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**Special Content Today**

We are fortunate enough to have a video interview with none other than Dr. Richard Bartle, a legend in the MMOG industry. Enjoy!

Cody "Micajah" Bye was honored to sit down with one of the true visionaries of online gaming at IMGDC 2007, Dr. Richard Bartle, and we bring our time with Dr. Bartle to you in streaming video, complete with all the dry English wit and class he brought to the Indie MMO conference. Bartle, whose very accessible and fun-to-read scholarly work is required reading for anyone hoping to understand MMOs and MMO communities, speaks to the challenges and great opportunities for virtual world games developed by an indie developer with complete creative control over his or her work.

Last week we asked the development community what could be done to lower the barrier to entry to massively multiplayer games. I posted many of the answers in, "Devs Tear Down The Wall". Chris Klug, the Creative Director of Stargate Worlds weighed in over the weekend and his insight, as usual, is right on.

"The one thing that would lower the barrier to entry would be to choose a game topic that would appeal to a broader audience than simply aiming at geeky gamers. For instance, an MMO detective game, an MMO romance soap-opera game, an MMO sports title, all would have the potential to open the space to a much broader audience. We tend in the industry to design games only for ourselves." - Chris Klug, Creative Director - Stargate Worlds

The most intriguing idea in that quote is that developers design games that they themselves would like. It's a basic premise and of course it is true; most basic premises are. The bottom line is that until some bright light who enjoys sports games also starts enjoying MMOs that we aren't likely to see a good MMO sports title delivered. Role playing games are by their very nature and design a cooperative experience. So far, sports titles have not reached the same level. Someday...dare to dream!

This past weekend my comrades in virtual ink Jeff Woleslagle and Cody Bye attended an event in Minneapolis geared toward independent game development. You can explore all of the IMGDC event coverage right here.

I've been a fan of independent developers since, well, that's all that there were. I'm old you see, at least in terms of this industry. I remember when Allakhazam was a twelve-page site updated by hand by a lawyer sitting in his Philadelphia office wanting to do something other than deal with the law.

I remember when Ultima Online launched and the cries that "nobody will pay a monthly fee" rang throughout the gaming interweb industry.

I remember when Lum the Mad and Shlonglor were writing nasty bits about games rather than developing them.

I remember when EverQuest had a 989 Studios logo on it.

Can an independent team compete in the massively multiplayer online game market today? I would like to believe that the answer to this question was in the affirmative, but at least from a "first launch" perspective I can't rationally believe that it is true.

Even taking World of Warcraft out of the equation, can an independent developer compete with the likes of Turbine, Sony Online Entertainment and the other players? From a resources point of view I can't imagine that it can happen, though my recent visit to Perpetual Entertainment to see the progress on Gods and Heroes (now published by SoE) and Star Trek Online showed me that a smaller company can compete with the big dogs and perhaps even kick them off the porch. The Chronicles of Spellborn is another example of a game that could create momentum as a first-launch title giving the development team the additional resources required to compete while building a next-generation game.

Blizzard has stated that in three-years and for $50 million they can create a MMOG. Can any of these smaller companies hope to compete with the vast resources that Blizzard now has in-hand?

What are your thoughts?

[Vote, rank, share, comment!]


Today's Exclusive TenTonHammer.com Content!


  • IMGDC: Josh Williams Keynote - The Outlook For Indie Games
    "Garage Games CEO Josh Williams comments on what it takes to be an independent MMO developer and relates the new tools available to those working on a shoestring budget in the opening keynote address straight from Indie MMO GDC 2007."
  • IMGDC: Would You Rather Have Class Or Skill?
    "Throughout the lifetime of MMOs, there has always been one persistent debate among gamers: Which is better, a class or skill advancement system? Today, we had the opportunity to sit in on that same conversation, except this time it was in front of a group of indie MMO developers who are directly influenced by the possibilities of both systems. Was a consensus reached among the developers at IMGDC 2007? Read more to find out!"
  • Blog: World of Warcraft - Risk and Reward
    "In my latest Blog entry I look at what gambling and WoW have in common and what's missing from WoW to make it feel complete. What's the missing ingredient that would give it that adrenaline rush you get when gambling?"
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online: The Boomstick Sorcerer
    "Darkgolem revisits one of his old favorites, updating for Module 4 and the new enhancement system, the master of disaster, the Boomstick Sorcerer!"
  • EverQuest 2: The Halls of Fate Zone Guide
    "The Halls of Fate is an impressive high level dungeon that can trouble even the best of players. This zone is full of droags, plenty of challenging named mobs, and even a non-epic dragon to slay! If you have the expansion, Kingdom of Sky, then you'll definitely want to take a peek inside this instance."
  • FireFly: IMGDC - The Verse Behind Firefly
    "In anticipation of the upcoming Firefly MMO title, we took a moment to chat with Ron Meiners, director of developer relations at Multiverse, about the MMO platform. If you're a fan of Firefly and excited about the prospect of an MMO based on that intellectual property, check out this article to learn more about Multiverse and the possibilities that it brings to indie MMO developers!"
  • TenTonWiki: World of Warcraft - Hunter Armour Sets
    "We have updated the Wiki to include the hunter armor sets. Head over and check them out!"
  • Vanguard: Saga of Heroes - Interview - Norm "GM_Volson" Freeman
    "Ever wonder about the stalwart souls who rescue you when your character's stuck in Telon's vast terrain, or who reap vengeance on the gold seller who just /tell spammed you? We put some questions to Norm "GM_Volson" Freeman, and his answers provide plenty of insight into Vanguard's in-game customer service, as well as the secret password (okay, it's really an email address) you'll need if you'd like to pursue a career as a Vanguard: Saga of Heroes GM."
  • Vanguard: Saga of Heroes - Enter The Ra'Hazi Gallery
    "This gallery contains detailed maps and action shots of the mobs for the Enter the Ra'Hazi quest. It also features pictures of the named and his drop, as well as some pictures not used in our Enter the Ra'Hazi Quest Guide!"
  • Vanguard: Saga of Heroes - Enter The Ra'Hazi Quest Guide
    "Ralsu brings you a new Vanguard Quest Guide. Kill lizardmen, collect some coin, and maybe find a named."
  • Warhammer Online: Types of RVR
    "Ever wonder what Types of Combat exist in Warhammer Online? Want to know the difference between Skirmish, Battlefields, and Scenarios? Well we have the video for you! Today at Warhammer.TenTonHammer.com we present the first of two new videos for your viewing pleasure."
  • World of Warcraft: Rogue Equipment Guide
    "The Rogue Guide's equipment section has been completely re-written to proved tons of new and helpful information. This will allow you to find all the best gear for your character, regardless of build or play style. We also provide some information on all the new dungeon and raiding sets."
  • World of Warcraft: Tanking Guide Updated
    "We've updated the Warrior's Tanking Guide - "Hold the Line; An Endgame Tanking Reference" with the last few chapters to this epic guide on tanking. If you haven't seen it yet then you're missing out! This guide goes very in-depth on how to tank as a Warrior. Druids and Paladins as well can benefit from a quick read of this fantastic guide."
  • World of Warcraft: Community Interview - Mikes
    "We've gotten a hold of someone from the land down under (Australia). His name is Mikes and he plays WoW on the North American servers. He's also a very casual player! We've asked Mikes a few questions to better under the point of view of someone who is not only casual but also from an entirely different continent!"
  • World of Warcraft: Patch 2.1 Notes
    "Patch 2.1 is on the PTR and a ton of changes have been added to the game. We have the latest patch notes over at our Ten Ten Wiki so be sure to read over them all and see how they will affect you!"

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Thanks as always for visiting TenTonHammer.com

- John "Boomjack" Hoskin

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Hoskin 0
Dissecting and distilling the game industry since 1994. Lover of family time, youth hockey, eSports, and the game industry in general.