Thank you Games Workshop

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As I stated in my earlier posting, I intend to spend a great deal of time and effort over the next few weeks/months thanking the people and companies that I’ve been fortunate enough to work with over the years.  The first of these posts is to a collection of individuals and the company that they are part of that has played a very important role in my life.  So, without further ado, let the games begin.

Over the past fifteen years I’ve been fortunate to work with some great partners whether it is in terms of licensing IP, technology or on joint ventures.  Without taking anything away from any of them, I really have to give a special thanks to the men and women at Games Workshop.

From the day we first met many years ago, they have been nothing but open, honest and direct with me in terms of every aspect of our dealings.  We started off first as friendly competitors, transitioned to friends and then to true partners.  They trusted Mythic and I with one of their most prized possessions and we did everything we could to deliver on a private and personal promise I made them 4 years ago.  I hope that they are happy with the results and everything that Mythic and I have done for them up to now and I hope, and expect, that they will be happy with the work being done going forward even though I am no longer at Mythic.

I will never forget the kindness that they showed my family and I, when we all came for a visit a few years ago.  They were gracious, accommodating and treated us as long-lost cousins.  My son became a lifetime GW convert on that day and he stills talks about his visit to Nottingham in a manner that is a cross between adoration and hero worship.  For that kindness, as well as the trust they showed in me personally, they have my undying gratitude.

My brainstorming sessions/discussions with Allen (please forgive me for introducing you to my favorite vice, Cherry Twizzlers), Rick, Erik, Andy, etc. were one of the joys and highlights of my career.  You all were generous with the license, open to suggestions, forthcoming with your own thoughts/input and you participated heavily in the early coalescing of the ideas that became the game vision document (not a game design document as that is an Orc of different color) I wrote for Warhammer.  Whether it was in a conference room, Bugman’s Bar (I really felt at home there) or at dinner, I felt privileged to be treated as more than a licensee.  I enjoyed my times in England more than anywhere else I’ve been in the world so far and Nottingham will always occupy a special place in my and my family’s heart.  I’ve always felt at home in England and your efforts, kindness and generosity of spirit and deeds made me feel even more welcome.

So, a special thanks to them and to everyone that I met and that I was privileged enough to work with over this time.  I hope this will not be the last time we get together and to Tom, Mark, Andy, Rick, Allen, Erik, Robin, Hugo, Jo and everyone else that I was so fortunate to get to meet and to know over the years as well as to all the people that make GW what it was, is and will be, thank you so very much.

With my deepest respects and admiration,

Mark

Sometimes things aren’t what they seem…

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And sometimes I should let other people’s words do the talking: ( http://www.igda.org/newsroom/newsletter_0908.txt)
If there is any linkage issues, I’ve added the full text at the bottom of this post.  We had hoped to talk about this weeks ago but frankly, other things (like the launch of WAR) took precedence.  As Jen’s letter made clear, Mythic had made this decision to amend this policy before Jen and I had a chance to talk, I’m sorry that that we couldn’t talk about it publicly before now.

There are a few lessons to be learned from this situation. Sometimes people are rather quick to rush to judgment on things. Along the same lines, I wish that some people had given me the benefit of the doubt before things got ugly or at least talked to me about things before getting out the tar and feathers. Jen, being the person she is, stood up and apologized not because she was totally off-base in what she said but rather, because she didn’t pick up and phone and call me before she sent out the call to action. If she had, I would have told her about N’Gai’s suggestion and that since that day, Mythic was determining whether and then how to move forward with it. The situation post-newsletter could have been avoided and I would not have had to go through some of the stuff I had to go through.  We see this sort of situation play itself out again and again in our industry and others. In some cases, people’s lives are derailed and sometimes ruined by this type of stuff. Words can be very powerful weapons, especially in the wrong hands and I know that this situation has again reemphasized the importance of my long-standing policies not to call out other developers or to engage in some of the character attacks (assassination is way to strong of a word) that I went through. I am far from a perfect human being but I know I am a good human being who is always trying to become better at this game of life.

For the strength of character to apologize for the mistake and for the even greater display of honor she showed by doing so publicly, Jen has my thanks and my respect.

For the great suggestion at a time when I needed it, my thanks go out to N’Gai.

FYI, I’m not denying that our policy was as it was, I explained the reasons behind it in various interviews and we are still reserving in-game credits for the launch team as an extra way of saying thank you to them.  However, we’ve also expanded the policy because it is a nice thing to do.  I’ll leave other people to argue over whether it is right, necessary, just, etc. since nice works well enough in this case.

———

Originally Posted by IGDA Newsletter
Dear Members and friends,

In the August newsletter ( http://www.igda.org/newsroom/newsletter_0808.txt ), I criticized Mythic’s credits policy specifically, and the industry in general, for not adopting inclusive credit standards. I’d like to set the record straight on a number of things that have happened over the past month.

When the credits story first appeared, Mark Jacobs, the GM of Mythic, was in the middle of a series of interviews in New York. After an interview with N’Gai Croal of Newsweek and Level Up blog, Mark asked N’Gai for his thoughts on the subject. N’Gai suggested simply putting the full credits online. Mark is in the process of implementing N’Gai’s suggestion, and in doing so, Mythic will move towards a greater level of credits inclusiveness.

I’ve known Mark for more than 10 years now, and he’s always been a strong proponent of the online games industry and an ethical businessman. Mark was honest about a difficult subject and immediately after the interviews ended, he began a process of formulating new credit policies. Unfortunately, when the previous newsletter was sent out, Mark, unbeknownst to the me, was quietly continuing to work on a new credit policy for the studio. Mark, I regret that my comments caused you personal and professional distress.

The Mythic team is also taking the following steps to address credit policies:
– In-game and manual credits will be reserved for the launch team.
– Mythic will create an online database listing the name and title of everyone who contributed to a project, regardless of current employment status. Additionally, the studio will make best efforts to provide this information for its previous online games.
– Mythic has committed to working with the IGDA, leading game industry history and credit sites and other interested parties to establish a credits feed, listing all contributors, to promote fair and accurate credit reporting across the industry.
– Mark Jacobs will consult with the IGDA Credits Standard Committee to offer guidance on the issues and challenges posed specifically by MMOs.

Fair and accurate credits and transparent standards for crediting remain a pervasive problem in the industry, and I applaud Mythic for taking steps to address this issue. I’m personally looking forward to Mark’s involvement with the Credit Standards Committee, not only because of his depth of experience in online games, but because, more importantly, his personal commitment to fair and accurate credits sets an outstanding example for industry leadership.

My newsletter intros usually end with a call to action, and this one is no exception. We must continue the dialogue on credits, and on other topics like quality of life, that have a direct impact on the lives of game developers. Get involved, discuss these issues with your peers, and please join me in recognizing Mythic’s new crediting efforts.

Once again, the IGDA’s credit standards info is at:
http://www.igda.org/credit/

– Jen MacLean
Chairperson, IGDA
VP Business Development, 38 Studios

He shoots (not the cute little pony though) and he scores!

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Quick shoutout to Syp over at his blog Waagh! for his idea of adding a developer commentary to the ToK ( http://waaagh.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/if-wishes-were-horses).  I’m not sure if that idea was already kicked around by Paul (I think it has but I’m not sure) but it’s a damn fine idea regardless.  I’ll put that down on our ToK wishlist as a possibility.  No matter what, cheers Syp, thanks for the great suggestion and as always, your blog, I love reading it.

So, what do you think?  Should we add a ToK unlock (user option as Syp suggests) for Developer Commentary just like DVDs?

A banning we will go, a banning we will go. Heave ho off the servers yo, a banning we will go!

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I hate gold sellers/spammers. No, that’s not strong enough, let me try again. I HATE GOLD SELLERS WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING. Ah, that’s better. Now, why do I hate them you may ask? I hate them for a number of reasons, most of which have been detailed in various interviews I’ve done over the years. And now that they have taken their obnoxiousness to new levels with gold service spamming, I HATE GOLD SPAMMERS EVEN MORE NOW THAN EVER BEFORE. For years, lowlifes like IGE have told us, in defense of their behavior, that they a) are just providing a service; b) don’t interfere with players enjoyment of the game. Well, I can’t argue with (a), they are providing a service, just like maggots I suppose but I’ve always argued that (b) is totally and complete BS. Now, those old arguments aside, I can’t see how this new generation of pond scum (new and improved, with 25% more scummy action!) can argue that their constant spamming of chat channels doesn’t interfere with players enjoyment of the game (I’m waiting for the whole “Oh, you can always just turn off chat” argument). I hated seeing their messages when I played WoW or any other MMO and I’ve been waiting for the day that WAR launched so I could have the absolute pleasure of instituting policies to make their lives more difficult so we could drive them out of WAR.

Since WAR launched we have been banning these jerks like crazy. As of Saturday Night, we had banned about 400 of them. My CSRs have a zero tolerance policy. We don’t wait and let them stay in the game and ban them en-masse, my guys ban their useless, time-consuming butts right away. We have a strike team whose sole job it is to get these guys off our servers as quickly as possible. This weekend, we unveiled a new wrinkle in the fight against them, the public ban message. Players on our Phoenix Throne server have been treated to special messages when a gold seller/spammer is banned. I’ve given them a wide leash to come up with creative messages to tell the entire community who has been banned and we keep it within the Warhammer universe. Messages like “Tchar’zanek has ordered the slaughter of [Spammer] and all others of his kind who weaken the Raven Host by providing wealth and power to the unworthy” have been seen all weekend. We will continue this policy and expand it to the other servers. We are in for a real fight against these bottom feeders and it will be a long and costly battle but it’s one we are going to take to them and this is only the first step. After all, this is WAR…

BTW, for those who might be tempted to think that we are doing this so we could offer our own service or because we do make money off their boxes (traditionally, gold sellers will quickly shift to buddy disks and free trials though to lower their costs) let me tell you this. I’ve been offered “a piece of the action” both personally and corporately in the past if I will either turn a blind eye or help them in their actions. This would have netted me and/or Mythic a very, very tidy sum, far more than we would see from box sales. My answer was and always will remain the same:

Go to hell.

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