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Introduction Interview

By Garrett Fuller on December 21, 2009 | Interviews | Comments

Introduction Interview

MMORPG.com's Garrett Fuller had the opportunity recently to speak with Sparkplay Media CEO Matt Mihaly about their upcoming game Earth Eternal and what players can expect from it.

MMORPG.com:

The game continues development; can you tell us where you are at?

Matt Mihaly:

We're in open beta and players are devouring the content. They're averaging over two hours a day in the game. Of course we're working on updates, fixes, improvements, and new features constantly.

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MMORPG.com:

How has the game's beta feedback been, what types of player reactions have you seen?

Matt Mihaly:

Feedback has been pretty positive so far. We seem to be attracting a lot of ex-WOW players who like the fact that we provide an in-depth MMO experience without the subscription. But there are issues we need to fix, especially around smoothing out performance. And of course, the players have a billion requests for new features.

MMORPG.com:

How has the item mall been working? Will players be able to keep their items at launch?

Matt Mihaly:

It's working well and we're adding something new to it every week. Players will certainly keep their items when we go out of open beta. It would be totally unacceptable to take away what they paid for (and I'm sure they'd let us know it!)

MMORPG.com:

The game offers a ton of races, what made you give the players so many options?

Matt Mihaly:

The motivation was a combination of desires. In order to better accommodate the streaming technology that powers Earth Eternal we have a limited number of player character body models that we use. Since all player races have to share those models, we thought we'd turn a limitation into a strength by providing a huge number of races. That dovetails with our wish to give players as many options with their characters as possible. We're not stopping at the current 22 races either. We'll add more.

MMORPG.com:

Tell us about some of the monsters in the game, there are a lot of varieties.

Matt Mihaly:

I think we've got quite a diverse selection of creatures in EE. We wanted to include both fantasy staples like dragons but also wanted to have a range of odder creatures, such as the Bookwyrm, the Chomper, and the Guinea Fowl. We've also been creating new creatures for holidays since open beta. Thanksgiving saw the Harvest Festival and the fearsome Turkatrice. The just-released Winter Festival is no exception. The mighty Chill King and his Chillkin minions are already wreaking havoc. (Protip: Kill the Chillkin for a chance at snowballs you can throw at other players.)

MMORPG.com:

What advantages did you have developing the game for the browser?

Matt Mihaly:

The main advantages are around the fact that we don't have to ask players to endure a gig+ download before they can play. A huge percentage of people who initiate downloads of large clients don't finish the download. It can be as high as 70-80% in some cases. It's worth mentioning too that after you've played EE once, you can choose to play it from your desktop or from a browser.


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MMORPG.com:

Talk about the plans you have for the game prior to full launch, will there be more updates?

Matt Mihaly:

Yes, multiple updates. Our aim is to continue to update the game every few weeks. I can't talk about what will be in those updates yet specifically but in general they'll contain performance improvements, bug fixes and new features both small and bigger.

MMORPG.com:

What are you plans after launch? Do you have patches and expansions planned?

Matt Mihaly:

Between both getting to launch from here and post-launch, we have a raft of features planned from PvP to our Groves system (control your own valley or island) to non-combat skills, expanded crafting, and more.

MMORPG.com:

How will players be able to interact in the game? Will there be PvP of some sort?

Matt Mihaly:

Yes, there will definitely be PvP, both of the arena game (capture-the-flag and such) variety and with a purpose to fight for in the open world. PvP will, however, likely always remain opt-in. You'll either have to go to an arena, flag yourself as part of the PvP system, go to a specific area in the world, or go to a specific server.