Adieu, Sanya

Toto, our resident DAoCer, spotted that Sanya has left Mythic, but was a little put out by part of Lum’s background on it with regards to the claiming of certain “firsts”.

Scott might try to argue that he is speaking in terms of members of the evolutionary tree of the current-gen of MMOs and that WWIIOL isn’t on it.

WWIIOL might not be on the radar much these days, but it’s been here 7 years without having to resort to AOs pay-by-ads, despite a similarly KT post-launch. And its worth noting that WWIIOL is a second generation online 3D MMO for much of the core team – that’s probably why, like AO, it’s still here.

You could argue that hardly anybody has heard of WarBirds but what counts is who has heard of it.

When Richard Garriot wanted to put UO on the nacent Internet he visited the WarBirds team to see how they were doing it.  And the initial launch of WarBirds takes us back to where Windows hadn’t yet got its TCP/IP stack and PPP was still little more than a concept – the game was essentially a 3D MMO built ontop of a telnet session.

WarBirds is a good place to look when you’re looking for MMO firsts – email addresses (callsign@warbirds.org), guilds (aka squads), guild hosting (http://yoursquad.warbirds.org/) – though I get to take some credit there ;)

And former ICI/WarBirds/WWIIOnline people are all over the place – Blizzard, Gearbox,  Microsoft Games, EA, LucasArts, SCA, NetDevil, etc…

Only claiming precedent, not derivation ;) As Scott summarizes, Sanya was the first one to do these things  in a successful game and in ways that have lead them to become mainstream – and the challenges she faced were on a different order of magnitude than the guys who did them in WarBirds and WWIIOL.

23 Comments

To be honest, some economy of scale applies here. Warbirds had a lot of “server firsts!”, true. It also had a customer base measured in the few thousands at the most (I guess… there’s no real stats posted anywhere, probably due to its age). Thus it was easier for the developers to be down in the trenches… because they knew most of the users. Whereas with an MMO with hundreds of thousands of users… it’s more difficult.

Just as I suspect World of Warcraft is running into economy of scale issues with its millions of users that those of us working on regular ol’ MMOs know nothing about.

And as for WW2OL, it shipped roughly at the same time as DAOC; thus the community efforts of UO and EQ predate both.

Not really “put out” over it…just beaten down with the repeditiveness of it all.

Yes, DAoC and WWIIOL shipped around the same time, the community efforts of the ideas behind what we use now predate UO and EQ, ala Warbirds.
Like I said though, subscriber numbers can surely dictate perception of success or innovativeness, as best illustrated here.

I wish we would have had the problems that hundreds of thousands users might bring, to a more community-centric approach.

Toto and I have actually always been big Sanya fans – she was one of the few devs at the first AGC I went to who gave me a case of the groupy. I went weak at the knees when she remembered the wishlist.

I’m not actually trying to claim credit for WWIIOL, either; just that the guys I’m talking about brought these concepts to WWIIOL from WarBirds.

Given that we’re talking about community management, its worth bearing in mind that these guys must have done something right because after 7 years they’re still doing it – despite the fact that unlike Sanya, what they had to work with was Taxi To Victory ;)

And yes – the launches have a split hair between them:
Page 54: WWIIOL 7/6/2001

TAXI TO VICTORY!
June 6, 2001 – 11:07 PM

Page 32: DAoC 10/10/2001

All due credit to Sanya – neither of us is suggesting that Sanya’s magic was derived from the WarBirds team – just after :) No argument from me that she was the first MMORPG dev to develop and pioneer the kind of CM you are talking about, and in terms of subsequent MMOs, the most influential. Her approach and success are her own.

PS – When reading Toto’s comment there, he’s refering back to his original blog entry where he mentions a broader scope of achievements that WWIIOL and WarBirds have kinda fallen off the radar for – like the > 1km vis limit, first MMO FPS, etc.

WWIIOL is its own worst advertiser. Great game development, and great Dev input with customers…but:

WWIIOL doesn’t advertise its firsts, or really make waves in the industry publications or ‘Net. Others can make claims, only the true pioneers can refute them, and advertise the reality.

WWIIOL should talk about its map (lack of shards), grognard game hidden underneath (a newly developed) fast shooter CQB. People are learning from WWIIOL, but I don’t see WWIIOL taking those lessons – so dearly learned – and turning it into money. I understand all the reasons; but if you want POPULARITY, you must sell what you have.

Like Isaac Newton, if you invent calculus, and keep it a secret, you’ll be dealing with Leibnitz’s claims all the rest of history. So goes WWIIOL. And I mean that with great fondness. :)

WWIIOL has probably one thing holding it back more than any other: you can’t solo. In WoW or EVE, if you don’t want to play with others you can do that without so much as a speed bump in your playing; some content will be missed, sometimes the best content, but you can play it as a single player game.
Fix that and you open WWIIOL to the public. The problem is you’d kill the game in the process.

I think WWIIOL could be more successful than it is. I think that at some point down the road, after enough development, a re-release and/or marketing spiel to breathe new life into it, or maybe just through slow and steady growth in player numbers, it almost definately will be. It’ll never have the numbers that WoW has of course, but it’s not the kind of game that can, and I think most people who play it would prefer it stays that way (whether some snooty game reviewer/developer/etc. thinks so or not). :)

You can most definitely solo in our game – naval guys do it, bomber guys do it, fighter guys do it, truck drivers do it. But there is no soloing the core game – there’s no single-player BF1942 equivalent.

I think more “solo” and “downtime” activities would boost online counts which would in turn increase the chance of squads reaching critical mass neccessary to go do something as a group.

But I really don’t think its the biggest thing holding the game back.

WW2OL taught me how to fly, no kidding.

I learned how to fly from Stewart, Gutted and ThunderAce in Sturmgrenadier over teamspeak in game. After about two years of that, I finally took flying lessons. After the first hour, I had it down pat in a Cessna. The game taught me how the aircraft flys, it was just a matter of doing it in real life. You get a new appreciation for situational awareness when you are trying to fly the aircraft, navigate, communicate, plus not get shot down :)

I now have a private pilot’s license, and am 1/2 way to an instrument rating. So if nothing else, you guys have contributed to one person’s enjoyment of the beauty of flying. Kudos.

Ironic.

…@/

There was a game before Warbirds I played, I remember the graphics were just T’s… Warbirds was where I learned to fly, it was my first squad. WWIIOnline actually drove me out of flight sim combat. Just can’t keep up any more. I play a lot of MSFS though. I can pretty much trace my online heritage “The ‘T’ game – Warbirds – Ultima Online – Everquest – WWIIOnline – Stop”

There have been branches into FF11, Toontown (yes, Toontown), and a few betas but it all goes back to the sim. But seeing this thread sure brings back memories. Man.

I disagree with the advertise what WWIIOnline did first idea though. The internet doesn’t care what who did first, only who’s doing it first [i]right now[/i]

I remember logging on to war birds through telnet. I was 15.

I was an Airwarrior dude, and I’ve always felt that there were aspects of that game that worked better than what we have in WW20.

I really miss the ability to bomb airfields, but also the simple and elegant briefing room and mission system.

Trout

*cough* 6 years *cough* not 7 (since launch).
And that doesn’t count the premature aging for veterans of the launch.

More Former Rats who’ve gone to other major game companies listed here:
http://wiki.wwiionline.com/index.php/CRS

I wish WWII Online did have way more visibility then it currently has. It really is a great idea and I would love to play more games like it.

Ah, thinking back to the winter of 2001 sitting in a Char when night was falling. The night was dark, so dark you had to shut all the blinds, and sometimes I’d put a blanket over the monitor and me just to see better. Calls came out over text “Shut your engine off!” so we could hear approaching Opels. The Opel blitz, a very real danger that seemed to amplify at night. Those things would blast on in, releasing Germany’s finest. If we didn’t stop them on the way in, the town had a good chance of falling. One simple radio hump and it was over.

So we sat in our cold iron beasts, eyes adjusted to the dark, ears listening for every little noise…. Was that an opel? sounds like it, coming from the NE. “OPEL NE!!” came out over text, and turrets started turning to bring fire to bear…

“WHACK!!!” was the sound I heard. I seem to remember the screen going white, then black? Not even sure what it went now, however I jumped so high out of my chair, my heart rate doubled, and it scarred the bejeebies out of me. I actually felt like someone hit me with something, after calming down, seeing the text, a 88 had set up on the ridge, and I was it’s first kill.

I never have been so startled by a game, and never since has any game impacted me like that. The WWII Online team deserves the credit for all the great gaming moments they inspired and should be recognized for their contribution to the gaming scene. It’s a crime another game hasn’t built upon the theme, so WWII Online could properly be credited.

System requirements, the games direction(not saying bad, just it wasn’t for me.) drove me away. The Platform it is on and age of the game keeps me away now.

I remember reading someone posting 7 million for a newer 360 version….. Now if only I could figure out the Mega Millions numbers.

I wish WWII Online did have way more visibility then it currently has. It really is a great idea and I would love to play more games like it.

Ah, thinking back to the winter of 2001 sitting in a Char when night was falling. The night was dark, so dark you had to shut all the blinds, and sometimes I’d put a blanket over the monitor and me just to see better. Calls came out over text “Shut your engine off!” so we could hear approaching Opels. The Opel blitz, a very real danger that seemed to amplify at night. Those things would blast on in, releasing Germany’s finest. If we didn’t stop them on the way in, the town had a good chance of falling. One simple radio hump and it was over.

So we sat in our cold iron beasts, eyes adjusted to the dark, ears listening for every little noise…. Was that an opel? sounds like it, coming from the NE. “OPEL NE!!” came out over text, and turrets started turning to bring fire to bear…

“WHACK!!!” was the sound I heard. I seem to remember the screen going white, then black? Not even sure what it went now, however I jumped so high out of my chair, my heart rate doubled, and it scarred the bejeebies out of me. I actually felt like someone hit me with something, after calming down, seeing the text, a 88 had set up on the ridge, and I was it’s first kill.

I never have been so startled by a game, and never since has any game impacted me like that. The WWII Online team deserves the credit for all the great gaming moments they inspired and should be recognized for their contribution to the gaming scene. It is a crime another game has not built upon the theme, so WWII Online could properly be credited.

System requirements, the games direction(not saying bad, just it wasn’t for me.) drove me away. The Platform it is on and age of the game keeps me away now.

I remember reading someone posting 7 million for a newer 360 version….. Now if only I could figure out the Mega Millions numbers.

Hey neat, didn’t know about that page Bloo :)

Premature aging .. heh .. I think I aged 6 years in the first 6 months at playnet :)

Man, Killer’s blog doesn’t look like it’s been touched in years.

It hasn’t LD. That’s why it’s called “The Dead Zone.” ;)

He said he was going to resurrect it recently. Maybe if enough players encourage him.

No kidding, Thunder. Post launch, a lot of grey hair started showing in CRS staff.

Bloo, you forgot LINDIR on this list.

Didn’t Killer had a blog. If he posted, I’d subscribe. He can tell a story.

It’s post launch plus 6 years, time adds a little grey to everyone.

Added Sébastien a.k.a Lindir.

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