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Interview With Matt Firor - Executive Producer & VP of Development

Reed Hubbard Posted:
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Dark Age of Camelot, Mythic Entertainment's venerable fantasy-themed MMORPG, has established itself as one of the giants in the genre. While much of the industry hype and fanfare centers on new, highly anticipated titles, Camelot has maintained its favored status among gamers through attention to the game and to the community at large. Camelot remains one of the most highly rated games here at MMORPG.com, and for good reason. Mythic continues to hone the game and has shown unwavering support for Camelot's player base.

This summer saw the release of New Frontiers, a free upgrade that greatly overhauled the Realm vs. Realm (RvR) aspect of the game. Next, Mythic plans to release Catacombs, an expansion that includes new character models, new classes, and instanced environments for both novice and experienced players. With five expansions released and/or announced for the game, Dark Age of Camelot is as strong as ever and continues to garner new players.

We had the opportunity to speak with Matt Firor, Executive Producer and Vice President of Development for Mythic. Along with current and future plans for Dark Age of Camelot, Matt was kind enough to share information regarding Imperator, Mythic's Roman-themed persistent world currently in development.

MMORPG.com: Recently Mythic offered Dark Age of Camelot players a free expansion in New Frontiers. What has the general reaction been from the player community and how satisfied is the development team with the success of the expansion?
Matt Firor, Mythic: We've had a great reaction to New Frontiers from the community. Of course no expansion of this magnitude goes without some sort of problem, and this was no exception. We had many of the main complaints resolved in the first few days after launch, and - as always - work hard to ensure that the community is happy with the game. As developers, we are very happy with what we accomplished with New Frontiers. Basically we re-architected the core of the game into a more cohesive whole while maintaining the spirit of the original. This is very difficult to do.
MMORPG.com: The next big thing for Camelot is the Catacombs expansion. Arguably the most discussed upgrade in Catacombs is the reworking of character models. Under these new models, will players be given more latitude in creating the look of their avatars? If so, what aspects of a character's appearance will be customizable?
Firor: Yes, we will allow players to customize their characters to a much greater scale than in previous versions of Camelot.
MMORPG.COM: With the graphics changes, will we see new or augmented spell effects, attack styles and/or emotes?
Firor: The new classes will have new spell effects, but in general we're happy with those. You will, however, see all-new attack, emote, and other player animations in Catacombs.
MMORPG.COM: Another well anticipated feature of Catacombs is instanced environments. Will most combative areas of the expansion incorporate instancing or will there be a number of static, common dungeon areas as well?
Firor: There will be a mix of both. We're also enhancing some of the older dungeons in the original world with better visual effects to make them more appealing.
MMORPG.COM: In Dark Age of Camelot, players that die and release in PvE may return to their grave to regain some lost experience. This is easy enough in a static world, but if a player dies in a dynamic instanced dungeon, how will he be able to revisit his grave?
Firor: We're working on that very system right now. Suffice it to say, we'll figure out a system to let them do just that.
MMORPG.COM: Many members of the community are excited about the new classes that will be introduced in Catacombs. How much information can you share about the new classes? Will there be more than one new class per realm?
Firor: No specific details yet - but I can tell you that Hibernia and Midgard will get two new classes, and Albion will get one. We're doing this to encourage more people to play in Realms other than Albion, as it tends to have more players than the other two.
MMORPG.COM: One of the more common pitfalls of MMORPG expansions in general is that the introduction of newer items often tends to render the extant items less desirable or obsolete. Are steps are being taken to maintain the desirability of existing items while introducing exciting new armor, weapons, jewelry, etc.?
Firor: Yes, and in Camelot terms this means that we're minimizing the effect of Catacombs items and abilities on RvR combat. The design goal is to make it so if you don't purchase Catacombs, you'll still be able to compete in RvR.
MMORPG.COM: How will travel be implemented in Catacombs? Will we see a further exploration of the "portal" style of travel (as with djinn stones in Trials of Atlantis and portal stones in New Frontiers) or a reliance on more traditional methods of conveyance (horses, lyrists)?
Firor: Great question. We have some surprises for you there. You'll have to wait and see!
MMORPG.COM: One of the biggest hits of the New Frontiers expansion has been the multi-realm dungeon Passage of Conflict. Will we see some multi-realm or RvR areas included in Catacombs?
Firor: Catacombs is being designed as a PvE expansion, with minimal impact on RvR. As such, our current plan is to not include RvR areas.
MMORPG.COM: While other persistent worlds have chosen to increase level limits, the ultimate character level for players in Camelot remains 50. No level upgrade has been announced for Catacombs. Is it safe to say that 50 will remain the top limit, or will players eventually see the ceiling raised?
Firor: For the foreseeable future. We've added in additional leveling (Realm Abilities, Master Levels) over time, so we don't see a need to raise the maximum level cap right now.
MMORPG.COM: Catacombs will mark the fifth expansion for Dark Age of Camelot. The community seems as strong as ever and the game remains one of the most popular persistent worlds on the market. What do you see as the future of Camelot? Can players expect further expansions beyond Catacombs?
Firor: Absolutely - we'll make expansions for Camelot for as long as there is a community to support it.
MMORPG.COM: I hesitate to ask this question, as it has been addressed before (by Mark Jacobs, no less), but is there a chance the future will bring a Dark Age of Camelot II?
Firor: We've always had the opinion that an MMORPG doesn't need a version II. Our goal is to constantly update Camelot with new content and graphics on an ongoing basis so that it remains competitive with each new MMO that gets released. Any new game that we work on (such as Imperator) will be designed so as to not directly compete with Camelot.
MMORPG.COM: Mythic's next MMORPG is the Roman-themed Imperator. How is development progressing on this new game?
Firor: Very well. We're quite happy with how the design and initial implementation is going. Imperator is going to be a fun game.
MMORPG.COM: Imperator takes place in an alternate universe where Roman culture never abated and remains influential. In addition to obvious architectural and political influences, will aspects of Roman society, such as gladiatorial competition, be part of the experience?
Firor: Yes, players will have a standard skill progression, as well as alternative non-required tracks, such as gladiatorial games.
MMORPG.COM: What is the current anticipated release date of Imperator?
Firor: Really, to be determined. We think it'll be sometime in winter of 2005/2006, but we're not going to release it until it is ready.
Thanks, Matt, for taking the time to chat with us. The Catacombs expansion is due to be released later this year. For more information on Dark Age of Camelot, the Catacombs expansion, and Imperator, visit Mythic's website at http://www.mythicentertainment.com


Reed Hubbard