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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

Might & Magic Creator Joins Garriott At NCSoft 36

Thanks to Google News for its link to the press release announcing Jon Van Caneghem, founder of New World Computing, has been hired by MMO developer NCSoft to work as "executive producer... on a new, unannounced online game project." As the release notes, Van Canegham "created the Might and Magic and Heroes series and turned them into two of the industry's most successful titles, with more than 20 million units in combined sales", and following the dissolution of New World Computing due to owner 3DO's collapse, and the sale of the Might and Magic franchise to UbiSoft, he'll be "working with [Ultima creator, Tabula Rasa developer, and NCSoft Austin head] Richard Garriott and NCsoft's... designers to create the next generation of massively multiplayer online games."
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Might & Magic Creator Joins Garriott At NCSoft

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  • Is the world really ready for another MMORPG? I liked the Ultima series, and HOMM2 was a great game, but Lineage 2 wasn't exactly a breakthrough in the mold of MMORPGs, and with all of the current cookie-cutter MMORPGs, I'm not sure I want yet another one that isn't wholly different than the sort of leveling treadmill it's become.
    • by AKnightCowboy ( 608632 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @07:32PM (#9371992)
      City of Heroes is pretty fun. I've never bought a MMORPG before and I was hesitent to plunk down a monthly fee for an online game (I'm used to playing FPS's where the servers are free), but I've enjoyed this for the 3 days I've been playing it.

      The only oddity I find with this genre is that it seems to take a lot of time and dedication to sit and build up a character. I played for about 16 hours since Saturday and only built up a level 9 blaster character, but in the meantime I ended up seriously pissing off my wife because I've been ignoring her.

      Is zoning out of reality a normal side effect of playing MMORPGs or am I just weird? I seem to recall people referring to Everquest as "Evercrack" so I'm worried I may have stumbled down a slippery slope. Perhaps I should flee back to Desert Combat and FPS games before it's too late.

      • Heh,

        Leveling only becomes harder after that. Nowadays, I think in 16 hours, I may only gain 2 levels. Luckily, I don't have a wife, so I can devote all my spare time to MMORPGs :p
      • by slaker ( 53818 )
        Grouping with a friend or two who aren't idiots make CoH a much better experience. It took me almost 40 hours to get a 14th level character - not knowing what I was doing or where I was going.
        My second toon works with two others for maybe 90 minutes a night and hit 14 in 17 hours of play. Not only that, but that hour and a half a night has been REALLY enjoyable, hitting a lot more of the game's content and with a lot of talk about comics and other geeky pursuits along the way.

        Anyway, reality is right where
      • I'd describe Heroes of Might and Magic II or III as tedious in places, but extremely fun. Hearing you call CoH pretty fun doesn't make it sound like a game I want to play. I've played Asheron's Call and Shadowbane and won't be playing any more of them until there's something to do besides level. Shadowbane was interesting with its wars and politics, but it was too buggy and I'm not interested in going back now that the player base has shrunk.
      • Is zoning out of reality a normal side effect of playing MMORPGs or am I just weird? I seem to recall people referring to Everquest as "Evercrack" so I'm worried I may have stumbled down a slippery slope. Perhaps I should flee back to Desert Combat and FPS games before

        I'm in exactly the same boat. I've easily resisted every MMORPG, and mocked those who fell victim to them. But... here comes City of Heroes, and everything changes.

        Yes, I'm getting that zoning-out as well... I guess I can't say I wasn't
    • a little misleading (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @07:50PM (#9372161)
      NCSoft is acting as a publisher here. The only titles developed by NCSoft is Lineage and Lineage II. Of NCSoft's other titles,

      Guild Wars [] is being developed by ArenaNet [], a group composed primarily of former Blizzard employees who worked on Diablo that left in the Vivendi Universal bankruptcy debacle over the possible sale of the games division (including Blizzard). They could have picked a name further from BattleNet, though.

      Tabula Rasa [] is developed by Destination Games, the Austin, Texas group headed by Richard Gariott composed primarily of people that got fired from or left Origin after EA scrapped the Ultima Online 2 project. They were actually far into Tabula Rasa before being signed on with NCSoft.

      City of Heroes [] is developed by Cryptic Studios [] based in San Jose, CA.

      Finally, Auto Assault [] is developed by NetDevil [].

      All of these developers are completely autonomous as far as design goes. NCSoft is only the publisher and the billing gateway. For the sake of the independent developers that just happened to have signed up with NCSoft, please don't confuse their works with that of other developers.
  • I tried out their Lineage 1 and 2 flagship products, the ones that made them rich and popular in the first place.

    The support for the Internation market is so appalling that most of the casual gamers have either quitted, or contemplates on quitting weekly. (This is the quitting because the game/support sucked, not because of addiction).

    I often wondered why they are hiring all the big names, raised a lot of hype, and then gave crappy service and drive their customers away. You spend to get more customers,
    • Agreed about Lineage. Horrific game. However, I played Guild Wars during the E3 event, and have beed active in the fan communities. It is basically a completely different situation, and a much better one at that. Judge by developer, not by publisher. Don't throw Arena Net under the bus just because they're associated with NCSoft. Arena Net is doing a great job. (Plue they're American so we're their primary market, unlike Lineage)

      I don't have as much experience with CoH or Tabula Rasa to make assesm
  • Larry (Score:5, Funny)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @08:26PM (#9372518) Journal
    Now if they can just get the Leisure Suit Larry guy, they'll be untouchable.
  • by schild ( 713993 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @08:50PM (#9372705) Homepage Journal
    Comeon guys, if you honestly think NCSoft is the devil you have your hat on backwards. First of all, this addition to Garriots team is largely positive. NCSoft is doing something that no other companies are willing to do in the MMOG market - diversify.

    Between Auto Assault, City of Heroes, Tabula Rasa, Alter Life, Lineage 2, and Guild Wars - NCSoft is hitting all the bases with their titles. They have EQ Clones, car combat, diablo type rpg, the Korean Treadmill, and superhero city fighting.

    Complaining about NCSoft shows nothing but a complete lack of knowledge when it comes to the MMO Market. Next time just keep your mouth shut and do some research.

    • Who are you talking to? Did you just feel a need to invent a platform for espousing the greatness of NCsoft? I don't see a single person in the 15 comments so far who is even remotely suggesting that NCsoft is the devil, or even really complaining about them.

      The only person who said something somewhat negative was suggesting that MMOs are crappy boring levelling treadmills. This person is, for the most part, right. I am tired of MMOs too. Give me another good singleplayer experience like Morrowind, and tha
    • I don't claim to know the MMO market, but I doubt I'm interested in subscribing to multiple MMOG games.

      So, if I was to choose one game to play, I'd expect the game to have a decent amount of content and support.

      Sadly, I see lots of diversity and nothing further. No quality, no content, and certainly no support.

      Also, I have always thought the MMO market earns its money from the Massive bit. What's the point of having a lot of variety and not enough players on any of their games?

      Eventually, how can they
  • Why did people assume it would be a turn based online game? People automatically put together HOMM and MMORPG. HOMM was a good series for other reasons like a its creativity. It's like saying Worlds of Warcraft was going to be way to complicated because it would be WC3 online. And as a random note the new Dodge Viper is designed by the same Japanese guy who designed the Camry, now make assumptions about that
    • actually guild wars is awesome. I managed to play it a good bit during their E3 for everyone event and I was thoroughly impressed. These guys know what they're doing. They made a game that was fun to play, combined the better elements of MMORPG's, PVP, PVE, and made a great game that has no monthly fees. This is the only MMORPG I'm even slightly interested in right now. I was completely blown away.
  • that the Might and Magic series really ended up sucking major a$$? The last one was especially horrible, so what's the big deal?
  • Here we go again (Score:2, Insightful)

    by obeythefist ( 719316 )
    If it's not consoles sucking all the decent programmers out of the PC gaming platform, it's the MMORPG's.

    I like RPG's fine, I play a lot of them myself, I used to MUD for like two years, but eventually you realise you just can't stay on the leveling treadmill forever.

    I guess PC game publishers have realised that PC games aren't the 5 minute wonders that console games are. Now they're going the other way - they don't want you for 5 minutes, they want you for life. And that's fine because they can charge
    • Re:Here we go again (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Bandwith alone will eat up your yearly salary in a month for most mmorpgs, and that doesn't cover energy bills, hardware cost for the server farm, technical support personnel, ingame support personell, etc.

    • by Psychochild ( 64124 ) < minus cat> on Wednesday June 09, 2004 @03:27AM (#9374801) Homepage
      What's the cost of running a counterstrike server compared to one of these MMORPGs? It's the same! And yet they have managed to charge people a fee for providing the same service.

      Uh, not really. I run my own online game, Meridian 59 [], and I know what it costs to run a server.

      Although we keep costs as low as possible, it does cost quite a bit to keep the server connected. Players will use a lot of bandwidth when you're talking about a few thousand people all on at the same time. Keeping the server up also costs money for support in case some router decides it doesn't want to work overnight. (People get really cranky about the service going down if they're paying you.)

      On the flip side, running a FPS server at that level of availability isn't exactly cheap, either. Consider the prices at this site []; they do "professsional" hosting of FPS servers and charge between $5-10 per person for that. Considering the depth an online RPG provides, and the fact that regular updates are provided, a game like my own that only charges $10.95 is a pretty good deal. (Meridian 59 doesn't require an up-front box purchase, so it's an even better deal than usual.)

      As for the topic on hand, I worked at 3DO for a while and remember JVC's interesting email commentary to some of the events there. I hope he finds a place where he can get good creative freedom and make some great games.

      Have fun,
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2004 @07:05AM (#9375389)
      What's the cost of running a counterstrike server compared to one of these MMORPGs? It's the same! And yet they have managed to charge people a fee for providing the same service.

      I don't see how anyone could mod you insightful, if only for that single line. A counterstrike server can run on a dual 800mhz machine in some guy's basement. A MMPORPG server has to combine several different things: Login, Gameplay, Character Storage, Ticketed Help System, and many other things.

      Simply being able to handle 1000+ players on a single server is more than any CS can claim. Just being able to have that many people connect to your server (usually MMPOGs are server farms - not individual servers, but several servers networked together) dictates that your server reside in a datacenter, space at which is anything but cheap.

      And that's just the gameplay. Think about a central login server, a billing server, a webserver, a patch server, and you're easily spending well over and beyond what just about anyone who runs a CS server could afford. This is why monthly subscription is a reality - not only do they have to pay for space and bandwidth, but they need to pay (at a very low wage) their online support personell (aka GMs), and their "Live Team" - a team of developers who generate new content for the servers, usually in the form of events and class/creature balance.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein