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Heatwave Interactive
MMORPG | Setting:Historical | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 06/21/11)  | Pub:Heatwave Interactive
Distribution:Download,Retail | Retail Price:$49.99 | Pay Type:Subscription
System Req: PC | Out of date info? Let us know!

Developer Round Table Pt. 2

By Richard Cox on June 07, 2011 | Interviews | Comments

Developer Round Table Pt. 2

Read Gods & Heroes Developer Round Table Part 1

It seems like there’s a lot of things planned for post-launch: PvP, 2 classes, Estates, Crafting, etc… How worried are you that this may turn off some potential launch day purchasers?

Phil Tittle:

Rather than one really large expansion way down the road, we’re going with much smaller, but much more frequent content updates. We want to start with really fun, solid content, and then aim for content additions after a couple weeks, rather than months or years. Crafting and the Auction House are both very close to ready. Community interaction has always been incredibly important to this team, and as such, early adopters will have a definite impact on the direction of the game.


Speaking of crafting, any hints?

Phil Tittle:

I’ve never enjoyed crafting in MMOs, but I tried our system and it just may make a crafter out of me. It involves some thinking. There’s no mindless mouse-clicking here. No setting up your automated mouse clicker program and going to another room to watch a movie. I really think the community is going to like it.

One of the problems with a lot of recent MMO releases is failing to launch with enough content available for the player-base, or underestimating how fast the players will make it through said content. Are you worried about the player-base working through your launch content too quickly and getting bored before you can get the promised post-launch items like PvP and crafting out?

Tim Schubert:

The people who burn through the launch content in an MMO the fastest are the type of people who will never be satisfied. We’d never be able to make content fast enough to keep them happy. The goal is to aim for the middle crowd and hope your core player-base is satisfied enough with the content you’ve given them to stick around for more.

I have to say, your use of Social Media is pretty impressive. Over 100k likes on Facebook. There are long established games out there that don’t have those kinds of numbers. What’s your secret?

Donna Prior &
Shannon Drake:

There are a lot of non-gamers and non-MMOers who are fans. Because of the Roman setting, we’ve attracted a lot of people who really like Roman history or just history in general.

How has working with the GnH Community been different from working with past communities?

Donna Prior:

Having worked on a large game (Star Wars: The Old Republic) and another small historical indie MMO (Pirates of the Burning Sea), this one is definitely different. This community isn’t as “gamer” as the others were. I have to spend more time teaching the community about MMOs and different aspects that members of other communities take for granted.

A lot of companies go in with unrealistic expectations, such as being a “WoW-killer.” You seem to be a bit smarter and more realistic with your expectations. What’s your magic number? How many subs are you aiming for? Or how many do you need to be swimming in a pool of money Scrooge McDuck style, err I mean to keep the game sustainable?

Anthony Castoro:

Oh, we’re very realistic with our expectations. It’s not about the numbers or beating any other game out there. The important thing is making a fun game. If the game is fun, people will play it. 50k would be good. 100-200k would be a home run. I’d set my hair on fire if we got a quarter of a million.

(Poll) What games do you play, other than GnH of course?


Anthony Castoro: Red Dead Redemption, World of Tanks
Tim Schubert: Team Fortress 2, World of Tanks, Modern Warfare 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Most Anticipated: Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon
Phil Tittle: 5+ years of WoW, Rift, World of Tanks
Donna Prior: Civilization 5, Winter Voices series, Deathspank, Sims Medieval
Shannon Drake: Football Manager 2011, Out of the Park Baseball 9


(Loktofeit:) What were some of the lessons learned as designer/producer for Ultima Online that you applied to Gods and Heroes?

Anthony Castoro:

As far as direct, in-game features go, the estate game and minions are both great examples. They’re both things that we wanted to do UO and either couldn’t or didn’t for one reason or another. One of the big lessons I’ve learned over the years is it is better to build very solid game mechanics, and then add the virtual world around it. Too many people are concerned with building the virtual world, but then the game mechanics/systems don’t get the same amount of attention and suffer. Both UO and SWG also taught some great lessons about ownership and transparency in communication. It is something we’ve definitely applied to Gods and Heroes. That’s why you see so many of us active on the forums and in the community in general.

I love the tidbits of Roman history and mythology you put out through your Twitter and FB feeds. With a lot of communities out there that wouldn’t go over so well, given the “give us game information or give us nothing” mentality. How has it been received by the GnH community?

Donna Prior &
Shannon Drake:

When we first started, there were some who didn’t like the “spam”. But there were a lot more who really liked it. Especially on Facebook, it was a great took in the push to get to 100k “likes”. The Roman setting and history is very deep, and as much as you may think you know about it, there’s always more to learn. There aren’t many out there who don’t like the Roman setting. It’s “real” and therefore more believable, more acceptable.

With your social gaming background (at this point Heatwave has launched one Facebook game and has a second in open-beta) how much social media interaction can we expect from Gods and Heroes and future titles?

Anthony Castoro:

You’ll see a fairly significant level of integration down the road. Of course the standard ‘post stuff from game to your Facebook or Twitter feed’ type of integration. But also other, more advanced features. There is also the possibility of a separate social game based on the Gods and Heroes IP. We really are treating this as a whole IP, not just a single title. We have a series of novels in the works for example. There are a lot of plans for active game-play elements from in-game to connect to users outside of the game via web-based or mobile apps. Stuff like the chat channels, auction house, crafting, etc all make sense and are possibilities.