autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

An MMO Lang Syne

I kind of take most statements from AGS these days as mollifying noises rather than “this is what we are doing, this is why we are doing it, this is how much leeway we have on a change in direction at this time”.

I’ve made my additional spend with them in accord with the perceived value as I see it. I’ve given up on my own expectations of “innovation” in the genre short of winning the lottery so I can afford to pay developers to turn my design bible into the next ‘800lb gorilla’ gold offering.

I can’t afford to be passionate about this stuff anymore, and I’m tired of seeing companies be passionately mediocre in a space and genre that could, literally, be anything.

I remember when I worked for an MMO developer. Their art department heads and creative director thought it was hilarious to ask me what I’d like to see in a game “as a player”.

They’d laugh and laugh… and I learned once again that there is a certain, vapid arrogance that comes with managing to make it to a gold release… somehow, making it through the meat grinder (i.e., crunch times) is a bit like becoming ‘made’ in some mafia.

It doesn’t much matter how awful (offal?) you are, once you have a gold release on your resume, you’re “in”. And no amount of time “in industry” will be comparable because….. ?

I wasn’t really considered “in” because I was just a writer. Or so they thought. They had no insight to my technical background or history and, let’s face it, it wouldn’t have mattered if they did. The only ticket of admission in this industry is “gold title credit line”.

To all of you who want to argue because YOU got and in you don’t have a gold credit… look around and ask yourself, “Am I really ‘in’, or am I just a minion?”

You can color me yellow and put me in overalls, so don’t feel too bad if you wind up joining me.

Now that I would be happy to just be someone’s “pocket advisor”, no one wants that anymore.

And now that I have the medical mandate “no stress”, it all seems rather moot.

How do you learn not to care about something that once gave you so much joy?

I think I’m angry that I’m grieving the death of a genre but more so the manner of it’s murder, ongoing and in process.

Leave it to the game industry to kill gaming by gaming the models and patterns against the gamer themselves.

The “new world” isn’t. The old ones refuse to reinvent themselves. 20+ years and the MMO hasn’t managed to live to its own majority so much as be dragged into it by a market demand most other industries would kill to attract.

How do you make an industry recognize unserved markets when they believe they’re the only ones who understand the domain and it’s customers?

The bigger question of course: Why do I still care? Try? (This is me, quitting. Hah. I have to get it out of my head so I can get it out of my heart, so here you will find it. Until whenever it finally turns me loose.)

If Playable Worlds and Koster aren’t exponentially innovative, well, it will be as fitting a dirge as any… poetic even, that the mind behind the true start of the genre might be the one lullabying it into a footnote in gaming history.

I’mma go pretend to be a hunter-gatherer now…. hope your day goes well.