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Interview Donald Teal

Jon Wood Posted:
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The brains behind Valhyre introduces his upcoming MMORPG to us

Valhyre is an upcoming MMORPG in the works over at Duck's Den Productions. The game features a wealth of races, interesting real-time combat and art assets purchased from Wish. We saw a demo at the Austin Game Conference in September. There, two Bastlur - a bi-pedal dragon race - waged an aerial battle. Recently, Jon Wood had a chance to ask ten questions of Donald Teal, the President and CEO of the Duck's Den Productions.

MMORPG.com: What is Valhyre?
Donald Teal:

In simple terms Valhyre is an online game that will challenge players to create their own story with in the context of the given lore.

MMORPG.com: Can you tell us something about Duck’s Den Productions?
Donald Teal:

There isn’t much to tell about Duck’s Den Productions. Duck’s Den Productions Inc was founded after I became dissatisfied with the existing market offerings. I wanted a game I would enjoy playing and from that desire, I created DDPI to be the force behind the creation of that game.

MMORPG.com: Currently, you are outsourcing some of the development of Valhyre to Colossal Studios. How does this effect the game’s development as a whole?
Donald Teal:

Outsourcing of the development has been beneficial in several ways. Mostly it allows DDPI to take advantage of the experts with out the high overhead of bringing them in house. It also allows DDPI to take advantage of the 24hour work day by having contractors displaced in different geographical locations. In this way I feel development will be accelerated over doing everything in house.

There are challenges to this approach as it takes a greater degree of management and coordination to ensure the diverse workers come together as a team but overall it is very beneficial to the project

MMORPG.com: The official title of the game is Valhyre: The Aftermath. The aftermath of what? What, in a nutshell, is the game’s story?
Donald Teal:

Valhyre: The Aftermath takes place in Denia after the Valhyre have battled each other in a series of conflicts called the “God Wars”. After the Second God War, the Valhyre decide that the only way to preserve what they have created is to remove their influence from Denia. The races now find themselves coping with the “aftermath” and trying to rebuild their civilizations.

MMORPG.com: Valhyre is being promoted as a game that intends to reach out to the role-player market. How do you intend to accomplish this?
Donald Teal:

To me role playing is assuming a part in a story and acting out that part. That role could be from the heroic warrior to the meek blacksmith making his living at his trade. Valhyre will support role playing by allowing players to determine their role and have fun no matter what their part in the story is. We strive to give the players the tools to create their own story. Want to be that blacksmith? Well then learn the skills, put your creations up for sale, develop your customer base, and hire those warriors to bring you the best resources for those rare items. Tradesmen tend to pick up lots of juicy gossip and information they can then tell to the adventurers. You will even be able to develop regular customers just on the gossip you offer.

MMORPG.com: It is said that in the current MMORPG market, there is very little room for small companies to develop hit games. How do you respond to this?
Donald Teal:

In my opinion there is plenty of room for small companies to develop hit games. As long as the company defines what they classify a “hit” to be. I feel it is the small companies that will be the innovators, and develop the cutting edge games that dare to take a chance with features the ‘big’ boys don’t want to risk.

DDPI is not trying to compete with WoW, EQ or many of the other games out there. We have defined a feature set we believe will attract our own market and feel that market is large enough to support our endeavors.

MMORPG.com: At AGC you explained to us the concept of player races “growing” (physically) over time. Can you tell us about your advancement system and how this plays in?
Donald Teal:

The reptilian Bastlur will age over time and change physically. Starting out as a youth or newt, the bastlur is wingless and tailless. As it ages to adult a tail appears and lengthens, and wings grow. By the time it reaches adult stage the wings have grown to the point of allowing a gliding ability for the bastlur character. Other aspects will continue to change as the bastlur ages into the elder stage, such as size and strength. So progression will not only be a mark of the “experience” of a character but will also be marked by the progression over time for the character.

MMORPG.com: What player races are there?
Donald Teal:

In Valhyre, you will find the sea loving Cera, the nomadic Eldin, the reptilian Bastlur, the rockmen Jarg, the naturalist Trog, the crafty Nilbog, and the ever adaptive humans. You will also find two races that are an evolution of the human the Vampyre and the Diashar.

MMORPG.com: How do you intend to respond to the many gamers out there who are looking for open PvP (or any PvP) in an MMORPG? Will Valhyre be using a PvP system?
Donald Teal:

PvP will be part of Valhyre. I don’t think you will be able to classify the PvP in Valhyre as a true “open” system. PvP will be heavily aligned along racial lines, but that’s not to say you cant attack those of your own race. The player decides by the choices they make who they will be flagged as PvP too and who they aren’t.

Let me give you an example. Trogs and Jargs have a racial hatred for each other. A Trog player starts out as PvP flagged to other Jarg players. Now as the Trog player continues in his story he may decide he wants to befriend the Jargs. That’s his/her choice, and will no longer be PvP to Jargs, but each action has a consequence, and by becoming friendly to Jargs that Trog player is now PvP flagged to other Trogs.

MMORPG.com: Valhyre is a fantasy MMORPG in a market that is full of fantasy MMORPGs. What sets this game apart from the others?
Donald Teal:

I think what will set Valhyre apart from the rest of the market is the ability for the actions of the players to effect the on going events. I also feel that the combat and community features will keep players interested and set us apart. If that’s not enough, there is the air to air combat.

Thank you to Donald Teal for doing this interview. You can read more about Valhyre on their official website.

Valhyre was just added to our game list today, so don't forget to cast your vote on their hype meter and comment on this article in this comment thread.


Jon Wood