Mark Jacobs, goodnight

I was expecting it and it arrived. Regular every six month the letter from the boss. Last year it was about the plans for the RvR, with a consolidation of the whole team to improve the game the best possible with a full disclosure of the design to involve the community.

Obviously as for each of this letters 90% is made of demagogy, but at least demagogy with some “grasp”. I always shared the point of view and I always thought that the direction was the right one (even if the result was more then often imperfect or completely off track). This year the letter is 100% demagogy and can only repeat how good are EQ2 and WoW and how they aren’t able anymore to catch up at copying their features: instanced areas, graphic updates, visual marks for quest-giver NPC, sidekicking, non-combat pets, the rest system, the mini tasks in Catacombs and a lot more.

“Folks, here we can just copy the features and paste them as a bleached copy in our game hoping noone notices the differences.”

This time many of the brags are blatantly false:

Catacombs injected a new graphics engine that puts the game right up there or ahead of anything else on the market.

False, Catacombs is a new skin for the same game. New shapes for the same objects. This is about trivializing the graphic aspect. This is about underlining exactly what isn’t relevant to show that an argument exists when it doesn’t (indeed, demagogy). Or as I defined it: fluff. The graphic is an important part of the game but often it is trivialized as something superficial and irrelevant when, instead, it has a strong role even in the gameplay, including level design, animations, customizations, interactivity and a lot more.
Catacombs is ahead of anything else on the market only in a pointless, proofless and completely subjective point of view of someone “slightly” biased (Mythic’s president in this case). Words without facts, on within a superficial point of view trying to glide on whatever could really matter in a (sincere) judgment.

Our instanced areas and other changes have made the game easier than ever to play and succeed in than ever before.

Again copying well tested and now “safe” features from other games and again gliding on how there features are implemented in the structure of *this* game. That Camelot is an “easy” game to play makes me laugh. False again. It’s a collection of patchwork design, its ruleset doesn’t make sense and is the perfect example of something NOT intuitive. Screwing up a character is common without knowing perfectly the nearly infinite stack of rules, subrules, exceptions and bugs. It’s an amass, a collage, a swaying tower on the point to crumble because the design itself is nowhere coherent and cohesive. But this is an obvious result when all that your design team does is too copy features from other games without even considering them aside a superficial, trivial point of view. The “free level” mechanic they introduced again represents a superficial point of view. It doesn’t make the game easier to play, it just underlines a void, an absence of game. The revelation that there isn’t much to offer. It’s a vacation from the work. The game is “easier” as: it’s flat and empty. They only rendered this as an evidence. A step closer to ProgressQuest. Free levels, free money, no taxes for everyone. We are able only to smile and be happy. Come join us in the land of superficiality.
Obviously another rip-off of the rest system in World of Warcraft. Gone wrong, terribly wrong, just because they have this superficial point of view even when staring amazed (and dazed) at other, better, games. It’s better, but they cannot “get it”. Their copy is an imitation doomed to be without value.

New classes and new areas have added new depth to an already deep world.

“Deep” here is equal to “inflation”. An interesting point of view. They take the game, build new zones to render the old ones obsolete and the result is considered “deeper”. The demagogy here fails even at the eyes of a goon. A barren world filled with obsolete zones cannot be considered as “deep” even by an idiot or a first-time player. Millions of fragmented player-classes also underline once again a broken mechanic and an obstinacy to go on with admitted mistakes. Why not to create at this point ten millions of new classes, each with one type of attack? Why not add in the game 300-400 new levels and brag it as the “deeper and longer mmorpg evar”?

The same error repeated over and over. Focus on the wrong elements, messing with them more. Depth is quality, not quantity. Depth requires an attention not a superficial copy of a form. But the understanding of what’s inside the form. The source of the quality, the essence of the simple rules that make something interesting and deep. Mythic confuses complexity with complication. They see things upside down ands their “fix” just produce new problems because they didn’t address the real origin of that problem. The effort they do is good. But the approach is wrong.

And, best of all, the Catacombs launch was the cleanest launch of all time from our perspective (least downtime, fewest bugs, fewest customer support calls, etc.) we have set the standard (again) for the launch of a product.

Yes, the standard of indifference. Noone complains when noone cares. Fewest customer support calls? Yes, let’s say: fewest customers. I guess this is a winning direction. Suffocate the community with lack of feedback, lack of involvement and lack of interest.

Even Shadowbane solved most of its technical problems when most of the players stopped playing.

But what pissed me off is this part:

While we could do something like a server merge, we wanted to come up with something better since even a รข

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