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Jessica Mulligan; president of Themis

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2001 10:46 pm    Post subject: Jessica Mulligan; president of Themis Reply with quote

PLEASE NOTE I'VE BUMPED THIS. (first posted this back when still had 3DO running the show)

Biting the hand; Jessica Mulligan
Unknown at this time if the mulligan account is related to this person.
Also, I was somewhat happy to read last week that JumpGate, a semi-blatant Privateer-cum-Elite knock-off being developed by NetDevil, was picked up for publication by The 3DO Company. This is the type of game I really like to play, but I was only somewhat happy about the announcement because 3DO in 1996 managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by taking a huge first-mover advantage in Internet MMOGs and throwing it down a rat hole.

I refer, of course, to Meridian59, a massively-multiplayer fantasy RPG published by 3DO in October 1996 and closed down in August of 2000. M59 was the first true game publisher effort to capitalize on the Internet. If the game had been managed correctly, EverQuest would today be just another competitor. I urge you to click the link above and read developer Damion Schubert's post-mortem of the M59 experience. It is a rare inside glimpse of the beginning, middle and end of a ground-breaking product.

Damion doesn't touch on that one major aspect of why I believe M59 failed. Over three years ago, I discussed some of the reasons in a Gamasutra article, which concentrated on the industry in general, not 3DO in specific. What that article boils down to, and where 3DO made its errors, is that if you don't understand the customer and how he/she wants and needs to be serviced, the probabilities of failure are much greater. There can be no doubt that 3DO was unprepared to face the MMOG customer base or had any real idea of how to go about customer service online. They had no idea of the motivations, needs and desires of the hard core MMOG niche and it bit them on the butt, hard.

Maybe they learned from the experience; who knows? At least they are willing to step to the plate and take another swing. We can only hope more publishers like 3DO and NCSoft take the plunge, so that more of the smaller efforts get a shot

Last edited by MajorFreak on Sat Oct 19, 2002 1:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2001 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gamasutra's article she references

ack! stupid'll need to be registered. it's kinda problematic, but nothing too onerous...anyways, here's the gist:
Which begs the question: We're building it, why aren't the gamers coming to play?

I tell you this up front: The $9.95 standard pay-for-play fee is only an incidental reason. It is not the main reason people avoid online gaming sites. If it were, freebie service Mplayer would have far more than just 200,000 subscribers and the free section of The Zone would be looking at eight digit subscriber numbers. Gamers have shown in the past that they will pay fees as high as $6 an hour for access to some games. Remember The Zone numbers in the paragraph above? Prior to December 1, 1996, AOL's Games Channel used to have similar simultaneous player numbers every night. And they charged $2.95 an hour. So what is the reason the players aren't flocking?

It really all boils down to one thing:

Retail game publishers and most online game sites don't know diddly about online game management or customer service.

Players are looking for a safe place to play, one with a level playing field. If companies such as 3DO and Origin had done some basic market research before embarking on their online journey, they would have discovered one over-riding fact about online games: 90% of the work begins after initial development is finished and the game is deployed. Managing a multiplayer game correctly after the launch is the key to customer satisfaction and continued growth.

And boy! are they learning the hard way. Players expect added value for added costs, and that means proper game management. That doesn't mean just adding new features and game scenarios on a regular basis, which is something game companies know how to do. Far more important - and something very few developers or publishers understand - is having humans on hand to:

A) Train the new players, and;
B) Listen to and resolve problems as fast as possible.

The operative word above is 'resolve.' That implies the sysop is empowered to take action, and has the tools and authority to do so.

[ This Message was edited by: MajorFreak on 2001-12-20 17:04 ]
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2001 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If only they would listen.....
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2001 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

same search, different topic: PvP in MMOGs
Solid argument
Counter argument
These two have no clue about SIM vs RPG, so we'll giggle at their naivette. *g*
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2001 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

same search, yet another gem: Developer mindset
...However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that developers or publishers are malicious twits out to torture the players. They don’t sit around in the server room plucking the wings off flies and making plans to screw the customers, giggling insanely all the while. As frustrated and disgusted as the players may become at some of the antics displayed, the team on the other side is just as puzzled and hurt by some the reactions of their players. They have this vision of one really incredible game and they are trying to make that vision come true. They really believe they are making all the right moves, doing what is right for the game and the players. That they aren’t, that they don’t have the tools or skills to actually deal with a commercial environment that has different requirements, is one of the tragedies of our industry today...
You can find another reference to "willy-nilly" here. (that gem brought to you by the letters R.a.z.o.r.X.)

Last edited by MajorFreak on Tue Mar 11, 2003 12:31 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2001 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Me ranting on about 'The Bartle Bias'

BREAKING NEWS: Themis Group To Support JG!
Page2, Page3, Page4, Page5, Page6, Page7 and Page8

Last edited by MajorFreak on Sun Sep 29, 2002 11:14 am; edited 5 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2002 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only thing worse than the inhibitor chip would be a bunch of carebear GMs erratically banning supposed "griefers". Frankly, I probably would have MC farmed my way to 3 billion credits and quit (or at least let my account go inactive) if I hadn't been occasionally "ganked" and seen how much fun PvP can be. I urge Themis to try out the PvP aspect of the game and see how much fun it let's not try to have too many assassins waiting for them in unreg...or at least toy with them a while to get their hearts pumping.
MajorPhreak, Celnoriak, Phier and anyone else who took issue with the limited quote MF linked to in his post:

First, I urge you to read the whole column at MF rather puts words in my mouth with his assertion of "Okay, i've got an issue with Jessica's assumption that "nonconsentualPvP = the heart of roleplaying" is a myth. My issue is her devotion to the "Bartle Myth"; The connection between "Roleplaying"/"Storytelling", and it's personification in the Socializer Type."

Never said or implied that 'consensual PvP is the heart of role-playing,' nor has Richard Bartle ever, to my knowledge, tried to link the Socializer as the sole Roleplayer. That's just totally misreading his article "Players Who Suit MUDs," which was simply a dissertation on his observations of the player types in MUDs. If you don't know who Bartle is, he co-created the MUD in 1978 and has been instrumental in the industry ever since.

What I was saying is, this can all be better than what we have in most games, which is designers and GMs who, for the most part, just slip into an uber-character and go on a slaughter rampage. That's not PvP; that's just crappy design and laziness. There has to be a purpose to it, or what is all about, anyway?

The full quote of that paragraph, by the way, is:

Myth Four: "Non-consenting PvP is necessary to create conflict, which creates drama, and that conflict/drama draws players together."
This argument derives from the well-known theater, movie and TV concept that ‘there is no drama without conflict.’ What it ignores is that A) online games are not movies or TV, and B) conflict does not have to be an immediate life or death choice to create drama. Designers tend to ignore this, because it is so much easier to just set up PvP and let ‘er rip. If persistent world designers wrote TV shows, you’d see sitcoms in which the parents discover their child disobeyed their orders to not hang out with the local bad boys (the conflict) and, instead of spending the show deciding how to deal with this thorny issue (the drama), they just gank the kid and then go steal a new one from the neighbors.

Second, if you still take issue, that's cool. If what you want is PvP, we will make sure you have plenty of it (insert maniacal laughter here).

Third, a vehicle simulator is a lot different than an RPG. This game was built around PvP in certain regions; do you seriously think we'd try to erase that?

Fourth, the column was mainly about lazy designers of RPGs and MMOGs who don't have the creativity to build something better than "Work up to a certain level, so the rest of the players can gank you til we go broke and the game closes because you and your friends leave and don't come back." The consent switch is already built into this game, so I don't see that as a problem. If you don't want non-consenting PvP, you don't have to participate, in the general game or in the events and storylines that have it. Seems easy enough to me.

Fifth, Moll is in charge of Events and I guarantee you, she's no 'carebear.' Whenever I saw a character with a name even similar to hers in UO, I ran like Hades. My advice: Make friends with her now.

So, that ease your fears?

-Jessica "Flowers" Mulligan, aka GamerGal, aka Conflux Bait.
LOL! why didn't you say that in the first place? That's what you meant? lol! i read that whole article...hell, i've read ALL your BTH articles and never saw that little disclaimer! (guess you trying not to piss off any potential employers.heheheheeeeeeeeee)
thing is that in JG without uberships the GMs (unless very practiced in the art of PvP) will not be able to participate in any of the pvp related storylines, and as such these tend to die off quickly. This happened to both MG and 3DO.
    Its a fact that someone who is unemployed and can play for 15 hours a day will get better at SIMULATOR combat than someone who can only play for 3 hours (unless they're retarded)
Whereas in traditional RPGs GMS can just give themselves a sword of death, and gold armour (or whatever) and participate in pvp with the regular players on even ground. in JG thats not possible, a novice GM will get spanked every time using standard equip, and uber equip is extremely noticable (even minor things like whether the person is using sharks or thorns)

Thus the GM's, unless they spend an inordinate ammount of time practicing pvp, cannot effectively drive the storyline forward without reverting to posting irrelevent news postings on PJG (as MG are currently doing)
    MUFFY EDIT: Ie. No dynamic real content; No storylineposts/roleplayingevents that INVOLVE the players in any meaningful way in an official plotline that has continuity
There is no real answer
  1. If the GMs do a flux storyline they will have to fly sentis and run off a lot at 600v (which people complained bitterly about)
  2. If they do a pirate storyline the GMs have to either fly uberships to stand any chance in combat (which the players hate more than anything) or fly in normal equipped ships and get killed all the time (which will make for a weak storyline)
and as i understand there are very few plot devices built into the game, so i was just wondering how you plan on introducing story elements to the game?

and could you email MG the same wink
#162: Dear Banana_Man;

Now that i've had time to sit down and read your reply again, i've come to realize you're probably dead wrong on two counts.

1. You seem to think that there's a seniority rank table for combat flight time, and that anyone who has no experience has no talent. (there's this guy named FrstKor13 who was kicking Cruentus Legio's ass by week 2, and who got invited to join after 3 weeks playing the game)
2. You seem to think that there's only one true playstyle. pvp. (sorry, mate, but i've been playing this game since jan2001, and i still am not running around killing people for the fun of it...and i'm having the time of my's a shame you probably believe i'm "missing out" on the best part of JG)

Myth Four: "Non-consenting PvP is necessary to create conflict...."


"Although we would like as many people to enjoy the game as possible, the truth is that without the conflict generated by other players the game itself can feel like an empty one for some non-PvP fans. Although many players who do not engage in PvP say that they have a fun experience doing nothing but mining and running transport missions, the truth of the matter is that this kind of activity will shortly become a boring and empty experience. "

Hmmmmm. Interesting.
Diablo, that just means you have to have something for everyone. Just because someone might not want to be involved in a PvP event doesn't mean you can ignore them.
GamerGal (aka JessMulligan)

Last edited by MajorFreak on Tue Jun 11, 2002 9:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2002 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OMG!!! I didn't know that GamerGal was Jessica?!?! hehe...I gave her some money and tips on how to play...

***Passes out***

[ This Message was edited by: HiTekHick on 2002-01-31 02:47 ]
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2002 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jessica off to France
The Community Management Minefield
Best Practise In Content & Community Management
Feb 05, 2002 - 5:15 PM to 6:00 PM

Auditorium Debussy - Discover the keys to efficient community management, and get hard information on the legal and social issues that you face when users create content.

Jessica Mulligan - President - The Themis Group - USA
Richard Bartle - Managing Director - MUSE Limited - UK
Lizzie Deighton - European Online Community Manager - Electronic Arts - UK
Vincent Scheurer - Associate - Osborne Clarke - UK
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2002 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HomeLAN interviews GamerGal
where they´re discussing Themis as a company, their work with FunCom (AO), and of course NetDevil. Check it out.

fun fun...
The Themis Group was recently started with the intention of helping companies to improve and expand their plans. The company recently worked with Funcom to improve Anarchy Online and are currently working with Netdevil with their space sim game Jumpgate.
HomeLAN flunkie
la la la...okie dokie, let's do some analysis.

hmmmmmmm...visions of "spinning" Gbobs dance in Muffy's head...*shakes head*
    for any of you reading that interview when they talk about funcom reinventing AO, remember that lumthemad still had his site up during the bad days of's no stretch of the imagination to realize things got pretty darn nasty...the fact that both Gbob and GamerGal are disciples of Lum is merely coincidence. wink

    Having said that, Themis Group has to take credit (regardless of GamerGal's demure modesty) for PCGamer taking another look at it...
HomeLAN - How did you get Funcom as your first client?

Jessica Mulligan - We called ‘em,

HomeLAN - How did Netdevil come to be your next client?

Jessica Mulligan - We called ‘em,
What i took away from all this? Themis Group sees the end of the jurassic age of Publishers and envisions a day when online marketting and distribution will become THE modum operandi. (and they intend to be the old guard...with a very nice looking trophy set worth lots of cold. hard. cash.)

Beauty is truth, truth beauty--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
~John Keats

What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness.
~Leo Tolstoy

[ This Message was edited by: MajorFreak on 2002-05-30 13:24 ]
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2002 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Biting the Hand #23
her latest edition holds a link to a very cool gaming site within a site.
(about muds and gaming and stuff. cool layout)
"...The session by Rich Vogel and Raph Koster on Storytelling in the Online Medium was a tour de force. They showed a unique ‘cube’ diagram that describes the various methods of interaction and storytelling in a massive-multiplayer universe via context, control and impact..."
~Jessica Mulligan (aka. GamerGal)
You can find that essay here:
    Do yourself a favor and ignore most of the brownnosing "Developer Vision is a card you can play" speel in the rest of the essays. (careful. don't step in the bullshit; these guys are from Sony Entertainment. go figure where the bias is)

Last edited by MajorFreak on Tue Jun 11, 2002 9:04 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2002 3:15 pm    Post subject: E3 conference Reply with quote

Jessica hosted an E3 panel of MMOG experts

...and here's her post comments in Biting The Hand #26
heheh...hem. well, i can see she's an adherent of the "Homeworld" method of marketing: "All Game; No Hype" (especially booth babes...heeh)
    one wonders why we in the US server aren't getting cheesecake and beefcake NPC portraits like MightyGames has done, eh?
As for interesting tidbits from this issue? A look at a new concept of RPG'd character skills
Jessica Mulligan wrote:
On the other hand, everyone agreed that some of the design elements of Galaxies’ persistent world are going to break new ground. Here’s one example: Instead of receiving growth on a skill by using it, which is the way almost all persistent world games function now, in Galaxies a player will get skill credit when someone else uses something that player created. The better stuff you turn out, the more people using the stuff and the more skill credit you get. This concept is so beautifully elegant that I expect most persistent worlds to use it in the future. No doubt the concept will require some twinking to tune it, but we can live with that. Now players who want to be craftsman and have a real effect on the world will be able to see just how well they are doing, in the finest way possible: Automatic feedback from other players. Hats off to the whole Galaxies design team on this one. A few more interesting concepts like this and persistent worlds will become very interesting to play for a wider range of people, not just the hard core enthusiasts.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2002 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

haven't actually gotten around to updating this subject on GamerGal. hmmm...anyways, i have been giving them a hard look over. wrote:
The Themis Group is the industry’s leading provider of player relations outsourcing and consulting solutions and services

Buh wha? 'relations'...'consulting'...doesn't that conjure an image that TG helps ND see the big picture? The woods from the trees? doing the groundpounder slogging so that ND can be given a clearcut prioritized view of the community?

If this is the best CS provider available (and i believe it is) i think we're in trouble. The way a CS approaches the 'relation' concept can't be idealistic, it's supposed to be pragmatic (no illusions about that). But, the empiric evidence i've seen over a looooong period of time indicates CS groups spend all their time on the bottomline, so much so that THEY can't even see the woods from the trees.
    isn't that what 'pragmatism' is supposed stands for? It IS a method of evaluation, per se. (xrefer definition of woods/trees plus pragmatic)...great, i think i'm going to be studying philosophy asap. how ironic
What ends up is a cynical division of labour, not a pragmatic "wide angle lens" the spindoctors wax loquatious about on the news article sites.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2003 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
HomeLan does another interview with GM_Savant. Now, savant mentions a few interesting (revealing) things about "marketing" & "jumpgate"...the former seems to have him linking hardcore retention with marketing (instead of focusing on attracting newbies)
    the emphasis lacking a critical eye of "willing suspense of disbelief" and how to strengthen that aspect in order to IMPROVE marketing. duh
the latter seems to have him linking Roleplaying to what he's just described JG as being the sole best space SIMULATOR out there. now anyone with 2 brain cells with a decent synapse connection is going to have alarm bells going off, especially when the QUESTION was about the future plans of the games they service. (ie. our CS plans have a major disconnect with not only the community but with the developers; ie. not bridgebuilding)
    sorta reminds me of G.W.Bush's famous quip that he's not into nation-building while he scoops from the trough the corps laid out after he gave them Iraq free of charge with taxpayer subsidies
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