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Might & Magic Creator Joins Garriott At NCSoft

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the loading-up-on-the-legends dept.

Role Playing (Games) 36

Thanks to Google News for its link to the press release announcing Jon Van Caneghem, founder of New World Computing, has been hired by MMO developer NCSoft to work as "executive producer... on a new, unannounced online game project." As the release notes, Van Canegham "created the Might and Magic and Heroes series and turned them into two of the industry's most successful titles, with more than 20 million units in combined sales", and following the dissolution of New World Computing due to owner 3DO's collapse, and the sale of the Might and Magic franchise to UbiSoft, he'll be "working with [Ultima creator, Tabula Rasa developer, and NCSoft Austin head] Richard Garriott and NCsoft's... designers to create the next generation of massively multiplayer online games."

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Fun, more MMORPGs... (1)

b0r0din (304712) | more than 10 years ago | (#9371649)

Is the world really ready for another MMORPG? I liked the Ultima series, and HOMM2 was a great game, but Lineage 2 wasn't exactly a breakthrough in the mold of MMORPGs, and with all of the current cookie-cutter MMORPGs, I'm not sure I want yet another one that isn't wholly different than the sort of leveling treadmill it's become.

Re:Fun, more MMORPGs... (3, Interesting)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 10 years ago | (#9371992)

City of Heroes is pretty fun. I've never bought a MMORPG before and I was hesitent to plunk down a monthly fee for an online game (I'm used to playing FPS's where the servers are free), but I've enjoyed this for the 3 days I've been playing it.

The only oddity I find with this genre is that it seems to take a lot of time and dedication to sit and build up a character. I played for about 16 hours since Saturday and only built up a level 9 blaster character, but in the meantime I ended up seriously pissing off my wife because I've been ignoring her.

Is zoning out of reality a normal side effect of playing MMORPGs or am I just weird? I seem to recall people referring to Everquest as "Evercrack" so I'm worried I may have stumbled down a slippery slope. Perhaps I should flee back to Desert Combat and FPS games before it's too late.

Re:Fun, more MMORPGs... (0, Offtopic)

NeuroKoan (12458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9372151)

Heh,

Leveling only becomes harder after that. Nowadays, I think in 16 hours, I may only gain 2 levels. Luckily, I don't have a wife, so I can devote all my spare time to MMORPGs :p

Re:Fun, more MMORPGs... (2, Informative)

slaker (53818) | more than 10 years ago | (#9373360)

Grouping with a friend or two who aren't idiots make CoH a much better experience. It took me almost 40 hours to get a 14th level character - not knowing what I was doing or where I was going.
My second toon works with two others for maybe 90 minutes a night and hit 14 in 17 hours of play. Not only that, but that hour and a half a night has been REALLY enjoyable, hitting a lot more of the game's content and with a lot of talk about comics and other geeky pursuits along the way.

Anyway, reality is right where you left it. All you have to do is avert your gaze from the computer screen, and there it is.

Re:Fun, more MMORPGs... (2, Informative)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 10 years ago | (#9374386)

I'd describe Heroes of Might and Magic II or III as tedious in places, but extremely fun. Hearing you call CoH pretty fun doesn't make it sound like a game I want to play. I've played Asheron's Call and Shadowbane and won't be playing any more of them until there's something to do besides level. Shadowbane was interesting with its wars and politics, but it was too buggy and I'm not interested in going back now that the player base has shrunk.

Re:Fun, more MMORPGs... (1)

robson (60067) | more than 10 years ago | (#9379183)

Is zoning out of reality a normal side effect of playing MMORPGs or am I just weird? I seem to recall people referring to Everquest as "Evercrack" so I'm worried I may have stumbled down a slippery slope. Perhaps I should flee back to Desert Combat and FPS games before

I'm in exactly the same boat. I've easily resisted every MMORPG, and mocked those who fell victim to them. But... here comes City of Heroes, and everything changes.

Yes, I'm getting that zoning-out as well... I guess I can't say I wasn't warned :)

a little misleading (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9372161)

NCSoft is acting as a publisher here. The only titles developed by NCSoft is Lineage and Lineage II. Of NCSoft's other titles,

Guild Wars [guildwars.com] is being developed by ArenaNet [arena.net] , a group composed primarily of former Blizzard employees who worked on Diablo that left in the Vivendi Universal bankruptcy debacle over the possible sale of the games division (including Blizzard). They could have picked a name further from BattleNet, though.

Tabula Rasa [playtr.com] is developed by Destination Games, the Austin, Texas group headed by Richard Gariott composed primarily of people that got fired from or left Origin after EA scrapped the Ultima Online 2 project. They were actually far into Tabula Rasa before being signed on with NCSoft.

City of Heroes [coh.com] is developed by Cryptic Studios [crypticstudios.com] based in San Jose, CA.

Finally, Auto Assault [autoassault.com] is developed by NetDevil [netdevil.com] .

All of these developers are completely autonomous as far as design goes. NCSoft is only the publisher and the billing gateway. For the sake of the independent developers that just happened to have signed up with NCSoft, please don't confuse their works with that of other developers.

Re:a little misleading (5, Informative)

simoniker (40) | more than 10 years ago | (#9372610)

Actually, ArenaNet and Destination Games are both owned wholly by NCSoft, I believe, so they're not quite as autonomous as you imply - Cryptic and NetDevil are officially independent though, I believe.

MMO Might and Magic? (-1, Offtopic)

WereTiger (148010) | more than 10 years ago | (#9371651)

wouldn't turn based massively multiplayer be time consuming?

Re:MMO Might and Magic? (0, Offtopic)

WereTiger (148010) | more than 10 years ago | (#9371680)

stupid slashdot, stole my fake HTML tag indicating the parent was a joke. :)
No, I'm not actually that daft, I really was joking :) remembering how long rounds took with 8 players in Heros of Might and Magic made me think of how long it'd take with 2,000 players :)

Re:MMO Might and Magic? (2, Interesting)

Roger Wernersson (208191) | more than 10 years ago | (#9377697)

Not neccessarily. You could have a set time limit for your turn, say 10 seconds, and everyone have to plan their move simultaneously.

This is basically what MMORPGs does today, but slower. I've heard that Anarchy Online, for example, updates once every second, in effect making it turn-based.

Of course with more units, you lose control, but one could make up for that by assigning default actions for idle units, which is how most RTSs works anyway.

I seem to remember enjoying playing CivNet in simultaneous mode a few time; same thing but on a smaller scale.

Re:MMO Might and Magic? (3, Informative)

Psychochild (64124) | more than 10 years ago | (#9383181)

Actually, the original Might and Magic games are RPGs, just like the old Ultima games were. Heroes took the game in a turn-based direction.

To reward those that read the comments a bit later, I'll share some dark secrets from 3DO. Since 3DO's bankrupt, I doubt there will be any trouble caused by posting this.

It's a little-known fact that 3DO had plans to make a Might & Magic online RPG a very long time ago, before UO was even launched. 3DO bought Archetype Interactive, the company responsible for Meridian 59 [meridian59.com] (the game I currently own and operate). They also bought New World Computing (NWC) about the same time to get the valued Might and Magic franchise. They wanted to use the M59 technology (which was pretty cool back in '96) to take Might and Magic online.

Well, things didn't quite work out that way. 3DO was looking at the game as a game, not the service it really is. So, they neglected M59 in favor of working on their new project. In the end, M59 didn't do as well as it could have despite launching a full year before UO was launched. Meridian 59 got little internal support, no resources for expansion, and terrible marketing support, so it's little surprise that the game didn't do that well.

In addition, UO was widely panned by most critics when the game launched. The lag, the bugs, the design flaws, all these things helped the game win multiple "coaster of the year" type awards. The secret was that there were multiple thousands of Ultima fans that played the game despite the complaints the critics had. EA/Origin kept mum about their real subscription levels, and everyone assumed it was a collosal failure.

The "failure" of M59 and UO convinced the 3DO that online games were just not profitable. So, they scrapped the Might & Magic Online plans and laid off the whole team. Of course, many Meridian 59 developers left the company as well in sympathy for their friends that were just laid off, ensuring that 3DO would always be an "also ran" when it came to online games. This was about the time the dot-com bubble was heating up. ;)

Interestingly enough, the concept that online games were a failure stuck with the 3DO management for a very long time. Trip repeatedly gave interviews saying that "the market isn't ready" for online games. Even after UO was proven to be a success and EQ entered the scene with a HUGE splash, 3DO still stuck to this story, even when I left the company in 2000. Denial is an ugly thing, really.

Personally, I'm not sure the cancellation was a bad thing. 3DO proved repeatedly they didn't know how to run an online game. I had to fight tooth and nail while working on Meridian 59 to get the resources necessary to fix and improve the game. Jumpgate, also published by 3DO, faded into a completely undeserved oblivion. (It's interesting to note that NetDevil, the studio making Auto Assault for NCSoft, was the developer for Jumpgate.) It might be better to have our memories of Might and Magic as they are, not tainted by another "failed" game.

On the other hand, it could have been different if 3DO had kept competent people. Meridian 59 is actually a really fun game with multiple innovative elements that have only just recently been copied by other games. If you like online games and want something a little different than the ordinary fare, I recommend Meridian 59. (The good news is that after we bought the game from 3DO, we were able to do a lot of the work that the game absolutely needed.) Those of you that remember Meridian 59 from before might want to check out the new rendering engine [meridian59.com] that we're working on. The game is getting a bit of a facelift from the old software renderer to a new hardware-accelerated renderer.

Some information for the curious out there.

Have fun,

Lame (-1, Troll)

elasticwings (758452) | more than 10 years ago | (#9371703)

Oh god, not another MMORPG. Boring... Zzzzz

Re:Lame (4, Insightful)

JasdonLe (680479) | more than 10 years ago | (#9372069)

Boring, maybe, but MMORPGs DEPSERATELY need some fresh ideas. Caneghem might be just the man for the job, especially hooked up with Garriot. Sounds like a good team to me and I personally can't wait to see what they come up with.

Re:Lame (3, Interesting)

Wtcher (312395) | more than 10 years ago | (#9373912)

It's not just another MMORPG; Garriott's Tabula Rasa is supposed to be very different, combining aspects of single-player games (ie. you are the big hero, unique quests, etcetera) with a community setup (so you meet and come across other players who have their own unique quests which may intersect with your own). Garriott and his team's gone back to try to figure out what makes games fun, working off of that concept; I've spoken to another designer who explained that game-making was typically creating a lot of systems and hoping that the end-product will be fun.

Anyway, as I'm sure you can tell, I'm looking forward to their creation. =)

Everytime I see NCSoft in the news my blood boils. (1)

johnnliu (454880) | more than 10 years ago | (#9372183)

I tried out their Lineage 1 and 2 flagship products, the ones that made them rich and popular in the first place.

The support for the Internation market is so appalling that most of the casual gamers have either quitted, or contemplates on quitting weekly. (This is the quitting because the game/support sucked, not because of addiction).

I often wondered why they are hiring all the big names, raised a lot of hype, and then gave crappy service and drive their customers away. You spend to get more customers, and when they are in your pocket, you throw them away.

Anyway, I suspect that these flagship products are developed by Koreans for the Korean market, and any 'bug fix' takes 6 months to implement/translate. GMs don't seem to understand English either (they can speak it, but don't really seem to "understand" what you're talking about).

I'm probably quite unreasonable, but I doubt I'll ever buy another NCSoft product again, I personally think their attitude towards their customers deserves to get them burned for it. Honestly, I really hope they'd crash and burn and then polish up their act. Better still, I hope they lost heaps of money and go back to their asian market.

Then again, this is Lineage, I heard City of Heros is a great fun game, and Tabula Rosa sounds cool too. May be I would have a totally different view if I had tried one of those games instead of Lineage.

jliu

Re:Everytime I see NCSoft in the news my blood boi (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 10 years ago | (#9375593)

Agreed about Lineage. Horrific game. However, I played Guild Wars during the E3 event, and have beed active in the fan communities. It is basically a completely different situation, and a much better one at that. Judge by developer, not by publisher. Don't throw Arena Net under the bus just because they're associated with NCSoft. Arena Net is doing a great job. (Plue they're American so we're their primary market, unlike Lineage)

I don't have as much experience with CoH or Tabula Rasa to make assesments of them, but I will be open minded.

Larry (5, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 10 years ago | (#9372518)

Now if they can just get the Leisure Suit Larry guy, they'll be untouchable.

Sigh, the uninformed lined up to respond to this.. (4, Insightful)

schild (713993) | more than 10 years ago | (#9372705)

Comeon guys, if you honestly think NCSoft is the devil you have your hat on backwards. First of all, this addition to Garriots team is largely positive. NCSoft is doing something that no other companies are willing to do in the MMOG market - diversify.

Between Auto Assault, City of Heroes, Tabula Rasa, Alter Life, Lineage 2, and Guild Wars - NCSoft is hitting all the bases with their titles. They have EQ Clones, car combat, diablo type rpg, the Korean Treadmill, and superhero city fighting.

Complaining about NCSoft shows nothing but a complete lack of knowledge when it comes to the MMO Market. Next time just keep your mouth shut and do some research.

Re:Sigh, the uninformed lined up to respond to thi (1)

Cecil (37810) | more than 10 years ago | (#9373099)

Who are you talking to? Did you just feel a need to invent a platform for espousing the greatness of NCsoft? I don't see a single person in the 15 comments so far who is even remotely suggesting that NCsoft is the devil, or even really complaining about them.

The only person who said something somewhat negative was suggesting that MMOs are crappy boring levelling treadmills. This person is, for the most part, right. I am tired of MMOs too. Give me another good singleplayer experience like Morrowind, and that's a hundred times better than any miserable collection of powerlevellers and griefers and all the other garbage that non-tightly-knit online communities tend to attract.

Re:Sigh, the uninformed lined up to respond to thi (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 10 years ago | (#9374373)

i would've thought this person was just going for karma to get to 25, but the past comments show otherwise.

Re:Sigh, the uninformed lined up to respond to thi (1)

johnnliu (454880) | more than 10 years ago | (#9384967)

I don't claim to know the MMO market, but I doubt I'm interested in subscribing to multiple MMOG games.

So, if I was to choose one game to play, I'd expect the game to have a decent amount of content and support.

Sadly, I see lots of diversity and nothing further. No quality, no content, and certainly no support.

Also, I have always thought the MMO market earns its money from the Massive bit. What's the point of having a lot of variety and not enough players on any of their games?

Eventually, how can they support their diversity?

don't assume it'll be HOMM based (2, Interesting)

ambertch (776432) | more than 10 years ago | (#9372834)

Why did people assume it would be a turn based online game? People automatically put together HOMM and MMORPG. HOMM was a good series for other reasons like a its creativity. It's like saying Worlds of Warcraft was going to be way to complicated because it would be WC3 online. And as a random note the new Dodge Viper is designed by the same Japanese guy who designed the Camry, now make assumptions about that

Re:don't assume it'll be HOMM based (1)

kc78 (651501) | more than 10 years ago | (#9372857)

actually guild wars is awesome. I managed to play it a good bit during their E3 for everyone event and I was thoroughly impressed. These guys know what they're doing. They made a game that was fun to play, combined the better elements of MMORPG's, PVP, PVE, and made a great game that has no monthly fees. This is the only MMORPG I'm even slightly interested in right now. I was completely blown away.

Isn't it generally agreed upon (1, Troll)

RadioactivePorpoise (602206) | more than 10 years ago | (#9372988)

that the Might and Magic series really ended up sucking major a$$? The last one was especially horrible, so what's the big deal?

Re:Isn't it generally agreed upon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9374850)

I think 6, 7 and 8 were all good as standalone games, but unfortunately, 7 and 8 were just rehashes of 6. I mean, they used the exact same game engine. Between the three of them, there are zero noticable differences in how the games work.

I liked all three since they all had a contiguous plotline, but looking back, what an aweful way to spend $150...

Here we go again (2, Insightful)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#9373222)

If it's not consoles sucking all the decent programmers out of the PC gaming platform, it's the MMORPG's.

I like RPG's fine, I play a lot of them myself, I used to MUD for like two years, but eventually you realise you just can't stay on the leveling treadmill forever.

I guess PC game publishers have realised that PC games aren't the 5 minute wonders that console games are. Now they're going the other way - they don't want you for 5 minutes, they want you for life. And that's fine because they can charge you a subscription fee! What's the cost of running a counterstrike server compared to one of these MMORPGs? It's the same! And yet they have managed to charge people a fee for providing the same service.

So publishers are now angling for either a console release, or a subscription MMORPG. I'm not sure if there will be any PC games worth playing that fit into either model!

Re:Here we go again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9373799)

What's the cost of running a counterstrike server compared to one of these MMORPGs? It's the same!

Hooooooooooooooooooooo-boy. It is most definitely NOT the same. We could talk about the hardware, which is going to be much more extravagant than a single PC for your counterstrike server.

But that's really just nothing compared to the support costs. Think about it. You'll have to hire an IT team to be ready 24/7 to resolve any issues that arise.

Re:Here we go again (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9374523)

Bandwith alone will eat up your yearly salary in a month for most mmorpgs, and that doesn't cover energy bills, hardware cost for the server farm, technical support personnel, ingame support personell, etc.

Re:Here we go again (4, Insightful)

Psychochild (64124) | more than 10 years ago | (#9374801)

What's the cost of running a counterstrike server compared to one of these MMORPGs? It's the same! And yet they have managed to charge people a fee for providing the same service.

Uh, not really. I run my own online game, Meridian 59 [meridian59.com] , and I know what it costs to run a server.

Although we keep costs as low as possible, it does cost quite a bit to keep the server connected. Players will use a lot of bandwidth when you're talking about a few thousand people all on at the same time. Keeping the server up also costs money for support in case some router decides it doesn't want to work overnight. (People get really cranky about the service going down if they're paying you.)

On the flip side, running a FPS server at that level of availability isn't exactly cheap, either. Consider the prices at this site [fragism.com] ; they do "professsional" hosting of FPS servers and charge between $5-10 per person for that. Considering the depth an online RPG provides, and the fact that regular updates are provided, a game like my own that only charges $10.95 is a pretty good deal. (Meridian 59 doesn't require an up-front box purchase, so it's an even better deal than usual.)

As for the topic on hand, I worked at 3DO for a while and remember JVC's interesting email commentary to some of the events there. I hope he finds a place where he can get good creative freedom and make some great games.

Have fun,

Re:Here we go again (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9375389)

What's the cost of running a counterstrike server compared to one of these MMORPGs? It's the same! And yet they have managed to charge people a fee for providing the same service.


I don't see how anyone could mod you insightful, if only for that single line. A counterstrike server can run on a dual 800mhz machine in some guy's basement. A MMPORPG server has to combine several different things: Login, Gameplay, Character Storage, Ticketed Help System, and many other things.

Simply being able to handle 1000+ players on a single server is more than any CS can claim. Just being able to have that many people connect to your server (usually MMPOGs are server farms - not individual servers, but several servers networked together) dictates that your server reside in a datacenter, space at which is anything but cheap.

And that's just the gameplay. Think about a central login server, a billing server, a webserver, a patch server, and you're easily spending well over and beyond what just about anyone who runs a CS server could afford. This is why monthly subscription is a reality - not only do they have to pay for space and bandwidth, but they need to pay (at a very low wage) their online support personell (aka GMs), and their "Live Team" - a team of developers who generate new content for the servers, usually in the form of events and class/creature balance.

Jon Van Caneghem working on a MMORPG? (1)

Samrobb (12731) | more than 10 years ago | (#9377619)

I'm doomed.

Re: Jon Van Caneghem working on a MMORPG? (1)

WinnipegDragon (655456) | more than 10 years ago | (#9380838)

The could get Brian Fargo onboard and go for the Trifecta: Heroes of the Might and Magic of the Bard's Tale about Ultima... ONLINE!

With modern marketing, I'm sure there would be more exclamation points than that, but I'm sure you get the drift.

Is there any way I can get HOMM any version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9387026)

I'm looking for a full copy of ANY version of HOMM anywhere. Loki has disappeared. I looked at the ubi site and couldn't find anything. Has this game simply disappeared?????????????????

Does nobody remember King's Bounty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9380813)

Heroes of Might and Magic was the sequel to this fine game and I think it's sad everybody things Jon created his successfully series from scratch himself.

And the cool game dynamic with the ghosts in King's Bounty has never been duplicated in the Heroes franchise.

Very sad.

Re:Does nobody remember King's Bounty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9384166)

Dude, Jon designed Kings Bounty! he did the whole thing start to finish. But ghosts in KB where great, took over my entire army many times :)
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