Neverwinter Online vs D&D Online Argy-Bargy

By Alec Meer on August 27th, 2009 at 3:40 pm.

Vorpal short sword +2 vs sinister publishers

Something is rotten in the state of pretend online roleplaying universes. Atari, or at least what’s left of it these days, remains license holder for most videogamilial adaptations of Dungeons & Dragons properties, most notably Forgotten Realms titles including Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights. They also publish the Turbine-developed Dungeons & Dragons Online, which is shortly to be relaunched as the free-to-play DDO Unlimited. Only Turbine reckon Atari’s gearing up for betrayal…

To be specific, Turbine – a fair old heavyweight these days thanks to the comfortable success of Lord Of The Rings Online – are suing Atari for failing to supply the necessary resources for DDO’s ongoing state despite enjoying regular royalty cheques. Apparently, Atari have nonetheless accused them of withholding further monies and information, which Turbine claims is part of an Atari attempt to renege on their contract for DDO. Eek.

Why? Because of another D&D-based MMO, allegedly. And what’s that, exactly? Well, the rumour is that recentish Atari acquisitions Cryptic (that’s why Champions Online wasn’t ultimately handled by originally intended publishers 2K) are working on a Neverwinter Nights MMO, presumably intended to be another crack at doing D&D online properly, in the same way Lucasarts have opted to make The Old Republic rather than try to rescue Star Wars Galaxies.

All unconfirmed rumour and conjecture obviously, and for all we know Atari are in the right, but certainly Turbine are spitting mad about it – to the tune of a whopping $30m (that link’s to 1.1Mb PDF, incidentally). And possibly with good cause, if this is all happening on the eve of the potentially successful reboot of DDO.

On the other hand, DDO, in its original form at least, wasn’t as super-good as it could have been. A Cryptic-made NWN Online is hugely appealing, though, especially given how adept that lot are at character creators. Gah. The Right Thing vs The Fun Thing, the age old conflict….

All this via Eurogamer, incidentally.

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55 Comments »

  1. Heliocentric says:

    Them having a free and a pay to play mmo could be smart. But there does seem to be a massive overlap.

  2. zipdrive says:

    First, I was under the impression the “freeing” of DDO is only going to occur in north america, as the Euro publisher (codies?) isn’t into that kinky stuff.

    Second, we’ve recently discussed on our podcast why there are no pending D&D 4th edition games in the pipeline. Is it just Atari’s death grip on the license.
    What do you think?

  3. Dominic White says:

    D&D Online wasn’t too impressive at launch, granted, but has more than doubled in terms of content (and scale – at launch it only took you up to ‘heroic’ level 10, wheras now it goes up to ‘god-bothering’ level 20) since launch, and has mode classes, more features, and generally is a far improved product compared to what was originally put on shelves, and they haven’t asked people to pony up for expansions, either.

    With any luck, people will actually have a look at it after the relaunch. The payment options are actually rather clever – you can pay the classic subscription to get everything old subscribers used to, plus a bit of cash-shop money on top of that, or you can just buy permanent access to content as and when you want it, which is ideal for the casual types.

    Can’t really comment on NWN Online, but I’ll say this: Atari (or at least Infogrames dressed up as Atari) are pretty notorious for being dicks, so I’m going to give Turbine the benefit of the doubt here.

  4. PaulMorel says:

    Geez, that’s a tough one. I liked LOTRO, but not enough to play it for more than two months. Still, I like Turbine as a studio … and of course, Cryptic has done similarly well with CoH/V, which I played for a few months as well (the jury is still out on CO) …

    If Atari owns them both, is there a reason why both studios can’t work on an NWN MMO? If you take the best aspects of each studio’s games, and combine them … well, I would look forward to that MMO.

  5. DK says:

    DDO was far more “hardcore” than most other Pen and Paper adaptions of DnD – and certainly far more than any MMO of the same era.
    It was a unique game, something they’ve been trying to remedy lately, and with DDO Unlimited, succeeded in doing.

  6. Tei says:

    I remenber these old Video Players from windows with a interface that emulate the interface of a VHS video.
    Ignoring the fact, the VHS whas cool, even with the horrible interface of the videos ( cue.. 12:00 famous syndrome)

    DDO is a decent emulation off D&D (to placade the purist: well.. maybe is not perfect). But is not specially fun to me. And I have played tabletop RPG, with real humans, and a human Game Master.

    Maybe what we need is not a faithfull to the rules game, but a faithfull to the spirit and feelings game.

  7. Jockie says:

    I’m not a huge fan of DDO, even with the free shenanigans. It does a lot of things differently than many other MMO’s that I applaud, quests are proper quests for the most part with actual storylines. But it overuses instancing, the combat is pretty stale (though 3.5 DnD doesn’t really lend itself well to an MMO) and well, they used Eberron which is just a diabolically bad setting.

    But all that aside, Atari are evil, they’re my least favourite games publisher with horrific DRM and mistreatment of developers seemingly part of their company policy. As much as i’d like to see a Forgotten Realms MMO, from the evidence presented I’ve got to wish turbine all the best on this.

  8. Xercies says:

    I wouldn’t like Cryptic to do an NWN MMO because they’ve got Chamions Online and Star Trek(which I’m really looking forward to) that has their attentions and if they have a third MMO they may be spread a bit to thin and have three medicure MMOs(and if Star Trek Online was medicure I would blow them up) instead of 1 or 2 great ones.

  9. Noc says:

    Awww. Before you said something, I thought that was going to be a link to 30 million dollars.

  10. Daniel says:

    Neverwinter’s beauty was in it’s toolset and ability to make kick-ass persistent worlds. This rumour makes me sad. A Bioware developed NWN3 would be a fantastic boot for the community, which is seriously flagging.

    Alas.

  11. GJLARP says:

    Screw NWN Online, NWN’s online multiplayer mode (have to be very specific here) is where the fun is at. Dear God I’ve forgotten how many hours I’ve clocked into it.

    As for DDO, I respect Turbine for what they’re doing. Not my cup of tea, because I like persistent DM-governed worlds more than dungeon crawling, but Turbine gets my respect.

  12. Lobotomist says:

    Lets put this thing in perspective of MMO gamer (cause i know many of you arent – including RPS writers)

    Turbine are one of most respected MMO developers. They are independent company (the last remaining). And could probably be compared to MMO equivalent of Bioware.

    DDO itself was MMO highly unfitting its theme (D&D) but never the less – one of bravest and most innovative MMOs in long time. Something that in MMO world spells FAILURE.

    But Turbine is taking yet another risk and attempts on innovation that will shake MMO world again:

    Turbine is on the road to kill subscription gaming.

    New vision is all about options.
    You can play for free, or pay subscription, or pay in chunks for additional content.

    Lets just say that – if it works (and they delayed launch because of unanticipated interest) we will see the end of SUBSCRIPTIONS in online gaming.

    But lets go now to Cryptic.

    Once upon the time they made a MMO City of Heroes.
    Which was/is quite good , aswell. They sold it to NC soft.

    Now they are releasing what is basically COH2. Blatant and non innovative rip off of their own franchise – that beta testers claim , is even not better than original.

    They are also doing Star Trek MMO – one that allready makes Trek fans rolls eyes and in disbelief.

    And now they are apparently making NWN online. But if anyone played Cryptic games, he will understand that Cryptic just dont have talent for fantasy RPG. Perhaps for flashy action…but surely not for story and lore based fantasy game. And last but not least , company that gave position to Bill Roper.

    But lets move on to Atari.

    A company that caused Bioware not to make any D&D based game ever again. Company that forced Obsidian to make and release NWN2 in half time needed to make decent game. Atari is so rotten, and has so bad reputation, and had made so many bad decision that they always barely hover above bankcrupcy…

    So here we have a story

    A good developer that tries to bring important innovations, a mediocre developer that makes 3 games in same time, greedy publisher and a license.

    Poor Turbine

  13. Spoon says:

    @ Xercies: I read an article a while back about how Atari and Cryptic hooked up, and apparently the huge draw for Atari was Cryptic’s mmo generating tools. Apparently they made some kind of software suite that lets them make mmo games 50% faster than before. Look at champions… it has only five major zones. Don’t get me wrong, I have fun in CO, and will most likely be buying it, but they DID cut corners.

    Fast tools + cut corners = I expect even more Cryptic MMO’s announced, especially if CO and STO do well.

  14. Funky Badger says:

    Atari = Dicks

    Eberron >>> Forgotten Realms

  15. Alaric says:

    Bioware has been mentioned so I figured I’d go off on a tangent/rant.

    I used to LOVE them back in the days of Baldur’s Gate. Then, after BGII:ToB, I loved them even more. I can’t tell you how eagerly I waited for NWN, but no poet ever waits so impatiently for the sunrise, no lover for his beloved.

    And then…

    NWN was utter crap. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was kinda ok, but only because it was Star Wars. Jade Empire was garbage, basically a shitty version of KotOR set in imaginary China. Same for Mass Effect, except it was KotOR in a generic Sci-Fi universe where Bioware didn’t want to pay for SW license.

    In short, Bioware has betrayed and murdered my dreams by being double-extra-sucky. And that new SW MMO they are making… it also doesn’t look like much. You know that when voice-overs are touted as a selling feature of an MMO – something is wrong.

    I hope I am mistaken, but I’m no longer holding my breath.

    /rant_off

  16. JP says:

    DDO was…acceptable on release and I played it for a while. (Taking a break from CoH/V.) The Unlimited thing is going to be enough to bring me back to the fold to see how it looks at the moment.

    Cryptic – well, I played CoH/V for nearly 5 years so they certainly did something right. But I’m also VERY aware how much things are growing there now it’s NCSoft’s baby and how little things were moving there in it’s final days with Cryptic. It’s NCSoft who’ve taken Cryptic’s CoH team and grown it into something better so Cryptic these days =/= the guys who did CoH. Combine that with the Beta for CO proved it be less-than-stellar (and worse than CoH!) and I’m inclined to let DDO have another try rather than see Cryptic get their hands on another licence.

  17. Xercies says:

    ‘They are also doing Star Trek MMO – one that allready makes Trek fans rolls eyes and in disbelief.’

    Really? All the trek fans i know are liking the look of it and can’t wait to try it.

    @Spoon

    If thats the case Star Trek Online will probably be dissapointing but I still have hope it won’t be. But that does sound plausible to be honest.

  18. Jupp[CoDI] says:

    Semi-reply to Alaric ;)

    NWN stole almost 5 years of my life with NWN with harcore custom content creation in a dedicated team. Bioware did a perfect game in the regard that you could go so far as to create a persistent small scale MMO universe with just the NWN Toolset in your hand and a good amount of creativity in your head. The built-in story line of NWN? I played through it to learn the game mechanics and that was it. All those top notch custom content modules and persistent world? Years of endless entertainment, for free.

    Mac client and Toolset? Check
    Linux server? Check
    Runs under Wine? Check
    Open and documented custom content formats? Check
    Server inter-connection and portals to other NWN worlds? Check

    That NWN 2 was so rushed is one of the biggest faults form the side of Atari for me. The forced Bioware out of the game and did not let Obsidian have the time to finish the game properly.

  19. Chris says:

    I think we all have a childhood reverence for Atari, but the fact is that Atari as a publisher is nothing like the old Atari. They have made atrocious mistakes in the past, including incredibly stupid stuff like forgetting to put CD keys on thousands of games sold in stores (they did this with BioWare and *again* with The Witcher).

    They are a desperate company that lurches around aimlessly trying to survive. Based on my experience with them from my time at Bioware and their extremely spotty track record, I would be inclined to think that Turbine is in the right here.

  20. Vinraith says:

    Yes, Atari was great in its day, but this new entity with that name is not our Atari.

  21. Lobotomist says:

    FYI : Atari is not the same Atari from our childhood.

    In 1998 Atari NAME was sold to Hasbro (Atari didnt exist anymore , just the name) , which later sold the NAME to Inforgrames. That from 2001 use NAME Atari instead of Inforgrames

  22. Vinraith says:

    @Lobotamist

    Exactly, it’s not remotely the same people. It’s just a name and a symbol that gets traded around. It’s really very, very sad.

  23. Lobotomist says:

    @Xercies

    Yea? Some Trek fans are happy with any game in Trek universe.

    Here is a snippet, and you tell me what you think ?

    “Cryptic, the current developer of the Star Trek Online MMORPG, has mentioned in an interview that player ship interiors would probably be viewable only as instances during certain missions. The potential feature of letting characters walk around and interact with key locations of starships, such as the Bridge and Engineering, is now being described as unlikely to be included in Star Trek Online when it launches.”

  24. agio says:

    @Vinraith, I agree, except why is it sad? The much revered (I suppose) Atari of the 80s was an equally sucky company in its own way.

  25. Vinraith says:

    Back to the article proper, I couldn’t give less of a damn about MMO’s I’m never going to play, but the fate of the D&D license will impact the prospects of a Baldur’s Gate 3 or any real (non-MMO) NWN follow-ups, and I most certainly DO care about that. Here’s hoping this is resolved in a way that messes with potentially good D&D games as little as possible. If it inadvertently tanks a couple of MMO’s in the process, that’s fine.

  26. Vinraith says:

    @agio

    Childhood nostalgia, plain and simple.

  27. Mungrul says:

    I’m still perplexed as to why Wizards of the Coast still use Atari as their go-to-guys for videogame versions of their intellectual property.

    Also, let us not forget that Atari had a hand in killing Troika.

  28. Lobotomist says:

    Let just say that Wizards of the Coast , are not what they used to be

  29. Vinraith says:

    @Mungrul

    Troika couldn’t produce a game that wasn’t broken and unfinished, that’ll kill any developer. To the degree that Atari kept forcing their work out the door to arbitrary deadlines, however, your point is taken.

    As to WotC, they weren’t that great when they WERE themselves, but at this point they’ve been bought and sold a number of times. I miss the days when TSR was its own entity. We got some damn fine D&D PC games back then.

  30. Lobotomist says:

    You said it bro’

  31. Alaric says:

    @Mungrul

    Troika was making games that were incredibly bad. I own Arcanum, which was released in 2001 and was roughly 10 years behind it’s time. I own ToEE, which was released in 2003, and although looked sorta ok, was in fact so dreadfully dull that I couldn’t play it for more than a few hours. In addition to having absolutely not plot it had bugs too. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines I do not own, but I think there is a picture of it in any encyclopedia next to a “buggy mess” entry. A friend let me try his, and MY GOD… it was worse than I imagined.

    As to Atari killing Troika, that is hardly the case. They only published 1 of 3 Troika games, not even the last one.

  32. Vinraith says:

    Graphics are a lousy way of judging what is and is not “behind it’s time.” The frustrating thing about Troika is that they generally had brilliant design ideas. You’d end up with a game unlike anything you’d ever played before, but it would be so crippled with bugs and so unfinished (as in, it simply ceases to be the same game around the midpoint) that all it really served to do was taunt you with how great it MIGHT have been.

    • jeremypeel says:

      I was really disappointed by the disappearance of pretty much all content by the mid-point of Arcanum… really, everything was going so well up to that point!

  33. Klaus says:

    I thought Bloodlines was awesome, the first half anyway. The rest was ‘ok.’ Arcanum was ‘ok’ but needed some balance issues resolved, in my opinion. ToEE was kinda dull, but I don’t regret getting it.

    All in all, I think their games needed some polish. Like Vinraith wrote, it was extraordinary annoying to think of how awesome each game could have been.

  34. We Fly Spitfires - MMORPG Blog says:

    Very interesting. I think Neverwinter Nights MMO would rock. Hopefully they would keep the same isometric-esque graphic style as the original PC game.

  35. Wulf says:

    @Lobotomist

    Your post struck a chord with me, raising ire, so…

    “DDO itself was MMO highly unfitting its theme (D&D)”

    First of all, DDO isn’t an MMO. It’s a hub-game with multiplayer instances similar to Guild Wars (and Neverwinter Nights if we remove the hub).

    Secondly, err… what? Of course it’s fitting of the D&D license, it’s just a setting you’re not familiar with, clearly. I’m guessing you haven’t played tabletop D&D much.

    “[...] but never the less – one of bravest and most innovative MMOs in [a] long time.”

    Again, it wasn’t an MMO, it was a hub-based online game. In other words, it was Guild Wars in a D&D wrapper with monthly payments. Let’s examine the pros and cons over Guild Wars…

    + Samey traps.
    + Interactive environment bits.
    - The beautiful, huge, and detailed maps of Guild Wars.
    - Worthwhile PvP.

    It would be fair to call it innovative if Guild Wars hadn’t come first, but it did. And Guild Wars only innovated over Neverwinter Nights by adding hub areas! So whilst Guild Wars was innovative, it was hardly revolutionary.

    The only major change with DDO is that Turbine figured they could charge a monthly payment for a hub-based online game. No wonder it flopped!

    Everything about it though screamed Guild Wars from the moment I played it. The instanced tutorial, the hub where all players meet to go into instanced maps for only those players, and so on.

    Yet it was far, far less compelling than Guild Wars, as in Guild Wars one had an intricate storyline, woven through epic story missions. Whereas DDO was tied-down by its Dungeons & Dragons license, and it tried so very hard to be pen & paper online, yet it couldn’t. The narration was nice but it really lacked the strong stories and memorable characters of the Guild Wars games.

    So it came off as a watered down version of Guild Wars with a D&D license. One could either pay one-off for Guild Wars, or they could pay monthly for DDO.

    So yes, it wasn’t as innovative as you think. ArenaNet did it first, and ArenaNet did it better.

    “Something that in MMO world spells FAILURE.”

    That’s because it wasn’t an MMO, but I’ve found that lobby (Neverwinter Nights) and hub-based (Guild Wars) online roleplaying games do quite well for themselves.

    “But Turbine is taking yet another risk and attempts on innovation that will shake [the] MMO world again:

    Turbine is on the road to kill subscription[-based] gaming.”

    Many other games did this long before Turbine.

    I’m beginning to see a pattern here.

    Plus, I giggled at the ‘killing subscription gaming’ thing when Guild Wars did this back in ’05. Had DDO been an open-world game like World of Warcraft, I could understand the hoo-ha, but this seems more like PR-talk than a serious opinion.

    At least, I can’t take it seriously when, as I said, another game did this 4 years ago.

    I really feel I need to stress this just to counter the hyperbole.

    “You can play for free, or pay [for a] subscription, or pay in chunks for additional content.”

    So, let’s get this straight…

    DDO offers:

    * Subscription with no microtransactions.
    * Microtransactions for things that subscribers get.
    * Play for free and be a lesser entity (a la Free Realms).

    Guild Wars offers:

    * Pay the price of the game, then get everything free.

    I really can’t see why you’re hyping DDO over other games, on its own merits I could understand, but the way you’re claiming that DDO did all this first and that it’s revolutionary is more than mildly annoying.

    “Lets just say that if it works (and they delayed [it's] launch because of unanticipated interest) we will see the end of SUBSCRIPTIONS in online gaming.”

    You mean like we saw the end of subscriptions in fantasy multiplayer games with the likes of Neverwinter Nights and Guild Wars? I’m glad you didn’t say MMOs this time, because DDO isn’t an MMO. *breathes.*

    “But lets go now to Cryptic.”

    Oh boy.

    “Once upon [a] time they made a MMO City of Heroes.
    Which was/is quite good, aswell.”

    Very good, in fact.

    “They sold it to NC soft.”

    It always belonged to NC Soft, Cryptic left because they wanted to go in a new direction, different to where NC Soft was going.

    “Now they are releasing what is basically [City of Heroes] 2.”

    Maybe because there was a lot of demand for a graphically updated City of Heroes with new content? That would mean that my previous statement of it doing very good for itself was well founded, no?

    “[A b]latant and non-innovative rip off of their own franchise[ ] that beta testers claim is even [worse] than [the] original.”

    1) It was never their franchise, it belonged to NC Soft.

    2) They have creative freedom with it, and it shows.

    3) What beta-testers? Can you show me? I call weasel words!

    4) You’ve never played either City of Heroes or Champions Online, have you?

    4 renders your opinions regarding anything Cryptic completely invalid, but let’s continue… just or laughs.

    “They are also [developing a] Star Trek MMO – one that [all ready has] Trek fans [rolling their eyes with] disbelief.”

    More weasel words! Am I surprised? Nah. It may make you roll your eyes in disbelief, but please don’t even try to propose that your opinion is that of the entire Trek fanbase, because the likelihood of that is improbable (to be kind) and thus it’s moronic to do so.

    I’m a Trek fan, and I think Star Trek Online looks incredible. So that kind of blows up your claim as to what how the whole of the Trek fanbase feels right there, doesn’t it?

    To be blunt: Don’t put words in my mouth, or in the mouth of anyone.

    “And now they are apparently making NWN online.”

    Exciting!

    “But [for] anyone [who has] played [any of] Cryptic['s] games, [they] will understand that Cryptic just don[']t have [any] talent for fantasy RPG [games].”

    Oh really? The fantasy elements of City of Heroes/Villains seemed well realised. Can you give me even one example of where Cryptic failed to properly handle a fantasy setting.

    I’m almost tempted to answer that for you with “of course you can’t”, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

    Yet another completely baseless statement, pointless, and I don’t even know why I’m giving it the time of day. Probably because I’m tired of misinformed dolts vilifying Cryptic.

    “Perhaps for flashy action[ ... ]but surely not for story and lore based fantasy game.”

    I do wonder what you base that on…

    First of all, City of Villains and Champions Online are both as strong in the story and lore department as any MMO out there, and in some cases stronger because Cryptic are fond of their talkative NPCs and cinematic sequences.

    And secondly, well… let’s just say that I really wish to play this flop of a fantasy MMO that Cryptic apparently put together at some point. A game which you must have played in order to make the claim you did. But there’s an incredibly obvious problem with that scenario, can you guess what it is?

    Cryptic hasn’t even yet developed a game with a fantasy setting, they haven’t had the chance to prove themselves in this area.

    Just because they’ve never turned their attentions to a fantasy setting before, you assume a lack of ability? Would that mean that if they hadn’t released City of Heroes, they wouldn’t have been able to do a superhero game?

    Could you be any less logical?

    There’s a term in acting for this, it’s called typecasting. Typecasting is where a particularly foolhardy and short-sighted producer or developer will assume that a certain actor is only fit for a particular kind of role.

    Yet often you’ll find that any actor can prove — given the chance — that any typecasting they’ve had to endure is a complete fabrication.

    This is an example of typecasting: ‘Oh, such and such an actor is only really any good at being a bad guy, because I’ve only seen him once in a movie and he was a bad guy!’

    And that’s what you’re doing here: Typecasting. You’re typecasting Cryptic as a developer that’s only able to create superhero games. Now you’ve already been disproved on that count by Star Trek Online, and I’d bet they’d be able to put together a great fantasy MMO too.

    “And last but not least, [they're a] company that gave [a] position to Bill Roper.”

    …and? And? And??? Don’t keep me hanging, here!

    What? Did we find out that Bill Roper is Satan, now?

    “But lets move on to Atari.”

    Yaaaay. *sigh.*

    “A company that caused Bioware not to make any D&D based game ever again.”

    After the smut-ridden Dragon Age, I’m still not sold on the idea that that’s such a bad thing. It might be, but it might not be, on a personal level I believe that Bioware are past their prime.

    I’m much more excited by a Cryptic take on things.

    “[A c]ompany that forced Obsidian to make and release NWN2 in half time needed to make decent game.”

    That’s not the first time that’s happened, either. Obsidian were forced to rush out Knights of the Old Republic II before it was finished. Obsidian’s always been their whipping boy.

    The end result wasn’t bad though. Obsidian got sick of them, grew a back bone, and became independent of both Atari and Bioware. Thanks to that they’re now doing something that looks truly interesting (Alpha Protocol) instead of labouring under the Dungeons & Dragons license.

    I admit, I used to be excited about D&D games, but these days in the varied World of D20 games, I think there’s better out there. At least in my opinion. And others more worthy of a license. Even World of Darkness is more interesting.

    “Atari is so rotten, has [such a] bad reputation, and had made so many bad decision[s] that they [have] always barely hover[ed] above [bankruptcy]…”

    Atari is a big, bad company, boo-hoo. And you know? I agree. That’s the nature of capitalism though, but the reason why you’re having a go at Atari is fairly obvious. It isn’t because they tried to be Activision and failed, it’s because Atari chose to get Cryptic involved and you’re throwing a wobbly over it.

    “A good developer that tries to bring important innovations, [...]”

    You mean ArenaNet, right? Ohhh, you mean Turbine. Sorry, no. Most of what was used by DDO was innovated by AreanaNet. Don’t think for a moment that Turbine innovated those, they didn’t, they just recycled them.

    Guild Wars was released in ’05, DDO was ’06. And Guild Wars was in development before DDO too (it was ArenaNet’s first and only project).

    “[..] a mediocre developer [...]”

    A ‘mediocre developer’ that was responsible for the first superhero MMO (MMO, not hub-based game) on the market, something no one had ever seen before.

    Wait! A concept that hadn’t been realised before? Gasp! Why, that’s an innovation, isn’t it? Oh my! What a shock!

    “[...] that makes 3 games in same time, [...]”

    You mean, developed games that overlap? You should see how Asheron’s Call, Dungeons & Dragons Online, and Lord of the Rings Online overlap.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbine,_Inc.

    As good as Turbine might be, they can’t develop an MMO in a year, or even two. So all three of those games overlapped.

    Now what we have here is an insult aimed at Cryptic that also counts for Turbine, no? If Cryptic is a big enough developer to handle all of these games properly, what does it matter how many MMOs they’re developing?

    “[...] greedy publisher and a license.”

    My brain went What?? at this. Are we talking about Atari or Cryptic now? Probably Atari, but how does the license come into it? Cryptic have licenses, but Cryptic is a developer, not a publisher.

    This is… this is nonsensical. Can we just pretend this didn’t exist? I don’t want to spend the next hour turning this over and over in my brain, trying to figure out what the rest of that sentence was supposed to say.

    “Poor Turbine[.]”

    Poor Cryptic.

    You vilified them from the outset with baseless vitriol, and when you weren’t coming out with things that were utterly ludicrous or that I couldn’t make sense of, you were making claims about your favourite flavour of the month developer (Turbine) which actually really did apply to Cryptic. Remember all that stuff about innovation?

    And there were the moments where you were insulting Cryptic with things that also applied to most other MMO developers, including Turbine.

    So yes, poor Cryptic. I actually feel really sorry for them.

    Now I think I’ll end this with a fanboy comment about Cryptic: I remember once, a time ago, when the lead developer of City of Heroes came to the UK City of Heroes forums to say how much he liked the new Doctor Who series (Eccleston at the time). He even stuck around to discuss Doctor Who for a time.

    All of the Cryptic developers have been mostly approachable, and one almost had a bloody nervous breakdown after an onslaught by thankless idiots who’d throw back every effort Cryptic made. Cryptic has always listened to their players, and works as many of their fan’s suggestions as they can into their games. The guy who wrote the RPS impressions of Champions Onlines article even mentioned this.

    Honest question here (as I don’t know): Can Turbine say the same?

    This is why I stick up for Cryptic, because they’ve always been the people’s MMO developer, and this is why I kept going back to Cryptic games, because it was possible to actually communicate your feelings to them, and actually have them pay attention.

    A lot of the things they couldn’t budget in for City of Heroes that fans requested too made it into Champions Online. Hell, even the thing I asked for (proper were-creatures that could run on all fours) made it in!!

    So vilifying Cryptic is going to get a backlash, at least from me, because they’re bloody awesome.

    Footnote: Not so long ago, I was accused of working for SOE by an RPS editor simply because I promoted the idea of ease of travel and exploration as evidenced in Free Realms (no artificial obstacles in the way, one can teleport around, and so on).

    What you’ve done more is far more damning, so I think it’s fair to ask: Are you on Turbine’s payroll?

    Yes, that is a bit of a rimshot, but I think it’s deserved.

  36. Lobotomist says:

    Uh..mate

    So you hate like Turbine, and you love Cryptic.

    Although I must say that you sound awfully like somebody piked about release of Cryptic new game (Champions Online) and suffering from fanboy hysteria… Wonder if you will praise them same after you play CO for a month ?

    Still does not change the fact that Atari is scumbag company that will ebd up hurting Cryptic just as same as they hurt Obsidian, Troika and Turbine.

  37. Torgen says:

    Fanboy Wulf is revising history a bit. I’d wager I had closer dealings with Emmert et al than he ever has, and IMHO, Wulf is smoking locoweed and trying to blow the smoke up everyone’s collective keister.

  38. Gundrea says:

    Wulf’s post was longer than most of the articles on RPS. I think that deserves some kind of award. Perhaps a small plaque in his honour.

  39. Klaus says:

    wow. long post is loooonnnggg.

  40. Dante says:

    “First of all, DDO isn’t an MMO. It’s a hub-game with multiplayer instances similar to Guild Wars (and Neverwinter Nights if we remove the hub).”

    The point at which I stopped reading. That’s a ludicrously narrow definition of an MMO and any logic that stems from that assumption is going to be flawed.

  41. Alaric says:

    Wow! That ought to be preserved for posterity. o.O

  42. Grey_Ghost says:

    I never got into DDO because of it’s setting I think. Always been a fan of Forgotten Realms.

  43. Michael says:

    LoTRO may have been comfortably successful, but they dropped the ball in a big way some time in the last year. Recent patches have been awfully bug ridden. The gap between LoTRO and WoW gets wider and wider.

  44. Psychopomp says:

    @Grey

    I could never get into DDO because of the lack of gnomes.

    At least 4E had the *essential* rules to play one at the outset, before they were fleshed out. DDO has had years, BUT GNOMES JUST AREN’T COOL AND EDGY I GUESS.

  45. lePooch says:

    Holy shit, I didn’t know you were ALLOWED to write comments that long.

    Also, Wulf calling Cryptic the “People’s MMO developer” gave me visions of a Communist developer commune watched over by a greedy aging commissar, third of that name.

    “Comrade-Artist Photoshopinsky, you have failed to achieve your quota of sexy vampire textures for the week; Comissar Atari would like to have a word with you…”

    *BANG*

  46. Chiablo says:

    I would love an online turn-based D&D 4th Edition MMO. DDO just didn’t feel right to me at all. And the super complexities of the 3.5 rules make for a poor real-time computer game.

  47. -Spooky- says:

    All the bashing around Cryptic vs Turbine make me sick.

    DDO = Eberron
    NwNO = Forgotten Realms

    I don´t like the setting around Eberron. So i´ll go for NwNO .. for sure! 2 diff. settings, 2 opinions. Matter of taste..

    Fact is .. D&D himself got to many .

    PS: NwN2 was epic fail .. but just a opinion.

  48. Ian says:

    Still playing NWN2 Online Multiplayer on persistant worlds, just as I did NWN1. It’s still being actively developed with a new hotfix just this week.

    Point is, there’s already a NWN Online and by this point it’s a very mature and sophisticated environment.

  49. Chaz says:

    It always gets me how these big publishers seem to be constantly slinging multi million dollar law suits at each other. Its no wonder our games cost so much, as half the profits seem to be going into the back pockets of fat cats and lawyers.

  50. Alaric says:

    @lePooch

    ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!! =)))) You, sir, WIN TEH INTERNETS!