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11:07am on Thursday, 19th July, 2007:

Rather Too Broken


The discussion of "Bartle wants to close World of Warcraft, dance on its grave and curse its descendents for seven generations" that has been occurring on the Internet as a result of my Guardian interview has continued to rage. As I mentioned yesterday, the most intelligent thread seems to be over on Broken Toys, where a good many people actually figured it was a thought experiment rather than a suicide note. I didn't want to disrupt the discussion by participating in it, but there were a couple of points raised there that could have left people with a false impression, so I spent about 40 minutes answering them.

Then, this happened:

Oh, and the posting box was empty, too, so I couldn't swiftly cut it to paste elsewhere.

With this in mind, I thought I'd briefly repeat here in QBlog what I said in much more carefully thought-out words for Broken Toys.

Steve>Why hasn't anyone given him a lead design spot? Who says they haven't tried? I think Bartle hasn't got a position in the game industry because they can't compete with the ivory tower. As a professional lecturer, no one can hold him accountable for anything, and he must be getting paid pretty well, if the MMO companies can't compete. He laid out in the interview what it would take to get him into the industry: a $50 million budget.

OK, so regular readers of QBlog will know what's coming here, but I'll summarise.

Life in this particular ivory tower is bordering on purgatory. As a professional lecturer, no-one can hold me accountable for anything I do research-wise, but they can for what I do with the administration they dump on me. This summer, for example, I have the joyful task of analysing the potential of Indonesia as a potential source of students for our postgraduate electronics and computer science degrees, and ascertaining what courses they would like us to put on. Riveting stuff, as I'm sure you agree. What better way could there be to spend a summer than Googling statistics for Indonesian industry needs and writing a report on the subject?

As for being paid well — ha! Even if I were full time (rather than half-time, which I am in pay if not in practice), I'd still be getting less than half what my wife is paid for programming at a bank.

I do have industry jobs in the sense that I undertake consultancy work, but none of those engagements involve my designing a virtual world (just commenting on other folks' designs). There are many reasons why I don't work in industry, all of which I would doubtless discover if someone actually offered me a job there. As it is, I get hatfulls of offers for academic jobs, but none from industry.

Oh, and the $50m figure isn't budgeted. I hike it up every time I'm asked, taking the view that eventually it'll be big enough that someone will give me it.

DaveT>There's something important about this apparent contradiction but it eludes me, please share your thoughts Professor.

OK, the question here is why do I say I only need to play for a few hours to get a feel for a virtual world, and yet I have three level 70s in WoW?

The answer is here, here, here and here.

I realise this doesn't really help my "please don't burn effigies of me, or, indeed, burn me" argument.

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).