How to describe it?

A great crowd of wonderful people, talking with enthusiasm about MMO games: what we’ve seen, what we want, what we liked (and didn’t).  Everything I could have hoped for, and in some ways, better.

ed: corrected and expanded, see the end of the post.

I was a little worried at the start, I admit.  2:00 came and went, and no one had arrived yet.  In part this was, I believe, because the room was changed from when I had discussed it on the phone: we were not in the Longford room, but rather the Cashel.  Hopefully no one made the trek and turned back after not finding anyone in the room I had listed.  The event display in the lobby, and the hotel staff both could direct people to the correct location, but…

The room itself was sufficient, quiet and temperate and roomy without being cavernous.  One thing I would change is that next time, I will arrange to have some refreshments readily available.  There were carafes of water, but no food or other beverage, and it wasn’t as convenient to get to the pub as I had hoped it would be (in part because there were 2 wedding receptions also booked for the afternoon.) 

By about 2:15, I must admit, I was alone and approaching “concerned” status…

Then people started to arrive and saved the day.  Ethic (Kill Ten Rats) found the proper room first (I should have had a badge for that, perhaps), followed by the intrepid Michael Zenke (MMOG Nation), then Cameron (Random Battle), Cao, and then I start to lose track of the order of arrivals… the remainder of the attendees were Jonathon Stevens (Last Straw), Cuppycake (Cuppytalk), Brent (Virgin Worlds), and Matt Cruikshank (who I do believe has a blog, but I don’t have a link yet).  Kendricke (Kendricke Tracker) was delayed and called about a half-hour before we had to break up, and we even had a remote call-in, late in the meeting, from Darren of Common Sense Gamer, who called just in time to head to the bar for beers… if he hadn’t been hundreds of miles away at the time, at least.

(links will be added, I promise… just tired beyond all reason at this moment)

The discussion ranged widely: there were a host of different viewpoints in the room, and a set of people truly passionate about what they were saying.  We touched just briefly on topics such as more complex NPC interactions, the roles that indie developers are likely to play in developing both products and markets, and some of the types of variation in game play we’d like to see (at least some of us).  There was a discussion about what value MMOGs actually have to people who mostly play alone (“why isn’t NWN good enough?”), and a brief shaking of heads over the ubiquitous “kill 10 rats” quest… (it is a good name for a blog, tho…)

There was some discussion of WoW.  🙂  And hypothetical WoW-killers.  And what a WoW-killer would actually be defined as.  And whether there really could be such a thing in the first place.

SW:G got mentioned a couple times, as well.  😉

Bottom line: for me, it was the perfect way to spend an afternoon, and I certainly hope everyone else found it enjoyable as well.

I am tentatively planning to schedule another get-together next month, there was an expression of interest.  I mentioned first Saturday, but a couple of people pointed out that the first Saturday of July will (obviously) be the week of the 4th, which could be problematic, so I’m going to instead pencil in the 14th.

Brent suggested that perhaps we could at least have a “theme topic” for each meeting, to give people a little time to think ahead about what they’d like to say.  If said topic gets “mined out” early on… heh, given today, I’m sure we can think of something to continue with.  If anyone has a topic they’d really like to discuss in detail, please let me know.  Also, if you have anything you’d like to show off, or run by people for feedback… I do think this group could be an excellent resource for that.

I’ll link to any other wrap-ups and post-mortems in updates to this post.  I’m fast approaching obliviousness… (one of my failings: I’m an extreme introvert… this social kind of thing actually drains me more than working 36 hours straight.  But I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.)

To all of you that made it, and made it great : my deepest thanks.  You rock.

Other posts and feedback related to the meeting can be found at Cuppytalk and Kill Ten Rats.  We already had a few RSVPs at meetup.com for the next one… it’s going to be fun.

(ed: finally added links above… and added the below as well.)

We also, at the very end of the meeting, went around the room and had each person suggest a game to try: either one that might not have hit our individual radar and had some quirk or feature of interest, or a game we are really looking forward to, or perhaps just whatever was ruling our world at this moment in time.  Here’s the list (thanks to Matt Cruikshank who got it all written down), with links to official sites and/or playable demos…

Saga of Ryzom  http://www.ryzom.com
Tomb Raider: Legend http://www.tombraider.com/legend/
Inselkampf   http://www.inselkampf.com
Zelda, Twilight Princess http://www.zelda.com/universe/game/legendzelda/
Gears of War http://gearsofwar.com/
Pokemon Diamond (DS) http://www.pokemon-games.com
Puzzle Quest (DS, PSP) – demo online http://www.infinite-interactive.com/puzzlequest/
Toon Town http://www.toontown.com
Roma Victor http://www.roma-victor.com/
Warhammer Online http://www.warhammeronline.com
Viva Pinata (360) http://www.vivapinata.com
Minions of Mirth http://www.prairiegames.com/
Fractured Universe http://www.fractureduniverse.com/
Chronicles of Spellbourne (TCOS?) http://www.tcos.com
Lord of the Rings Online http://www.lotro.com/

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