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Kingdom of the Sky Q&A #2

By Annah H on February 10, 2006 | Interviews | Comments

Kingdom of the Sky Q&A #2

We continue to learn about the guts of the upcoming expansion

Scott Hartsman, the Senior Producer on Kingdom of the Sky, answers more of our questions as we continue our bi-weekly interview series with the developers. Included are two exclusive screenshots. You can see them and a render here.

MMORPG.com:Have the developers ever thought of other alternatives to travel versus the merchant bell, horse, spirit steed and magic carpet? For the upper levels of the game, have you ever gave much consideration to other rare exotic forms of transportation?
Scott Hartsman:

Absolutely. The only thing we’re constrained by when coming up with what kinds of mounts to offer is the amount of time that it takes to make any given one of them. :)

It all comes down to how cool something is, how well it fits into the world, and the amount of time it takes to make it work for all of the US + Alternate character models.

MMORPG.com:In the last four months the presence of botters and farmers has dramatically increased on many of the more populated servers. Many players have noticed and reported botters and farmers, but for the most part the problem seems to be growing, not declining. Has the development team recognized this as a potential issue and is their anything that can be done?
Scott Hartsman:

Ah, botters. This remains a topic that’s near and dear to me. This has been a lot more than a potential issue to us. It’s been a large issue to us.

In trying to “build a better mousetrap,” as it were, we continue to make changes to the ways we’re able to automatically detect them even when they go unreported, as well as make improvements in how quickly we’re able to act once a report comes in.

In addition to catching people doing this in game, one thing we are now a lot better at since the last time I’ve commented on the subject is aiming for the source. The illicitly gained in-game currency that botting yields as a result. This weekend, for instance, we got rid of a couple ‘bot rings that had stashed away a very sizeable chunk of platinum and about 100 accounts used to generate it. It’s a daily effort for us.

It’s always fun to see which sites suddenly list “Nothing for sale!” after we do that.

MMORPG.com:Can you explain to us some of the new dungeons being released with the Kingdom of Sky expansion?
Scott Hartsman:

You bet. In terms of what kinds of targets to expect, the lore behind the expansion is very dragon-centric. Naturally, that gives the expansion a huge emphasis on killing dragons, and the Sky theme implies lots of other targets that fly.

There are around a dozen different dungeons, instances, and raids. A couple of them:

One of the first dungeons that people will likely encounter is the Sanctum of the Scaleborn, home to the Scaleborn Droag, servants of the dragon priestess Harla Dar. (The capital is actually the Temple of Scale) It’s an underground sanctuary found beneath the Temple of Scale on the jungle-covered lands of Tenebrous Tangle. (Many of the areas inside of it actually the interiors of the great Ziggurats outside.)

Elsewhere, you’ll find Blackscale Sepulcher, a tomb to be found in The Bonemire, home to the shade of a dragon who defied the will of his brethren and found himself executed, forever silenced, and bound to the sepulcher for eternity.

MMORPG.com:EverQuest II is now over a year old. As a sequel to a highly successful MMORPG how do you differentiate the two games? What makes someone pick EQII over EQ and visa versa?
Scott Hartsman:

For the most part, we try to keep the games from stepping on each others’ most attractive points. There are still plenty of ways for both of us to continue innovating.

As you might have guessed, it’s not uncommon for a person to spend time dabbling in both games, or to be a hardcore raider in one and play the other casually.

EQ, for example, has a mountain of content that no newer game will really ever be able to compete with and any number of interesting and unique game systems that have been introduced in the past years. It also has the hardest core raiders of any game out there – People gathering 60 or more characters together to fight the toughest raids is the domain of EQ. EQ raids remain the pinnacle of organization.

In EQ2 we like to emphasize the interesting things that are there for you while your character is growing up from 1-60, and then the endgame sits on top of that, where our endgame is aimed at groups of 12 and 24. The challenge of any given raid target is just as hard or harder than EQ’s, but they’re more approachable in that there are fewer people to need to organize.

We have the best in-game guild management and tracking system of any MMO I’ve seen, building your guild by leveling it up, collections in the world for people who enjoy that kind of activity, housing, brokers/fences, and a whole lot of other distinct systems that round out the world.

You can comment on the entire Q&A here.
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