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Q&A #3

Dana Massey Posted:
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Community Q&A #3 with Producer Melissa Meyer

Every other Tuesday, fans of Hero's Journey get a chance to ask their questions (please see this thread for your chance). What is more, we also feature two exclusive screenshots each week. This week marks the 11th installment of the screenshot feature.

Will your character need to eat and drink from time to time? If so what benefits do you receive from keeping your character well fed?
Melissa Meyer:

Hero’s Journey is about being a hero. Our design effort has avoided dull and repetitive actions in favor of focusing on heroic elements. As such, character maintenance activities like eating and drinking will not be a requirement in Hero’s Journey, though there will be expendable items such as potions that will provide various benefits when drank or eaten.

Will Hero’s Journey incorporate live events? If so, how will you do this in a zoned and semi-instanced world?
Melissa Meyer:

Hero’s Journey will prominently feature live events. Our staff of hundreds of GameMasters will be creating live events on a daily basis; something not possible without the unique and powerful toolset we’ve created. Event types are varied: one-on-one role-playing interactions, epic quests that span for months, invasions, merchants and festivals where players can purchase never-before-seen items, social events, contests, and more.

Some events will take place in common areas, others in instances. Instances actually lend themselves well to developing live events that many players can be involved in. In fact, one of the biggest problems in non-instanced games is running live events without making 99.9% of your population feel like they’re being left out. The best way to handle this problem is to break up the population into much smaller groups, so that an event may be run for all of them simultaneously. And don’t think that these smaller events are simply mirrors of each other, either. You may have an invasion in one area of the game, some live interactions in another, and a special adventure sequence running at the same time. It’s the sum of these events that come together to become the overarching storyline, and how successful each group is determines the next chapter of that story.

In this manner we involve as many of our players as possible, and provide a variety of types of activities – so everyone can have fun. After that, it’s just a matter of communicating “the story so far” in a convenient and entertaining way.

Will there be quests in common areas (non-instanced)?
Melissa Meyer:

There will be quests that occur in common areas, and there will be quests that start in common areas and wind up in instances. We also have special areas (such as Guild areas) that are somewhere between common and instanced in their nature, and quests take place there too.

The cool thing about instanced areas is that we can do a lot of neat things in them that are not practical in common areas. For example, in an instanced area you can design quests with defined start and victory conditions that don’t require that you account for hundreds of other people wandering through that have nothing to do with the adventure. Often a quest just makes more sense in a instance anyway… because it’s your party going on the adventure! In any case, our technology allows for the GameMasters to continuously create new quests of all types (even forms we’ve not considered yet).

MMORPG.com: Many of our readers have been asking PvP related questions. Will it be present in Hero’s Journey and if so, in what form?
Melissa Meyer:

There will be PvP in Hero’s Journey but we’re not yet discussing the details.

MMORPG.com: With game masters being non-internal employees, what measures are put in place to ensure that no one abuses their power?
Melissa Meyer:

Given the power of our GameMaster tools and the size of our GameMaster staff, this is certainly something on the forefront of our minds. The solution is complex and involves multiple elements, some of which we can’t discuss.

Fortunately we are not new to this game: With over 18 years of experience under our belts handling hundreds and hundreds of GameMasters deployed with powerful tools, this is something we know how to do very well. Yes, abuse of powers is a major concern, so to ensure the integrity of the game we have elaborate procedures and tools in place to detect and prevent fraud or abuse on the part of our GameMasters. In addition to very granular permission restrictions, everything a GameMaster does is tracked and watched by human and automated systems. This is a very similar problem that casinos face, and like them, we do not discuss the exact nature of our security measures but they are there and well vetted.

Many thanks to Melissa and Simutronics for their hard work.

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Dana Massey