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Richard Garriott Quits NCSoft 149

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the will-now-british-elsewhere dept.
unc0nn3ct3d writes "In a shocking update on the seemingly endless troubles plaguing NCSoft, Richard Garriott — the king of online games, creator of The Ultima Series (and consequentially Ultima Online), as well as the recently troubled Tabula Rasa — has announced that he would be stepping down from his position at NCSoft. Apparently motivated by his recent trip into space, perhaps he has found a higher purpose while orbiting so high above the earth."
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Richard Garriott Quits NCSoft

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  • Breaking News... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    As they say, and nothing of value was lost.

  • Question (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @10:59AM (#25733453)
    Does this article call for a racist or anti-semitic diatribe? What a personal or disgusting description of a sexual encounter be more appropriate? What about a goatse link? Thank you in advance.
  • The "recently troubled" link leads to a blog posting from February 2008. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Tabula Rasa's still having trouble, but that's an interesting definition of "recent".
    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      Tabula Rasa had problems from beta, if not earlier, and never shook them. So while 'recent' might be sort-of applicable, 'ongoing' or 'constant' would be better adjectives.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625)

      Beat me to it. "Who, what, when?" was going to be my title. An article about a guy who was remotely involved in this game-generation's Daikatana becoming un-involved? Yaaawn.

      I'll save further comment for when kdawson dupes this article on Friday.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @11:02AM (#25733475)
    He needs to care for the alien fetus growing inside his stomach.
    • by InlawBiker (1124825) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @11:24AM (#25733787)

      He can cure that with a little Mandrake Root and Nightshade.

    • by MindKata (957167) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @11:30AM (#25733845) Journal
      "He needs to care for the alien fetus growing inside his stomach."

      Maybe aliens have already replaced him with a replica? ... so he can help start the alien space invasion!... oh no!... This would also explain his sudden career change and it would also explain John Carmack's move into Aerospace!... see it explains a lot! ... they are both aliens!

      Maybe the Armadillo's are behind it!
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armadillo_Aerospace [wikipedia.org]

      Then again, maybe we have both had too much coffee today. :)
      • by dkf (304284)

        Then again, maybe we have both had too much coffee today. :)

        DDDDDDdoooonnn'nn'ttt bbeee sssiilllllllyyyy! Nnnnnoo sssssuuccchh tttthhhinngggg!!!!

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        Maybe aliens have already replaced him with a replica? ... so he can help start the alien space invasion!... oh no!... This would also explain his sudden career change and it would also explain John Carmack's move into Aerospace!... see it explains a lot! ... they are both aliens!

        Maybe the Armadillo's are behind it!

        No way, man. Garriot was possessed by an alien when he went up to the ISS (it's occupied entirely by aliens now). Carmack is still human, he's one of the few who knows the truth and is trying

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        Actually, we're all aliens now. You're the last human left who we've not infected. And, until you posted this message and we got your IP address, we had no idea where you were. Just stay there and wait. It will be easier that way, trust us.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I do not want astronauts defying gravity in front of my children. Nor do I want them driving their moonbuggies through our neighborhoods at all times of night, playing that theme to 2001 on their CosmoBlasters. Astronazis! Watch out! They'll try to stick an American flag in you! They can't eat normal food and they're addicted to tang!

      Last October, an astronaut moved into my neighborhood... Simultaneously, all the leaves started dying.

      -Upright Citizens Brigade
  • by HBI (604924) <kparadine@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @11:04AM (#25733509) Homepage Journal

    The games industry has sucked the life out of any 'franchise' inherited from when the PC game market was healthy.
    Tabula Rasa has zero name recognition.
    The number of people who know who Garriott is, is not enough to sustain usage on an MMO.
    The cost of the game was exorbitant when you have zero name recognition.
    MMOs have a shelf life and expire after a (very few) years.

    Therefore, why would someone do a project like this, as a pure business case? I love Richard Garriott and what he represents, but I blame NCsoft for greenlighting and funding this MMO, rather than Garriott for creating it.

    • by WinterSolstice (223271) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @11:17AM (#25733687)

      TR is, IMHO, the best MMO available today. It's also pretty cheap compared to WoW.

      I have played both pretty heavily, and my all time fave is TR.

      I've been a fan of Garriott since the beginning (Akalabeth) and he has rarely disappointed (well, ultima underworld kinda sucked). TR doesn't seem to have much of his penchant for dramatic story telling (unlike Ultima, Wing Commander, and UO), so his departure may not change much.

      I hope he goes off to do something fun.

      If TR ends after this, it will be a shame. It's my favorite MMO, and probably the last one I'll play for the foreseeable future (since most of the rest are just... meh)

      • by HBI (604924)

        It's kind of funny that I loved Ultima Underworld, so much so that I regularly quote it as my favorite game, and have replayed it often, last week even (up to Level 6).

      • I played this game when it first came out. I did not feel like paying to beta test it so I quit. What I remember is you just run around and collect Logos and kill bane. Has anything changed?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Enderandrew (866215)

        Ultima Underworld (which was a truly pioneering game) wasn't really done by Garriott, but by Warren Spector who later worked on Wing Commander, Thief, Deus Ex, etc.

      • by log0n (18224) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @11:39AM (#25733959)

        I'm not a hardcore MMO player.. but I've played WOW, Anarchy Online, Guild Wars and TR (picked it up at a firesale at Target). TR SUCKS. I played 3 days out of the free initial month before I canceled billing.

        The interface was backwards and counter intuitive, the mechanics of the game didn't make much sense nor did the story. Not to mention the performance was pretty horrible (MBPro, 256mb video, etc).

        I read a bunch of reviews explaining the game and I know that point was that it was intended to reinvent what an MMO game is - and maybe it did so. But in doing that, it had next to ZERO mass appeal. The things that it changed to 'be different' didn't make sense why they were changed - and what was put in place instead felt tacked on, confusing and backwards.

        Honestly, I can't think of a single thing I experienced during my limited run with it that was superior, or even on par with other MMOs. YMMV.

        • by WarlockD (623872)
          I have to agree there. Playing the game with a large MMORG experience in my background made me ignore the interface and story issues. But my roommate couldn't stand it more than 2 days himself. Yet we both get on lord of the rings and play that thing for hours and hours straight.

          Sometimes it takes another perspective.
      • by Enry (630) <{ten.agyaw} {ta} {yrne}> on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @11:42AM (#25734003) Journal

        Guild Wars is even cheaper (pay for the software, no recurring fees). I've been playing it for about 3-ish years off and on and still enjoy it.

      • by Sancho (17056) *

        What, you mention Ultima Underworld, but not Ultima 9?

        I realize that the steaming pile that became Ultima 9 was largely driven by EA and deadlines rather than by Garriot, but Garriot had very little input on Underworld. He was far more creatively involved in Ultima 9, and couldn't manage to save that shipwreck from EA.

        Then there's Ultima Online. Ok, being one of the earlier modern MMOs, I can forgive some of the quirks, but it was also ill-planned. I remember some of the marketing for the game was that y

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        well, ultima underworld kinda sucked

        Shut yo mouth!

        TR doesn't seem to have much of his penchant for dramatic story telling (unlike Ultima, Wing Commander, and UO)

        Huh, I must have quit playing UO before the added in the story.

        If TR ends after this, it will be a shame.

        I'm sure it will keep going as long as the revenue exceeds the costs to keep it running, as they attempt to recoup as much of their initial investment as possible.

    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      MMOs have a short shelf life? Um, since when? Ultima Online is still plugging along, they've reactivated Meridian59, and even the original Everquest is still turning a profit. They may not change much after a few years of incremental development and expansion packs, but it is fairly rare for a well-funded one to fail as spectacularly as Tabula Rasa did.
    • MMOs have a shelf life? Really? Since when? Thus far, I'm not aware of ANY MMOs failing. Hellgate London probably will, but it'll be the first. Ultima Online, Everquest and the like are STILL online. Not just online, under active development. A new UO expansion was released in 2007, and there's another slated for 2009.

      Thus far, it seems MMOs just keep going and going. They peak and then player count drops off, but it doesn't fall to zero it levels off and you just keep running. Even MMOs that were fucking d

      • Re:Uhhhh (Score:4, Informative)

        by HBI (604924) <kparadine@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @11:39AM (#25733953) Homepage Journal

        If your numbers of players are declining, your product is in a death spiral, even if it takes 10 years to drop to something equating to nil. If you are not doing well financially now, having fewer players - meaning less cash coming in - means you can afford to develop less and have even less chance of turning things around. And there are several MMOs that have closed down.

        http://www.mmogchart.com/charts/ [mmogchart.com] - have fun checking it out.

        • You have kind of an odd definition of "death spiral".

          Regardless, only thing that matters is are you bringing in enough cash to cover operations, and then make a profit? If so, your game is still a success. While everyone would love to be the biggest/best you don't have to be #1 to be successful. While 50,000-100,000 subscribers isn't impressive compared to WoW, it is still a respectable amount of people and enough to have a profitable business.

      • by Dutch Gun (899105)

        Thus far, I'm not aware of ANY MMOs failing. Hellgate London probably will, but it'll be the first.

        Auto Assault
        Sims Online
        Space and Beyond
        Motor City Online
        Asheron's Call 2

        Hellgate will certainly not be the first if it shuts down completely.

      • There have been plenty of MMOs that have shut down, none of them really major though, except maybe Sims Online (though it was never that popular, just had the brand power that people expected more out of it).

    • MMOs have a shelf life and expire after a (very few) years

      No, they don't. MMOs have died, but because they were screwed up, not of old age. Many of the oldest MMOs are still around. With no real data points, it's difficult to say what the life-span of a well-run MMO might be, but my guess would be somewhere around 20 years.

    • by Reapman (740286)

      "MMOs have a shelf life and expire after a (very few) years."
      *Bill Lumbergh's voice* I'm uh.. going to have to sort of... disagree with you on that one.

      Actually it seems like these games have an amazing shelf life. EQ1 is still around, as is UO. Heck games that should die like SW Galaxies and Enter the Matrix that just never seemed to catch on are still gasping for breath. The game I play, FFXI, I've been hearing for years people saying "the game will be dead in 6 months" and is still going, even if it'

      • dude you forgot WOW! come on... how could you forget WOW? this close to the expansion release? come on...
  • Overview Effect (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Metasquares (555685) <slashdot@metasquar[ ]com ['ed.' in gap]> on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @11:04AM (#25733517) Homepage

    Apparently motivated by his recent trip into space and perhaps has found a higher purpose while orbiting so high above the earth.

    This actually is a phenomenon known as the overview effect [dailygalaxy.com]. Space travelers often report a transcendental sense of connectedness.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @11:24AM (#25733781)

      More likely he realized that outer space is the only place with enough room for his ego.

    • The Total Perspective Vortex

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_of_Gold_(spaceship)#Total_Perspective_Vortex [wikipedia.org]

      Think of what it does. From the book:

      "When you are put into the Vortex you are given just one momentary glimpse of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation, and somewhere in it a tiny little mark, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, which says, "You are here."

      Which is like putting someone in a space ship, have them look back at the earth, and understand how small earth is, and how small each

      • by jez9999 (618189)

        Why bother with a space ship? All children, whilst being taught about religion, should be supplied with a copy of Celestia [shatters.net], and made to slow zoom out until they're able to see the Milky Way and Andromeda, to get some sense of perspective.

        • by Cowmonaut (989226)
          Fun program, but it isn't the same. There is just something about really seeing something in person that photographs and simulations just can't capture.
    • by JoeD (12073) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @11:44AM (#25734031) Homepage

      And when he dies, on his deathbed, he will achieve total consciousness, so he's got that going for him.

    • This actually is a phenomenon known as the overview effect. Space travelers often report a transcendental sense of connectedness.

      Interesting that this is in almost total opposition to the Total Perspective Vortex [wikipedia.org].

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by six025 (714064)

      This actually is a phenomenon known as the overview effect [dailygalaxy.com]. Space travelers often report a transcendental sense of connectedness.

      For those of us in the cheap seats, LSD can do this too.

    • yea, i recall hearing some astronauts talk about it in a space/NASA documentary. it's too bad more people couldn't experience such a n eye-opening/life-changing spiritual epiphany. if people could just take a few steps back and rise above the rat race of modern society for a moment, they'd be able to see how petty much of their greed, selfishness, xenophobia/hatred, etc. are.

      the world would be a much better place if more people could pull themselves out their myopic and solipsistic existence and develop a s

    • by 77Punker (673758)
      This might not make sense to people who have never tried it, but hallucinogens like LSD and mushrooms can have the exact same effect.

      Of course, like space travel, it's not for everyone. The experience might make you vomit and it might make you crazy (see Daniel Johnston [wikipedia.org]), but your perspective is forever changed.
      • by smoker2 (750216)
        No need to go that far. A nice bit of weed puts you in just as nice a place. (disclaimer: I've done LSD and shrooms too, as well as other substances). That's why the trees seem so much greener, and violent childish acts seem so much more prevalent amongst people who don't "get it". I'm re-re-re-rereading Thomas Covenant at the moment, and I can relate to being able to "see" health and likewise ill health.
        Also, regarding the celestia comment above, does anyone have an idea of how far away from Earth you woul
        • by Mprx (82435)
          As somebody who's experienced this effect on mushrooms, I can say that even very high dose cannabis will not take you to the same place. There are some similarities, as cannabis is a mild psychedelic, but the cannabis experience is always grounded in physical reality. The "overview effect" is not a "nice place", but not a bad place either. It's a place where such concepts are meaningless. There's no good way to explain it to somebody who has not experienced it.
        • by Darby (84953)

          I'm re-re-re-rereading Thomas Covenant at the moment, and I can relate to being able to "see" health and likewise ill health.

          I'm reading the second book in the third trilogy right now. The health sense is broken now. (Don't worry, that's in the first few pages of the first book).

  • Damnit Richard, man! I was calling you [calum.org] as you passed over the UK, but you never answered. People think I'm mad when I'm looking into the sky, saying I'm trying to talk with spacemen.
    • by Gordonjcp (186804)

      I heard him. I also received some of his SSTV pics. Unfortunately I was at work, so I couldn't call him myself. There was one local-ish guy calling him on the downlink frequency, which really isn't going to work.

      Pics (and audio) from space here: http://www.gjcp.net/space/ [gjcp.net]

      • by caluml (551744)
        Yep, calling on the downlink isn't going to work, and will just annoy local amateurs. Plus you'll be stomped on by someone 200 miles higher than you.
        I think it was a bit silly wasting time sending dull (IMO) SSTV images back when Richard could have been QSOing with thousands of amateurs worldwide. He was up there for 10? days, and probably had lots of time spare (as he wasn't part of the crew). The image equipment can be left there, switched on at any time.
        Receiving an image is a one-way communication, a
        • by Gordonjcp (186804)

          Feel free to mirror it. I'm not sure if Richard Garriot is going to claim copyright on it ;-)

          What's particularly annoying is that across in Edinburgh there is a VHF AM group who all sit on 145.8 and nicely stomp any ISS transmissions! That said, I was amazed how loud NA1SS was - those pics and the audio were received with an old Trio TR-7730 (which is actually a damn good rig) and a homebrew J-pole at all of 12' elevation in my back garden. A couple of the pics show deep nulls, caused by tall trees. One

          • by caluml (551744)
            OK, I'll mirror it - thanks.

            Wow, I'd be pretty miffed about the use of 145.8+ for non satellite work. Are they even allowed [rsgb-spect...rum.org.uk] to do that? There are 2 whole MHz of 2m bandwidth for them to use, and satellites can't exactly be changed easily.
            I too, was amazed at how strong the signal is from the ISS. It was maxing out my meter, and that was with a 6/2/70 mobile antenna in the carpark at work. Sounded like at the beginning and end of the recording that you were slightly off frequency - do you start 3kHz up,
            • by Gordonjcp (186804)

              Sounded like at the beginning and end of the recording that you were slightly off frequency - do you start 3kHz up, and go down, ending at 3kHz below, due to Doppler?

              The radio I was using only tunes in 5kHz steps. I tuned it down towards the end - you can hear a quick burst of Morse as I switch off a preprogrammed channel and then spin the VFO back to 145.795 ;-)

              For the SSTV stuff I wasn't actually there, just left the laptop running to record the pass. So, I couldn't tune to chase the Doppler.

  • Plaguing NCSoft?? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geminidomino (614729) * on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @11:11AM (#25733607) Journal

    What sort of troubles that aren't related to Tabula Rasa?

    Is Guild Wars 2 at risk?!

    • by Prien715 (251944)

      I was wondering the same thing. Guild wars has been pretty profitable (and I enjoyed it...until they stopped coming out with new content and no one was in any of the lowbie areas).

      They've already pushed the beta to not be this year ('08). I know one thing, I'm signed up as soon as they start it. ...until then I've started WoW.

  • ... Long live the King!

    Thank you for everything. The Ultima series over the years has brought me countless joy(and a bit of sorrow as well). Good luck in all that you do, Lord British.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That name - Lord British - makes me cringe every time I hear it. General British is slightly better, but not much.

      As a rule of thumb, consider that pretty much every person who could be considered British does not think of themselves as such - we're English, Scots, Welsh, Northern Irish, Cornish, Manx, and so on. Only someone not from here would call themselves something like that.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Only someone not from here would call themselves something like that.

        Despite being raised in the US and sounding American, Richard Garriot was born in Cambridge, England. He also did not give himself that name, it was given to him by others who thought he had British mannerisms.

  • go and live in a monastery?

    • by Megane (129182)
      He's been building it for a few years now. I've driven by it on City Park Road every now and then and it's looking something like this. [google.com]
  • Garriott should buy back the rights to Ultima single player games and develop remakes of the Ultima series.

  • who wants to bet he is going to start screwing up WoW next?

  • Space Ace (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ioldanach (88584) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @11:32AM (#25733871)
    Now that he's a Space Ace [pdragon.net] he has to rescue a princess he goes time travelling. He's just cleaning up some loose ends first.
  • Ever since I read Heinlein's 'Man Who Sold the Moon' I've hoped we'd see an entrepreneur take on the role of 'D.D. Harriman'. Lord British would be a good fit. Hopefully the perspective he gained from his space trip is outbound rather than Earth related.
  • Did he... (Score:2, Funny)

    by naz404 (1282810)
    did he have Martian Dreams after his Ascension? Is he going to have an Exodus?
  • Making games that don't suck.

    Oh wait... that hasn't been since Ultima Online, pre-UO:R. It was all downhill from there.

  • *poof* (Score:3, Funny)

    by curtisk (191737) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @01:18PM (#25735267) Homepage Journal
    All that was heard was Garriott's voice booming "Kal Ort Por" and a following puff of smoke.
  • Software executives R moving to aerospace in droves. Once cashing in on their employees success, they almost never reinvest in the business which made their money.

     

  • by Sentry21 (8183)

    Maybe when he realized that you could see his ego from space he decided that his work was complete?

  • by CountBrass (590228) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @03:22PM (#25737201)
    He didn't produce the first, the most successful or even a particularly good online game: so why would he be "king"?
    • by Barny (103770)

      Ok, not king, but he can be emperor, since some watery tart threw a scimitar at him.

    • I think Richard has a sentimental position of favour in many people's minds. I have money fond memories of playing Ultima 1-4 on the AppleII back in the early 80s and then Ultima Online was the largest and most populated (and profitable) MMORPG for many year in the late 90s. There were other online games but none as enduring or with as many userds as UO. I used to love sifting through te source code that came with those early Ultima games to see how they were done (in AppleBasic and 6502 Assembler).

    • Simple: he played the king in the Ultima Series. Thus he's called The King ;)

    • He didn't produce the first, the most successful or even a particularly good online game

      Er... ever heard of "Ultima Online"? You know, the game that essentially defined the MMORPG genre as we know it today.

    • ...the only video game developer who can truthfully say "My worst day was when I got killed by an exploiting terrorist".

      Ironically, "exploiting terrorists" encapsulates all that was awesome and frustrating about UO in a compact two-word phrase.

    • by Ninwa (583633)
      Obviously you're aware that he conceptualized the first massively popular online RPG, Ultima Online. It was that game which made MMO's penetrate the mainstream gamers conscience. While there were plenty before him (Merdian 59 for example), preceding Everquest, Ultima Online was the first of its kind.

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