Thursday, October 14, 2010

EA, Mythic, and Warhammer: Decidedly NOT Led Zepplin

Largely in response to: http://ealouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/and-another-things/ wherein an ex-EA/Mythic employee has been laid off due to reportedly managerial incompetence.

Responses are somewhat divided. Some applaud the EA Louse and its moxie in telling things like they are. Others denigrate the EA Louse for revealing confidential information and breaking an NDA. Whatever your thoughts on professionalism and the legalities of NDA's, the deed is done: http://ealouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/hello-world/

For my part, I especially hate to see the modern US corporate culture hard at work destroying games I've enjoyed. Not that I particularly liked Warhammer, but it had some serious potential, and EA has a consistent and proven track record of failure in that department. Earth & Beyond, The Sims Online, and Warhammer. Of these, only Warhammer is still active, and it barely clinging to life. I wouldn't have been caught dead playing The Sims Online, but I really quite liked Earth & Beyond, and was very sad to see it go. The writing was on the wall when E&B lost a vast number of subscribers after their storylines went live in January of 2003. Reason? Well the stories weren't bloody finished, were they? The game itself was only barely stable, wasn't it? Content (farming content, I might add) had only *just* been added to get a character to max level, hadn't it?

In that vein, massive props to  Frank Mignone for a post back in July of 2006 on mmorpg.com regarding the acquisition of Mythic Games by EA: http://www.mmorpg.com/showFeature.cfm/loadFeature/764 Way to call it, Frank. Those other writers had their buttocks planted firmly around the fence posts, didn't they? Nicely done.

This rush-to-market model is very typical of the modern MMO. EA doesn't win the award for premature publication (sounds like a medical condition, doesn't it?). When a game isn't ready, it just isn't ready. Thing is, publishers have GOT to realize that if you're going after Warcraft, then you need a *finished* product. Mark my words: I would *love* to have some other games to obsess over. I would *love* to see a bit of Warcraft's market share spread around. I would *love* to have a consistent subscription for 5+ years to another game. None of you have the balls to do it. You want the return on your investment Right Now, and your impatience is your undoing.

Incidentally, so is crap like this: http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/54958 I quite enjoyed the quote at the bottom: "Excellent comparison. Led Zepplin ripped off all their (the Beatles') best songs." Let your players decide where you fit on the analog scale of garage band to Beatles. Spend more effort on your game.