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Koster, Raph

Entry updated 12 August 2018. Tagged: Author, Game.

(1971-    ) US Game designer who has primarily worked on persistent Online Worlds. Koster's first major contributions were made to the free-to-play Heroic Fantasy Multi User Dungeon LegendMUD (1994 Mainframe, Net), of which he was one of the designers. He was later hired as lead designer for Ultima Online (1997), the first commercially successful Western Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, and subsequently for Star Wars: Galaxies (2003). Koster's designs have focused strongly on the potential of Online Worlds to transform their players by both allowing and encouraging them to cooperate in pursuit of a common goal in the virtual realm, enabling them, perhaps, to become different people in the physical world. This vision, however, may be too idealistic to be commercially successful on a large scale; recent MMORPG designs have instead concentrated on the action and adventure elements emphasized in such games as EverQuest (1999) (see Online Worlds). In 2006 Koster left the mainstream of the Videogame industry to work on Metaplace, a technology intended to make it easy for amateurs to create their own persistent Online Worlds, whether as Independent Games or as social environments. The company owning the Metaplace technology was later acquired by Playdom, a developer which creates "social games" on Facebook and other social networking sites; Koster now works there as Vice President of Creative Design. [NT]

Raphael Koster

born Long Island, New York: 7 September 1971



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