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Interviews: Rise of the Godslayer Q&A

By Garrett Fuller on February 09, 2010

Rise of the Godslayer Q&A

Conan has won the Most Improved Game of 2009, how did you achieve that goal?

Erling Ellingsen:

I think that would probably be a whole article in and of itself. We have tried to address all those issues that plagued players at launch, and I think that by and large we have achieved that. Throw in a lot of new content, new playfields and new encounters and you have a game that has come on leaps and bounds throughout the year. So I guess the short answer is a lot of hard work, and a good portion of faith that we could start to realise some of the potential that the game had. It would have been easy to just put the project onto minimal staffing and call it a failed endevaour, I guess some companies might have done that. We didn't and have continued to invest in the game. MMOs are long term projects and I think the success we have had over the last eighteen months is very much due to keeping focus, concentrating on the simple things and addressing each of the issues methodically.


What did you think the biggest problem with AoC was that you were able to fix in 2009?

Erling Ellingsen:

I think we talked about the progression of the role playing and item systems a lot. It really was the number one complaint from players since the launch of the game. While it also had some staunch defenders (who would still prefer we had kept it), it was vital for us to be able to provide good meaningful progression for players on an ongoing basis. It was also a lot of work! The systems revamp was a major undertaking, involving around a dozen of our systems people and coders over six months. It wasn't a decision taken lightly, and one that came with some risk (what if all the players of the game were the people who liked the fact that items and gear were effectively meaningless to the result of combat? If we were misjudging the audience we might have been left with ). So getting it done, it going well, and giving ourselves a sound platform that could be expanded upon in the future was the best development of the year. It was the solid foundation that we had been lacking. Without that system it would have been very difficult for us to continue to allow for meaningful character progression.

The game has seen players returning to the world of Hyboria, how have you been handling player feedback?

Erling Ellingsen:

The same way as we always do, it was player feedback that drove almost all the changes we made throughout last year. That won't change, as an ex-community manager myself it's an area very close to my heart. The team constantly keep tabs on the feedback, both in game, on the forums, via support mails and from our test server. As always with player feedback, we will agree with some of it, and disagree with some of it. It is always important to be listening to it though.

What changes can players expect with Rise of the Godslayer in terms of lore?

Erling Ellingsen:

I'm not quite sure that lore 'changes' etc, but with the expansion exploring a whole new continent, with a whole new kingdom to explore, with it's own history, lore and intrigue, I think the players will find that Khitai is a very interesting place.

How will the expansion impact classes?

Erling Ellingsen:

The alternate advancement system will add very significant developments to all classes, so yes, the expansion will most definitely have an impact on classes. Each class will have new feat trees available to them, with new skills, abilities and combos. We will be revealing more of the alternate advancement system as we move closer to launch.

Will the expansions help bring a better balance between melee and casting classes, what plans do you have for this?

Erling Ellingsen:

That's something that is ongoing. The latest major game update that rolled out last week had some changes there, and we will continue to address balance concerns in each major version. That kind of feedback has also been considered within the designs of the new alternate advancement system as well.

How will PvP change with the expansion?

Erling Ellingsen:

The expansion doesn't have any PVP specific features. That's because we roll those out as part of live game updates so that they are accessible to everyone. We have been working extensively on new hardware configurations to greatly improve siege gameplay (which should roll out next week), and also have a brand new PVP feature for the Border Kingdoms called the Shrines of Bori that is recieving very positive feedback from the test community. Of course, on a general level, something as significant as the alternate advancement system will have a definite effect on how PVP plays out as players will have new skills, abilities and spells at their disposal.

In terms of lore what made you choose Khitai and the eastern kingdoms like Hyrkania as a back drop?

Erling Ellingsen:

The choice wasn't just down to lore. Khitai was appealing because it allowed us to add some great visual diversity to the game, and also was an area of Howard's world that wasn't described heavily, so our writers and designers could explore some new angles and story approaches. I really like how they managed to tie it into one of the most iconic of the original Conan stories 'The Tower of the Elephant' and create a story that really resonates with the harsh world that Howard described. There are always repercussions for your actions, there is always a consequence. What Conan did as a young thief could profoundly affect his reign as king.

Do you have a time line for the launch of the expansion?

Erling Ellingsen:

Yes we, we aren't saying what it is just yet! As mentioned in the companies quarterly report we are aiming for the first half of this year, beyond that I'm not allowed to say just yet.

Have you been following the making of the new Conan film? What are your thoughts?

Erling Ellingsen:

Yes, the folks at Paradox who work with the license keep us in the loop in terms of the movie's status. It will be exciting to see the great barbarian return to the screen. Obviously the release of a new Conan movie will be something that we hope will help strengthen the license even further and bring more people into the game in the long run.