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Q&A #13

Dana Massey Posted:
Interviews 0

Melissa Meyer - the Producer of Hero's Journey - discusses what players will do

We continue the Q&A series after a holiday-break with five more questions and answers from Melissa Meyer, the Producer of Hero's Journey. As always, we also have two brand new screenshots as the look of the game continues to evolve and astound us.

MMORPG.com: Your game relies very heavily on instanced, hand-crafted content. Players burn through anything, so how do you keep it fresh?
Melissa Meyer:

Our leading method for providing characters with fresh and new experiences is our army of GameMasters. Hundreds of trained GameMasters will be working every day to produce new quests, new hunting areas and new live events. And because most of our Quests dynamically adjust to a group’s level, this new content will be available to all users instead of just a small segment that happens to fall within a specific level range.

MMORPG.com: Can you talk about creatures in the world. Are they more than just wandering bags of loot?
Melissa Meyer:

When we designed our creature AI, we knew we wanted something beyond your run-of-the-mill agro and threat ranges. The result is a very complex and deep system which allows for a lot of flexibility. By default, creatures react more appropriately to character abilities. But additionally, GameMasters may create different goals for creatures in each Quest or environment.

Creature groups may be controlled by a captain who can oversee his whole group to do his best to ensure that their goal is achieved. Goals may include invading a village to destroy a particular artefact, manning a stronghold complete with defensive equipment such as tar and pitch, building or destroying structures, and so forth. I should note that Creatures may interact with the environment in HJ just as players can.

Beyond interesting behaviour, we want our creatures to feel natural in the world, rather than just randomly wandering “bags of loot.” So in common hunting areas, creatures all have a role and a purpose. This role may (or may not) be at cross-purposes with the player’s own objectives, so interfering with creature’s lives will be a part of the game. In other words, you don’t just hunt creatures to take their loot … you combat them for a reason. For example, creatures may be intent on destroying a bridge that leads to a rather good hunting area, or creatures may be using up valuable resources.

MMORPG.com: What do you envision players doing on the first day of play?
Melissa Meyer:

If players are anything like me, they’ll spend their first day of play in the character creator. I can spend hours and hours trying out different appearance combinations and trying to build a theme or a specific look. There are so many options that it’s not uncommon to be inspired for a specific look by outside resources (books, games, movies, etc.) and then recreate that look in the Hero’s Journey character creator.

Once done creating their character, they’ll have the opportunity to participate in a tutorial. With the tutorial complete, the world is their oyster! They may choose to take on a job around town, go on their first quest, investigate the living world machines of the area, or go hunting.

MMORPG.com: How about six months after they began?
Melissa Meyer:

By this point in a player’s life, they will be thoroughly entrenched in the Journey system. Various plot points would have been generated and they will be some way into progressing them and their character’s unique story. This will, of course, take them through various Quests.

The character will also have also chosen their faction alignment and will begin various activities throughout the game to advance their faction’s goals. They may have a large clan of friends, and they may be a part of a guild. A lot of work will have gone into advancing the guild for the mutual benefit of all guild members and their chosen faction.

MMORPG.com: Two years later?
Melissa Meyer:

In two years the new gameplay that a player will be experiencing will no doubt be a part of future game expansion. We have a lot of ideas on how we’ll be really hitting home the type of unique, interactive roleplaying experiences that make up Hero’s Journey. But we’re not talking yet. ;)

As always, my thanks to Melissa for making this our longest running series.

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Dana Massey