MMORPG.com: How do you see Chronicle working on tablet?
Sweatman: Last year the game was all running on iPad, and we still have it running on iPad at the moment. We’ve mainly been focusing on the PC experience at the moment, because that’s where the core Runescape community exists, and we want to make sure that all those guys can play the game from day one.
That’s been our main focus, but Chronicle’s a multiplatform game, so it will be coming to iPad, Android, both phone and tablet, and Mac and Linux. It’s always been the plan, but we just wanted to make sure our core community was served first.
MMORPG.com: How do you see the experience translating from large to small screen?
Killey: The game’s actually good to interact with on touchscreen. The main issue is with legibility of text, so that’s going to be the biggest challenge. We’ve reengineered large parts of the client so that it loads quicker and uses less RAM on tablets, but the main challenge is legibility, effects. Particularly when it goes to mobile phones, that’s going to be hardest I suspect.
MMORPG.com: Runescape is known for releasing content frequently. Are you going to try and match it?
Sweatman: We already have. Since Christmas, we’ve been releasing weekly. We originally set out to do monthly release cadence, but we felt that was too slow. We had so many ideas, so many things we wanted to add or improve, it’s ended up being weekly. That’s not necessarily what we wanted to do – to match Runescape – but I think it’s a massive benefit to us to be able to do that.
But I think the most important thing with a card game is balance, and we’ve been committed since the start to make changes when the community say something’s wrong, when we’re seeing the meta evolve into something that isn’t fun for people, or is a one-way street in terms of deck building. We want to make sure that we’re monitoring and changing things where we need to, and we’ve done that since the beginning.
MMORPG.com: What’s your secret to achieving that?
Killey: With the regular releases that we’ve got at the moment, a lot of that’s to do with the fact that it’s a beta. Once we’d got the beta there, we wanted to take advantage of that, to try out as many things as possible, iterate as quickly as possible, so we could get player feedback while we’re still in closed beta.
Once we move into move into a more open beta and commercial launch area, I’d expect it to be slightly less often, but it’ll still be more often than a typical card game, so you’ll be looking at a couple of times a month. Mostly though – James and I both worked on Runescape – you have to be very organised, and have very firm deadlines about when stuff’s done.
Sweatman: We’ve tried to make Chronicle as content-light as possible, so that we can edit it quickly. Coming from Runescape, and understanding that cadence, and what you need to do in order to achieve that, has been really beneficial.
Killey: Updates don’t necessarily have to be new cards – they can be new features within the game
Sweatman: We’re going to be building out that deeper RPG experience, so the additions we’ll make to the game will give you more things to do, more challenges, more things to explore. Not just new cards.
MMORPG.com: What will the open beta feel like? Iterate until launch, or introducing new features?
Sweatman: We’re going to be introducing new features throughout the beta. One is dungeoneering mode - that’s at the start of open beta - and that’s our draft mode. We want to bring some classic CCG modes in but we’re doing our own little twists on it, so it feels more like a dungeon crawling experience.
You cast away your collection, remove all the stuff you’ve earned, and you’re given a new set. The challenges that you’re going to face as you go through against other players are going to grow and evolve, and you’ll get rewards and drops, and your character’s going to move through a little dungeon as they go along. We’re looking at how we can set that up to be much more immersive and interesting as you move through those dungeons, compared to other draft modes.
But there’s a whole bunch of other things we’re going to be releasing in that period, like the campaign, which is the single player experience that we want to bring, again with it’s own twist on things.
MMORPG.com: And finally, what kind of business model are you looking at?
Sweatman: We’re going to be selling card packs in the traditional sense, but we’re going to be looking at customisations, maybe you can purchase XP boosters, giving players a little flexibility what they spend their cash on.
Killey: It’s a genuine free to play game, so you can earn all the cards through gameplay. Some are earned through levelling Legends, some are just earned by playing a lot, so you earn quite a lot of the currency that you can use to buy packs. None of the cards are locked behind a paywall.