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Q&A #9

Jon Wood Posted:
Interviews 0

The community manager for DDO gives us some answers

Every other Thursday we're bringing you five questions and answers from Dungeons and Dragons Online. Today, we present our ninth interview, today answered by Victor Wachter, the Community Manager at Turbine.

MMORPG.com: Players are very concerned that developers do not listen to their feedback during beta. How often would you say that Turbine listens to its players?
Victor Wachter:

We’re being very active in listening to our players. They’re our best source of information on the game. Over the course of Beta, we have frequently looked to them for feedback on gameplay elements and more information on issues that they have encountered.

A good example of this is the recent changes we made to stealth and invisibility. Our Beta players gave us lots of great feedback about the changes and we used that to further refine the system. What resulted was a good compromise and I think that’s indicative of our commitment to taking player feedback.

Our plan is to stay in touch with the community and communicate back to them what our plans are in response to their feedback. We’ve tackled a number of issues during Beta with help from the playerbase. We’ve spent extra time researching problems that have been reported. Our business gives us so many different opportunities to find out what our players are feeling about our game, and we try and take full advantage of them.

MMORPG.com: Having played the game myself, I’m wondering why you would have chosen to make everyone’s starting gear look the same (by class). It makes the first few moments of gameplay feel stale.
Victor Wachter:

Customization is a reward for your gameplay and advancement. As you level up, you’ll find more gear or find enough coin to buy some upgrades. Normally by the time a player has completed a few adventures, they will have found better armor. So, while players may look pretty similar in the early part of the game, it won’t be long until distinct outfits begin to appear. As players level up, the items become more powerful and the geometry becomes more varied and elaborate.

MMORPG.com: How do you feel that people are responding to your combat design choices? It seems as though Dungeons and Dragons, a famously slow and turn-based game, may not have been the best choice for this system.
Victor Wachter:

People are reacting positively. While D&D has always been turned based, it is also a lot more flexible than most MMORPG’s, in terms of how a player’s decisions and actions can affect combat. Our action combat system allows us to reward the same sorts of thinking.

Throughout the Beta, we have seen a lot of opinions turn. People needed to experience the combat system for themselves. As they played, they came to realize that the fast paced action creates an exciting experience that is a lot closer to the tension they feel in a tabletop combat situation than one would initially expect.

MMORPG.com: You have announced that Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson will be lending their voices to the Dungeon Master Role in DDO. Is it their voices that we are hearing in-game now, or is this coming later?
Victor Wachter:

Gary Gygax’s voice already leads you through the Waterworks adventure area. Dave Arneson will be featured in our first update, leading adventurers to meet the red dragon.

MMORPG.com: What, in your opinion, is the absolute best feature of Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach?
Victor Wachter:

That feature would have to be the combat system. The combat model brings the experience to life like never before. Every action your character takes is at your control. And it fits really well into the D&D experience, as you block your enemies or tumble out of harm’s way. Just like in the tabletop game, your character’s abilities are only part of the equation. You fill in the rest.

You can comment on this interview here.


Jon Wood