I Am Not Making Any Of This Up And Really Kind Of Wish I Were

9/11/2012: The US Consulate in Benghazi is overrun by heavily armed militants during a demonstration and several people are killed. Among them are the US Ambassador to Libya and one of his aides, Sean Smith, better known among Eve Online players as “Vile Rat”, chief diplomatic officer of Goonswarm.

While online Eve players (who previously were known chiefly for hating each other to the point of violence) united to commemorate Smith, the attack becomes a political football in the US Presidential campaign.

Glenn Beck figures out the real story behind Sean Smith’s death: Goonswarm Is Literally The CIA.

…and he noticed that they’re watching all three [exits]. What does he do? Nah, he doesn’t call the White House, he doesn’t call the State Department, the, uh, embasssy in Tripoli. He calls a gaming website. Which is the first thing I would do. I’m like, I gotta check with my pals on the gaming website. And he writes: “We’re in Benghazi. At a safehouse. If we get out of this one alive, I’ll let you know. There are people watching all three exits.”  Gang… he’s not telling his friendly gamers. He’s a CIA agent. He is telling people – this is where we are, help us! …

I don’t understand how anyone could ever even begin to…

Oh. Well, OK.

From George “the Mittani” Soros’ website comments:

Welp, guys. I’m going to have to find a new game to relay messages from. Glenn Beck is too smart for the ole CIA.

Longtime readers of this blog, of course, will know that I predicted this four years ago. I am still not making any of this up.

Sadly, Not A Gimmick To Reboot A Beloved Comic Series

NCsoft to close Paragon Studios and shut down City of Heroes due to “publishing restructuring”.

As a recent NCsoft employee it would be inappropriate for me to express my inchoate rage in writing. Suffice to say that I have nothing but pride and satisfaction for the time I spent supporting Paragon Studios, believe that to this day City of Heroes is the best MMO of its kind, that its most recent (and sadly not widely adopted) expansion pack truly made the game a great experience, and that roughly 80 very talented and very experienced MMO developers are currently on the job market.

You only have a limited time remaining to press the awesome button.

More on Funcom’s Secret World Woes And Why It’s All Your Fault

I guess we could have predicted the Illuminati were day traders.

Ryahl at TSWGuides (which TSW players are probably already familiar with as a site for build discussions) posts an in-depth analysis of why Funcom shot itself in the foot with The Secret World’s launch – covering both the missteps made in planning and pitching the game to investors post-Age of Conan failed launch, in a post-WoW, post SWTOR, and quite possibly post-subscription model environment, but also that, well…

The Secret World is NOT an easy game.  It’s challenging and complex in an industry where content is generally spoon fed.  To mine a quote, “no one has ever gone broke underestimating human intelligence.”… …It’s hard, it’s different and it’s innovative on a number of fronts.  Contrary to what fans will tell you on boards, that’s not always what they want.  They claim it, but they often buy what they know (risk aversion).  Games that break the mold usually have to grow into their business model, they don’t get to start that way.

 

The Secret World A Great Step Forward For MMOs, Funcom Somehow To Recover From This Failure

The Secret World kind of snuck out to the market in between all the loud explosions of SWTOR and 38 Studios collapsing and Guild Wars 2 ramping up to cover the world in fire or something. Which is a shame, because it’s pretty much everything MMO pundits have been looking for – a classless somewhat free-form advancement system where you can literally ‘respec’ between fights, with quests that actually reward out-of-the-box thinking (such as map coordinates in morse code, left for the player to decipher) set in a smart modern-day world of zombies, demons, snarky Illuminati and magic oral sex.

Yet, thanks in part to launching with some fairly broken quests, the final Metacritic listing wasn’t that good – based on a dozen reviews of that early fairly broken release such as this very low score by Tom Chick. And in today’s market, METACRITIC IS EVERYTHING.

As seen by this briefing by Funcom to stockholders:

While there are very positive reviews, there are as well mixed or average reviews from various press outlets, giving an aggregated score for The Secret World of 72 out of 100, which is to be considered low, and not in line with the positive feedback received during the beta phases from both press and players. Funcom is of course disappointed with achieving such a Metascore. A game like The Secret World, which is not based on a well-known brand, is normally dependent on positive press reviews to achieve successful initial sales, in addition – but not limited – to other factors like word of mouth.

Funcom has on several occasions presented two financial scenarios for the first 12 months following launch of the game; please refer to page 17 in the 1Q 2012 presentation *). Funcom does not consider it likely that either of them will be met.

This update, as you would expect, caused Funcom’s stock to tank.

(Update: and also the Funcom CFO to announce that layoffs of at least 10% of the workforce are incoming.)

For future reference: this is why we can’t have nice things.

Mark Pincus Just A Poor Boy Whose Intentions Are Good; Please Don’t Let Him Be Misunderstood

Similar: abuses employees in profane tirades, has nice cafeterias
Different: APPL valued at a bit more than ZNGA, not literally a force of pure evil*
* unless you’re Richard Stallman

In case you’re wondering why Mark Pincus of Zynga is compared to Steve Jobs so much (maybe you hear voices in your head, I won’t judge) Slate publishes a four part ‘interview’ with Pincus where Jacob Weisberg answers that burning question, while also remarking on just how awesome Pincus is, and how he can’t understand why people would ever have a poor opinion of the company. Pincus replies that it’s really just because he’s too busy
being concentrated awesome to care about what the peasantry thinks.

Stay tuned for Part II: “Gameplay is Overrated” and Part III: “The Stock Market is Gnarly”!