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.
Your game relies very heavily on instanced, hand-crafted
content. Players burn through anything, so how do you keep it fresh?
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.
Can you talk about creatures in the world. Are they more
than just wandering bags of loot?
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.
What do you envision players doing on the first day of play?
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
How about six months after they began?
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.
Two years later?
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.