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ION08: John Smedley keynote – Reinventing the MMO

John Smedley, Sony Online Entertainment

Summary

Free Realms is generically a combined Runescape / Club Penguin clone with strong elements of Black and White – but all done in the EQ 3D engine (at least the graphical quality appears straightforward EQ client level of quality – low poly.

The Agency is a spy game set in a very direct clone of Team Fortress 2, but a bit simplified and less polished. Which is not a bad thing – TF2 is exceptional, but themed as nothing more or less than a quick fast battle – bolting on a more traditional game (by adding the spy game parts) could make for a very nice game.

FR leaves me cold – it’s doing sensible things, but I have no confidence in my ability to predict what is or will happen in the RS area of the market. Base on my own experiences in the middle of some of it, everything that’s happened to date has been easy to predict in hindsight but damn hard to see coming in advance.

But TA looks like a lot of fun already.

My own commentary in [ square brackets ], any mistakes/misunderstandings my own fault :).

Free Realms

for instance – combat is a CHOICE, it’s not a REQUIREMENT.

free realms harnesses the power of web 2.0 to create an amazingly connected metagame – [BUZZWORD BINGO!]

[Snow. Lots of snow. And giant mushrooms. No badgers, though.]

[They’ve copied the OS X Dock to be the core menu in the GUI]

Teach your dog to pee on the fire hydrant – [black and white, mark 2]

Play a hunter class, go out and do standard MMO combat, and capture a monster instead fof kill it, then convert that monster into a CCG card equivalent

[station account signup in the “less than a minute to start playing” has about 8 too many fields on the signup form. Compare to the signup screen for Runescape. Or any major Web 2.0 property. Hint: modern web properties can fit their entire registration form into a couple of lines]

5 game accounts for $5.99 – the “family” account

[essentially, 90% of it is a direct clone of Club Penguin, only with a 3D world client instead]

Share the Wealth – anyone with a blog, e.g. an uneployed person looking for extra cash, will get a small percentage payent of cash for every single person that refer to us. We’re radically reinventing the business model for MMOs.

The Agency

next generation crafting – living loot. you acquire characters as loot. then are sometimes AI controlled NPC henchmen, other times mission givers and vendors.

I gotta say I spent many many many hours in this game (planetside)

supports headshots for instant kill.

what clothes you wear at a given moment entirely controls your character abilities. [again, major clone of TF2]

its a modern-day persistent shooter.