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Meridian 59

Vigilante Meridian 59 players wage war against pirate servers

Fantasy, Meridian 59, Culture, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items

Meridian 59 is a game with a pirate problem. A while back, the server source code leaked onto the internet and seedy players began hosting their own servers without subscription fees. Pirate servers are a problem for many MMOs, but because of M59's comparatively small scale, it has a lot more to lose to the trend.

Amidst these troubles, some M59 players can be quite loyal. Case in point: the blog of game developer Patrick Rogers tells the story of two former M59 players hacking into a pirate server and mass-killing all its residents with powerful admin commands. The vigilantes hoped to make life (and death) on the pirate servers as unpleasant as possible so as to encourage the residents to migrate to the legitimate servers hosted by Near Death Studios. That's not the most amazing bit, though.

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Massively's Visual History of MMORPGs, Part I

Galleries, Screenshots, Lineage, Meridian 59, Nexus: The Kingdoms of the Winds, MMO Industry, The Realm Online, Ultima Online

The MMORPG genre has come so far in these past few decades, it's almost difficult to believe. The journey from text MUDs to America Online-based dungeon crawlers, and all the way up to Age of Conan and Warhammer Online has been a truly impressive one. We here at Massively would like to invite you to step into the time machine with us and take a visual tour of that journey. We're taking a close look at the most important titles in online role-playing game history!

What was the first MUD? Howabout the first 3D MMO? When did these games transition from niche curiosities to global, cultural phenomenons, and who's responsible? In this series, we'll tackle all those questions and more. Plus, we'll see just how far these fancy graphics have come over the years! Sound like fun? Jump into the gallery!

Damion Schubert seeks a different kind of grind

Meridian 59, Game Mechanics, Ultima Online, Shadowbane

MMO developers and publishers try to provide game-play that keeps you coming back again and again so you won't stop their money flow by canceling your subscription. The easiest way for them to do this is to make their games an addictive grind. You feel compelled to level up. You can't help yourself.

Just because something's addictive, though, doesn't mean it's fun. But is there another way? Damion Schubert (of Meridian 59 and Ultima Online fame, and one of a certain blogger's personal heroes) posed that question on his Zen of Design blog.

MMOs must be centered around highly repeatable activities, Schubert said. Combat, for example, works well because developers can put in a lot of changeable variables to make the experience different every time. On the other hand, he uses puzzle/mystery games like Myst as examples of games not based on a repeatable activity. Once a puzzle is solved, it's solved, and that's the end of it. So, if not that, then what? What other games have mechanics that can be used as a model for MMO game-play that sticks?

That discussion is going on right now at Zen of Design.

Podcast looks back at Meridian 59 history

Fantasy, Meridian 59, Interviews, MMO Industry, PvP

Want to work on your old-school cred? Check out Virgin Worlds' "Online Gamer's Anthology" podcast episode #5 and learn a bit about the history of arguably the first graphical MMO ever, Meridian 59.

The podcast starts out with a somewhat awkward skit which pays homage to Meridian 59's gameplay, but if you skip ahead about 30 minutes you'll get straight to the meat of it -- an in-depth, tell-all interview with developer Brian "Psychochild" Green, who has worked on the game since 1998. He talks about what makes the game unique and relevant, its demise at the hands of 3DO, and its resurrection by his own company, Near Death Studios. Here's a highlight from the interview -- Green explaining why re-launching Meridian 59 was important to him:

If you don't have a good sense of history it's really hard to move forward. Looking at more modern games, you have the level and class based system of EverQuest or World of Warcraft. I think a lot of times people look at only the most recent things and think, "Oh, that's the way it's always been, and that's what we have to follow." I think having a wider range of history -- the Meridian 59s, the Ultima Onlines, even those older games back into the proprietary systems -- knowing more about those can kind of give you a wider perspective.

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