Updated Mon, Aug 05, 2013 by Dalmarus
Welcome to the sixth episode in our "Where Are They Now?" series! Being a gamer since the days of Pong, I thought it was long past the time when someone should take a look at game developers from days gone by and find out how (and whether) they're still involved in making the games we love to play.
Mike Stone may not be a name that everyone is aware of, but they should be. Mike got his start in the industry with Mythic Entertainment in 2001, but by the beginning of 2004 he had risen to the ranks of Senior Designer and Content Lead for Dark Age of Camelot. This was a title he held through more than one expansion for the game. So where does all this lead when it comes to claim to fame? Darkness Falls, baby… Darkness Falls.
This Dark Age of Camelot expansion is, in my opinion, hands down not only the best expansion for Dark Age but also one of the greatest expansions of all time for any game. Yeah, I said it. That may be a bold statement, but hear me out before you go about gathering the proverbial pitchforks and torches.
Everyone who reads my articles should know by now that I’m a huge fan of dungeons – especially non-instanced dungeons as evidenced by my Elder Scroll’s piece earlier this year. My undying love of Dungeons & Dragons along with EverQuest sealed my fate long ago. What has that got to do with Darkness Falls though? Damned near everything, my friends.
Mike was the Senior Designer and Content Lead when Darkness Falls was created and released and it was awesome. Three factions are always at war within DAoC so the team decided to add another incentive for people to take part in the battles. Whichever faction was currently “winning” could enter Darkness Falls – a dungeon of epic proportions. This may not sound like a big deal, but there are some important factors to keep in mind. For starters, nothing like this had ever been done before… by anyone. Secondly, I only said whoever was winning could enter the dungeon. I never said anything about anyone getting kicked out when the dungeon “flipped.” People would make camps and settle in for the long haul through multiple flips, defending themselves from mobs, other players, and shear panic. The dungeon was creepy as hell and epically awesome.
Mike stayed with Mythic for a number of years and was also an Associate Producer on Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning before moving on to work at KingsIsle Entertainment in 2010. There, he’s been an Associate Producer of a game that you may not play, but I’ll almost guarantee your kids have. Wizard 101 is one of the most successful kiddie MMOs ever released. The team is constantly adding new content and adventures for your youngsters to enjoy.
Along with Wizard 101, Mike is also an Associate Producer for KingsIsle’s latest title, Pirate 101. Another title for children, it shows no signs of stopping. Working on children games after a career of hardcore PvP titles may seem like a strange choice on the surface, but I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch. At the end of the day, creating great content is what every game industry veteran strives to achieve and Mike has proven that time and time again. As I said in the beginning, Mike may not have been a developer you were previously aware of, but you certainly should be now.