When You’re Not in the Know

I’m not sure if any of you know anything about or care about the recent “parting of the ways” between Mythic/EA and Sanya Weathers, but the circumstance brings up a rant from me that you will have to endure if you choose to read it.

Sanya was the “Director of Community Relations” for Mythic in Dark Age of Camelot and recently, for Warhammer Online. That is a fancy title for Community Manager or Liason or the myriad of other titles companies put on this task now. You might recognize the job description if you’re a fan of Rodney Hodge, Geoff Evans, or Al Corey.

I have subscribed to DAoC since it’s release and have always enjoyed reading Sanya’s little entries on the Herald, or her Grab Bag. I’m real sorry to see her go for whatever reason. I did not know her personally, but I am sure she was a class individual, judging by what folks who did know her say. Which brings me to the point of this long winded post.

Scott Jennings had a nice write up about Sanya on his blog earlier this week, and he did know her…worked with her too. He mentioned many things that she did there, ideas that became “mainstream”. Well here is where I disagree, not maliciously, but out of frustration I surmise.

You see, I hate to break it to him, but the idea (or gimmicks) of a weekly “Grab Bag”, close and more personal interaction with the player community, as well as real-time player stats was alive and doing well, before Mythic and Sanya had paying customers for DAoC. I’m not angry that he has paid her those compliments, no not at all, I’m just a little sad that the true innovators of those paradigms don’t get credit for them, because they worked for some small, obscure game developer that always seemed to get the short end.

John McQueen, back in the days of Warbirds fostered the idea of a dev company working closer with it’s community and making sure that they felt like they were part of the process, instead of just some faceless automatons forking over cash to play a game. Folks like Chris Sherland, Rodney Hodge and later, Michael Weber thought it was a good idea to keep in constant communication with your potential player base and ask for feedback regarding certain areas of development in order to maintain a strong community and loyal fan base…even before an actual game had shipped. Anyone remember the baby-shit brown forums?  Al and Chris cooking up weekly “Rat Chats” on a secure IRC, web based interface so that the community could ask developers questions about recent schedule upates and feature discussions. This was all done during the time that most developers didn’t even have an “official forums”.  If you really want to talk gimmicks, how about yearly conventions (bleed overs from the founder’s Warbirds days) that players can come meet and greet, drink, play paintball…alongside the very people that make the game they like to play and spend money on.  BTW: the next one is coming up in May, so get your liver ready.  You have to admit, this is not common practice, and not done to the extent that Playnet does it. Sure I’ve seen Quake Con, I’ve heard about The Round Table Tour…..but they weren’t the first, and not that innovative.

It really shouldn’t be that big of a deal, and as anyone around the office can attest to, I am not normally a guy who tows the company line, and no, I am not looking for a raise. I have worked a good many years at this company and although we have made some mistakes, we have done some good things as well…some things that other companies do now, or at least should try and do. I’m not saying they took our lead, but let’s not be so quick to overlook the accomplishments and innovative ideas that come out of a smallish developer that others pretend to pay no attention to.

I guess I will have to accept the fact that in the big bad world of game development, Playnet will always be that small time outfit that released that WW2 game that had a horrible launch. Not much is ever said about the good things that have come out of it…thus the curse of a game with “lowish” subscription numbers.

Planetside first MMO FPS shooter? I think not.
Dark and Light first MMO to have a visual range exceeding 1km? I think not
DAoC first to have a Community Liason? I think not
Anarchy Online first company to not charge customers after launch for a botched start? I think not

18 Responses to “When You’re Not in the Know” »»

  1. Comment by mwhitman | 05/03/07 at 10:02 pm

    IT must suck when your a small comapnay, come up with some great ideas, and a large majority of the world seams not to notice you exist!

    But there are those of us who know better, and appreaciate it!

    Whilst having been a gamer since the 70’s, this was the first online game I played.
    When you go and see many of the others out there you do realise what a special little community we have here and what a great bunch of people developing the game.

    Keep up the good fight, and we’ll keep correcting those who don’t know better about firsts! 🙂

  2. Comment by Stang | 05/04/07 at 2:46 am

    I’m with MW on this.
    I have been playin vid games since pong. WWIIOL is the first online game I had played and very, very reluctant to fork over a monthly fee. But just one weekend changed that.

    CRS has done amazing things and I agree with they’re vision. Very innovative. I just wish I could help out more. You guys deserve better props for what you have created.

    It’s what’s on the repetitive horizons that makes me all giddy on the inside.

    So much talent with out props. 

  3. Comment by Snail | 05/04/07 at 4:37 am



  4. Comment by Alan | 05/04/07 at 3:11 pm

    You tell ’em Jayhawk!

    Is there anything that Snail says anymore that doesn’t have the word “ironic” in it?

  5. Comment by Toto | 05/04/07 at 4:12 pm

    Rock Chalk baby!

    I should have mentioned Snail…he was one of the first managers to introduce office beatings! 🙂

    I miss ya amigo….what have you been doing?

  6. Comment by Snail | 05/04/07 at 8:56 pm

    Well…I have something that’s a bit over a 1000 pages of nonsense that I call a story.

    Then there’s an extensive finishing out of a certain game design which will remain nameless, but which would definitely set the MMO world abuzz were it ever to begin production. When I win the lotto…since I’ve grown wise enough not to trust my designs to anyone else. Ever. Again.

    Then there’s playing various games. I always wonder if you guys are around where I jump in and about.

    Then there’s all the other stuff of life…and me getting older…and older 🙂


  7. Comment by Toto | 05/05/07 at 6:57 am

    Bah..we are all getting older. Hey when you win the lottery, hire me. 😉

  8. Comment by Theophanis | 05/17/07 at 2:27 pm


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  1. Pingback by Adieu, Sanya « kfsone’s pittance | 05/03/07 at 8:13 pm

    […] Posted by kfsone on May 3rd, 2007 Toto, our resident DAoCer, spotted that Sanya has left Mythic, but was a little put out by part of Lum’s background on it with regards to the claiming of certain “firsts”. […]

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