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MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 09/18/08)  | Pub:Electronic Arts
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WAR:Jeff Hickman Interview Part One - Addressing the Cut Classes

In the first part of our post-launch interview with Mythic Entertainment's Jeff Hickman, MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood asks a couple of questions about the four classes that were cut from the game pre-launch, when we can expect to see them in-game, whether or not they are affecting game balance and more.

In our next installment, Jeff answers more of our post-launch questions.

MMORPG.com:

Before we get into the Careers-specific questions, can you tell us how you felt that launch went?

Jeff's Answer:

“We had a great launch,” he said, “and I’ve played through every major MMO launch personally and I can honestly say that our launch was absolutely head and shoulders above every one that I’ve been through.”

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MMORPG.com:

When and how are you going to implement the careers and cities that were cut prior to launch?

Jeff's Answer:

Sorry folks, there’s not set date for this just yet, but Jeff had some interesting things to say on the topic and assured us that they hadn’t been forgotten and that they would be in the game:

“We desperately want to do some of these things that we’ve pulled out of the game… We do have plans. We’ve been talking about it for months and it’s very important to us to do the right things with the game. I don’t mean to sound wishy-washy about it. We’re going to [get the classes in]. It’s just a matter of how long it takes us to do the right things to those classes. We pulled them away for a reason and that’s because they weren’t as good as they needed to be. So we’re looking at those classes hard now and we’re looking at how long it’s going to take us to make them to the point where they feel as good as the other 20 classes in the game.”

“I firmly believe,” he said “that our classes… each one feels cool and unique in and of themselves.” He doesn’t however, want everyone to like every class. He told us that his goal was to evoke emotion from players about the classes. Players should love some and hate others.”

“We’re going to launch those classes when they’re absolutely ready,” he continued, answering the original question, “hopefully it will be fairly soon., but don’t look for it in the next couple of weeks. That’s just not going to happen. We have to make these things perfect or at least as perfect as they can be.”

MMORPG.com:

What kind of time and resources are being dedicated to the classes / cities compared to other elements of WAR?

Jeff's Answer:

“I have a combat and careers team”, Jeff told me after explaining that with a team of 250 strong, there are numerous number one items on the agenda, based on the different team divisions (UI, Combat and Careers, RvR, etc.). “On that team, these careers are the number one item” in terms of forward looking things.

Jeff went on to tell us that all of their teams right now are working on “improving the experience in the game right now that players see immediately”. He told me that every morning, he has a report on his desk detailing the top issues that players are having. This report comes from QA, Community and Customer Service. Every day, they look at that list and get to work on them beginning with problems for players (little bugs or glitches) and goes from there.

“Our focus and dedication is to making the game as great as it can be for the players who are playing right now so that they can have a wonderful experience,” he explained.

According to Jeff, that means taking care of the little post-launch stuff first (bug squishing and the like). Already they can see that list lessening which will leave even more time to look at the far reaching addition of content like the careers.

MMORPG.com:

How do you respond to players who feel that the lack of the four cut classes is causing balance issues in the game?

Jeff's Answer:

“I just don’t agree with it,” he answered. “I think what you find is that, and this is perfectly understandable... I’m not calling anybody out for doing this, is that what we’re seeing is a lot of people judging the game in Tier 1 (which is again, perfectly fine, you SHOULD judge the game in tier 1), but I think everyone needs to keep in mind that that’s the first ten hours of gameplay for a game that is hundreds of thousands of hours of gameplay out there over the next couple of years. As you move up through the game, you’ll find that the mix of players starts to even out.”

He went on to tell us that there isn’t much diversity in Tier 1, but that it improves as you move up through the tiers and the mix of classes starts to even out.

“The glory and also the difficulty of an RvR based game is that it depends upon who’s there. So sometimes, even in tier 2 or 3, you’ll run a scenario or be out in open field RvR and you’ll just get stomped. It happens and sometimes it’s because people who you’re with don’t play very well, sometimes it’s because the other side outnumbers you, sometimes it’s because you don’t have the right mix of classes… that’s all part of the game though. Next time you come back, you could win for the same kinds of reasons. It all ties into what makes the game great and what makes people passionate about the game.”

“So, do I want those classes back in? Yes. Do I think it affects the game without them? I think it does, I’m not blind to it, but do I think it’s devastating without them? Absolutely not. I think the game plays so well with or without those classes that to say that the game doesn’t play very well without them is just wrong.”

 

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