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Q&A #11

Dark and Light Interviews - By Dana Massey on March 03, 2006

Q&A #11

Tough questions and tough answers from the folks behind Settlers of Ganareth and Dark & Light

Dana Massey and Garrett Fuller co-authored this Q&A with the team behind Dark and Light. In this article, we get to the root of the issues that have plagued this former hype-meter topper. The developers step up and respond to all our questions.

MMORPG.com:Settlers of Ganareth has simply let a lot of people down. You’ve fallen from top hyped game to #32. In the last Q&A you mentioned people were expecting Dark & Light when you were giving them Settlers of Ganareth. The response was less than positive. Do you have any other theories why so many people are disappointed?
Dark & Light Team:

The first point is that most people think that SoG is a beta test of DnL. We certainly did a bad job of communicating once we reached this stage. SoG is a specific game event, totally independent from the DnL beta.

Second point, we had a lot of server troubles at the SOG launch, with lots of lag. We quickly patched the game after its release with two important patches. These patches were key for us, but really disappointing for our players as they didn’t bring real improvements to the game. Now our servers are much more stable and we encourage our registered players to come back and try again.

The third point is that players were disappointed by their first impression of SoG which included many bugs, content troubles and a not-very-intuitive interface. It took too much time to fix it, with patches that were too large.

These points did contribute to give a negative image of the game to our fans who’ve been waiting for DnL for a long time now. We sincerely apologize for these problems.

But if the starting of SoG was difficult, it didn’t impede players from conquering the first territories of Ganareth. All the 90 baronies of SoG are taken now, and fans are still playing to win a fight in these occupied baronies. We can only recommend that players to come back in SoG; even if the balance and content are not at the level of DnL, the recovered server stability promises many fun moments in Ganareth.

MMORPG.com:You mentioned SoG “is not DnL” and that it was never your plan to offer all DnL gameplay in SoG. When then will you finish and test these other aspects of the game? Is the SoG version significantly different than an internal build that will eventually become Dark and Light?
Dark & Light Team:

Yes of course, DnL is much more balanced than SOG. It offers more gameplays like craft and quests; a deeper skill tree; more NPCs, villages, etc.

The system of building fortresses will be more interactive, thanks to the economic system in DnL.

Graphically, DnL has a new engine with significantly different environmental areas and a higher rendering quality.

Characters will also have a better rendering, thanks to MOCAP integration for fights and emote.

MMORPG.com:Specifically, what are the features you intend to hold back until launch?
Dark & Light Team:

No more features will be incorporated into SoG. All the features of DnL will be beta tested.

MMORPG.com:You mentioned in the last Q&A that you’d been doing in-game events since the start of SoG. Yet, one of the most common complaints we read is that no one has seen an in-game event. What do you think is going on there?
Dark & Light Team:

Yes, events took too much time to start in SOG. We also apologize for this. Events now start on a regular basis, and our players’ feedback is positive and encouraging. Among the daily animations, a big event starts this week: the dragon of the apocalypse, offering good prices. We hope our players will appreciate it.

MMORPG.com:Is Settlers of Ganareth currently acting as your beta test or is there a separate, NDA-clad beta test operating?
Dark & Light Team:

At the moment our beta test is internal and closed. The changes that are being done to “calibrate” the server and the engine are being patched too often and are too important to open a beta at the moment. The beta test should be reopened by March.

MMORPG.com:Some community members do not expect the game to meet its production deadline. What assurances can you give players that the April date will be met?
Dark & Light Team:

The official release date is April 27th, and our entire team is working to reach this deadline. It is short but in game development, each release date is short. We’re still confident about this release date at the moment.

MMORPG.com:What concerns in SoG have helped the game get ready for release?
Dark & Light Team:

Server troubles, definitely. All the criticism from our disappointed fans did help us to improve our server capacities quickly and efficiently, even if such feedback is hard to hear sometimes.

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MMORPG.com:How are you handling the bugs that continue to cause issues for players in SoG?
Dark & Light Team:

For sure, SOG is now much more stable, and many “no connection” bugs are fixed now. As I said before, players should try to reconnect. It will be useful for the next event, and the pleasure of playing is so different from the first hours in SoG.

MMORPG.com:Has SoG helped in clearing up any problems with PvP?
Dark & Light Team:

Yes, SoG allowed us to improve skills balance; the management of too many pets, for instance. PvP balance will be totally resolved during beta test.

MMORPG.com:How do you expect Settlers of Ganareth to impact the community and the game before release in April?
Dark & Light Team:

SOG had a bad impact on our community, but we’re glad to have experienced these troubles during SoG instead of during our DnL launch in April. We just hope that our community will have a better opinion about DnL after the next beta test opens.

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