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Bi-Weekly Q&A #5

Carolyn Koh Posted:
Interviews 0

The bi-weekly Q&As resume with the head man on EverQuest II

Scott Hartsman, the Senior Producer of EverQuest II, answers our questions as we pick the ball back up on this bi-weekly interview series with the folks behind this mega-sequel.

MMORPG.com: How happy are you with the implementation of the new character progression?
Scott Hartsman:

I’m extremely happy with it. I do think that the Archetype system was a valuable experiment, but in practice it’s just so much more satisfying to be able to dive right into being the Berserker, Necromancer, or Shadowknight that most people approach the game wanting to be in the first place.

MMORPG.com: Are there any plans for “racial” experiences, whether in the early game or the later game?
Scott Hartsman:

This was actually one of the big goals of the character changes: Greater distinction in the game’s various races. People who haven’t started a new character since might not even know about it.

Each village now has a quest line that describes your race, a little bit about its history, and how the race sees itself in the new world of Norrath. For instance, if you’re a Barbarian from Freeport, you’d need to prove you can be intimidating by defeating someone else in a screaming match. If you’re a Wood Elf from Qeynos, you’re taught to be respectful of nature and pay homage to a fallen Elven hero.

Completing these racial quests provides the player with a new, powerful item unique to his/her race.

MMORPG.com: Given the ability in EQII for any race to play any class, does race provide more than “flavor?”
Scott Hartsman:

As you can see from the last answer, if anything, we’re moving slightly in the opposite direction of “race as flavor.”

Your race needs to have some meaning. We wouldn’t take it so far as to assign permanently unbalancing effects to each of them, but making it more than a simple cosmetic choice only adds to the experience of choosing any one of them.

MMORPG.com: Was the in game economy based on any real life models?
Scott Hartsman:

Our game’s economy is more about attempting to deliver a satisfying and fun gameplay experience than it is about emulating reality.

Our goal is to ensure only a certain level of scarcity that drives achievement and fun, as opposed to us aiming for a fixed distribution of currency.

If an MMO like EQ2 had a fixed amount of currency in the world like a real economy, due to the wildly different amounts of times that people are able to play, one of two things would most likely happen:

  1. Either the distribution of rich vs. poor would be even more extreme than it is in the real world, which isn’t a lot of fun unless you’re one of the few rich.
  2. Or, people who spend the most time playing would have to end up earning progressively less and less for doing some of the same things, until less-frequent players could circulate more money around. (not fun if you’re the person who wants to play the most, and would be an inconsistent reward mechanic)
As long as we make sure our economy removes enough coin to keep the economy from getting hyperinflated, while still letting the average person gain a satisfying amount of coin in normal play, we consider it to be doing its job. :)

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Carolyn Koh

Carolyn Koh / Carolyn Koh has been writing for MMORPG.com since 2004 and about the MMO genre since 1999. These days she plays mobile RTS games more, but MMOs will always remain near and dear to her heart.