I could have been a contender
Nov 14, 2008 18:42:08

"You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charley." - Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy in "On the Waterfront"

This last week Richard Garriott announced his departure from NCsoft citing his pursuit of "other interests." Now it should be noted that Richard Garriott, as one of the founders of the MMO industry is FAR from being a "bum". But where Tabula Rasa is concerned the words "I could have been a contender" ring true, but not because of the game itself "" instead of because of what Richard Garriott said last year about this time.

In fact it was just about a year ago I wrote an article entitled "Richard Garriott and the Harbingers of Failure." In that article I discussed how Richard Garriott described World of Warcraft as a "system of inventory management" calling it a "harbinger of failure." It was about the same time that Mr. Garriott was busy telling us all how Tabula Rasa would begin to change the way MMOs were made. In the mean time, while Rich Garriott was busy predicting the downfall of World of Warcraft they gained more than a million new customers and recently banned more accounts (350,000) than most mmos have customers. If there is a moral of the story anywhere it is most likely this: be careful about predicting the demise of anyone else's product - like a nasty Pit Bull it has a way of turning around and biting the owner in the butt when they aren't looking.

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

Meanwhile a year later the "War of Wars" (Warcraft vs. Warhammer) continues - Truly a battle of the titans: Electronic Arts and Mythic Entertainment vs. Activision/Blizzard facing off "mano et mano". In a fierce battle of "what came first the chicken or the egg" columnists and gamers alike wage a virtual war over which company originated which IP or game mechanic first with even the developers themselves firing the occasional shot across the other developer's bow. With the release this week of the Wrath of the Lich King, the battle wages on, as podcasters and columnists are bidden never to speak ill of the other persons game again under pain of who knows what (which is why I intend on coming out with a "war vs. war" in this next podcast with a special guest: Saylah from Mystic Worlds).

Now I am a big fan of both Warcraft and Warhammer and as I maintained in an earlier podcast Rob Pardo is in league with the devil because Warcraft keeps pulling players back: myself included. Now mind you I have no intention of giving up either game but it has given me pause to notice that Warhammer has not even come close to stealing Warcraft's thunder or feeling the Lich King's Wrath. Over at Warhammer the lower tiers are empty and the much touted public quests are impossible to complete for lack of players. I am at a loss to explain the whereabouts of Mythic's recently announced 800,000 accounts; but one thing is for sure "" they aren't in the first 20 levels of the game.

But the wind is whistling through the ghost towns that have become the early levels of Warcraft as well, so neither Warhammer nor Warcraft has causes to take any pot shots at one another in that regard "" but as well all know, anytime a new world with unexplored vistas lays before us it will draw people like free beer and a frat party. The proof of this particular pudding will be when the dew is no longer on the roses and both Warhammer and Wrath of the Lich King have both been fully explored. Until next time...

See you online,

- Julie Whitefeather

Submitted by Brent on Nov 14, 2008 18:42:08 CST (comments: 3)


'Not sure they're battling! :)' by Beauturkey
Submitted on 2008-11-15 08:04:45 CST
It seems to me ( I said SEEMS hehe) that you want the games to be competing, or think that players mostly think that they can only play one at a time, or that if a player likes either WAR or WoW that they somehow will dislike the other.

In this bubble of podcasters and bloggers, sure, opinions can be that extreme, even if they switch from favorite to favorite when a new expansion comes out. But this bubble is full of people that really LIKe that kind of comparison, being that they sometimes get so hooked on one, they NEED a reason to look for something else.

But over all, we know a few truths: (sorry it's early so if I'm way off base ...understand I have had no coffee)

a) There is no competition between the two. Blizzard glanced at WAR, and went on owning the gaming world.

b) I am not sure how many people seem to think that you cannot talk bad about the "other" game, when in my opinion it's that you cannot hold one of them (in your case, WAR) up so high that WoW starts to get made fun of, or you start making very bold statements about the entire 10 million person strong community. We will start seeing the reversals of many opinions in this blog-o-sphere soon enough.

c) I think you have picked up the new expansion, played it some, and realized that WoW is still the best overall MMO out there. (Not my favorite, by any means, but I would never say it's a bad game..because it is not)....now you must figure out how to talk about it (being that you are playing it more now, and WAR is wearing thin) without seeming like you are now NOT liking WAR. That's the problem with such extreme comparisons.

d) It doesn't matter which mechanic/IP came first: WOW does it in bigger, funner way (again, for the record, not saying WAR is NOT fun) and we all know that WAR (I have played the table top for 20 years) is far from original. They, like WoW, have just put a spin on an unoriginal idea.

Then at the end you seem to be saying that WoW is drawing players back in (as though that left for WAR, which in fact it was a tiny amount compared) just like WAR drew players in: only because of the new shiny exterior?

Then you are saying that neither can take pot shots at each other, but are also talking boldly about how you are proud to criticize the other.

Isn't it possible that you can just have fun, play the games, and talk about both games without trying to figure out why YOU might not enjoy the other (at that time) instead of trying to find out how the game is making you not enjoy yourself?

In other words, you confuse me, but you still entertain me! :)

Again, just my impressions. You still have the best delivery in podcasting! :)

Looking forward to the next one!


'Not so fast' by Saylah
Submitted on 2008-11-17 19:34:21 CST
@Beau - I have to disagree that there is no competition. Blizzard made a couple of potshot comments about WAR which didn't need to be said AND assumed just that - people can only play one game. They assumed that players who commented on the subscription cancellation "left to play WAR" that when they came back they must have stopped playing WAR or at least the way it was phrased made it appears that's what they were saying. We don't know what players put on those exit surveys yet Blizzard decided to comment on it when those players returned. They could have simply said X number of subscribers have returned. That smacks of just wee bit of competition.

WOW is great at what WOW does while WAR is still new to what it does. I think it's much too soon for anyone on either side to attempt to declare a "winner". WOW had millions of players long before WAR arrived and that's not likely to change any time soon.

'Oh sure, there is competition technically...' by Beauturkey
Submitted on 2008-11-17 20:02:48 CST
In fact, WOW and WAR are competing against every other game out there, just like every other game. But that is just a technicality. WOW is not worried, and for good reason.

Basically I meant to say that WOW, at most, was concerned a bit before the game came out.

I'm sure now that Lich King is again stealing back all those players that were bored a few months ago, that the dev's know again that they will always reign supreme. All they need to do is keep the players for a year or two again, and release another expansion or a new game.

This has nothing to do with my favorite game..my fav is Vanguard followed by Ryzom. But I love WoW and know that it will not be stopped, save for another Blizzard product.

They are a famous band that no one can ever be as famous as.

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From the desk of Julie Whitefeather


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