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SOE Seattle Q&A

Posted Jul 20, 2005 by Dana Massey

SOE Seattle Q&A

SOE continues to expand as they seek to dominate the North American MMORPG market. On top of EverQuest, EverQuest II, Star Wars Galaxies and Planetside, they recently added an unannounced DC Comics MMORPG and the Matrix Online. Today, we talk to Matt Wilson, the head of a new SOE studio in Seattle, formed mostly of former Microsoft employees who worked on Mythica, about his past and MMORPGs in general. Matt is currently hard at work on a seperate unannounced MMORPG for SOE.

MMORPG.com: It is often said that the first ten minutes make or break a game. In something as huge as an MMO, to hear this is quite daunting. How do you think is best to approach this to ensure that those ten minutes are a blast, or do you agree with that statement at all?

Matt Wilson: I fully agree with that statement. There are so many choices out there for entertainment, that if you don’t capture a person on your product in the first 10mins through the first hour, your product is probably done.

A game should offer the player interesting challenges which are achievable without frustration. This holds true for the entire game, and is a sacred goal for the first ten minutes to one hour of play. After the player has patiently made the effort of installing, loading , adjusting video options etc. the last thing they need is to be sprayed by an ‘information fire hose’ or be abandoned in a complex world.

I think small steps have been taken to bring in tutorials and other launching pads for beginning players, but I don’t think that is really enough. To have a great first 10mins you have to get the players in the action immediately.

MMO’s have lots of complexity and that depth is one of the reasons that people continue to play these games for an extend time. But do we have to get it all at once? Teach me the basics and get me in the action! Allow me to learn the rest as needed through context sensitive help as I explore the rest of the game. The games with the best 10mins make you believe you’re actually playing the game, not a tutorial.

You can read the entire Q&A here.

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