Outsized Personalities

So now that I’m home and can look up from wikis and playtests, some reflection on part of today’s news.

It’s probably no secret that Mark Jacobs and I have had our differences in the past – in particular, after some of my more critical writings about Mythic and Warhammer, it’s safe to say I’m not on his holiday card list. After a day of following various commentary on Mark’s departure around the darker corners of the Intarwebs, though, I think some things need to be noted publicly.

To say that Mark was an outsized personality does an injustice to outsized personalities. When I started at Mythic, I got an inkling of what I was in for when Mark grilled me over the phone – for three hours – before I started over an intemperate forum posting on my old site in a post about gay rights, to make sure that the newest addition to the Mythic family wasn’t an intolerant gay-basher. (Mythic was heads and tails above the gaming industry in hiring diversity, something I never appreciated enough until I left.)

In case I hadn’t gotten the message, it was reinforced when a week later, after I spent a night in a DAOC IRC channel enjoying the ego boost of being ‘a developah’, he showed up at my desk with a detailed, annotated chat log of the multitude of mistakes made, with the unspoken message that the new guy who was third tools programmer from the left probably didn’t have a lot of business doing community relations, no matter how much of an Internet badass he thought he was.

One of the most irritating mistakes the media makes when covering games is treating games as the personal project of their most visible namesake – World of Warcraft coming from Rob Pardo or Jeff Kaplan, Assassin’s Creed coming from Jade Raymond, or, in this entirely too risible snippet Old Man Murray found on IGN once upon a time:

“There’s a tendency among the press to attribute the creation of a game to a single person,” says Warren Spector, creator of Thief and Deus Ex.

Except that in Mythic’s early days, it wouldn’t have been too far off. Mark wasn’t just a visible figurehead – in many ways Mythic was his. Mark wasn’t intimately involved in DAOC’s design or production (although I do remember him whiteboarding crafting systems a lot) but for him, Mythic was his family. He was immensely proud of how none of the original Mythic staffers had left for years. When Dark Age of Camelot shipped and was a commercial success, the ensuing bonuses (which I had just made it under the wire to qualify for) were generous – in my case a significant portion of my salary, and carried over long after DAOC was no longer as profitable. Because he saw them as his family.

It was a family he was very protective of, as I found out when I joined the merry band, and that aspect changed little over the years. Unfortunately, Mythic rapidly grew beyond the 25 or so that shipped DAOC, and as that family atmosphere changed, it was easy to see that Mark wasn’t happy about it. He would occasionally drop into my office and others as the years passed, either to trade insights on the industry or on entertainment in general (and for him, a Joss Whedon MMO would probably have been the perfect storm).

Then there was Imperator. Imperator was very much Mark’s project – he came up with the backstory, was deeply involved with the design, and was far more hands on in its production than I had seen him in years. Unfortunately, it didn’t work (something I later came to be very sympathetic with) and as the company smoothly shifted gears from Imperator to Warhammer, he took great pride in how almost everyone was able to keep their jobs in the process. Mythic was still his family, even if it was too large for him to actually know them all any more.

By that time, though, it was a family I didn’t want a part of any more. When I posted my initial farewell, I noted that my motivation for leaving was to move to Texas from northern Virginia. That was certainly true – I’m currently typing this from the living room of my house, and making that statement true in NoVA would have cost me about a half a million more than it did here. But it wasn’t the entire truth – Mythic had, by that time, grown to the point where it was no longer a family, but a company, and a company with the usual office politics, mismanagement, and frustrated career paths. In retrospect, if I worked for me, I would have fired me; as it was, Mythic was good enough to let me find my way out the door (even after, in one memorable Homer Simpsonesque moment, I arrived back to work from a job interview to find out someone at the company I interviewed at IMed a producer to ask what I was doing there. Whoops.)

And on my last day, after I was ordered to leave the building early – by Mark – I was asked to come back to talk – by Mark. He wanted to know why a family member was leaving. And so I told him, and mentioned in passing, given the then in-progress EA buyout to watch his back, that there were people there who did not have his best interests at heart.

Those people are still there. Mark isn’t. And while I wouldn’t work with them again – and most likely would have significant issues working with the lead designer of Warhammer and Imperator – the Mark of the DAOC launch team, I would have taken a bullet for. I’m pretty sure everyone involved feels the same.

But given the outsized personality that Mark is, I’m 100% sure that we have not heard the last of him, either in the near term (he does have a blog he seems to have forgotten about – and he certainly has more qualifications for drive-by pontification than nearly anyone else, including myself) or in the long term.

And I would hazard a guess that the Mark of Dragon’s Gate will be a far happier guy then the Mark of EA Mythic. And that’s what counts among family members.

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45 Responses to Outsized Personalities

  1. geldonyetich says:

    Of course, I know from the firsthand experience as one that nice guys can come in outspoken packages. I probably should have stuck with my initial convictions that’s what Mark was.

    This is hardly the time for told you sos, but you know, when Mark visited our boards ([did I actually call them “our boards” – I guess I just meant boards where I happened to be hanging out at the time]) I did warn him of the many-headed-dragon that is EA. He was professional, though, he defended EA, he softened their image by saying that they’re trying to change, to shake those demons of the past.

    Well. Hopefully EA gives good severance to their defenders.

    He probably knew the risks just as acutely as I. However, Mythic needed the funding, they had big projects planned, and the offer was there.

    There a certain aspect of human behavior that pushes us to move forward whatever the risk. You probably can’t get far in any industry without that sort of drive. He stayed the course and took that chance, and (thanks in part to the economy imploding) it didn’t turn out particularly well this time. Now, I look forward to seeing him jump back on that horse and see what he can do.

  2. Gx1080 says:

    In the end, Mark was a dreamer in a corporate world. He just didnt fit any longer. Just as the entire entertainment industry, everybody wants to work in there, so everybody its replaceable, so why care for the individual employee? Just milk him untli hes dry and replace him.

    Oh and the ones that pay for failure arent the overlords, but they couldnt eliminate more of the fodder without eliminating all of them, so they eliminated the next guy in the ladder. Not that Mark truly enjoyed work in there after watching the massive layoffs that he worked hard to avoid in the crash of Imperator.

    I bet that, as usual, politics instead of actual talent were the ones determinating who didnt get a pink slip.

    And also repeating itself its the fact that companys only grow ripe and yummy for being eaten for a Borg.

    All that its a movie that we already seen. But i wish Mark good luck in its next venture.

  3. Arthur_Parker says:

    Mark is now free to start a mmo rant site.

  4. Yeebo says:

    Great read. Love getting the back stories of MMOs I’ve enjoyed.

  5. Jeff says:

    I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Mark Jacobs. Of the DAoC team I’ve met the writer of this blog and Sanya, both of whom seemed like very nice people. (Especially Lum, who I ambushed outside a bathroom at an off site Mythic fan event at the AGC a few years back, and was kind enough to give me an interview.)

    I have to ask though, what was MJ thinking when he was spinning the hype machine for Warhammer? It COULD have been a great game, we all know that. But surely he had to know there was no way in hell it was going to be anywhere near ready by launch. Realistic expectations would have helped a lot. So would a free month or two, since we were all clearly playing beta. The problem, aside from the game not being anywhere near a finished, polished state was that MJ and Barnett were out of control with the hype machine.

    Maybe the launch date wasn’t MJ’s decision. If it wasn’t, this has to be a bitter pill to swallow for him. Maybe the response to that from the EA suits is the time given was mismanaged. Maybe they reached too high, tried to get too much done.

    I thought Camelot had a nice blend of PvE and PvP. Warhammer seemed to be lacking in the PvE department. It got very stale after the first 20 levels or so. No real dungeons to speak of for the lower levels, or nothing that felt like a dungeon anyway.

    I was and am frustrated at the money I wasted on Warhammer. I thought DAoC had proven Mythic could make a good MMO. But then again we tend to forget Imperator got scrapped. I think that was a warning too many of us ignored. Maybe Mythic, like so many small studios before it (Origin) had trouble with the transition to large corporation.

    Regardless, I wish Mark Jacobs well. I hope he learned from whatever mistakes were made and can come back a little stronger, a little wiser.

  6. Con says:

    Honestly surprised this is an even-handed look at things and not a “rituals of the betrayed” style whinefest.

    I guess it’s not really a “betrayal” since the guy has money already!

  7. Blackblade says:

    See, when I heard about the EA acquisition of Mythic, THIS is what I, and likely many others, screamed to high heaven, was going to happen.

    It wasn’t that I cared it was done for money. It was a business decision – At the end of the day, you need to pay your bills. I can understand that. Mark did what he thought was the right thing at the time for himself and the company.. What they HAD to do. Not everyone agreed, nor should they, but much like any good parent, you make sure there’s food on the table, and do your best at the end of every day to not think about what you had to go through to get it there.

    But just about EVERYONE saw it as a sellout, not necessarily of the Mythic brand, but the Mythic family. I may not remember the proper sequence, but before the announcement, people in the DAoC community saw people who we were familiar with and trusted start to leave. I think first it was Scott, then it was Walter (Copper).. Then the annoucement.. Then it was Matt, then it was Sanya.. We’d all seen what EA does, and Mark, as you stated, did everything he could to keep people calm and tow the party line, so to speak.. He MUST have known it was coming. I hope he prepared, and much like the much maligned Richard Garriott (Deserved or not – I’m no expert), I can’t wait to see what he comes out with next.

    Find a new family, Mark. It won’t be the same, but it will do the heart good.

    Now I wonder how long until Jeff gets the boot.. Or rather, decides to pursue other endeavors.

  8. sinij says:

    At the end MJ ‘cashed in’ family @ EA. At this point *nobody* can claim they don’t know what EA stands for, yet he did it anyways.

  9. UnSub says:

    If WAR had been successful, Jacobs wouldn’t have been fired.

    Seriously people. I know it’s fun to kick at EA and blame them for everything, but Jacobs said a lot of stupid things publicly and then launched a title that the vast majority see as being heavily flawed.

    EA sent him off because he failed at doing his job – launching a successful MMO (that I’m sure he talked about to the people he convinced to give him money to develop it). It’s nice of people to think of MMO development studios as fields of dreams, populated by unicorns and elves (because there are always fucking elves) but that vision in no way reflects the multi-million dollar, high risk industry that MMOs exist in.

  10. Boanerges says:

    In the grand scheme of business, I can’t say what MJ did was a “sellout”. In fact, given Scott’s recount of pre-EA Mythic, I’d say that the more likely explanation is that Mythic was pretty much going to HAVE to merge sooner or later. In the current business climate you’re watching every last indie studio get snatched up by someone and Mythic was a prime target. EA, like it or not, was the high bidder and you can either fight the system and get fired or welcome your new overlords with open arms. EA is notorious for what they do to those in the former category.

    I think that Mark might have been naive a tad on what EA could do for him, tho. I would bet that, somewhere, Mark thought that EA would let him recapture the magic of DAoC through Warhammer. The man turned into an EA evangelist overnight and I never understood it until the whole “family” angle came to light. As motivated as he was to talk about it in a positive light, tho, he got to the point where he looked like he had drunk the Kool-aid and made statements that put him in the same category as people who say colonoscopies are fun.

    What MJ needs to do is start a new studio (no, not like Brad McQuaid, something successful) and build a new “family”. Moving on is an important aspect to life and this is his time to do so. If anyone can pull off a new studio, he could.

    Best of luck to you, Mark.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It is true that the wrong people are still employed at Mythic, which is why I know Warhammer will not improve. With the layoffs earlier this year, the saddest thing was that those making the horrible design and development decisions were the ones deciding who was going and who was staying. Don’t get me wrong, there are some wonderful people at Mythic and I do hope Warhammer improves for their sake. However, when a product is struggling you should do the right thing and let go of those responsible.

    This is where Mark, and Mythic’s, loyalties went wrong.

  12. Mist says:

    I don’t know what all the love is for Mark and Mythic. From the perspective of a player that sunk a lot of time into DAoC, and then tried very, very hard to enjoy WAR from beta all the way through almost 6 months into release, I have come to the conclusion that something about Mythic’s design process is fundamentally flawed. After the first year or so of DAoC, nearly every patch, expansion, or content addition was broken and/or horribly unfun and/or had damaging unintended side effects on other aspects of the game. This tells me that Mythic was unable to determine what was GOOD about DAoC, as they kept just making it worse. Then they release WAR, which basically looked like DAoC, smelled like DAoC, but really was what DAoC would look like if the people who made all the crappy patches and expansions for DAoC got to make a new game from scratch. Everything that was good about DAoC was absent from WAR, and it made for an absolutely horrible WoW clone. This is completely aside from the technical aspect of the client and server code being horribly inadequate, animations/animation syncing being absolutely abysmal for a AAA fantasy MMO product, and the fact that I just plain hate Paul Barnett with every fiber of my being that wasn’t previously reserved for hating Mike Lescault from here to eternity.

  13. Freakazoid says:

    So does that mean jacobs is or isn’t gul dukat? My dominion war analogy was going so well!

  14. Jeff says:

    To be fair to MJ, I think once Imperator failed he had to find a way to keep things afloat. EA was the way.

    I’d really like to know what went wrong with Imperator, get the inside scoop if you will.

  15. Jeff says:

    Mist :
    I don’t know what all the love is for Mark and Mythic. From the perspective of a player that sunk a lot of time into DAoC, and then tried very, very hard to enjoy WAR from beta all the way through almost 6 months into release, I have come to the conclusion that something about Mythic’s design process is fundamentally flawed. After the first year or so of DAoC, nearly every patch, expansion, or content addition was broken and/or horribly unfun and/or had damaging unintended side effects on other aspects of the game. This tells me that Mythic was unable to determine what was GOOD about DAoC, as they kept just making it worse. Then they release WAR, which basically looked like DAoC, smelled like DAoC, but really was what DAoC would look like if the people who made all the crappy patches and expansions for DAoC got to make a new game from scratch. Everything that was good about DAoC was absent from WAR, and it made for an absolutely horrible WoW clone. This is completely aside from the technical aspect of the client and server code being horribly inadequate, animations/animation syncing being absolutely abysmal for a AAA fantasy MMO product, and the fact that I just plain hate Paul Barnett with every fiber of my being that wasn’t previously reserved for hating Mike Lescault from here to eternity.

    I guess there is something about not kicking someone when they are down?

    I know what you mean about DAoC, I wrote the review of ToA for IGN. It was horrible, and I let them have it. I think you hit the nail on the head though, they do seem to have a problem seeing what actually worked in DAoC, thus are having a hard time replicating it. I know with ToA they were worried about EQ and wanted to provide that end game raid kind of feeling. Maybe that’s the problem, they worried too much about what others are doing and failed to do what they do, so to speak.

  16. geldonyetich says:

    UnSub :
    If WAR had been successful, Jacobs wouldn’t have been fired.
    […]
    EA sent him off because he failed at doing his job

    To some extent, I don’t think these things are related. Maybe in some industries, doing your job means producing a successful product. In an Entertainment industry, a successful product is only half what you put into it. The other half is the whims of the fans.

    Assuming EA knows this (and why wouldn’t they) I’d say there’s more to it than this.

  17. Fraeg says:

    in short: nice post lum, you have a soft cuddly side you rarely show, but when you do it is oh so soft and.. ok.. I will stop there.

  18. Jeff says:

    geldonyetich :

    UnSub :
    If WAR had been successful, Jacobs wouldn’t have been fired.
    […]
    EA sent him off because he failed at doing his job

    To some extent, I don’t think these things are related. Maybe in some industries, doing your job means producing a successful product. In an Entertainment industry, a successful product is only half what you put into it. The other half is the whims of the fans.
    Assuming EA knows this (and why wouldn’t they) I’d say there’s more to it than this.

    Normally I agree with you g, but can you honestly say if 1 million of those 1.4 that bought the box had remained subscribers that Mark Jacobs wouldn’t still be working for EA instead of being fired/forced out/asked to leave?

  19. IainC says:

    The problem with this is that people don’t revert back to what they once were. Mark won’t be the same guy who put together the DAoC team any more or the guy who co-founded Mythic. He’s now, for better or worse, the guy who helmed WAR and it’s on the way he conducted himself during that project that he’ll be defined.

    Sadly for Mark, there are plenty of people who saw that behaviour at first hand and won’t be as charitable as Scott about it.

  20. EpicSquirt says:

    I don’t understand the family thing.

  21. Jeff says:

    EpicSquirt :
    I don’t understand the family thing.

    Come on, it’s “family”.

    Mark = Tony Soprano

    Barnett = Silvio Dante

    Lum = Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero

    I can fill in other names if you need me to.

    Obviously Mark getting “fired” is a clever attempt to get the feds off his case. :p

  22. coppertopper says:

    Thanks for the insite into MJs personality and what it was like to work for him. Sanya W posted something on her column that sounded like ‘now you know what it feels like’. I imagine someone like MJ does clash with similar outgoing personalities. I get the feeling after reading this that he just doesn’t function as well when he’s the general, and it sounds like the WAR dev team really was a small army. I mean, look at what pre-EA Mythic did with their small dev team with the Trials of Atlantis expansion:20+ multi-part raid encounters that required everything from 8-40+ people to complete, new quests, towns, monster types, weapon system (infamously), and armor sets/weaps that leveled to unlock new abilities, all spread out over several huge areas that covered Roman, Egyptian, and underwater themes. So much creativity and content came from the group that was involved with ToA, that I hope one day MJ finds a similar small group to work with that shares his same goals. i imagine all of us gamers will benefit from that kind of union.

  23. EpicSquirt says:

    @coppertopper
    ToA was the downfall of DAoC. Took them 3 years to fix it.

  24. Michele says:

    As someone mentioned here, if WAR was a succes as MJ and PB hyped it to be he wouldn’t be fired by EA.
    People seem to forget howmany success games EA has . Successive games keep their successive General Directors. War was far from success he predicted them.
    I would go that far to even claim he tricked EA by saying it will have 1 mil+ subs and when numbers started dropping rocket fast (real numbers , not 300k while 6 months subs still last) EA was not happy and they knew who is to blame.

    That’s rules of engagement in business , you fail you get fired , simple as that.

  25. Abalieno says:

    I would have no problem believing what you say if in the last years all I read from Mark Jacobs was lies, manipulation of truth, smokes and screens, and bullying. All of that mixed with an arrogant tone.

    Either what you saw was false or he changed.

    As a designer (given the things I read when he wrote about design) he was bad and righteous. But that you were careful to not deny.

  26. Votan says:

    As just a gamer Mark was refreshing change from the norm in that he was actually was involved with the player community. That is just something that did not happen and really the only one of his position that bothered to converse with the unruly mob sometimes to his detriment.

    I remember the first time Mark responded to one of my post wtf game play post on CC in DAOC, it was something I remember from 8 years ago. I cannot really comment on working with, but I do respect and liked from my perspective Mark from DAOC years and wonder what the hell happened to that guy and question some of the people that he had at the helm of Titanichammer.

  27. Jeff says:

    Abalieno :
    As a designer (given the things I read when he wrote about design) he was bad and righteous. But that you were careful to not deny.

    Really? If you read between the lines MJ was pretty hands on with Imperator, and the game was canned before it even launched.

  28. Abalieno says:

    My bad, I used the wrong word.

    Not sure what’s the correct word, though. I mean someone who goes straight without accepting objections and always thinks he knows better.

  29. coppertopper says:

    EpicSquirt :
    @coppertopper
    ToA was the downfall of DAoC. Took them 3 years to fix it.

    Oh without a doubt – lol! The gear was too hard to get for everyone and completely unbalanced RvR in favor of those who did get it. But just think about all the creativity, complex raid-style encounters, writing behind the ML and artifact quests, new monsters, how scrolls and artys affected the economy – heck the underwater locations!! That was just an epic expansion in every way. So yeah 3 years later it was finally dialed in! Mythic always fixes stuff right, it has unfortunately always taken too long : / But it gives me hope for Warhammer in the long run

  30. Lee Quillen says:

    Well, that was entirely classy 🙂

  31. DragonPup says:

    coppertopper :
    20+ multi-part raid encounters that required everything from 8-40+ people to complete

    Please, on release the fortress of storms required at least 75 people.

  32. geldonyetich says:

    Jeff :
    Normally I agree with you g, but can you honestly say if 1 million of those 1.4 that bought the box had remained subscribers that Mark Jacobs wouldn’t still be working for EA instead of being fired/forced out/asked to leave?

    From the things I’ve heard about subscription retention, if 1 million out of 1.4 that bought the box had remained subscribers, that would be very unusual. A whole lot of initial box sales are hemorrhaged just about very time.

    I think the reason why is because, in any game (MMORPG or otherwise) a lot of people buy the box off the initial hype, quickly get bored, and don’t stick around.

    For that matter, just looking at everybody’s favorite MMORPG growth chart, the number of MMORPGs (in the West) that have kept over 1 million players can be counted on one hand.

  33. yunk says:

    “wouldnt work for him but would have taken a bullet for him”

    Nice, I have an ex boss that I feel similarly about. Great guy in some ways, I can’t stand him in other ways. 🙂 Though he has a few guns so I’m sure he’d be taking care of the other guy on his own 😉

  34. Sullee says:

    I recently was looking for an old game and when paging through a binder felt a bit guilty when I saw my founder UO CD. Know that I’m a player; not a game designer and not an insider. I recognize the names though and I have studied as I’ve read all your books and played all your games.

    So as a player I think we often get the wrong idea about people like MJ. The guilt was because I not only hated UO (it was truly horrid at launch) but privately held Raph responsible for years.

    Now I could take pot-shots at MJ but I won’t. In part because I question the value of posts from players on this blog (oh for a mute button) but also what do I have to offer really? An opinion bashing the crafting systems MJ designed? Seems quite flat compared to the insights of the industry vets who have already described complex relationships and a real person even if from a professional context.

  35. Jeff says:

    geldonyetich :

    Jeff :
    Normally I agree with you g, but can you honestly say if 1 million of those 1.4 that bought the box had remained subscribers that Mark Jacobs wouldn’t still be working for EA instead of being fired/forced out/asked to leave?

    From the things I’ve heard about subscription retention, if 1 million out of 1.4 that bought the box had remained subscribers, that would be very unusual. A whole lot of initial box sales are hemorrhaged just about very time.
    I think the reason why is because, in any game (MMORPG or otherwise) a lot of people buy the box off the initial hype, quickly get bored, and don’t stick around.
    For that matter, just looking at everybody’s favorite MMORPG growth chart, the number of MMORPGs (in the West) that have kept over 1 million players can be counted on one hand.

    You’re not answering the question. I used 1 million as a number. It could be 750k out of people that bought the game over the first few months. The question still stands, if 1 million or 750k or 600k people were still active subscribers and the game was steadily growing instead of dying slowly, would Mark Jacobs still be head of EA Mythic? You KNOW the answer to that is yes.

  36. ktorrek says:

    Jeff :

    Mist :From the perspective of a player that sunk a lot of time into DAoC, and then tried very, very hard to enjoy WAR from beta all the way through almost 6 months into release, I have come to the conclusion that something about Mythic’s design process is fundamentally flawed… This tells me that Mythic was unable to determine what was GOOD about DAoC, as they kept just making it worse.

    I know what you mean about DAoC, I wrote the review of ToA for IGN. It was horrible, and I let them have it. I think you hit the nail on the head though, they do seem to have a problem seeing what actually worked in DAoC, thus are having a hard time replicating it.

    Ironically, these were some of the same questions that eventually led to my resignation.

    /derail

    I liked Mark well enough but I was more of a hired thug than anything. I didn’t have the good fortune to see the family side of Mythic that Lum did and I’m genuinely disappointed that I didn’t.

  37. Jeff says:

    ktorrek :

    Jeff :

    Mist :From the perspective of a player that sunk a lot of time into DAoC, and then tried very, very hard to enjoy WAR from beta all the way through almost 6 months into release, I have come to the conclusion that something about Mythic’s design process is fundamentally flawed… This tells me that Mythic was unable to determine what was GOOD about DAoC, as they kept just making it worse.

    I know what you mean about DAoC, I wrote the review of ToA for IGN. It was horrible, and I let them have it. I think you hit the nail on the head though, they do seem to have a problem seeing what actually worked in DAoC, thus are having a hard time replicating it.

    Ironically, these were some of the same questions that eventually led to my resignation.
    /derail
    I liked Mark well enough but I was more of a hired thug than anything. I didn’t have the good fortune to see the family side of Mythic that Lum did and I’m genuinely disappointed that I didn’t.

    That’s too bad. I bet you have some interesting stories you could tell though.

  38. Avecrien says:

    I only spoke with any of the DAoC devs a few times, but I was familiar with the previous Mythic work and respected the company. After my stint as a TL I respected almost everyone there, even if I disagreed on a lot of things. We heap so much credit and responsibility upon the shoulders of the front man of a MMO. Like the lead singer of a band. It’s strange how we players re/act. I do respect MJ along with Garriot, I loathe McQuaid and a few others. I have to admit I blame each of them for something in their respective games.
    I’ve only ever had that family feeling once from a company. And, of course, with that band of dreamers things did not go as I thought. I guess the trick is to grow more cynical more slowly than you grow older. Or maybe I still havent learned my lesson.

  39. Guy says:

    Geldon, I think you’re trying to pretend like EA wasn’t trying to achieve what that handful of MMOs have that did very well. Jacobs essentially promised that WAR would do very well. It didn’t, so EA felt “let down”; it doesn’t matter that most MMOs “fail”, they wanted “the best”. Execs making you make your own hanging rope is nothing new (and I’m sure Jacobs felt he needed to make that promise in order to get funding and support), they’re simply trying to absolve themselves of responsibility. This is how the vast majority of large companies end up working. It’s also not a bad motivator for the future, although whether they’re losing more than they gain by firing him is up for debate.

    Also, the question of “what if” is an essential part of determining causal links, and improving your understanding of an event. Dismissing this kind of thinking as “realm of fantasy” stuff is a bit much.

  40. geldonyetich says:

    I’m not without imagination – I’m not only able to ask “what if” and spin some theories, I tend to do so often to the point where my craven paranoia is kept very busy.

    However, there’s a difference between asking, “what if” and spinning theories versus asking “what if” and demanding a certain answer out of it. Certainty cannot truly be derived from a fantasy scenario, though it may be reassuring to believe it can.

    Were the EA executives let down by Warhammer Online turning out not to be a great success? Well, sure, everybody wants to be a success. And yet… it seems to me that if they know the business at all, they know that there’s no such thing as a guaranteed success in the game industry.

    My favorite theory out of this is it was one of mutual dissatisfaction. EA didn’t like Mythic much on the grounds that they’ve sunk a lot of money into them with a less satisfactory result than they were hoping for, while Jacobs didn’t like EA much as they forced them to shoulder a lot of WoW clone features to shoot for a neigh-impossible goal (NO game has been as successful as WoW) that the game would have been better off without.

  41. Guy says:

    Of course they know there’s no such thing as guaranteed success; and no-one is claiming EA thought otherwise.

    It’s quite possible they put pressure on Mark Jacobs to deliver, in the hope that such pressure would make him more likely to succeed. That’s manager-level thinking: “if I squeeze him hard enough, he will produce miracles! Muahaha!”

    Not even sure why you’re disagreeing, in your last paragraph you admit one of the reason for dissatisfaction is likely poor return on investment. That’s what everyone else is saying.

  42. Zhar says:

    Hi folks,

    I’m a passionate DAoC player .

    I hope MJ is the right person we all blame for.

    If i look some important changes in DAoC especially : ToA, changes in archery dmg type, style and hot changes of some classes.

    Let me begin with critic on ToA.

    the introducing of Mls and Artefact and the well designed ToA area was a good idea.
    But it was a big mistake that players was forced to build huge groups.

    Second point the archery changes : They made the class so easy to play ,so that
    everyone sucked in RvR before rolled an archer and made some parts of RvR to a
    to a very frustrating place.

    To the Style-and hotchanges : They made especially for reaver,valks, champs,vamps
    nearly imposible to fight against more oponents.

    So we can say all the changes was done to harm solo-smallman rvr.

    So in generall we can say : They changes DAoC in favour of hugegroups and harmd solo-smallman rvr type, the bad thing is they forcing players to join hugegroups.
    Otherwise they will get hug frustrating experience.
    And really ,this changes caused many many players to leave DAoC.

    I think some Mythic leader , get blended from the number of WoW subsribers and started to try forcing players to build hugegroups.
    In thought we will have more success with DAoC.
    But they forget that DAoC is a RvR game with very serious and honorfull aims.

    So i conclude that the same man who decided to create ToA and some class changes
    only to favour hugegroups and harm individuel playwise,
    is the same who do that at WAR.
    And MJ was the Leading head for WAR.

    So i hope with fireing MJ ,the new head of Mythic will develop DAoC and War in a right not WoW oriented way.
    I dont think that we can compare RvR game with a PvE game .

    My 2 Cents 😉

  43. J. says:

    Zhar :
    I’m a passionate DAoC player .
    I hope MJ is the right person we all blame for.

    You are very likely wrong. Mark was the studio head and thus several levels removed from actual combat and mission mechanics decisions, likely from WAR in the past year and certainly DAoC for the past five.

    But, be happy being a passionate fan of an 8-year-old game!

  44. Zhar says:

    J. :

    Zhar :
    I’m a passionate DAoC player .
    I hope MJ is the right person we all blame for.

    You are very likely wrong. Mark was the studio head and thus several levels removed from actual combat and mission mechanics decisions, likely from WAR in the past year and certainly DAoC for the past five.
    But, be happy being a passionate fan of an 8-year-old game!

    It could be 8 years old it could be 12 years old , i dont think thats a matter -.-

  45. J. says:

    Products have life cycles. Every day DAoC remains alive is a gift.

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