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morrolan

Gordon Walton - are you the one who brought us Trammel?

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The argument you are trying to make..

 

Why don't you read my posts instead of trying to guess what I would say on this subject?

 

If you are asking me about what I think about Ultimate Online: Renaissance, then I think it is very clean from my posts. Still, I will explicitly state it here: It was a huge mistake and killed a great deal of enjoyment I derived from UO. I played as anti-PK and Order/Chaos PvPer, and it killed both of these avenues. While I didn't quit until sometime in 2001 (games had more inertia back then), UO:R and Trammel clearly stands out in my mind as a turning point. Saddest part is that it was completely unnecessary - UO pre-Trammel was steadily growing, there was absolutely no need for such drastic interventions and game breaking redesigns (if you can call copy-paste Trammel that).

 

As to why they had retention issues? UO for longest time had no new player tutorial, no UI to speak of (you had to buy third-part UO:Assists to even have workable interface) and no hand-holding quests. By the time UO:R released the worst excesses of early UO (e.g. wall of reds outside the guard zone at crossroads) was log-gone history. As of T2A (pre-UO:R expansion), the only time you would reliably see PKs is if you went to farm liches to Deceit. Statloss was so effective, that people stopped using AOEs, because if you damage someone by accident, and they run away and suicide in a safe spot, you could end up in trouble.

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Why don't you read my posts instead of trying to guess what I would say on this subject?

 

If you are asking me about what I think about Ultimate Online: Renaissance, then I think it is very clean from my posts. Still, I will explicitly state it here: It was a huge mistake and killed a great deal of enjoyment I derived from UO. I played as anti-PK and Order/Chaos PvPer, and it killed both of these avenues. While I didn't quit until sometime in 2001 (games had more inertia back then), UO:R and Trammel clearly stands out in my mind as a turning point. Saddest part is that it was completely unnecessary - UO pre-Trammel was steadily growing, there was absolutely no need for such drastic interventions and game breaking redesigns (if you can call copy-paste Trammel that).

 

As to why they had retention issues? UO for longest time had no new player tutorial, no UI to speak of (you had to buy third-part UO:Assists to even have workable interface) and no hand-holding quests. By the time UO:R released the worst excesses of early UO (e.g. wall of reds outside the guard zone at crossroads) was log-gone history. As of T2A (pre-UO:R expansion), the only time you would reliably see PKs is if you went to farm liches to Deceit. Statloss was so effective, that people stopped using AOEs, because if you damage someone by accident, and they run away and suicide in a safe spot, you could end up in trouble.

 

I did read your post. It contained subscription rate numbers that do not stand up to scrutiny, and you have yet to provide links to corroborate them. If you had personal issues with changes made to UO that prevented you from enjoying it that's fine, but that's not what you wrote, or what we are discussing. 

 

You wrote that the subscription rates as supplied by Gordon Walton are nowhere near 125-245k:

 

First, all published numbers (from EA investor documents or SirBruce charts) state that Trammel had only minor account bump. Nowhere near your claimed 125k to 245K. Unless you are also willing to add filing falsified investment disclosure statements to the long list of your UO sins, these are not the numbers.

 

However, the http://users.telenet.be/mmodata/Charts/Subs-2.png'>SirBruce Chart you are referencing* shows that the subscription rates in late 1999 were just below 150,000. Then, from 2000 to 2001 they grow to just around 245,000. 

 

All the data we have on Ultimate Online corroborates Gordon's description of events, not yours. 

 

*MMOData.net uses Sir Bruce's historical data in their data set.

Edited by halethrain

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Personally speaking, unrestricted PvP is what drove me out of UO after a long time there, having beta testing the game, and playing since release. Hoards of griefers on the Pacific shard turned what was a joyful diversion into a nightly hazing by groups of 'players' who sought nothing more than to ruin other peoples experiences. Don't know if anyone from those days remember 'The Clones", 10-20 people all with the same name "Clone", who ran around completely naked and attacked players with nothing to lose, ending any chance for play time. Since those days, PvP has evolved, and a game like Crowfall has the chance to turn Player Vs Player into a competitive play style, rather then an unfettered experiment in anti-socialism. Personally, I like the idea of having someone behind the wheel of the game who has seen both the good and bad sides of the PvP gaming worlds, and its inhabitants. Few of us have the experience of having to actively accommodate the needs of both the wolves AND the sheep, and still put out a quality experience for both. I think we should be in good hands.

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I did read your post. It contained subscription rate numbers that do not stand up to scrutiny...

 

Which on is it then? Are the numbers don't stand up to scrutiny or do they say what you believe they do? You can't have it both ways.

 

UO:R released early to mid 2000. Subscriptions at that point were approximately 175,000. A year later subscription numbers were approximately 225,000. These numbers nowhere near 125K to 245k that was claimed.

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Personally speaking, unrestricted PvP is what drove me out of UO after a long time there, having beta testing the game, and playing since release. Hoards of griefers on the Pacific shard turned what was a joyful diversion into a nightly hazing by groups of 'players' who sought nothing more than to ruin other peoples experiences. Don't know if anyone from those days remember 'The Clones", 10-20 people all with the same name "Clone", who ran around completely naked and attacked players with nothing to lose, ending any chance for play time. 

Those guys were just **roleplaying** sociopaths, don'cha know? It's YOUR fault you didn't have fun. Or something along those lines.........  :rolleyes:

I think it's an interesting theory that Walton's team was the progenitor of the change-the-game-to-be-like-the-popular-competitor syndrome. I've blamed Smedley for most of the CURB/NGE mess in SWG. I wonder if Walton had a hand in that. It's interesting in a historical way.

 

Walton is certainly correct in his statements about the nature of "wolves" and "sheep", and why the former force the latter to leave game, which kill's the game. I'd like to avoid this in Crowfall.


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Trammel (UO: Renaissance) released mid 2000. You can see that up to that point UO was constantly growing, and sometimes around mid 2001is where it flattened out. As such, Gordon's claims are eye-rollingly unbelievable.

 

Subs-2.png

This is interesting, as well as sad on so so many levels. The genre was heading in this incredible and fascinating world simulator direction, then WOW hits and all we got for 10 years was shallow parks to play in chase carrots in. 


I role play a wordsmith.

 

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Which on is it then? Are the numbers don't stand up to scrutiny or do they say what you believe they do? You can't have it both ways.

 

UO:R released early to mid 2000. Subscriptions at that point were approximately 175,000. A year later subscription numbers were approximately 225,000. These numbers nowhere near 125K to 245k that was claimed.

 

UO:R was released May-2000. For the sake of accuracy I looked at the raw data instead of estimating off the chart. Here are the exact numbers from the spreadsheet:

 

May-1999:  125,000 subscribers

Mar-2000: 165,000 subscribers

May-2000: 185,000 subscribers

May-2001: 242,000 subscribers

 

Like I said, I don't know anything about the drama, and am only relating what the data shows. The closest pre-trammel data point we have is March 2000. It looks like Gordon Walton originally understated the subscriber base by 40,000 subscribers, which is definitely an exaggeration. However, his statement of 245k is extremely close to the May 2001 number. I'm assuming he threw out those numbers from memory, so I don't really see how you can claim they're not even close. They're a pretty accurate representation of the subscriber base. The release of UO:R did result in an accelerated subscriber rate growth after a year with very little growth.


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For the sake of accuracy I looked at the raw data instead of estimating off the chart. Here are the exact numbers from the spreadsheet:

 

May-1999:  125,000 subscribers

Mar-2000: 165,000 subscribers

May-2000: 185,000 subscribers

May-2001: 242,000 subscribers

 

I'm assuming he threw out those numbers from memory, so I don't really see how you can claim they're not even close.

 

I can see how his statement could be a reasonable presentation of numbers when going from memory on 15-year old data.

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I wonder how much of EA Louse he can confirm...I myself saw SWTOR from pretty early on and I can remember even then it was looking pretty dark. 


I role play a wordsmith.

 

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Probably all of it? When Richard Garriott sold to EA, he sealed Origin's fate. Just think of all missed possibilities.

 

If I ever get my hands on a time machine, that where I would go first.

Edited by Sinij

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Wow, I take a day off and there is lots of activity here.  I went back and took a look at the numbers.

 

Pre-UO:Renaissance, we were at ~165k.  My 125k - 245k numbers was the range during my stewardship of the game, clearly a misstatement on my part.  We grew from 165k at UO:R launch in 4/00 to 245k in late 2/01 (I was transferred off UO at that point).

 

The key trigger for the UO:R change was the new user losses and our exit polls of players who quit.  We were spending a lot of marketing money for people to churn out of the game.  

 

Sir Bruce's numbers were from the occasional statement by someone at EA, and sometimes that was me (the numbers were not typically given in the EA quarterly 10K's).  For example our May 2000 number was 194k, not the 185k listed above.  And our peak numbers were in Feb/Mar 2001.

 

I never thought that everyone who was a UO player then would be satisfied by my account.  It was certainly an incredibly impactful game emotionally to everyone involved, both players and the team.

 

An on the NGE, I'm going to tell that story sometime soon, probably after the Kickstarter (a bit busy until then).  But no, I as not with SOE when the NGE was launched, and it was because of my experience with UO.


Gordon Walton, ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc.  [Rules of Conduct]

Follow us on Twitter @CrowfallGame | Like us on Facebook

 

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Wow, I take a day off and there is lots of activity here.

 

What I'm taking away from this is that you are willing to go back to recap your previous adventures as a developer. You've gone into detail on the who/what/when/where/why/how/etc. Someone willing to take the time to analyze their past experiences to improve upon themselves is quite a good thing. Especially since you are more then honest about mistakes made in the past.

 

Really can't wait to hear more about what you were up to before Crowfall and how it all led you to going down the route you are now. Retelling of all the errors made means that is one more thing you aren't likely to do again. As you saw first-hand what the problems caused by it were and should be able to more adequately deal with those types of problems in the future. And that you are taking the time to remind yourself as well as inform us of it.

 

It is both reassuring and fascinating!

 

TL:DR TELL MOAR STUFF!

Edited by Genobee

I'm not an idiot, I simply choose not to think.

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Especially since you are more then honest about mistakes made in the past.

 

Hindsight is 20/20, Ironically if everyone loved Trammel and game had 1 mil sub for the following 5 years we would be having a different conversation today.  Calling this a mistake is not fair to this man.  This guy had a team and someone he had to answer to as well.  I am sure everyone thought all this would work, otherwise, they would not have tried it.

 

I have the utmost of respect for the guy at the helm to take the failure on himself and not shrug it off to someone else.  He could have easily done that.  Just another reason I support his efforts here.  Will they be 100% successful with Crowfall, I hope so, Gordon Walton deserves it.  Like always he is not afraid to take a risk, an admirable quality I might add. 

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When you have a job/career that you use to support yourself and your family you try to perform and meet the expectations placed on you by your employers.  Trammel was a success for UO.  It ripped the soul out of the game, but was a commercial success.

 

Delaying SP and a Trammel-free play experience is the about the only mistake I see when looking back.


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"Agelmar is King of the Hypocrites and Ruler of the Kingdom of Hypocrytia"

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I am surprised. Going into this conversation I fully expected to get censored and banned for speaking truth to power.

 

I will openly admit, Gordon will never get a Christmass card from me. Still, I respect his openess and wilingness to continue dialog.

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Perhaps the question we should be asking of Gordon is what's the plan if Crowfall falls short on sales.

 

We can speculate based on past actions all we want, but the moment he answers this question in any truthful way, it becomes a self-fulfilling prohecy.

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I am surprised. Going into this conversation I fully expected to get censored and banned for speaking truth to power.

 

I will openly admit, Gordon will never get a Christmass card from me. Still, I respect his openess and wilingness to continue dialog.

 

I agree, gotta have thick skin in an industry where your customers are always a few key presses away from you hehe. I appreciate them allowing such tough questions to be asked.

Edited by Tierless

I role play a wordsmith.

 

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An on the NGE, I'm going to tell that story sometime soon, probably after the Kickstarter (a bit busy until then).  But no, I as not with SOE when the NGE was launched, and it was because of my experience with UO.

 

Do you think we will ever see a game with the depth and breadth of SWG again? From what we know so far, I can't see Crowfall being that game because of the lack of a game structure for community and social activity like SWG had. For people who didn't play SWG, there were social-specific Professions: Dancer, Musician, Image Designer. Their whole purpose revolved around social events and activities. Crowfall is pretty well focused on combat and it's supporting systems.


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