The common wisdom given to wannabe MMO developers by those-in-the-know is, “Don’t bother!”.
A few days back, I went looking for some mmo’tivation: examples of indy basement developers actually succeeding at building a MMO. I wrote that Part II would be about the approach WorldIV is taking to development. Sorry, but today is going to be more stories of success.
Tide’s Horizon provided a rebuttal. In short, he wrote, “there are obviously some good developers and designers already making real products beyond the working demo the panelists describe? So, I don’t get the FUD over getting into the industry. And really, that’s all it amounts to is FUD.”
Some of the examples that he cites (Eve, for example) aren’t really basement MMO’s. At the hobbyist level, there are also examples of small unpaid teams of hobbyists building their own MMO’s. Thanks to the kind folks at MMORoundTable who provided a few additional examples.
Blade Mistress: While it wasn’t the most graphically complex basement MMO, it had a specific focus: a low bandwidth MMO. It wasn’t feature rich, but it did satisfy my need to click on things and see them die. I’m sad to report that as of June 1, 2006, BladeMistress is closing.
Eternal Lands: I haven’t played this game, but it appears to have an active following. Viewing the forums, there are 7000+ users, 200,000+ posts, and at least a few posts everyday. There were nearly 100 users active in the last 15 minutes (I wonder if the game integrates with the forums, somehow). I’m sure the developers haven’t retired to their own island, but they certainly have accomplished something good.
Wurm Online: This one looks very interesting. I only hope we can produce something that (on the surface at least) looks as good graphically. It opens its doors June 1, 2006. There is a free account option which I most certainly try. Side note: Not that it matters, but the game is powered by open source. See some screenshots here.
Infinity: A sci-fi entrant, still early in its development. I don’t know much about it, but their news section talked about recent release of a test-prototype. Congrats to the team!
Thanks to everyone who pointed me towards examples of progress and success in basement MMO development. I’m feeling mmo’tivated. I have no illusions about retiring to a private island having released the next WoW. But I also believe there’s no better time to be a basement MMO developer.
If you’re aware of any other examples, please post a comment. MMo’re mmo’tivation the better!
Stay tuned for Part III for a little bit about the approach we’re taking to development (or maybe not).