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Video Game Marketing

Indie Game Marketing from the author of the Game Marketing book, The Indie Developer's Guide to Selling Games. Video Game Marketing made simple... or at least as simple as I can make it.

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Location: Philomath, Oregon, United States

As you can see on the left: I am a professional juggler. The rest you can learn from this Blog.

Monday, August 28, 2006


So I finally brow beat the NCSoft guys at Gencon into giving me a copy of Auto Assault. Why? Because I worked with the Auto Assault Trading Card Game (which, to save you the rest of this post, is a lot better than Auto Assault- find out at www.autoassaulttcg.com)

I play Auto Assault with this feeling like someone had a great idea... and then investors gave their opinion, the marketing guys gave their opinion, and risk analysis specialists gave their opinion... and the resulting stew was not a delicious soup but a horrific gruel.

I know indies out there try to make MMOs every so often. Heck, in my opinion it doesn't take too much to make one work. As long as you don't spend millions of dollars and thousands of manhours it isn't hard to recoup the cost to create a small scale, small population MMO.

But: here's the professional analysis of where this great idea took a wrong turn down a dead end street.

First, what they did right:

Auto Assault is a car game. It feels fast paced, at times it IS fast paced. You can drive all over a fully destructable world and its damn fun to run around blowing shit up.

Here's where it all falls apart:

I'm sure the idea of having originality with your "class" system was discussed. Unfortunately someone with the idea to just copy a hack N' slash RPG won out. So you're left with the mad max version of a fighter, a thief, a healer, and a "pet" class (druid?). Worse, they had three distinct and unique races... and managed to make them all the same. So, in a world where most new MMOs bost a dozen classes (and some over 100); we're left with 4.

I can live with the classic four classes though, boring as it may be. What I can't abide by is how darn difficult they made playing it with other people. Look Dungeons and Dragons Online is on one side of the scale, basically FORCING grouping. Auto Assault is on the far other end. I tried to form "convoys" multiple times, but Auto Assault goes out of the way to make it hard. For instance most experience and gains come from completing quests, but two people can't share quests unless they're actually ON the same quest. The odds of running into someone who happens to be doing the exact same quest string you are are astronomically low. The only use in multiplayer is PvP combat and sharing equipment, otherwise this is a single player game with a chat room.

Also the game is riddled with bugs. Upon spawning my car's controls got reversed today. I've heard numerous reports that about half the skills in the game either don't work entirely or are so badly implimented they may as well NOT work at all.

Anyway: I love the idea of this game. I even like their main combat system (their ability system is kinda lame though). You run around like a bat out of hell turret and front guns blazing trying to keep your enemy in your fire arc. THAT is cool... but i've said it before and I will say it again. If I play a multiplayer game I want to play alongside other people- either trying to kill them or trying to kill something else WITH them.


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