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Development Team Interview

Erin McManaway Posted:
Interviews 0

Earlier this summer, the developers at Virtrium (VI) released a new content update that included a number of improvements and updates on existing game features. Most notably, the dragon’s Adult Right of Passage received a large overhaul, as did the Scholar crafting school. The function of the Scholar school was altered significantly and a whole new line of crafted items were introduced to the game. I was given the opportunity to interview the VI Development team about this new content release as well as the focus of future developments for Istaria.


With the newest update, the Scholar crafting school received a major revamp. Can you tell us a little bit about the changes to the school and the new items they can create?

Istaria Dev Team:

“We decided originally to change the scholar school in order to separate it from the spellcrafter school. One just seemed to be a near clone of the other. As such, the scholar school now has the ability to make spell scrolls out of a new resource called papyrus. Papyrus grows around and in sources of water, much like the real plant and is the 'paper' component of the scroll. The second half of the scroll is that you need a premade spell.

This means that scholars would be able to make and use a wide variety of spells from scrolls, ranging from gifts, to wards, to healing over time spells, and even special scrolls to teleport you. This includes some dragon-only spells (and remember, a dragon has to make the spell for the scholar first). Having a scholar in your party could be a blessing with all of the knowledge they have written down!”


The Adult Right of Passage for dragon characters also saw a number of changes with this update. What can up-and-coming hatchlings look forward to with these changes?

Istaria Dev Team:

The primary reason for making changes to this quest was because it was often difficult to follow without a walk-through or experienced player helping the new hatchling through the quest. The overall quest was also prone to causing players to lose hours worth of gameplay if the quest would for some reason break, or be cancelled at just the wrong time, as previously there was no way to reset just a portion of the quest. This has been corrected with the revamp. Now when one quest ends, the quest giver for the next portion is right there to continue the series. And for those who don't complete the whole series in a single session, the quests themselves are part of the "Quest Book" system, so NPC's will have an "I have a quest for you" indicator above their head.

In addition, a new "preview" quest was added to the series that gives players an idea of what they will experience when doing the Rite of Passage. While hatchlings can begin the quest at as low as level 30, doing so will cause them to both miss out on content, and require more help from others if they complete the quest at that level. The preview quest explains all this so that players can make an informed choice as to when to start their path to adulthood.


The VI team has been hard at work in revamping the content tiers one at a time. The major T2 revamp was released on the public client earlier this year. Do you have plans for future revamps and if so, can you offer any details about what players have to look forward to?

Istaria Dev Team:

Currently we do not plan for a full tier revamp in the immediate future. We hope that in time we could revamp the remaining tiers for our players, but right now are focused more on improving the existing content of the game, ensuring what is there works consistently and according to the design of the game, and on improving the play experience based on what content is in game right now. Full tier revamps are lengthy projects that require the full focus of the team for months at a time, and in the immediate future we feel that time is better spent on smaller and shorter term improvements to the game.


If you could share anything with the gaming community about Istaria, what would you like to tell them?

Istaria Dev Team:

We have been receiving great feedback from our current players that is helping us continue to improve the game. What has helped just as much are all the fresh perspectives that we've gleaned from the many new players, and players who have returned after years of not playing. This has helped us to see ways to grow and improve Istaria. When you're deeply involved in development for years, it's sometimes easy to overlook details and fresh viewpoint provides that.

Our commitment to growing and improving Istaria is as strong as ever and with each content update we feel we're meeting that goal. There's still much to do, as there always is with any persistent game world, but we've made great strides over the last couple years and are optimistic about an even better future for the community of players that we have.

I’d like to thank the VI developers for their time! It was a pleasure to hear insights on the newest changes in Istaria and a little bit about what the future may hold.


Erin McManaway