Raph's Website

Raph Koster's personal website: MMOs, gaming, writing, art, music, books

Latest articles

Best practices for community engagement

I’ve written endless words on this in the past, but sometimes you just need a cheat sheet. Particularly these days when people who aren’t community professionals find themselves on the front lines out of business necessity or just because of the nature of social media. So here’s just a quick set of advice for those who find themselves speaking to members...

What drives retention

For better or worse, much of the games market is moving to games-as-a-service. Once upon a time, this was known as the MMO business model, because all MMOs were games-as-a-service, and virtually nothing else was. Obviously, a lot of GaaS games won’t be MMOs. Candy Crush Saga is a service, but it’s not an MMO. Nor does GaaS mean the game has to...

Mailbag: Parts of an MMO

Hello Mr. Koster! I have a school project that requires the input of an expert like yourself. I know you usually don’t reply to students, but hopefully you’ll reply to me. I am currently working on the concept for a open-world MMO and wondering if you can help me out. I know your major works are Star Wars Galaxies and the Ultima series, but my game...

Micael Priest

Portrait of Micael Priest by Sam Yeates Really broken up over the news that Micael Priest has passed away. Such a sweet man, so ridiculously talented and totally a symbol of an Austin that has faded away. He did the early art — like, most of it in the early days before we had an art team — for Ultima Online. He was a famed poster artist for Armadillo...

GameCamp and Tabletop talks now up

I have posted up the two talks I delivered last month. Sorry for the delay, but I caught something while at the first event, and have only shaken it right around… now, believe it or not. Four weeks of intermittent fever, coughing vehemently, and generally feeling unable to do much of anything. One, entitled “Tabletop Game Grammar,” was a talk at the...

POSTMORTEMS is out

My new book Postmortems is now shipping. If you pre-ordered the Kindle version, it should be there for reading now. You should be able to get it from pretty much any bookstore. I get a little bit extra if you order it through this link on Amazon: Paperback Kindle It’s a hefty 700 pages. Early reviews are pretty flattering, and make me happy; I am...

New book POSTMORTEMS

My new book Postmortems is now available at various booksellers. The print edition ships on the 26th. Various sites may have the ebook already, some may not just yet. This is the first volume of a projected three that gather together many of the essays and writings that I have been sharing on this blog over the last several decades. This book focuses...

UOForever livestream

I spent a lovely few hours on UOForever yesterday, wandering around and seeing what UO looks like for the first time in fifteen years. Much of that time was spent doing a livestream where I told tales of UO’s development, and showed off pictures out of my design sketchbook from back then, many of them things that no one has seen publicly before. It...

GDC18 videos

The GDCVault has posted videos of sessions from this year’s GDC already! That was fast! I’ve linked videos for the three sessions of mine that were filmed (a fourth was for a private event and wasn’t; a fifth was on the Expo floor and wasn’t). You can find them each on the page with the slides: AI Wish List: What Do Designers Want out of AI? (panel...

UO postmortem from GDC2018

I have posted up a page with the slides from the UO postmortem panel that Richard Garriott, Starr Long, Rich Vogel, and I gave at GDC 2018. We ended up doing the hour long talk, followed by an additional hour and a half (!) of Q&A afterwards. No video is available yet, but I’ll post here once it is — likely not for a few weeks. One thing that the...

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