Monday, July 28, 2008

A short positive on Age of Conan

Its nice to be able to start my new blog on a positive note. As you might already know, I've given Funcom a hard time over all the issues surrounding the Age of Conan MMO. The most grief I've given them however has been with how abysmally they have handled their customers.

I still think there is room for huge improvement, particularly in how they handle their forums (which I have formally resigned from participating in because there is no apparent real value other then an opportunity to argue with twelve year olds of all ages.)

I do have to admit though I have seen some recent signs of improvement. Two things stick out in my mind. The first is a few GUI improvements. The last patch brought an emote interface that is so well designed, and so different from the rest of the GUI, it almost looks like it doesn't belong. This little nod to the roleplay community is a big deal to many of us not just because it makes Roleplay *much* easier but because it is the first sign from Funcom NA that they actually care at all about role players. AOC really has he makings of a good Role play game, but it needs attention to the needs of that community to bring the potential to reality. This is a good first step. (Though I am still utterly dumbfounded as to why they continue to ignore the massive outcry for a dedicated role play-PVE server.)

Secondly, in game customer service has vastly improved. I have gotten stuck in places on the map I where I couldn't move twice in the last week. In both cases, a /petition for GM assistance was responded to promptly (within 15 minutes), politely and helpfully. This is a very encouraging sign.

I think AoC may turn the corner yet. But it still has aways to go. And the aloofness of the development team continues to hamper them in their community relations. Time will tell if that is fatal or not.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Welcome to my new Blog Home

Welcome folks,

Whether you are coming over from my old blog at or are discovering this new for the first time, thanks for stopping in.

Starting today this will be my new home for what used to be the "The Way The Game Is Played" blog. Those of you familiar with it know it rambles. In the past I've posted little game coding tutorials, humor pieces, politics, and just about anything else that I felt like saying from my street-corner soapbox. This will be more of the same.

As you are maybe aware, this blog transition marks a life transition for me. I am leaving sun after almost 10 years. That is by far the longest time I have ever spent at a single company and Sun was one of the few large companies eclectic enough to hold my interest for that sort of timespan. But my career was born in startups and thats really where my heart is. My move to being the Chief Technical Monkey (CTO) at Rebel Monkey Software is a move back into that space, and a very exciting one for me, presonally.

The Rebel Monkeys are currently in "run-silent/run-deep" mode so I can't say a lot about what we are doing yet except that its in the casual MMO space and that Project Darkstar plays an important part in it. As I can tell you more, I will.

So, welcome to the trees and if you swing along on the vines with me I promise at least the same kind of plain spoke, irreverent and hopefully thought provoking blog material I have posted in the past.