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Tyrant

Gordon Walton - Are You The One Who Brought Us The Nge?

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I've been waiting so so long for this...processing...thank you sir, I hope this gives me some closure.

 

So being rushed out early wounded it, and greed pushed it into it's downfall. Rather than be happy with 250k x $15 = 3.75m a month (not to mention the 400k x $60 box sales) they got greedy and ended up driving away hundreds of thousands of players, MANY of whom I am confident would have played that game for many many more years. Its a sad but familiar MMO story. 

 

I always felt if SWG came out without the massive bugs, better combat, and with the content added over the first couple of years we would have never seen the WOWpark obsession because SWG would have established the role play sandbox as a money maker. I think it would have started with 400k, retained them, then grown over the first couple of years. The bar to "make money" would have been set so much higher with such a deeper type of game, it could have shifted the genre and spared us from 10 years of WOW clones (as it may have nudged Blizz to make even WOW less controlled or at least given us two bigger money making MMO styles). Maybe not... Sigh, its a dream, one that can never truly be proven.

 

Not to jump topics or open another wound but I have to also wonder what happened with SWTOR. More or less I'm curious about the planning stages and how they reacted to such a backlash on the testing forums when the MMO testers realized it was not SWG on roids (or even more than another WOWesque themepark) meanwhile the other testers realized it was not as "Old Republic" as the single player games and basically all sides were unhappy with the product (at least that is what it seemed like, given frequent forumers tend to be the vocal minority so maybe the feedback was overall positive). It was my impression that SWTOR was exactly what is was supposed to be, that just happened to be exactly what their core market (the SWGers and KOTORers) did not want. I assumed the knew they would get those guys either way because of the IP so they focused on taking WOW subs away. /shrug

 

I am sure I will have more to say about this once I digest it a bit more, for now I must meditate on it (ok drink beer and think about SWG memories til I cry like any other Friday night) :D

Edited by Tierless

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Admirable to accept blame, but I don't see how it's really your fault. Trammel, sure. NGE? I've read your post a few times and it really seems like you started the project, you were asked to release it early by your producers and top brass (like all game failures start it seems), and you refused so they replaced you.

 

Sounds similar to J Todd's heartache over Shadowbane not succeeding. You were in love with that game.

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The NGE was my fault.

 

Gordon, if we ever pass eachother at GDC, or PAX, or anything like that, I want to give you a hug, and buy you a drink if that's your thing.

 

By the sounds of your stories, it sounds like some of the most emotional experiences of many of the people who play these games were equally emotional, and difficult experiences for you.

 

I hope that Crowfall ends up being a refreshing breath of fresh air from what sounds like it was a very challenging MMORPG production career.

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interesting read...and a +1 for standing tall, imo

 

but i'm with Headlight here...you can't really blame it on you for just the Idea...

 

it seems like it failed due to poor implementation in the end, arising from breaking the age old Rule that "prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance"

 

you warned them, ffs!

 

no worries, imo....but it's awesome that you are willing to be so transparent on it all

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Thanks for telling the story- it can't have been easy to live that nor to relive it.

 

Game developers have a nearly unique ability to fail their customers on a massive scale, when erroneous decisions can affect hundreds of thousands of players with deep and personal attachments to characters and game. The fact that these stories are not much more common is a testament to the skill and effort of you and your peers.

 

Thanks for making the worlds we play in. Keep doing it please.

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Gordon, if we ever pass eachother at GDC, or PAX, or anything like that, I want to give you a hug, and buy you a drink if that's your thing.

 

By the sounds of your stories, it sounds like some of the most emotional experiences of many of the people who play these games were equally emotional, and difficult experiences for you.

 

I hope that Crowfall ends up being a refreshing breath of fresh air from what sounds like it was a very challenging MMORPG production career.

 

I purposefully seek challenge, so I can't get too wound up when I find it.  :)  I've been blessed to work on so many great games, with so many great people.  So no need to worry about my emotional state all that much.  :)

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Was reading about Eve: Dust 514. Heard about that while playing Eve in Rookie Help. Is that similar to what Star Wars trying to do but in reverse? Granted, Star Wars on the ground was a MMO and it looks like Dust 514 is a FPS. And in this case, Eve came first while SWG was first before the space thing. But sounds like it was a very interesting concept. Especially when you can combine Space sim with mmo.

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any other skeletons you'd like to rip out of the closet?

 

of course we are a forgiving bunch...just don't jack up this one :) you'll have a bane stone on your lawn.

 

Are you kidding, of course I have more stories!  Almost all I've ever done is make games and every game that isn't a disaster, is nearly one!  :)

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Now that SOE is gone (long live Daybreak Games!) we should go ahead and have the Star Wars:Galaxies NGE discussion.

I'll start with the easy part:  The NGE was my fault.

 

It's OK to grieve a bit if appropriate for you. 

Wow.  I really appreciate you posting this as it explains a lot and in a crazy way brings things to a close.  

 

About an hour ago I posted a detailed walkthrough of the thought process to craft a Firespray in SWG in response to someone saying what on earth was so special about SWG crafting.  Took me about a half hour to write it and I wound up referencing my old SWG crafting notes that yes, I still have.  8 pads of graph paper filled to the brim with everything from experimentation results to decor made from ship parts.  No other game has come close.

 

I came just before the NGE and I stayed until they shut the doors.  The last year I kept my sub going simply because of the housing.  SWG was my first MMO and I still keep in touch with people that I met in that game.

 

I know the game tanked and I know it was a disappointment to many but for me it was one of the greatest gaming experiences I've had. I don't know if you had a hand in these or not but thanks for building what you did. Here's a list of the things that I loved in that game:

 

Restuss -  The fall of Restuss - running around with the city being destroyed, and then battling endlessly for control was an insane amount of fun. Waiting for the Hand to come drop that frackin hilt while holding off the Imps (of course I was Rebel, sheesh) and the one night that for some reason we all started dancing, both factions, and there was this huge party of people dancing in Restuss waiting for the Hand.  She showed up and we all started killing each other.  Good times.

 

Crafting - Of course.  Still the best system I've ever played.

 

Space Flight - Manning a turret gun on a destroyer.  Just climbing the ladder into the turret was such a visceral thrill and trying to get those teeny tiny boxes on the cruisers was insanely fundifficult while you're zooming around space, your pilot avoiding damage and sysops hollering in vent to do some dps *!#&*!(#.

 

Housing - Nothing like it has shown up since. Nothing. I built sculptures out of hydraulic parts and whomp rat organs.  Just sayin'.  Had art shows. *nods*

 

Mustafer - Talk about immersion.  That planet was brilliant and I spent long hours just hanging out with friends and playing get the lava flea dna.  Not to mention the raids - HK47! I think back on it now and they seem so simple after running endgame in other games since then but back in the day it was thrilling.

 

Creature Handler - Nothing else like it since.

 

Environments overall - Night sister's enclosure.  Krayt graveyard. Jedi ruins on Dathomir.  The Jedi shrines tucked into the most random spots on every planet. Blueleaf temple.  Waterfalls on Naboo.  And the creatures - taking down my first rancor was a moment.

 

For every disgruntled off player furious at not getting Jedi before the change there is a player that remembers their first time in the Mos Eisley cantina and still laughs at the multi eyed white furry dude.  There's a player that recalls being able to RP on such an immersive level that they found themselves feeling like they'd had a week long vacation after a night of play. There's someone that crafted their first speeder and then got on it and tooled around, gleeful that they made it.

 

Thanks for the game.  I know in the big picture sense it was a difficult and painful road.  From this player's boots on the ground view it was a fantastic, unforgettable ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are you kidding, of course I have more stories!  Almost all I've ever done is make games and every game that isn't a disaster, is nearly one!  :)

 

it's not about making mistakes, its about not making the same one twice *cough* there are several dozen player in the houston areas available to plant that stone in austin...just sayin' *cough*

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About an hour ago I posted a detailed walkthrough of the thought process to craft a Firespray in SWG in response to someone saying what on earth was so special about SWG crafting.  Took me about a half hour to write it and I wound up referencing my old SWG crafting notes that yes, I still have.  8 pads of graph paper filled to the brim with everything from experimentation results to decor made from ship parts.  No other game has come close.

 

I cause nostalgia!

 

 

Are you kidding, of course I have more stories!  Almost all I've ever done is make games and every game that isn't a disaster, is nearly one!  :)

 

You tell a good story, gamers rarely get to see behind the scenes stuff like this.

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I suddenly realized I left something out that was critical to my account, mainly because I take it for granted but players often don't realize it.  The team on SWG loved their game and community.  Every team has a percentage of true believers in the product and on the best teams that percentage is really high.  The SWG team was definitely one of those teams where almost everyone was fanatical about delivering a really awesome Star Wars experience.  The enthusiasm for the game and IP was off the charts.  It was a joy to work there, even with all the issues.  OK, now we can get back to it!

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Honestly, the biggest turn off for me with the combat upgrade and the NGE was that they took away your ability to mix and match skill trees.

 

I have to admit that, my mitigation build was part of the reason that the game had to be updated. Stacking mitigation stats allowed me to take on 10+ enemies at the same time and win. Even though this was obviously an oversight in the game design, it felt like I had really achieved something great and when they removed the ability to build your characters creatively, it ruined the play experience for me.

 

The game became nothing more than a crafting simulator for me, which would have been fine if the servers didn't become ghost towns overnight.

 

With Crowfall, I want you guys to ignore the community and make the game that YOU want to make. I want you do be clear on your vision and let the experience speak for itself. Don't cave to complainers.

 

Like you said, you won't please everybody but, as long as you keep the people that are pleased, you'll have a permanent player base for years to come.

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