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WRUP: We'll miss you, Miss Rubi edition

Eliot Lefebvre

It's official: After more than two years here at Massively, our beloved Community Manager Rubi Bayer is departing for, well, exactly the pastures we all expected. (It's nice to be able to actually discuss that, if you've been waiting to hear about that since Monday's column.) She's been a wonderful co-worker, a spectacular friend, and a sterling columnist through all of it. We are richer for having had her as long as we did, and we can only hope that she won't forget about us while knee-deep in community management for ArenaNet. She certainly deserves it.

Beyond the bittersweet, this week's installment of WRUP is here, with the remaining Massively staffers discussing our plans over the weekend. We're also talking about whether or not we could make a great game with $30 million, albeit with the understanding that we're mostly working from speculation. Check out our weekend plans just after the break, and let us know what sort of trouble you'll be getting into down in the comments.

Beau Hindman, F2P and Mobile Columnist
@Beau_Hindman: I'll be switching to a game called Cloud Nine for Rise and Shiny on Monday, but over the weekend I will probably be obsessively making my way through the dungeoneering skill in RuneScape. It's so much fun! Besides spending my usual time with Illyriad and Glitch, I will be making a list of games I haven't tried yet but need to for Rise and Shiny.

Could I make an MMO for $30 million? Of course I could. I could make an MMO for $1,000. The indie market has a ton of great titles that cost nowhere near $30 million. I have found that the bulk of big ticket MMOs are spending a great percentage of their budget on graphics, which is a real surprise when you consider how many of them have unoriginal art design much of the time. My MMO would be a cooperative survival game, similar to Wurm Online and Die2Nite, with a dash of Glitch and Ryzom mixed in for art's sake. It would be a browser game and would not require a bit of download. The age of large downloads is passing.

Brendan Drain, EVE Columnist and Contributing Editor
@nyphur: It's another weekend of flying around the EVE Online universe picking fights with strangers and getting smashed to bits for me. The assault frigate boost has turned the Ishkur into an absolute monster, though, so I may actually win a fight. At this point I'm mostly just looking for fun ways to fill my time while I wait to see what the next expansion will bring. CCP has been fantastic on development since Crucible, so I'm anticipating something incredible this summer.

I could easily develop an MMO for 30k, let alone 30mil, as all that's required for a game to be an MMO is an online server space where players interact via gameplay. I've already done that with a 2-D game experiment, and all it cost me was a week of my spare time. You could definitely develop something triple-A quality with 30mil; even one million would stretch pretty damn far if you make a sandbox, take advantage of player-generated content, outsource the artwork, and use a pre-built engine rather than rolling all your own tech.

Bree Royce, Senior Editor
@nbrianna: Star Wars: The Old Republic for me, assuming I can stop being sick for five minutes and actually get some playtime in.

I'd take some of the money and put together a small but awesome team of experts to make what would probably look like the unholy union of WildStar, Glitch, Star Wars Galaxies, and City of Heroes. Small and clean and niche. Then I'd probably spend a few years working incognito for my company a la Undercover Boss, just to make sure my bad ideas aren't greenlit on accounta I'm the girl with the bag o' money. Then I'd invest the rest because I'm boring and risk-averse.

Eliot Lefebvre, Columnist Extraordinaire and Contributing Editor
Ryzom, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and if I can find the time amidst other projects, perhaps some offline gaming on the side. This is going to be a pretty busy weekend for me, so finding that time is especially doubtful.

Thirty million dollars is more than enough to hire some programmers, develop a decent engine, and bring a game to market. The real question is whether or not you can make a game that anyone would want to play or a game that's adding something to a market instead of saturating it rather than trying to recapture an older point of game development. Every design decision causes problems, and you can easily wind up meandering around for years burning budget and creating new issues without getting closer to a finished project. Could I personally make a game at that budget? I'd like to say yes, but the only way to be sure is to lay out some design documents and see how it works out.

Jef Reahard, Columnist Extraordinaire and Contributing Editor
I'm playing Tribes: Ascend and Fallen Earth this weekend, along with some tabletop.

I'd be happy to project manage a $30 million MMO, and it would very likely ship on time and under budget. Of course, it helps that my team would basically be remaking Star Wars Galaxies minus the gooftastic IP and the licensing baggage.

Jeremy Stratton, Contributing Editor
@Jeremy_Stratton: I'm trying to push myself a bit and rush to level 65 in Runes of Magic. I figured I need about six more days of dailies to push my Priest/Rogue over the edge. A ton of available world-quests can shave a lot of time off, too. Then I can equip my intimidation hammer and ghostly wand and dish out some justice!

I'm not even disabled and I barely have the reflexes to keep up with this topsy-turvy world of more action and skill. Soon I won't be able to play them, no matter how much I want, so I'd stick to popular aspects of RPGs. Fundamentally my MMO would be built entirely around the economy. I believe if the economy and crafting comes first, the PvP and dungeons built around that foundation will be better than existing PvP and dungeon systems. I'd make a craft-system in which the best stuff in the game came from it, but I'd go to a harsher durability feature; you would have a quality and durability rating. As your armor took damage, you could repair it, but it would lower the quality until the quality went to zero and the item would be destroyed, no matter what. This would be just one small part of how my MMO would fuel a player-driven economy, which would actually up incentive and value to dungeons and raids. I'd also have an auction house accessible from anywhere, but the pick-up locations would depend on where the seller is. It would be similar to EVE Online's.

Justin Olivetti, Columnist Extraordinaire and Contributing Editor
@Sypster: I'm going to be playing a nice mix of Lord of the Rings Online, SWTOR, and Star Trek Online (yay second anniversary!) in lieu of any Superbowl nonsense. Others can spectate; I get my hands dirty.

I could certainly design a $30 million MMO, although my art and coding skills would be its downfall. I've always envisioned a fun MMO being a Starship Troopers-like setup in which you commanded a persistent team of sci-fi mercenaries waging war over a different planet every week. Think RTS where you are a squad commander and where, if a member of your team dies, he or she is gone forever. War is hell.

Karen Bryan, EQII, RIFT, and Guild Columnist
@JayeRnH: This weekend's full of playing "fight the flu," but I'll try to sneak in a little gaming. I might try to check out the Pay It Forward event in EverQuest II, and I also want to dive into update 1.7 in RIFT.

As for the bonus question, I could make an MMO for 30 million, but it probably would only be something that only I'd enjoy playing. That's not that groundbreaking, though, since there are tons of games that cost a lot and appealed to few.

Larry Everett, SWTOR Columnist
@Shaddoe: This weekend, I will be exploring SWTOR's endgame, or if it still sucks or is too much of a grind, it will be time to reroooooooooll!

I'm a fan of third-person shooters, and I think the Unreal engine is very versatile. That would probably be the core of the game. (Unfortunately that would mean a lot of chest-high walls.) However, the kicker of my game is that I would want to give a lot of power to the GMs and content designers so that they can not only create content on the fly but also react to the community members' storylines, which they develop. Yes, that would also mean a player-generated content system... and I'd hire Jennifer Hale for some sort of voiceover.

Patrick Mackey, Champions Online Columnist
@mackeypb: I'm playing League of Legends and Champions Online, as always. Surprise!

I could probably not make a $30 million MMO; as with most of the MV writers, I would have problems spending that much money on a game. I know a lot of computer science and graphic design guys, so I could definitely get a team together, but I don't think I'd spend much more than $1-2 mil making it. Either way, my game would be a niche, open world sandbox with meaningful PvP and "action-oriented combat." I'd try to make it as casual as possible, but I'd inevitably fail to make it easy enough and it'd end up like EVE Online (only less successful) with a reputation for hardcore jerks and a terrible griefer community.

Shawn Schuster, Editor-in-Chief
@epykbeard: I'll be continuing my Wurm Online rebirth, recreating my tools and house in the game after an unfortunate incident with a bear and a looted corpse. I joined a village this time instead of making my own, which is proving to be fun. I love the idea of starting a huge settlement from scratch with a bunch of experienced players on the new server. That kind of new discovery isn't in too many MMOs.

Why would I make an MMO with $30 million? Wait, how much do you think Tabula Rasa would cost at this point?

Terilynn Shull, Star Trek Online Columnist
@terilynns: I'm going to be playing Star Trek Online, of course! Got my main and 10 alts through the Odyssey/Bortas missions today but will need to run the Q dailies with all of them until Monday! Busy! By the way, the Odyssey is beautiful. She's yare.

Could I make an MMO for $30 mil? Uhm. No. I would take the 30 mil and invest it with people who do know how to make them. /smartaleck answer.

At the start of every weekend, we catch up with the Massively staff members and ask them, "What are you playing this week?" (Otherwise known as: WRUP!) Join us to see what we're up to in and out of game -- and catch us in the comments to let us know what you're playing, too!

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