Global Chat: Which MMO developer do you most appreciate?

Recently, Ravalation carried on an annual blogger tradition called Developer Appreciation Week. During this week, gamers would put aside their usual vitriol and criticism for devs to pen posts about the appreciated side of studios. It was certainly nice to see a bloom of positivity and praise, that’s for sure.

“If there’s something I’ve learned from my fellow participants during this year’s DAW it’s that 1) game developers work extremely hard purely because they love their games, 2) bugs frequently appear in complicated coding, and 3) devs are usually aware that bugs exist when content goes live and feel terrible about it,” she wrote.

Join us after the break for more MMO blog essays, including a tour of Star Citizen’s luxury ship, more thoughts on Secret World Legends, and the enduring love of a World of Warcraft fan.

You look like a skinny white lady. That's not otherworldly.

Aywren Sojourner: FFXIV alt-stravaganza

“I also started being crazy and began leveling my crafting and gathering jobs on Tai as well. I’ve considered doing this for a while to have an alt that specializes in jobs that my main doesn’t. I’m not sure how far I really want to go down that rabbit hole, though.”

Syrco Owl: Returning to the Broken Shore

“There is a tree near the beach behind the Deliverance Point on the Broken Shore. If you look closely near the trunk of the tree you can see a sign that says ‘Nothing Secret Here!’ and a rope. So, is there really nothing secret there or? You know me, I always get so curious and have to look around but I didn’t find anything, which might be the point because there really isn’t anything secret.”

Azerothian Life: Why do you love WoW and what makes you keep coming back to it?

“I know we kill them as well, but we do a lot of capturing, riding and helping of dragons as well. Being as obsessed as I am, I love them. I love being able to have different types of dragons to ride. I like the colour variants. I like the stories behind each colour and the aspects.  I love they have history and purpose and they are actually a huge part of the world historically.”

Light Falls Gracefully: Secret World Legends tear down the heavens to rebuild the underworld

“I’m more interested in the extent to which this rework emphasizes the narrative, a shining gem in a sea of numbers ground into sawdust. Many players are already understandably upset about having their Numbers and Stuff trivialized; I sympathize with them as I wear my cheekiest innocence-is-bliss grin and sip my coffee in anticipation of journaling my dormant character’s dreary, fog-shrouded meanderings.”

Inventory Full: My time’s my own

“I remember the increasingly onerous, exhausting commitment to questing in Middle-earth and I don’t remember it fondly. All that swimming and riding. All that stiff text. All those unpronounceable names. There were several reasons I stopped playing LotRo and quest overload was among them. This time I don’t have that and I don’t need to worry about acquiring it.”

World of Star Citizen: Origin 890 Jump tour

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.
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35 Comments on "Global Chat: Which MMO developer do you most appreciate?"

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Derek Smart

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Oleg Chebeneev

Nice try, Derek Smart

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Crowe

Derek Smart? What? Did you just say “Derek Smart?”
(I think the three times is enough to summon)

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Robert Mann

… any developer making extra time and effort for people is cool in my books. So Intrepid, City State, and SE are all high up on that mark.

Many other studios are doing a solid job as devs too. I admit there are times when I have to stop and tell myself “It is the customer service that is crud, not the devs.”

What I really want to see next for an outstanding developer is taking feedback from multiple sides of an issue, such as difficulty, and working to address the concern for everyone instead of just some of their base. That would get some major props from me as something which, outside of just instanced content, just doesn’t exist right now.

Zander
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Zander

Whether it’s this website, another MMO site or Reddit, people seem to praise the development teams of Elder Scrolls Online and Lord of the Rings often. I haven’t had a chance to play either of these games but reading what you all have to say makes me want to give it a shot.

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Tobasco da Gama

The ESO team gets the Heavensward award for having the guts to virtually redesign their game from the ground up in response to criticism rather than just milking the diehards for as much cash as possible and moving on.

That’s my uncontroversial pick. :P

My controversial picks is Turbine/SSG.

The LOTRO team gets major points from me for consistency. For all that the community (still!!) bitches about F2P, LOTRO has been consistently cranking out high-quality story content on a fairly regular schedule (give or take a month or two) ever since the conversion. There are blockbuster subscription-only games that don’t release new story content as often as LOTRO. (*cough, cough* WoW *cough, cough*)

And for all that some of their new systems like Mounted Combat and Epic Battles get a harsh reception at times, the fact is we’re talking about a company that isn’t scared to introduce totally new features to a game that, by the standard of the rest of the industry, ought to be an aging relic on maintenance mode. They didn’t have to invest the time and effort to put totally new systems into the game, but they did, and when those systems actually come together with the existing gameplay holistically, like in the Battle of the Pelennor update, it creates an experience that companies with ten times the player base and budget simply cannot match.

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Mark Jacobs

Matt Frior. While I don’t love everything that was done with ESO, the fact that he and Zenimax hung in there, invested a lot of money into the game and kept investing (unlike other companies I know), earned additional respect for him and Zenimax. It wasn’t an easy road for him/them and they delivered something that I think they are proud of.

On the personal side, I’m really proud of Matt as both his former boss and associate. Though I’m a bit biased, when he left Mythic I gave him a certain piece of advice that he followed that eventually led to the Zenimax gig. :)

And again, there are things in ESO that I disagree with so please don’t turn this comment into a chain of “But ESO …” and don’t get me started on the whole Oculus Rift thing, please.

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NeoWolf

Although not sctricly san MMO I “would” have said Marvel Heroes Online until recently as they were ALWAYS super involved with the community and forthcoming etc.. but with the recent push of Omega and near almost silence on anything Pc related they have pretty much dropped the ball in a significant way lately (and it isn’t like they don’t know either).

I also like Zenimax’s Devs they are pretty forthcoming and open to feedback too and their podcasts are always really informative.

In all honesty though Developers lives seem to be paved with good intentions but the nature of the business in general seems to lead to them invariably disappointing or decieving us at some point or other. So the measure of quality seems to be more defined by those who can get away with doing it the LEAST number of times rather than not at all :)

semugh
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semugh

if non-MMO then valve, google and apple. They do the most for gaming nowdays.

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Loopy

The Overwatch team. It’s refreshing to see humbleness and dedication that i’ve experienced from this team. Jeff Kaplan always appears genuine and transparent. I believe more studios should follow suit.

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Necromonger

Intripid studio’s from ashes of creation.

Always on discord and a true mmo gamer himself.

Wished more studio’s would follow his lead and get more involved with their community

Altough Noaki Yoshida from S.E. takes a close second.

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Melissa McDonald

I would have said Turbine, but what I mean is the team of people who made/make Lord of the Rings Online.
They have created one of the greatest MMOs ever, and the only one of the ‘big 3’ most famous IPs to get a truly detailed, respectful, beyond-your-dreams kind of game to enjoy for years. Yes, STO and SWTOR are pretty darn good games. But I don’t think fans of either one got as much as LOTR fans got, not by any means.

LOTRO is a game whose like will probably never be seen again. I really can’t forsee anyone making another LOTR game with this detailed a map with this many places, zones, quests, and attention to lore and history with such dedication and respect ever happening again, maybe. Not for a generation at least.

We better love that game while it lasts.

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Tobasco da Gama

I completely agree! They don’t get NEARLY enough credit for what they’ve built and how well they’ve shepherded their creation through a decade in such a volatile industry.

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Zen Dadaist

I honestly don’t know any more :( There’s half a dozen I would have offered in the past, but these days I feel this paraphrased batman quote is more fitting: You either die a hero, or you live long enough to become the villain.

I guess the closest I’d get is City State because of its honesty and transparency. But, with CU in a seemingly never-ending pre-Beta development I worry the interest is gone and the game’s potential market has moved on.

rondstat
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rondstat

City State is at the top of the list, for reasons that have been well-articulated.

But Jagex is a close second. Though their management isn’t the greatest, the developers’ level of interaction with the community, the way they regularly solicit player feedback and suggestions and implement it in discrete, visible ways, their high engagement on social media – I’m not sure any other developer does this.
They are more than willing to admit mistakes and change content in response to its reception – not within weeks or months like other studios, but in days or hours. They have introduced multiple game eras and engines to appeal to every player’s preferences. And, after 16 years, they are still introducing new content weekly.

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Oleg Chebeneev

CIG (Star Citizen devs) of course. The most talented, the most transparent and coolest MMO team ever.

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squidgod2000

CIG (Star Citizen devs) of course. The most talented, the most transparent and coolest MMO team ever.

Vaporware would be more translucent than transparent, wouldn’t it?

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Oleg Chebeneev

I love how you folks praise Mark Jacobs and Camelot Unchained that after several years of development showed only few screenshots and short prealpha footage with barely anything in it. And you call vapoware SC that has shitton of info, media and fully playable alpha that already has more content then many released games.

Zander
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Zander

Don’t worry about it man. If you’re paying close attention, you begin to realize that they manifest hundreds of documentation pages per week outlining the direction they’re headed in each content development pipe and the feedback they receive from the community. Never mind the three videos they put out per week adding up to nearly two and a half hours of development conversation and footage. Let them hate.

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Melissa McDonald

if you say his name 3 times, he will appear…

Derek

Derek

Derek

:D

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

The peeps over at Gazillion are super dope. They frequent the forums and are really nice. Fantastic community as well over there at Marvel Heroes.

I also really enjoy a lot of people at ArenaNet. I’ve had great interactions with their staff over the years. Quality folks there.

Solaris
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Solaris

Dev: Mark Jacobs. Class act. Very much cares about his fanbase and has never been ‘business above all’. Can’t say enough good about this man. He did me a favor once, for which I’ll be eternally grateful. People like him are very rare in business.

Celestia
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Celestia

Well said. I heartily agree.

django857
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django857

I remember a time when game devs would login and play with there players. Its to bad they don’t do this anymore. And alot of the time i don’t blame them.

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squidgod2000

Lots of devs play their own games—anonymously. If they were recognizable people would never leave them alone.

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Robert Mann

Agreed, but there used to be more who would come into the game for an event or something every now and then as part of their work. I believe that was the idea here, not that they should spend their free time being followed by a horde of players.

Solaris
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Solaris

Richard Garriot has always done this, going all the way back to UO. I used to chat with him in Tabula Rasa. He is active in Shroud of the Avatar as well.

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Paragon Lost

Mark Jacobs would have to be the number one person on my list. Having interacted with him off and on for almost a quarter century he’s been rather consistent. He learns from his errors, he communicates well and is just a overall nice person.

lazylex
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lazylex

Definitely Trion.
They release pristine, quality content at a speed and value far exceeding industry standards.
Their service staff never treats its customers like imbeciles and they truly take feedback to heart.

… Or was the dev team I’m thinking of called something else?……

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Robert Mann

One thing here, which I myself struggle with. Developers usually aren’t customer service.

I mean, I certainly expect more from customer service than most game companies provide… especially in terms of respect to the customer (some of them deciding to insult customers is just incredibly out there.) However, that shouldn’t reflect on the developers if it is a business setup where they don’t really have much say on that. Sadly, that is often the case with bigger game studios… and sometimes with smaller ones.

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Zen Dadaist

I remember the days when that was actually true -_-‘

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Oyjord Hansen

Mark Jacobs is a scholar and a gentleman.

And a damn fine game developer. DAoC was simply lightning in a bottle, Warhammer Online had its moments of brilliance, and Camelot Unchained is shaping up very nicely.

Top it all off with great communication skills, and I’ll keep buying his games sight-unseen for the foreseeable future.

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Peregrine Falcon

I used to really appreciate the way the developers at Paragon Studios were all over the forums. Answering questions, asking questions, and just basically keeping us informed about the game and its lore.
I have yet to see another studio that does that nearly as much, or as well, as they did.

Celestia
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Celestia

Good times. What a great communicative team.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

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