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Reader Comments (84)

Posted: Jan 13th 2012 9:26PM (Unverified) said

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Who is this guy again?

And why should I care about and/or believe his ramblings?

Posted: Jan 13th 2012 9:42PM Joaquin Crowe said

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@(Unverified) He was the first guy to screw up making a Star Wars MMORPG. Star Wars ain't about crafting. If he took that same design and applied it to a new IP, I think it would have been more popular.
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Posted: Jan 13th 2012 10:38PM smg77 said

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@Joaquin Crowe
Actually Raph's version of SWG was a perfect mmorpg. It was a living, breathing world set in the Star Wars universe where each player could live their own story.

It's too bad that SOE managed the game so poorly. If SOE had actually put in the effort to fix the pre-CU game we might be living in a golden age of amazing immersive games instead of seeing crappy themepark WoW-clones released one after another.
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Posted: Jan 13th 2012 11:01PM Joaquin Crowe said

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@smg77 It would have worked if it was set in a sector of Star Wars space that already didn't have extensive lore, and the colonial setting would have justified the crafting as there would be no large mass manufacturing centers available. But as it was, a crafting-centric game in the established Star Wars universe was casting against type, and it failed out of the gate, not just once, but twice as the NGE screwed over the people who wanted a crafting game.
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Posted: Jan 14th 2012 12:57AM Cyclone Jack said

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@Joaquin Crowe

While I will agree that a crafting-centric game is not the first thing that comes to mind for a Star Wars MMO, neither is a shoe-horned trinity in a skinner box.

I was never able to get into SWG, but I knew a handful of people that absolutely loved it pre-NGE, some of which continued post-NGE. The main reason they enjoyed it was because they could be a person in the universe. Not the hero, not the adventurer, not the main character, just some dude, and I can respect that.
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Posted: Jan 14th 2012 5:34AM pid said

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@Joaquin Crowe

Help! I can't... too much ignorance...
/feigndead
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Posted: Jan 13th 2012 9:29PM Russell Clarke said

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I think he's conflating the mobile world with the mobile platform. If he doesn't understand the difference, I weep.

Posted: Jan 13th 2012 9:42PM toychristopher said

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I think that depends on your definition of "immersive." A game doesn't have to be a reality simulator or a copy of the physical world to be completely engrossing. I don't think you need to spend hours at something to feel immersed-- it just takes the right moment, and it's fleeting.


Immersion is absolutely a core game virtue and what separates the great games from the good.

Posted: Jan 13th 2012 9:42PM h4ngedm4n said

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Well said Raph. I agree with him that while immersion is no longer core for the MAINSTREAM, there can still be a niche market for the diehards who still want immersion.

Posted: Jan 13th 2012 9:50PM theBeast said

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@h4ngedm4n You hit the nail on the head. He's looking at it from his foxhole. Raph makes Facebook games and mobile games now. He's getting like Richard Garriot. He needs to quit pontificating and make great MMOs again.
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Posted: Jan 13th 2012 9:56PM Sorithal said

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@h4ngedm4n

Honestly it seems like a lot of mainstream games these days are more almost for people who want to act like they're frat boys who have a short attention span and can't do things without the game holding their hand or leading them down a single narrow tunnel.
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Posted: Jan 14th 2012 5:42AM pid said

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@Sorithal True. That's consumism. You consume a game, you don't toy around with it anymore. There's no time to learn the ropes, you want the action quick and fast. This is how the big crowd understands games and electronic entertainment. Like a gamepad with 4 buttons. Anything beyond that is too complex. More experienced palates, on the other hand, need sophisticated and researched tastes to satisfy their erudite feeling about games...
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Posted: Jan 13th 2012 9:44PM Sorithal said

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It really should be a core virtue :/ That's how I can really get sucked into a game is if it has great immersion. Helps give a lasting value to it imo.

Posted: Jan 13th 2012 9:49PM Thorqemada said

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Depends on what type of game it is.
Any good RPG i played is highly immersive, also any MMO.
But some games simply offer a mechanic/challenge, for example a crossword puzzle - hard to believe someone can feel immersion solving crossword puzzles.
And that is true, its all about the mechanic and no longer about the magic of a game, bcs mechanics easy give good metrics while magic cant be measured outside of salesnumbers, retention and customer interviews, or with a much more and deeper developed metrics system as usualy used.
And then its still a business decision if the people in charge feel its worth the work or the initial sales compared to cheaper development is them profit enough and serial releases make more money than one or a few long time runners.

Immersion is not dead, it wont die as long there is a single human brain existing, it has still a place and a market. it only needs some people to ignite its renaissance!

Posted: Jan 13th 2012 10:07PM Feydakin said

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Immersion is a core virtue in the games that I play and want to play. Just because this one man has given up on the industry and caved to what makes him the most money doesn't mean there isn't a place for immersion in gaming and the MMO space anymore. Koster is a sellout and a Facebook hack.

Posted: Jan 13th 2012 10:16PM Borick said

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Oh, Koster, what you know of game virtue amounts to an instruction manual for future game designers in how to $%^& up a good thing.

I can go dig up Dungeons of Daggorath right now and boot it up just like I did back when we kids were fighting for a turn at the Tandy CoCo. It's a mood-lit nightmare of a dungeon crawl/typing tutor that has more gripping immersion than most of the narrative-driven stuff done today.

And that brings me to a point. The most immersive moments I can remember in gaming where shared. That's the %&^%$ point of MMO gaming in a nutshell, you rat bastards. Stop treating it like a carnival sideshow and do your damned jobs.

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 5:11AM Celtar said

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@Borick

Your pointing your vitriol at the wrong targets kinda. The players are just as much to blame as the game developers. Once upon time game worlds though text based were much more immersive and staying in character was the "normal" mode of operation. Role-play, who needed to schedule it? It happened all around you and you didn't talk about out of game stuff in public.

As online game worlds became more and more popular, it drew into the fold those who played the games for different reasons and game developers stopped enforcing their polices. Used to be that a game developer would pull someone out of the game to talk to them when they were being disruptive and out of character.

When is the last time you saw a multi player online role-playing game world where staff/developers even paid lip service to a RP or RP/PVP server? I'm going to speculate that the majority of players haven't even ever experienced real immersive game worlds. For all its faults, Simutronics is one of the few game companies who still enforce polices.

That said you and most players would never check their game worlds out because they are text based. More flexible? Yep, more customizable on the fly? Yep. More fluid and and immersive? You betcha. Do they tolerate players talking about Chuck Norris in open chat or in open normal conversation? Nope. Will they ban you if you keep violating ToS? Yup.

I'd love to see a return to this sort of game world philosophy but online gaming is big money now a days, no, huge money. So no game company will risk enforcing policies. Players have gotten out of being held accountable for the choices they make with their characters, and it is more like a bunch of frat boys telling fart jokes anymore. It is sad.

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Posted: Jan 13th 2012 11:11PM deejrandom said

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Depends on what kind of immersion you are talking about. There is the type, like The Elder Scrolls series, where it is just the player against the world. The immersion factor comes in because it is you... On the other hand you have immersion that comes from a multiplayer game, when you and your buddies are so focused on the gameplay that everything else drops out of site. Be it a coop game or a PVP game. On the gripping hand there is the immersion that comes from good story telling - an interactive narrative woven so tight that the world is gone in an instant. I think Koster is probably longing for an immersion that is more like The Elder Scrolls games, one that is found in open world and sandbox type of environments - be then MMOs or single player. I don't think that is lost, but I do think the MMO market has shifted away from it - yet you still have games like EVE Online. So... I dunno. The death of immersion, in this case, has been greatly exaggerated.

Posted: Jan 13th 2012 11:36PM Tizmah said

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In due time it will come back. Trust me, all things come full circle. Then history repeats.

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 12:29AM Rialle said

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While I can see where he's coming from, given the fact that Skyrim sold well means that immersion is not out for the count just yet.

But what it will take for another immerse sandbox MMO to show up, one that isn't just a gankfest like Darkfall? I believe that it will take a developer who has both the funding and the guts to take a risk on it. This is something few developers seem to want to do when they can just make a themepark.

It appears that Mr. Koster may feels a bit of self loathing, because he believes he is forced to make "casual" games that he himself doesn't like very much. It is easy for us out on the internet to bash him and call him a sellout, but at some point many people resign themselves to doing what they have to in order to pay the bills.

I believe he is correct in that MOST people don't really want the immersion. They want a fast track to feel l33t an powerful, they want to be hand held. Thus I doubt we'll see a sandbox or even sandpark with WoW-like numbers.

Yet, I think that if someone were to really put effort into a quality AAA sandbox title that captured immersion, exploration, world building, in-game politics, etc. well and threw aside the numbers/spreadsheet game somehow, it could catch many members of the niche audience that has been cast aside.

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