The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG developer would you most like to meet in person?

Be you press or player, one of the advantages of going in person to a convention (or any other gaming event!) is surely the chance to actually meet and talk to individual developers. You can get a partial read on developers from their written words and even their speech on streams, but nothing beats actually talking one-on-one with a dev, looking him or her in the eye, asking tough questions out of PR handlers’ hearing, and chasing a conversation down unexpected paths. I’ve been wowed by devs and community leader whom I didn’t expect to be so amazing — and similarly, I’ve been let down by veteran designers I thought were much more impressive on paper than in person. Sometimes both at the same event!

Which MMORPG developer would you most like to meet in person?

(That’d be Camelot Unchained’s Ben Pielstick in the header working on polearm animations, by the way!)

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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80 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG developer would you most like to meet in person?"

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Chris Brown-DeMoreno

Amy Hennig, hands down. She helped create two of gaming’s most interesting a deep characters of all time: Kain and Raziel. They might not be as popular as a Nathan Drake or a Kratos but those two, those games, are some of the most well thought out and written I’ve ever seen and I’d like to just say thank you. To this day, I can’t think about anything related to that series without the main theme song playing in my head.

Vaeris
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Vaeris

Raph Koster. First I’d like to buy him the drink of his choice for having a hand in making my favorite MMORPG experience in SWG. I’d also like to ask him what it would take (I’m just curious) for him to take a leading part in a traditional MMO like SWG and take it down the iteration path that it diverged away from in the NGE. I’ve continue to wonder what that iteration and evolution of those systems and features in place during the CU, to him, would look like.

Sid Meier. Where’s my Alpha Centauri 2…and 3…and by now 4 at least? The drones miss me…

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mcsleaz

Whoever is in charge of the PWI cash shops.

P.S. By “in person” I assumed you meant in a Dark allleyway, in the dead of night, in a desolate part of town.

Vaeris
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Vaeris

With ten gallons of super glue and a quart of strawberry jello…yep, I know.

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socontrariwise

Raph Koster and Domino (EQ2) – the two who actually understand how to make crafting prime time.
PS: Whoever was responsible for the Vanguard Diplomacy game too, I have no name though.

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Toy Clown

I have two favorites. The first is Raph Koster. He’s been around a long time and did work on several of my favorite MMOs. He was also around in the MuD days and realizes how important chat tools are alongside visuals.

The other dev I’d love to meet is Richard Garriott. The guy is brilliant and has been around a long time. What I most admire about him, is remembering when Ultima Online was no longer his, due to some stupid corporate BS, and how he kept putting one foot in front of the other to create his passion and dream. It’s really inspiring – not to mention his house looks like a castle!

Karetyr
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Kickstarter Donor
Karetyr

John Smedley, and Raph Koster. Preferably at the same time, and with a copious amount of beer available. And for the same reason.

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starbuck1771

And that reason is Star Wars Galaxies. :P

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Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Chris Wine

I’d want to talk to the developers at CSE, and geek out about F#

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Brian Chambers (Development Director of Star Citizen). The man is rock star of gamedev and my favourite in SC team.

Also Ragnar Tornquist (ex-Funcom). The man knew how to make unique MMOs with vision and great story. Too bad he switched to singleplayer games

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adri

The CSE team :)

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Godiva

Jake Song. He designed the first MMO I ever played, NexusTK, but is more known for Lineage and ArcheAge.

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kuvis

Richard Bartle. Not only has he had a big impact on the industry, but he’s a very interesting and honest personality as well.

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Matthew Shannon

Anyone CSE, the whole Dev crew is very fun to watch in action. Been fortunate to meet a few of them. Watching JB and Can Jam is always a good time.

MJ and Lady J even spend there vacation time with the backers. Per recommendation we buy black bean pasta, in my house now.

And finally the ladies and gents who visit the CU Camps.

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Castagere Shaikura

None of them because i’m sure they wouldn’t like what i have to say.

atherenlightspeed
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atherenlightspeed

Not an MMO developer, but Todd Howard, my all time favorite. For MMOs, Matt Elliott (LOTRO), or Thomas Blair (Crowfall now, formerly Galaxies).

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Dystopiq

Todd “Tell me Sweetie little Lies” Howard

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Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

None of them, I’d prefer they spent their time more constructively than meeting me by actually using it to make the games I enjoy :)

Reader
Bryan Turner

Does Chris Metzan count?

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Armsman

I’ve already met the Developer I’d be most interested in meeting (Chris Roberts), but yeah, it would have been interesting to have been able to have a more in depth talk about game development and tech in general.

I met him in person at CSUN in Northridge, CA (U.S.A.) when he was giving a talk about some of the business aspects of Crowdfunding on the PC Game Industry – and was using what he had experienced so far with regard to his Star Citizen game project (and a lot of people who backed SC were in the audience, but it was a ‘general’ talk about Crowdfunding and the PC gaming industry.) This was back in 2013.

Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

Mark Jacobs, mainly because I promised him donuts and I do want to deliver.

Reader
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mistressbrazen

Ragnar Tornquist for sure. In both Anarchy Online and TSW he created world stories that are compelling and the game environments make you want to go out and explore. At the same time, he does not under value the intelligence of the player, and tries to deliver a game experience that is fun but also thought provoking. Would love to have a post mortem discussion with him around TSW.

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Dug From The Earth

I have 2 lists…

List 1: Devs id like to just sit around and chat with.
and
List 2. Devs who would file a restraining order against me after we met

Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

Which one would I be on?

Reader
Dug From The Earth

Might be best if another developer, claiming to be your spiritual successor, speak with me instead :P

Reader
Loyal Patron
Byórðæįr

I think for me this question is kinda side tracked because I promised to take one developer drinking and another one tried to hire me when he had no money to paid for any living expenses back 2010 to 2011 before we finished working for someone else. So hanging out with both of them are things I really need to get around to do at some point. That said I have met a number of developers, both at work and at conventions over the years and they are all normal people both at work and outside of work. Talking to developers about their work is fun especially when they start waving their hands and talk about the wall of crazy ideas they want to implement some day.

I think people to met to ask about their current wall of crazy is one of the most fun things to do, if nothing else to see them think about things that made them dream about games is usually worth it. I think for me it is seeing them as normal people that worked on someone else’s dream until they could afford to work on their own dream makes them more interesting as people than less interesting.

Zander
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Zander

Will Wright, creator of Spore. His un-EA’afied demonstration of the game left people floored at tech shows. It was highly innovative, thunk way outside the box and created an organic realm that no one has really attempted since.

Then EA got a hold of it and said it was too complex for the simple celled minds of gamers. They gutted 2/3rd of its mechanics and content then sold us the dumbed down version for what EA considered acceptable for the attention span and thought process of ‘dumb gamers’.

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rafael12104

Mark Jacobs, Sid Meier, John Carmack, Shigeru Miyamoto,Yoko Taro. It would be a round table discussion on the evolution and significance of games over the years.

In a separate panel, I would like to meet original team from id who developed and launched the original Doom in the late 80s. Topic: Revolutionizing an industry.

After party at Bill Roper’s house.

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Shiro Madoushi

If I could meet anyone involved in the development of any mmo?

Nobuo Uematsu of course. I would just tell him thank you for all the wonderful music.

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Utakata

There is a ton of interesting developers I wouldn’t mind sitting down with in person. I am not sure they would want to sit down with me though. :(

…that said, Yoshi P., For the laughs and Moogles. /kupo <3

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kidwithknife

I guess she probably doesn’t count anymore since Undead Labs dropped their plans for an MMO, but Sanya Weathers. She always struck me as genuinely honest and fun both at Undead Labs and when she was with Mythic, and even when she was just a player on the same EQ server as me. I’d be very interested in her thoughts on MMO community today versus the old days.

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Mark Jacobs

Sanya was and is awesome, just saying.

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Serrenity

Nobody hit me as he’s not really an MMO developer, but Peter Molyneux. I think it would be so inspiring to hear him talk about his pie-in-the-sky ideas. There’s something really interesting to me talking to people who are thinking bigger than they can deliver.

It seems like his hay-day is over, but Black and White (the original) was / is one of my favorite games and I think it’s one of the most ambitious titles every created.

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rafael12104

No deny it. He drove the gaming industry forward in many ways. He was a dreamer and still is. Unfortunately it got the best of him and he couldn’t deliver those dreams anymore.

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MesaSage

Stewart Butterfield. But I doubt he’d want to hear what I had to say to him.

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Kickstarter Donor
Serrenity

I can second wanting to talk to him. I had a brief online interaction with him on Facebook right as Slack was taking off and he was fascinating even then.

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Roger Melly

I would love to get Chris Roberts and Derek Smart in a room together and then take cover and see what happens .

My monies on Derek Smart .

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rafael12104

Great idea. But it wouldn’t work. They would both show up with a cadre of lawyers who would spend their time writing strongly worded letters to each other.

Zander
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Zander

Nah, Derek is a forum warrior and a wannabe protagonist of a group that treats him like shit behind his back. Given some time to think about what he wants his diatribes to say, he can sound pretty convincing. Get him online or in person when he actually has to talk and say things intelligent on the fly and he falters. Chris Roberts is no debater either but he certainly can come up with more rational thought than (forgive the pun) Mr. Smart.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
CthulhuDawg

None. I’m not one to get star struck very often. As long as they’re putting out content I want to play, good deal, when that stops happening I bail. That’s just me though, each to their own. I did nerd out on Jack Wall once at a Video Games Live concert, but I mean come on the Myst: Exile soundtrack is a masterpiece in it’s own right.

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

You don’t have to be star struck to wish meeting someone, also you don’t have to play their game to admire or respect their work, and yes; Myst: Exile soundtrack is great.

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Hirku

Ragnar Tornquist, Sid Meier, Warren Spector, Will Wright, Richard Garriot, David Crane, and Shigeru Miyamoto. Yes, I know most of these people aren’t MMO developers, and I don’t care. I’d still love to meet them.

Out of morbid curiosity and more on topic (kind of sort of, haha), I’d also be interested in meeting He Who Shall Not Be Named. Just to see with my own eyes.

edangerous
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edangerous

Chris Roberts to discuss lies and P2W.
David Braben to discuss space and PG.
Ragnar Tornquist for storytelling.

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Oleg Chebeneev

You can discuss lies with David Braben. He promised a fun game.

edangerous
Reader
edangerous

Ooh that’s is a real sick burn, I bet you practised saying that in the mirror for like, half an hour…

Zander
Reader
Zander

Chris Roberts to discuss lies and P2W.

What lies? Feature creep and release dates? P2W as in selling ships to fund the game? You mean the non-starter ships that no one will be able to fly week 1 of release?

Ed, there will always be a place for you in Star Citizen. We love the E:D community and are always stoked when they get new tech and content. I have lots of E:D players in my SC org.
We’re in this genre together and we both have plenty of space game despisers who don’t like what both E:D and SC are doing because of envey.

edangerous
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edangerous

Too many to recal but just to look at the more recent one, 3.0 is our end of the year release! We will be changing our patch cadence so that 3.1 will be coming out 3 months after 3.0 then 3.2 will come 3 months after 3.1 etc.

How’s that all working out?

Zander
Reader
Zander

And I would be foolish to disagree with you. Dates given along with scope change have been the biggest faults (lies) of the project.

Too many to recall.

Let’s be honest, because there is none. But I’m happy to hear out the other lies or P2W tactics.

edangerous
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edangerous

Let’s be honest, because there is none. But I’m happy to hear out the other lies or P2W tactics.

Haha, if only that were true. There was the initial lie where he said it would be done in 3 years and that they were already 1 year in.
When they said private servers, modding, VR, all which have been reneged on.
Lies about ending LTI.
The list really does go on and on and on.

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Utakata

Lies can be discussed with anyone actually. I rather be more interested in the games they where developing.

edangerous
Reader
edangerous

Of course lies can be discussed with anyone but I’m interested in discussing them with Chris Roberts.

Reader
Utakata

And why would you be interested in discussing that with him? What relevancy does it have to his projects? Or his field of expertise on the side happens to the *psychology of why people lie; in order to get an informed perspective on the current POTUS, for example?

*Note: To be fair though, if I wanted an expert opinion on the mating habits of deep sea isopods, I would certainly want to sit down with Greg Street (aka. Ghostcrawler). So this isn’t really beyond the realm of the plausible. It’s just I am unaware that Mr. Roberts carries any secondary career options, especially one in psychological academia. o.O

edangerous
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edangerous

It serves whatever purpose I want it to serve.

It’s like asking everybody here who makes a suggestion why they want to speak to their chosen developer. If I wanted to ask Peter Molyneaux about his lies then why not, if I want to ask Chris Roberts about his, why not?

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Utakata

Err…whatever floats your boat then. O.o

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Kane Hart

Hell I like to put David Braben in a room and record him actually playing his own game haha.

edangerous
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edangerous

Braben plays elite quite a bit, often chats with people or gets blown up by other players :)

Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

My sister once got to watch Jack Emmert once playing City of Heroes at a convention. He had no idea what he was doing, it was hilarious.

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Crowe

That would explain so much.

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Loopy

John Smedley for the sheer experience.
Chris Roberts to hear about how he manages expectations for a project of such size…
Jeff Kaplan because he seems like such an awesomely wholesome guy.

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Alex Malone

I would want to discuss the thinking behind various game design choices so I’d really be looking to meet the lead designers / producers at companies. I generally don’t know their names though.

But, I’d love to speak to the original lead designer / producer / director of LotRO – I think this might be Jeffrey Steefel. LotRO had one of the best online communities and some of the deepest combat I’ve seen in an MMO. I really want to know how much of that was by design and how much by accident (especially given the decline in quality and depth over the years).

Similarly, I’d love to just hang out with the Camelot Unchained team and listen to their reasoning behind their design choices, how they feel it will help build a long standing community, plus futures plans for growth.

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Melissa McDonald

I would probably have the most fun chatting with Dave Georgeson. He shares my passion for EQ and that world and I cherish that 5 minute (!) prep talk he gave before Landmark’s original alpha/beta launched to the public, where he described what we’d be getting, what we would be doing, and how it would keep evolving. I was really excited listening to him and seeing his obvious enthusiasm. When I spawned in a gully and walked up over the hillside and saw my first sunset in “the new Norrath”, I burst into tears.

Heavy sigh.

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Armsbend

Even though he isn’t a developer and had very little to do with MMORPGs one of the only guys I’d like to pick is Peter Moore – the former marketing suit for MS. I felt he was the last really big impact guy for marketing during the last years of games being still about entertainment and fun. Imo, he pulled the 360 into being a major player and even though people tended not to like him simply because he was a pitch man – the guy really knew how to market and get people excited.

I feel that the big personalities died when games started becoming less about being fun and more about squeezing whales.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Legend Of Vinny T

Would it be too cynical to suggest Kaiserin from Champions Online just to prove that a CO developer exists?

Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

Many legends have been given on the reclusive Champions Online developer. An endangered species, they hide in the wilds of California and Washington, only appearing for brief glances as they forage for Mt. Dew and pretzels….

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Legend Of Vinny T

Cryptic developer? More like Cryptid developer, amirite?

Reader
George

Ben Irving… And not to chat.

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Hirku

Sounds exciting!

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Jack Pipsam

For all his faults, old mate Smed has too much history and would be too interesting not to want to talk too.

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Morgan

Joel Bylos; because I have a love hate relationship with Funcom.

I guess my first question would be “Why u do dis to meh?”.

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TheDonDude

Positron.

Nathaniel Downes
Reader
Nathaniel Downes

I have met him, and he is awesome!

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

mark jacobs seems like the sort of guy that i could sit around getting drunk with talking insider shit and game design and joking about my experiences with daoc vets over the years in just about almost any game i’ve played with pvp in it in the genre.

josh and jc of above and beyond (formerly repopulation developers) could have some interesting conversation about game design and inside drama irl based on our conversations on their former forums.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
BalsBigBrother

Mark Jacobs or David Brevik. Two people who have been around the developer block more than a few times to collect some interesting stories along the way I imagine.

Two of the best articles I think MassivelyOP have done were the interviews Justin did with Mark Jacobs for The Game Archaeologist. Wish we could get that sort of depth of interview more often but I imagine they are not easy to organise to say the least.

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Eliandal

Definitely agree with MJ! He’s developed/worked on games I’ve enjoyed for pretty much a quarter of a century. Unfortunately, while VA is not actually that far away, it’s also not particularly local ;P!

Minimalistway
Reader
Minimalistway

Raph Koster first name i thought of, also so many graphic and 3D designers many of them i don’t even know their names, people who made the MMO worlds i play in, i want to ask them where did they get their ideas from?

But i have to say: never meet your heroes, if you find them so impressive on paper the chance is you have unrealistic image for them, they can never live up to that image, so meet them with this in mind, and don’t expect perfection from the them.

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Suikoden

Okay, so you’re going to think this is a stretch, but I’d like to meet Jace Hall. Technically he did develop Matrix Online at Monolith, before selling it to SOE. That’s not why I’d like to meet him, but I’d use the opportunity to discuss myriad topics.

Cyclone Jack
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Kickstarter Donor
Cyclone Jack

Jace Hall is a really nice guy. I’ve never met him in person, but I talked with him a few times over phone and email years ago when I was working on a project.

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Suikoden

Wow, that is so cool. He just seems like such an interesting person, and it seems like he pops up randomly places, like everyone knows him.

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starbuck1771

John Smedley and Chris Roberts.

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