In this interview we talk to Raph Koster, the founder and president of Areae, about why MMOs must be free to play, how he wanted to make an Ultima Online expansion where the players made their own shards, and whether games have reached the end of graphics. Areae is the company with an unusual vision for PC gaming: the DIY MMO. They’re calling the project Metaplace, but it’s just the latest instance of Raph Koster’s contributions to the MMO genre.
Yep, Raph Koster knows a thing or two about MMOs. He started out in the realm of text-based MUDS, graduated to the class of Ultima Online, where he was well-known for creating features that many modern MMOs still lack, and then he had a good crack at creating a Star Wars MMO with the first incarnation of Galaxies. Since then Koster has written a book about game design, A Theory Of Fun, and has now started work on his build-your-own-MMO project, Metaplace. With the browser-based game-toolkit now close to its beta stages we thought we’d have a chat with one of MMO gaming’s finest beards and see where his head is at.
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