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Quote of the Day – World of Darkness, World of Chaos June 5, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Quote of the Day.
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Sources report that, over the nine-year period, the game effectively reached alpha – the stage at which all the major features have been implemented – three times, only for each version to be scrapped.

-The Guardian, World of Darkness – the inside story on the death of a game

We all know that the World of Darkness MMO, which CCP had been working on since it acquired White Wold back in 2006, was cancelled earlier this year.

World of Darkness

World of Darkness

But what actually happened, how things reached that state of affairs… all of that has been somewhat murky.  There are rumors and lots of speculation about what happened, but few details.

Well, that just changed.  Over at The Guardian, there is an article up attempting to detail exactly what happens.  The piece depends heavily on the word of Nick Blood, a former CCP staffer who is unhappy about how things played out.  But even if you allow for a certain level of disgruntled spin… and Blood is clearly angry… it does lay out a tale of woe, of lack of direction, of poaching WoD resources to support EVE, of being disconnected from the reality of the situation.  There are lots of EVE Online tidbits in the article… since WoD staff apparently spent a good deal of time working on EVE… including a bit more dirt about the Incarna expansion.

There is one quote from Nick Blood that certainly rings true for the bitter vets,

CCP has an extensive track record of promising to return to features and never doing so.

I would have agreed with that quite readily before Incarna.  Afterwards though, CCP seemed to have changed.  They have returned to old features and have spent a lot of time of things that had otherwise been left alone for years.  Maybe Incarna was the shock to the system that CCP needed.

And maybe letting go of World of Darkness was the better course.  It is certainly disappointing to those who wanted to see that IP come alive as an MMO, but it doesn’t sound like CCP was doing well at juggling two very disparate game worlds.  Sticking to EVE and its derivatives is probably for the best.

Anyway, there are certainly a few insights to be gleaned from the article.

Meanwhile, CCP has announced even more layoffs, this time in Iceland.

Not a good day for CCP, with dirty laundry out for all to see and more people losing their jobs.

Hat Tip: Neville Smit

Comments»

1. Stabs - June 5, 2014

Mr Blood – developer of vampires games.

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2. Wilhelm Arcturus - June 5, 2014

@Stabs – Indeed, he is probably double pissed because that was clearly the genre he was born to work on.

Plus his name really works for that “My dad came up with my name while he was shaving” joke.

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3. sid67 - June 5, 2014

The vampire thing peaked about 4 years ago but it still has a lot of steam. Can you imagine if they actually had managed to release? It could have been huge but I don’t know if how I would have dealt with all the in-game sookie and twilight references. /shudder

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4. tsuhelm - June 5, 2014

I was just reading this in the Guardian and thought I will post it to one of your blogs

…great article…scary management…

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5. ultrviolet - June 5, 2014

The article makes it sound like that kind of poor management is prevalent only in the gaming industry, but I feel like it’s pretty common in the entire software industry as a whole. :)

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6. Wilhelm Arcturus - June 5, 2014

@Ultraviolet – Yeah, I recognize similarities from nearly every company I have worked for.

At my last job, where I had to manage a large team, new hired grads would sometimes freak out about how badly the company appeared to be run, thinking that this was somehow a unique situation. I had to tell them that every company beyond a certain size is messed up in one way or another. Not always in the same way, but always in some way. You just don’t necessarily see it from the outside.

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7. Ardent Defender - June 5, 2014

It certainly was a great and insightful article. Just very sad to see what really sucked the life blood out of WoD to really kill if in the end. Just quite sad.

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8. Suzariel Kel-Paten - June 5, 2014

@Wilhelm — Yep, I’ve worked in software dev for a long, long time, and that has been my experience, as well. Every company has its own way of being messed up. You just have to find a place where you can tolerate it or in some small way manage around it.

I was on a non-game project that hit alpha a couple more times than WoD did, and in a shorter window of time. It eventually cost the VP and an entire layer of management their jobs — which was appropriate, given that their inability to find their asses with both hands and a GPS was the root cause of the problem.

I’m disappointed that CCP keeps shedding jobs, but with seemingly little change in the upper ranks. If you’re hemorrhaging money, what’s your root cause, and what are you changing to fix that?

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9. Anonymouse - June 6, 2014

CCP’s problem is that it doesn’t learn from its mistakes. Valkyrie and Legion are going to be equally dead-end projects, with more money down the drain, to follow DUST and WOD.

They really need to focus on EVE Online and build it into a larger MMO – meaning not just for PVP and not just for the a**hole niche market. Attract more people, instead of making it even more niche – which is completely the wrong direction.

Crius just doesn’t make sense to me. The industry changes look to shed several thousahds of casual players from the game, who currently only are interested in high-sec industry, taking with them tens of thousands of paying accounts. Money down the drain.

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10. SynCaine - June 6, 2014

Poor management isn’t exclusive to software either. I’ve been part of company workshops that in total cost where over seven figures, with the end result being “go team!” You look at stuff like that, and it really makes you wonder just how huge the margins on products are if a company can be so wasteful, yet still turn a massive profit.

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11. Dinsdale Pirannha - June 6, 2014

CCP keeps losing people because subs are going down, because not only are they attacking the casual high sec player lifestyle, but also because null sec is a stagnant mess that bores people to death.

CCP has two big problems there. There actions regarding high sec seem to indicate they are willing to take the hit in subs and they are content to lose a chunk of their sub base. And as for null sec, reading seagull’s flow charts, it looks like it is at least 12 months, maybe longer, before CCP gets serious with massive changes to null sec sov mechanics.(Unless of course, they don’t plan on touching current null sec mechanics, and will create a completely new paradigm of space with whatever space the player built gates lead to)

Both indicate hugely dumb executive decisions.

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12. Weekly Wyrm ~ June 7, 2014 | Kitty Kitty Boom Boom - June 8, 2014

[…] I’m behind on my Massively reading, it took a TAGN article to raise my trimmed eyebrows at the woes of this dead, putrefying […]

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