MMORPG: Can you give us an update on TERA, how has the game been over the past few months?
Chris Hager: After we launched TERA last May, I thought maybe we’d all have a chance to slow down for a bit. What actually happened was that the work picked up even more, and we have been busier than ever. We’ve done so much in the past few months, it’s truly hard to believe: multiple events, a huge content update with the Argon Queen, biweekly publishes to fix player issues and react to feedback—and that’s just the start. We’ve got our first Halloween event coming up, and following right on its heels is our first battleground tournament. There’s even more to follow, so we’re excited and energized about what we’ve got going on.
MMORPG: What are some of the most popular aspects for players? What do you find them enjoying the most about the game?
Chris Hager: Several activities are popular among our players—it depends a lot on character level and play style preference. Our battlegrounds have been hugely popular among the PvP crowd, and our political system regularly attracts attention from a lot of our players. We have BAM (big-ass monster) battles across all level ranges, and we’ve found that a lot of players like the challenge of tackling these guys solo just to see if they can.
MMORPG: Now that we are in October, what are your plans for the game’s Halloween celebration?
Chris Hager: We’ve planned a ton of Halloween fun for players to participate in, both in game and out of game. We’ve got an event featuring pesky ghosts that you catch and kill (again and again!) for great endgame loot. We’re also having a costume ball with prizes for the best in-game player costumes, with a few different categories. The feather in the cap is our Halloween event, which will start on October 23 and go through November 5. Without spoiling the story too much, there are giant jack-o’-lanterns, repeatable quests, awesome consumable and costume-related prizes, and a Halloween-specific dungeon with related quests. We’ve also got some fun activities for players to do, including paper decorations and costume ideas. It’s going to be an awesome month for TERA players.
MMORPG: What are your favorite parts of player festivals? What do players respond to the most?
Chris Hager: My favorite part of player festivals and events are the breaks from the normal day-to-day life inside TERA. I love doing BGs and instance runs, but it’s nice to try something else as you interact with other players and participate in some unique content that you haven’t seen yet. Oh, and the loot—I always like getting seasonal loot (who doesn’t, right?).
It’s also fun to see what the development team comes up with for players in large-scale events. I’m excited for players to participate in the special event dungeon we’ve got for Halloween; it’s something we haven’t done before, and I think the player reaction will be great (we’ve had a BLAST playing—er, I mean testing—it in the office).
MMORPG: Are there other plans for TERA leading into 2013?
Chris Hager: There are some very big plans in store for TERA in 2013. You can anticipate both the expected (large content releases, more events, and so on) and the unexpected. Next year is going to be big for TERA and En Masse, and we are working hard to make it equally great for our players.
MMORPG: How do developers work with player feedback? Whats steps do you take to see these changes put into the game?
Chris Hager: We have a close relationship with the development team, and as a result are able to make some good player-based changes to the game. We are constantly monitoring both the qualitative feedback loops (emails, forums, player chat in game) and the quantitative feedback loops (in-game metrics and so on) to determine what players are having issues with. From there we have weekly meetings with the development team to identify issues and upcoming game deployments and try to figure out how we can best address player problems in a short time span. From there we figure out if it is a quick, short-term solution or a longer-term fix, as well as if it’s something that we’ll fix with future build updates or an issue we need to address separately. After that, it’s a matter of researching the fix, testing, and deploying. It may sound easy and efficient, but depending on the issue it has the potential to get very complex. We always strive to keep a “what’s best for the player” perspective in our fixes.