exactly what the problem is.

    With that said, their website is very poorly designed. As a newb going to the site I was totally confused. Too much crap all over the screen and clicking on stuff sends me to various different websites, very confusing. There is an overuse of graphical content, little consistency and poor organization.

    As a new person coming across the site I can't even figure out what the point or purpose of it is and I'm

  • MtGO V3 = CRAP (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Butisol (994224)
    Magic Online version 3 was a critical failure too. If you ever want an example of a project gone wrong, Magic Online version 3 is finest example of ineptitude you'll ever find. Honestly, it is a piece of crap. The only reason anyone still plays Magic Online is because they're addicted to Magic and will put up with the slow, buggy, ugly UI, as well as the lag, instability, crashes, and whatever else went wrong. Wizards of the Coast isn't supposed to be a software development house. That's what you get w
    • The only reason anyone still plays Magic Online is because they're addicted to Magic and will put up with the slow, buggy, ugly UI, as well as the lag, instability, crashes, and whatever else went wrong.

      Actually, I think the main reason people stick with Magic Online is because they've invested wads of money into an online cards that could, at the time, be used in a fairly stable platform (i.e., version 2). Many players, myself included, felt quite betrayed when version 2 was yanked away, and our collections were usable only on the "prettier", "integrated", and utterly broken version 3 client. The amount of perfectly functional software that was scrapped in the name of the upgrade is sickening—and th

    • by RogerWilco (99615)

      WotC has had many failures indeveloping software. Both on the M:TG and on the D&D side. I think their corporate culture just doesn't support it well. From D&D Online, to e-Tools to M:TG Online, and now Gleemax.

      I think that's what caused the basic failiure.

  • Did they put in a usable forum? Their previous site had a user discussion forum that spent years without a working search function. They'd tease about it coming soon, and occasionally turn it on only to have it crash their database.

    I never actually looked at Gleemax, mostly because I haven't been able to muster much interest in 4th edition. How is their forum software working?

  • And they're very happy with their own blogs, forums, and ways of doing things, thank you very much. Sites like Unclebear [unclebear.com], Nuketown [nuketown.com], and Musings of a Chatty DM [chattydm.net] already have a venerable history and vibrant user bases. Grassroots, professional, and otherwise: Gleemax was a Johnny-Came-Never compared to the great sites that are already around.

    If you're looking for a way to concentrate all that good RPG chatter, look no further than your own RSS reader.

    Or better yet, just plug into the RPG Bloggers Network [rpgbloggers.com]. T

  • I was actually excited about Gleemax when it was first announced. I haven't tried to use it recently, but when it was first launched it was lacking many key features.

    When it launched it didn't even have a "friend" feature. Hopefully this was fixed by now.

    What it really needed though was a way to list games you played, and a way to search for other gamers on the site by region and game. The site was supposed to be targeted to people who play traditional games (pen&paper, tabletop, board, card, etc).

    • by trongey (21550)

      ...The site was supposed to be targeted to people who play traditional games (pen&paper, tabletop, board, card, etc). These gamers can't really play over the Internet...

      Uh, people have been playing these games over the internet since before there was a www.

      • by j0nb0y (107699)

        They can be played over the Internet, but they can't *really* be played over the Internet. It's just not the same.

        Things like D&D, and even just miniatures games have never translated well. It doesn't mean people don't play them over the Internet, but people who like to play them offline don't want to substitute online play.

        Poker is a prime example. Internet poker is popular, but it is a very different game than poker played around a table with people you can see.

  • by Stiletto (12066) on Monday August 25, 2008 @04:43PM (#24742129)

    Forget games, for a minute.

    Is it really possible, here in 2008, to "create a central hub for XYZ on the web where XYZ-ers can gather to talk about XYZ, do XYZ, and find people interested in XYZ" and have it actually work? Does it work to start from scratch and plan such an empire, or do you have to have the patience to let these kind of sites naturally evolve?

    Is it even possible to have a "central hub" of _anything_ on the web? What's wrong with this thinking?

    • by RogerWilco (99615)

      They had a huge fanbase actively frequenting their forums before they tried pulling this off. Something in the order of 20-30 thousand.

      The way they moved to Gleemax and combined it with some other actions, alienated a lot of those fans.

      They had a decent base to start with, but squandered it. With poor communication and mis management.

  • RPGBomb.com has been around for quite awhile as well and already

    "creating a place on the web where hobby gamers can gather to talk about games, play games, and find people to play games with."

    It's like FaceBook or MySpace but for Pen & Paper addicts

  • by Bieeanda (961632) on Monday August 25, 2008 @05:07PM (#24742507)
    Seriously, these guys need to stick with tabletop, and nothing else. They simply don't have the coders or IT staff to provide a product that is worth a damn. Cases in point:
    • Magic: The Gathering: On-Line. In and out of development Hell for years. Some interesting design decisions, like making 2D animations by stitching single-frame files together in a loop. Reinventing the wheel with an eye toward a triangle.
    • Wizards the Website: Guys. Seriously. If you're going to make content 'subscriber only' or 'log-in only', don't just stash it in a hidden frame. Geeks will find that shit faster than your kids figure out where the Christmas presents are hidden.
    • D&D Insider: Oh god, just watch this one yourself. It's happening in real-time. If they couldn't handle the rigors of setting up a simple social networking site, then their attempt to provide software worth $15/mo (plus microtransactions for silly gribbly bits) is doomed to death at the turning of the fiscal year. For something advertised as nigh-integral to the 4E experience, they've apparently got a handful of interns slaving away between bringing their bosses coffee.
      • It's clear that Wizards, like TSR before it, simply doesn't understand the technical issues inherent to developing for the Internet and computers in general. They have presentation down to a science, but they're in dire need of someone with experience to sit them down, shake them silly, and explain why it is vitally important to have an actual autonomous IT staff to develop these applications. Otherwise, we'll continue to see clueless mistakes like Gleemax being run into the ground by marketing and the accountants.
    • by RogerWilco (99615)

      I actually think that marketing and accounting didn't have enough to do with it.

      WotC has a traditional publishing culture and basically failed mostly in finding out if people actually wanted this, and in communicating with their fans and existing forum users.

      It was doomed from the start, the way they handled it and how they communicated.

      Just look at their previous endeavours: e-Tools, D&DO, M:TGO.

      And the name, Gleemax referenced an obscure M:TG card, so was basically a corporate insider joke, not someth

  • We've made progress down about ten different paths over the past eighteen months, but we haven't been able to reach the end of any of them yet.

    Surprise, surprise.

    Maybe their overall vision was too ambitious, maybe the whole central hub idea was never going to work, maybe not. But if you can't focus and prioritize tasks so that you actually deliver real concrete value, rather than building pieces of lots of different features, you aren't going to have anything that's worth anything, no matter how acheivable

  • by spir0 (319821) on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:24PM (#24743633) Homepage Journal

    originality: FAIL
    name: FAIL
    marketing: FAIL
    understanding of their demographic: FAIL

    I don't know what they were thinking. If they had actually *asked* a gamer what they thought, perhaps this wouldn't have failed (because it never would have started).

    Really. I mean, Gleemax? Maximum Glee? Or a Gleaming Ax? Who the hell are they aiming it at? Japanese girls, or violent barbarians?

  • Gleemax is another casualty of Wizards of the Coast's tough reorganization this year.

    Other changes that are percieved to be aimed directly at the bottom line:

    Ending the Junior Super Series (Magic events where young players could win scholorship money. )
    Ending State Championships for Magic.
    Cancelling a Pro Tour event, and making that change permanent.
    Relocating Worlds to be held in the U.S.
    Releasing Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition.
    Changing the card rarity in Magic to include 'Mythic' rares, a card twice as

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