Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Syncaine insults Lum - Pass the popcorn

Scott "Lum the Mad" Jennings invented MMO blogging before people knew what a blog was, and thus has my highest respect. This year he started writing for, and delivered a series of very insightful articles, the latest of which is about How PvP Can Break Your Game. In that article Lum mentions the long series of PvP games that were failures: Shadowbane, Fury, and Darkfall among them. Of course Syncaine immediately reacted, being the defender-in-chief of Darkfall. And because Syncaine is such a reasonable and calm person, he reacted by throwing a bunch of personal insults in Lum's direction.

I don't think that was a good idea. Not only are Syncaine's arguments somewhat ridiculous, as usual (Darkfall is a bigger success than Aion, according to Syncaine, because Aion lost some of it's hundreds of thousands of players, while Darkfall added some to it's thousands of players), but also he has chosen the wrong target. Syncaine's blogs lives only of his strong convictions and emotions, while Lum mastered wit and well-written riposte a decade ago. If Lum decides to answer, that could be very amusing. Pass the popcorn, please!
I could go for a little Lum riposte action on that front. We'll see if he can take some time off from being an actual MMO developer to respond.
While I wouldn't want a war of words to happen over the internet, there's a small, primal part of me that wants to see someone get skewered with words in this context.

Additionally, Lum has actually PLAYED darkfall in the last year, making any comment he makes on it more reliable than anything Syncaine says about WoW!

I mean Lum's got firsthand and relatively recent experience and everything!
If Lum does answer, it'll just be more publicity for Darkfall which is probably what Syncaine wanted in the first place.
Well, if one is going to feed a troll against all established wisdom, one might as well make it entertaining.
All else aside, the core of Syncaine's argument is that "Lum lumps SB, Fury, and DF together as one example in the post." Just one problem: he doesn't, really. The only place he mentions Darkfall is where he's talking about developer behaviour changing pre-launch to post-launch.
It's like guild drama, only global, and in blog format.

Did you really think Lum's "PVP can break your game" article was insightful? I thought it was badly written, rambling and quite confusing.

Of course Syncaine's response was completely over the top so I didn't' understand that either.

I find it hard to get worked up about a blog war when I can't understand what either party is trying to say.
"Nothing starts more arguments on MMORPG-focused message boards and blog postings than the topic of Player vs. Player."

First line of Lum's article.

Good call!
Syncaine is, as usual, not very diplomatic, but I tend to agree with his opinion, as I do agree with Lum. Yes, that's possible. Both of them have valuable insights in their writings.

Point is that DF is not a failure so far and Aion is losing players, as far as I know.
Fact is also that Aion has a lot more players than DF.

The interpretation of these facts is something I don't care that much about. But I do consider that looking at the way the games entered the market DF had to start very small and Aion had to start very big; Look at their marketing and the way they sold accounts.

If a game-company doesn't have a vision, but consists just of 'realists' they make: WoW clones.

Point is: A developer needs to learn from other games and use them as a basis of his vision(s). He needs to understand why something works and why something doesn't work.

He needs to understand why WoW is still a terrific financial success and he also needs to understand why all wow-clones are not. He needs to understand why EvE and DF are growing and he needs to understand why Warhammer PvP failed.
He should want to change the genre, because others are already doing it and will have done it when your MMO is finished.

He needs to believe in his own work and needs to want to play his own game. You should never develop a game you shouldn't want to play yourself.

You need a very balanced person here. Somebody who played MMOs the hardcore way as student and the casual way as adult. He should have been a guild leader of a major guild, of a small guid and a member of both. He should also have played without any guild for some time.

In short: You need a highly enthausistic leader who can motivate people, knows MMO from all major points of view and at the same time understands why things are they way the are today. There aren't many people with these attributes out there :)
Again, I quote Dagjab the Imp:

"Can't we all just get along?"
I really don't understand, though I am obviously forced to admit the existence of, the "Trolling" gene. I would hate to be known for being a terrible person, even if it meant I got to get a lot of attention. I don't know what it is, but I would much rather have no one know who I am than have a very negative opinion of me. But some people (like syncaine) are so desperate for attention that it doesn't even matter that whenever their name is mentioned it is with disdain.

Why? Attention can't possibly be THAT awesome, can it?
Nils, the whole Aion thing is a red herring, though. It was never even mentioning in the article Syncaine was supposedly critiquing. He just threw it in as an ad hominem because Lum is currently working for NCsoft on Aion.
And with Lum having been hired after Aion was already out, and his job being hunting botters, not game developer, the idea that Lum could somehow be responsible for Aion losing subscribers is absurd.
I'm in the strange position of agreeing Syncaine. Growing by thousands is better than losing hundreds of thousands.

Assuming that the game is currently financially OK (makes more than it takes), as long as it grows it remains financially OK. Of course a game of 30K players have less staff than a game of 300K players.

But: if the game shrinks, costs must be cut. In such cases the decisions are mostly made by dumb managers who use to fire programmers instead of PR guys.

While I'd rather be the OWNER of Aion, I'd rather be and employee of Darkfall. And the quality of the game depends on employees, not managers (as we painfully feel it at every WoW welfare patch)
When did we forget the cardinal rule of internet discourse: don't feed the troll.

Syncaine hasn't seemed to do much more than make stupid/controversial/wrong assessments for quite some time now (although I did read his stuff at one point pre-Darkfall release), but everyone keeps giving him attention.
"But some people (like syncaine) are so desperate for attention that it doesn't even matter that whenever their name is mentioned it is with disdain"

The fact he gets 20% commission on players who sign up to Darkfall via his blog should explain a lot of the attempts to drive post traffic up via troll-like posts.
Well, just read the commends on syncaine's blog and you'll see that his little overzealous darkfall tantrum isn't exactly going down well. I distinctly remember this behavious from darkfall fanatics during the "this is vaporware" era.
It really must be something about PvP and people that likes these games ;)
He's obviously chasing page hits, looking at his flagging readers and thought he would post something stupid and inflammatory to get hits and possibly extra sales through his '20% commission' buttons on his site.
Lum invented MMO blogging? Haha, you sure about that? The WTFman crew, Dr. Twister, Imanewb, and others might have a different take on that. Of course, if you acknowledge them you would have to give credit to PvP-minded players, and we know how well that goes over around here.
I don't understand what it is between you two Tobold. It's obvious neither of you agree in the least on much at all, so why continue to carry forward this little tet-e-tet you seem to have going here? It was kinda of fun to watch for a while... but after a year (??) it's gotten somewhat droll for me.
I responded over on Syncaine's blog. I'm sure it will disappoint everyone who wanted MOAR BLOODS.
Sorry to burst you bubble tobold but judging by their dialogue in the comments section of syncaine's blog ( it looks like Syncaine and Lum are on track to become buds. Surprising, bloggers who can piss in each others cereal and still be friendly in the end.
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