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Lockpick Entertainment | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 03/10/11)  | Pub:Paradox Interactive
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download | Retail Price:Free | Pay Type:Free | Monthly Fee:Free
System Req: PC | Out of date info? Let us know!

Interviews: A Chat With Jon Selin

By Carolyn Koh on February 02, 2007

A Chat With Jon Selin

Carolyn Koh had the chance to talk to Dreamlords Lead Designer Jon Selin about the upcoming MMORPG.

Hello Jon, it’s been a while since we talked to you last in October of 2006, and prior to that, it was E3. Tell us what you’ve accomplished in the “in-between” time and if there have been any more “massive” changes.

Jon Selin:

As always it has been extremely hectic over here, but that’s the way we like it. The last months we have focused mostly on tweaks and bug fixes but we have managed to sneak in a few major things as well. For example we have implemented a more interesting PvP system. Rather than just choosing to fight someone there are now several battle-maps with territories that the players can claim and wage war over. The designers have been hard at work with the content, recently we have been focusing on the storyline and expanding the role and choices surround the player’s avatar, the Dreamlord. At this phase of development a lot of our focus is mostly on balancing and tweaking rather than dreaming up new features. Oh yeah, we also updated our engine so the artists are hard at work squeezing out what they can from it. I don’t know exactly what it means but from all their talk about changing the materials and new lightning it’s got to be good.


Explain if you would the interaction between the Web interface part of the game and the RTS part of the game.

Jon Selin:

The dual nature is the core of our game. There is a slower paced long term strategy part which is played in a browser and a client where all the action takes place. On one hand you have options such as building cities, training armies and constructing buildings, and on the other you have real-time strategy, quests and storyline. They work in close synergy however; all rewards and loot you gain from fighting and questing in the client are used to further your goals when managing your land, and the troops you train and items crafted or traded are used when waging war in the client.

In the big scheme of things, building resources via web management, RTS where you command units… where does your personal avatar fit in? How important is he/she?

Jon Selin:

The Dreamlord, which is the player’s avatar, is at the core of the game’s storyline. From time to time you take direct control of the Dreamlord to resolve different quests and further the storyline, and also unraveling the history that predates the journey that the players’ experiences. The Dreamlord is always present when it comes to managing your land as well. For example, its basic power is its gnosis, which also determines how much people you can have working on your land.

Are you able to tell us more about your personal avatar at this time? Describe for us character development and customization in Dreamlords.

Jon Selin:

There are several aspects of the Dreamlord’s development. First of you have the traits, these are benefits that your Dreamlord can learn that will boost both his direct power but also influence the management of the land. Then you have equipment for the Dreamlord that you can gain for example from completing exceptionally hard quests. Just as the traits, the equipment strengthens the Dreamlord when he is used in direct combat but also empowers various aspects of your land. Both traits and Dreamlord equipment are persistent and carry over between Eras. Oh, one more thing Carolyn. I really don’t want to hurt your feelings or anything, and I hope that you can forgive me, but… there’s no painting of toe-nails or dying your armor pink in Dreamlords. It’s more on the dark side of the scale.

Can a player simply decide to play one part of the game and not the other? For example… simply build explore and build resources but never go into any RTS battles?

Jon Selin:

Absolutely, what we have seen is that players are concentrating on different areas. Some are going to such extreme lengths as exclusively focusing on something we originally thought would only to be a minor part of the game. For examples; there are those that chose to progress solely by trading on the market, or producing resources which they can sell. Others chose to fight monsters most of the time, and yet other to only play PvP. Personally I am very fond of the freedom of choice we are presenting, and we will definitely continue to develop the game in that direction.

Can these resources be traded, sold in-game or be pooled together by a team of players? I am envisioning teams of players or convergences, of say… some people who love the crafting / trading / building side of the game and others who excel at the RTS part working together. Is that something that is possible?

Jon Selin:

Resources and trading is a major part of the game, while you can’t trade directly with players outside of your convergence the game sports a fairly advanced market. On the market you can place orders which will buy or sell items as their conditions are met, meaning that you could theoretically could form some sort of economical alliance to control a resource. Working together in order to facilitate crafting is definitely a possibility, maybe even a necessity as ingredients come from very different parts of the game world. We are in the middle of implementing some balance changes to nearly all items in the game and, well, let’s just say that the crafters will receive a pleasant surprise.

Explain a little more about the concept of “Eras” and what happens to resources when an Era ends. Is it a use or lose concept?

Jon Selin:

One of the core concepts of Dreamlords is that it’s a cyclic game. Every once in a while when certain conditions have been met by the players the game restarts. It takes approximately 2-3 months for the players to complete an Era. When a new Era starts there are some things that are persistent; the trait points that the avatar has accumulated and the equipment for the Dreamlord carry over to the next Era. What is restarted is effectively everything that is connected to your land, but the Dreamlord is unaffected. Restarting in this manner is one of the more controversial designs in our game, but so far we have received nothing but positive feedback of the concept as whole. Maybe restarting every once in a while is a more natural process than being perpetually stuck in some sort of end-game as in most MMOs, especially since players often enjoy making new characters even in those games.

How has testing affected the way the game is developing?

Jon Selin:

Immensely! We do listen intently to our community, and while we might not have the time to answer everything, we read every single post on our forums. Every time we implement a major change or new feature we sit and hold our breath hoping for the community’s approval. So far it seems that we are going in the right direction, it is beginning to feel like a tradition that the issues that becomes the community’s biggest gripes are problems that we have already acknowledged and are working on fixes for. Either we are lucky or we actually really understand our community. But then again you know what they say, rather lucky then good.

Finally, the sixty-four dollar question (this is old US game show lingo)… When do you launch and are you ready?

Jon Selin:

As you know we postponed our Christmas release, and the new date is set to 15th February. The reason behind the delay is that we indeed wanted it to be ready, and now the game is definitely feeling a lot more solid. The strange thing is that here at Lockpick there’s not that much drama around the release. Sure, we are putting the last few years work to the test, but for us it won’t really change anything. We are still going to continue improving the game, meaning more patches, new interesting features and new content.

Carolyn Koh / Carolyn has been writing for since 2004 and about the MMO genre since 1999. These days she plays mobile RTS games more, but MMOs will always remain near and dear to her heart.
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