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Destiny of Velious Interview

By Garrett Fuller on February 10, 2011 | Interviews | Comments

Destiny of Velious Interview
MMORPG.com:

Testing is currently going on with Destiny of Velious, how have things been going?

Dave Georgeson:

Extremely well. The team has been constantly fielding issue reports from QA as well as playtesting each others’ content and providing iterative feedback. It’s exactly how games are supposed to be made and we’re pleased with the progress so far.

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MMORPG.com:

The game has continued a strong tradition among fans, what is your biggest challenge from a lore standpoint when creating new material?

Dave Georgeson:

When you’re resurrecting content from a previous game, the challenge is always to not only be loyal to the original content, but to also provide new stories and insights into that old content. The team originally concepted how the old and new would fit together, but that has been constantly undergoing revision during development as people had better, more fitting ideas along the way. The tricky part is to ensure that all the various new ideas still are cohesive and are creating a better end-result and whole.

MMORPG.com:

Give us an example of your favorite experiences early on in the game’s history.

Dave Georgeson:

If you’re talking about original EverQuest, then Beta 4, before everyone knew everything about the game and exploring was a bold undertaking, was my absolute favorite element. I still remember the first time my dwarf was brave enough to get on the boat and sail across the Ocean of Tears. I’m pretty sure I was one of the first players to stumble upon Allizewsar also as I swam around the OOT mapping it out for my guild. (No one would believe me that it existed, btw.)

If you’re talking about EQII, then I was very busy with PlanetSide at that time, and didn’t play it much in the early days. This time around, my favorite adventuring experiences were probably Butcherblock (and all the original EQ references therein) and the first time I got to Tenebrous Tangle.

MMORPG.com:

Do you still feel like those experiences can be recreated with the new content moving forward?

Dave Georgeson:

Yeah. Absolutely. Players are extremely familiar with the game and the mechanics, but new content still provides that necessary thrill of exploration…and we also tend to throw curve balls occasionally also so that even players that are super-familiar with the game get to occasionally adapt tactics and strategies to face the new elements. New stories, new places, new loot…it all adds up to renew that sense of adventure that got you involved in the first place.

MMORPG.com:

What do you feel keeps a player in an MMO over so many years?

Dave Georgeson:

There’s a ton of answers to that question. A large part of it is that if a player liked the game originally, then they want to keep playing it, but with new stuff to do. (Sort of the same rationale for why you create game sequels without changing gameplay. It’s the “providing more of what they like already” concept.) Part of it is that players have made friends and many of them are members of guilds. Those are not easily uprooted or replaced in other games, so some players stick simply because that’s the world where their friends are playing. Part of it is the investment in time that you’ve put into your character and/or house.

But most of all…MMOs are fun! And good MMOs are rare, indeed. EQII is one of the biggest and best of the breed and players tend to stick with it for that reason, as well.

MMORPG.com:

When writing lore for Norrath, what are the core values that you stick too?

Carlos Mora:

Lore is a strange beast all to itself. Most designers on the team work on Lore. I know it’s the belief that only one typically does but we all chip in and typically only one designer interfaces with the community. When creating a new piece of content it can be difficult to stay within guidelines already established by previous lore. This is especially difficult when doing expansions based on the original EverQuest expansions. Typically we try to tell the story from multiple points of view. So, Tserrina might tell the story of how she came to be trapped in the Tower of Frozen Shadow completely different than one of her handmaidens might. But the message in the end is typically the same. Avoiding complete contradictions is the toughest part.

MMORPG.com:

Give us some insight into the Great Wastes of Velious? What were your ideas for the new zones?

Carlos Mora:

Ever since I joined the team a few years ago I have been saying that if/when we did Velious I really wanted to work on Tower of Frozen Shadow. Being a huge fan of the original in EverQuest. I felt I could bring the tower to places many players have never seen before. Including the fabled 7th floor which in EverQuest was just a rumor. I took the zone in a bit more dark and sinister direction and felt it was time to let the players live through what actually happened when Tserrina became locked within the tower. Players will not only find out what happened but might even be able to watch pieces of it unfold such as the Wedding scene where Tserrina is left at the alter.

MMORPG.com:

What impact do you see EverQuest 2 having on MMOs in the next decade?

Carlos Mora:

Well I hope we bring something new to the industry. We are constantly trying out new mechanics and new ways of providing fun and entertaining events through our content. My hope is that it will become one of those games that when you are sitting at a BBQ talking about gaming with some friends and someone brings up the name “EverQuest 2” ears perk up and everyone can relive their times playing the game with fondness. If I can create a memory that lasts with a player then I feel my job is done!

Dave Georgeson:

For all intents and purposes, what Carlos is hoping for here is already occurring. There are literally millions of people out there that have adventured through the world of Norrath in “EverQuest” and “EverQuest II”. What EQII can bring to MMOs over the next decade is a thriving, growing game that isn’t afraid to experiment with its own gameplay. The basic high-fantasy structure of the game will always stay intact, but the kinds of things you can do, the way the lore will morph over time, some of the dynamic elements we plan to bring forth in the near future…all are designed to keep the game fresh and fun for many, many years to come.

A regular retail game gets obsolete and old a few months after launch. The opposite is true of any MMO worth the name. MMOs get better, deeper, richer, and more fun over time because they never stop growing. The very best MMOs are the ones that also experiment and reach for new heights. That’s what we’re aiming for here at SOE with “EverQuest II”.

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