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Reader Comments (44)

Posted: Jun 21st 2008 1:56PM (Unverified) said

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Those that can do.

Those that cant... Teach.

(And ramble on like a drunk)
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Posted: Jun 20th 2008 8:56PM (Unverified) said

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Youd don't have to "enjoy" your chosen medium as an artist or designer to be a great designer.

Do you expect entrepreneurs to enjoy their chosen business? No. They create and build companies for the love and challenge of building something from the ground up.

Do web dev's enjoy spending time on their websites? For most no, they enjoy the act of creating, and building the community or experience that others will visit.

Game designers and developers aren't any different than those professions, their satisfaction in their profession, their fun, is in the act of creation and seeing their work embraced by players having fun, it's never about them playing such games. Their mindset will always be, why fritter my time away playing somebodies game, when I can build one myself? You always have that drive in you.

As for those in school as analysts, their responses are spot on as well. You lose your ability to suspend disbelief when you're trained to critically analyze systems and reverse engineer everything you see to understand it. It makes it rather hard to enjoy something when you're mind is constantly trying to critically analyze it in that fashion.

Posted: Jun 20th 2008 10:07PM (Unverified) said

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It seems Mr Bartle does not realize leveling to 70 is the tip of the iceberg in the wow experience and is out of touch with many aspects of mmo gaming, like what it's really like to be part of a guild and how games like wow and war have differentiated themselves from each other.

Posted: Jun 21st 2008 12:36AM (Unverified) said

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This guy is supposed to be some expert consultant? He's an idiot, plain and simple. His commentary is condescending, inappropriate for the question he was asked, and in several cases completely wrong. The whole interview reeks of the self importance this guy feels for the one thig he did right way back when.

Each time he keeps saying "I'm a designer" I keep thinking to myself this is the guy that never finished Super Marior Brothers. I really, really, I mean really hope no one at Blizzard listens to anything this fool says.

Posted: Jun 21st 2008 3:42AM Jeromai said

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I think of an author/writer/critic analogy:

Do you have to enjoy reading books in order to write them? Nope. But I do wonder why they're even bothering to write one then, if they're not enjoying the field enough to at least sample what's out there and increase one's breadth of knowledge.

I was also under the assumption that literary criticism and analysis of media like books and film -broadened- one's appreciation of the genre, because one is now able to analyze the craft that went into the creation, to add on to one's personal enjoyment.

But I guess snooty critics who feel they're 'above it all' and are only good enough to comment critically and not experience the same things as the hoi polloi are everywhere.

The thing that annoyed me most is Bartle's revealed ignorance on the mechanics of commonly played MMOs and his assumption and implication that it's all been done before on MUDs, therefore he has no need to even sully his hands with the experience.

Yes, WoW is a grind. An annoyingly linear frustrating and boring grind if you're able to peel away the illusion with analysis. Why did he feel he had to have "OMG, 3 level 70s," in order to be taken seriously? "Credentials?" Isn't he just catering to the masses and the erroneous elitist assumption that more levels = more knowledge?

Why not just spend the time analyzing different games, with both personal play as well as watching others & gathering feedback from them? Because from an 'ignorant' laypersons' perspective, I'm not seeing any revealed knowledge or brilliant commentary on game design either.

Posted: Jun 21st 2008 11:01AM (Unverified) said

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i do believe there's just a difference between playing and criticism. do you hate your craft when you strive for perfection? we can certainly come off bitter for sure -- but, usually it's just the fact that we see the target and are disappointed about the miss.

he doesn't hate video games. his annoyance at missing the mark of perfection just comes through.

and the summary of his auction house and kharazan comments can really be "why did they choose one way or the other? why can't we have both?" as a designer, why impose arbitrary limitations if it doesn't break the system?

well. all that and he's super-super-witty with a tremendously dry sense of humor.

m3mnoch.

Posted: Jun 21st 2008 5:26PM (Unverified) said

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Yeah, hrrm. He came across a little petulant, and how many times did he mention he was a 'designer'! Was interested in the criticisms he came up with and his views that no MMO is fun. Oh well.. I guess he's entitled to that opinion.

Also interested he blew off WAR for being WoW, but then went on to talk about AoC as a PvP game.

But then, he's a developer, dontcha' know.

Posted: Jun 21st 2008 6:06PM (Unverified) said

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I think his statement "I've already played Warhammer. It was called World of Warcraft." is being misunderstood. I read it as meaning he doesn't need to play Warhammer to experience the "genre" because it is the same class of mmo as WoW. As a result, he, as I interpret it, is saying that Warhammer likely won't provide anything new from what we already know. It does not mean it's a bad thing.

Posted: Jun 21st 2008 9:31PM (Unverified) said

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He not only comes across as incredibly elitist and arrogant, but kinda clueless, too. Like a grandpa whining about kids and their boomboxes while everyone's toting around an MP3 player. The whole interview consists of him trying to clearly set himself apart from the "common" MMO player as someone who's above it all, but that's a total crock. Nobody who played 3 level 70s ever did it just for cold, demeaning research. He liked the game too -- he's just too much of a snob to admit it.

Posted: Jun 22nd 2008 1:04AM (Unverified) said

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I think Massively should post a list of any upcoming games which Bartle has been contracted to consult on, so we can all avoid them like the plague.

"It was the least displeasurable because there was a lot more you could do with the warlock. It wasn't just punching the same buttons."
My current main is a warlock. Affliction spec. I level her primarily using one button, a /castsequence macro, which is bound to a button on my mouse. When my current target dies I hit one other button to trigger Dark Pact a few times to regain my mana.
Unless I'm in PvP it's rare to hit any other buttons during combat, unless I feel like throwing in a Soul Fire or Immolate for fun.

I'm sure there's other ways to play the class though. Just like there might be other ways to play the classes that are "just punching the same buttons"...

There's no "sell function" on the AH because it isn't needed - if you want to buy something someone is probably already selling it. It would be too confusing and frustrating for most people to use and because most people just wouldn't bother and would instead continue buying off the regular AH and getting their items immediately. Blizzard would do better to develop added functionality for the existing system that people actually use, rather than create what would essentially be an entirely new, parallel, system.

"/yell LFG UBRS" or similar command may not be an ideal solution to the LFG problem, but I'm not sure Bartle's solution is any better.
Oh, wait, he didn't actually offer a solution, just whined. Even otherwise dumb forumgoers who whine about the LFG system will usually have some kind of suggestion, even if it's one that would clearly be worse than the current system.

If he's not even checking out what other people are doing in the same market then I don't know why anyone would take him seriously as a developer or a consultant.
Of course you shouldn't be outright copying other games, but if the "state of the art" games all have this one feature and it is regarded by everyone involved in those games (developers AND players) as a must have, but you don't know about it, where does that leave your game?

It's great that you designed some early MUDs, Dr Bartle, but the genre has progressed a little since then, and that progression is why WoW is so successful and MUDs are (mostly) history. You'd do well to heed the advances being made by modern MMOs...

Posted: Jun 22nd 2008 7:21AM (Unverified) said

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One word. Bitter. One very bitter man. He isn't just bitter about MMOs, but about the kids he teaches. Everything he says is negative. What a shame for someone that started something so amazing.

Posted: Jun 22nd 2008 10:21AM (Unverified) said

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As someone who has worked on designing real world Internet auction websites let me give a little feedback on the WoW auction house issue. (See I gave my credentials and I didn't even have to say how much better I am than everyone else)

What he is describing is what we call a "reverse auction". You say what you want to buy and sellers post what they will sell it for. Sounds great right? But it doesn't work. Why? I don't know but nobody seems to understand the concept and very few people actually try it.

Yes there's Ebay, but there are a number of smaller auction websites that are decently popular. But the reverse auction sites I've worked on just don't make it. I think it's just that the general public likes the standard way of doing things, and no amount of cool ideas will change this.

Posted: Jun 22nd 2008 10:32AM (Unverified) said

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If you take a look at Scott Jennings blog (in which he links this article) Broken Toys, Bartle has posted a reply with a explanation for this statements here which really makes him come off a bit better than this interview entirely.

Posted: Jun 22nd 2008 7:23PM (Unverified) said

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"I've already played Warhammer. It was called World of Warcraft."

I feel sorry for people who listen to this guy talk about MMORPGs. Opinion is always good, but considering this was a one-sentence answer, and on top of it, hard to back up, I think this guy reads games by the cover.

Warhammer Online and World of Warcraft- do they look alike? Yes, look at their sources, by this logic, he's already played every fantasy genre with a PVP and PVE element from here till whenever. Outside of looks, you're talking about WoW, a PVE game with significant PVP playability, and topping it off with an amazing ability to grab a casual gaming market. Flipside, Warhammer online, while it isn't out, from what has been released to the public, we see a very PVP-centric game with some availability for PVE, how this will balance out will be seen later (correct me if I'm wrong about calling Warhammer online PVP centric, as opposed to WoW's PVE centric take, even though both games dip in the other area).

His ideas have some, yet little merit, he's essentially telling us what we know already about World of Warcraft, this is nothing new, this interview was equivalent to giving a WoW forum troll a picture and an article.

Posted: Jun 24th 2008 12:01PM (Unverified) said

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Reverse auction doesn't work? Tell that to 100k EVE players. It's the concept the entire game economy is based on, and EVE has arguably the most functional, full-featured economy of any MMO.

Then again, the median age - and perhaps the median IQ - of EVE players is considerably higher than that of WoW players.

The Bartle-slammers are well advised to read his "Designing Virtual Worlds". It was written in 2003 and is based primarily on game design structures from MUDs and early MMORPGs. Show me a WoW design which cannot be found in that text. "[T]he genre has progressed a little since then", indeed - WoW is to MUDs as Lumines is to Columns. Prettier and more easily digestible, sure, but in essence the same kind of game.

Bartle's main gripe, from what I've understood, with current MMOs is how few of the really fantastic features from the MUD days have actually been re-implemented, in favour of the grind and cookie-cutter quests. Correct me if I'm wrong.

This interview is horrible, though. Massively, a stronger guiding hand in the future, please! Bartle made some good points, but they're padded with repetitions and other nonsense. Perhaps interviews by email would be better? I don't know, just throwing it out there.

Posted: Jul 14th 2008 4:41AM (Unverified) said

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IQ is a meaningless number designed to make you feel better about yourself. Feel free to use it to exert your irrelevant superiority over players of other MMO's though
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Posted: Jun 25th 2008 2:42PM (Unverified) said

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Usually I never comment on things like this but on this remarkable article I had to.

I would like to first note on the diffirence between critics and creators.

Critics are those that try to pick out the negative in everything. For a critic there are no good ideas. And that's a good things, the world needs critics. We need critics to stay sharp and objective.

Creators are those that try to pick out the positive in everything. For a creator there are no bad ideas. Why? Because you can't create a positive thing by mixing negative elements. For a creator everything in his field of expertise is inspiration.

In this case, MMOs, critics are the ones that pick out the bad sides. They see how all MMOs are following the same major trend and how linear most games currently are. That's good. Keeps us all sharp.

They're the ones making blogs, articles and forum posts all over the internet stating how the MMO industry is currently going.

Creators manage to spot the minor diffirences everywhere. They manage to see that even though Guild Wars isn't really an MMO it's PvP is extremely good. They manage to see that even though LOTRO is so much like WoW it does have very good story telling.

They're the ones that take all these positive elements, mix them with some original ideas and then create games. They don't make tons of blogs, they don't make tons of articles and they hardly make forum posts. But they do decide how the future of the MMO industry is going.

Both of these persons are required. When done profesionally both of these occupations do a LOT of good to all MMO-gamers out there.

Problems arise when you get creators posing as critics or critics posing as creators.

Creators are simply unable to objectively criticize a game. They don't see the game as it is. They see the potential. When creators start posing you get the highly annoying thing called: fanboys.

Critics are also simply unable to create games. They will never see the their creation as good enough and will always keep on doing things over and over again. These are the ones that when drawing keep on using their rubbers to wipe away what they just did then try again, then rubber again and at the end of the day all they have is a ruined ripped sheet of paper with rubber marks hardly visible pencil streaks everywhere.

This man may have been a creator before. But currently he's a critic. No more, no less. The only bad thing about it is that he's a critic posing as a creator, wich leads to problems.

BTW: To Angel: Critics analyze, Creators brainstorm. Huge diffirence. All those that find themselves over analyzing things need to realise that they're critics and not creators. A game doesn't need to be perfect and shouldn't even be perfect. A game needs to be fun. No more, no less.

Posted: Jun 25th 2008 3:48PM (Unverified) said

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I try to stay open minded about things usually but this guy is mostly talking in circles. It's just my opinion but maybe game development studios aren't asking for his input as much as he'd like is because he has very little to offer. That's the way it appears to me from this interview. I hope Massively avoids talking to this guy in the future.

Posted: Jul 1st 2008 10:57AM (Unverified) said

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I think R. Bartle does not need to prove his expertise. Most comments here made clear, only a minority did ever read articles, books or similar from Bartle.

Okay, you don't need to do this, could be one argument in order to judge on this interview. But then you only know half of the truth.

Surely, if you would do analysis in the field of MMOGs you would chose that one with most players around the globe as your field of operation. And of course, a lot of readers can't bear it, reading how a "newbie" is telling millions of vets what should be better and what not.
Believe me, a lot of these answers are provoking others maybe badly transcribed. But in the end, if you look more from a distance, you will see clearly what should be meant.

Put away your WOW glasses and check out the real message of this! Did you ever asked yourself what the reasons are, why you are investing so much time into your MMOG?

Sometimes I wish to have more visionaires around here ;(

Posted: Jul 2nd 2008 5:33PM (Unverified) said

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I understood his words just fine however I'm a game developer. Still, I don't think of us superior then regular gamers but I guess I can tell many things he said flew over some people which strikes me as odd. For one, about the AH, he simply talking about "buy orders" in which CCP used in EVE Online. It's not super complicated stuff he was discussing.

I guess most folks only play WoW though so concepts sych as "buy orders" is simply mind blowing to them or something

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