Interview with Lead Designer, Tim Shubert

Exclusive interview with Lead Designer of the MMORPG "God and Heroes", Tim Shubert.

JOL: Can you present to us the main changes between the Gods & Heroes of Perpetual Entertainment and the one from Heatwave Interactive ?

TS: We haven’t been actively looking for ways to reinvent the game we liked where Perpetual was going with it, but there are a few things we have been working on. The biggest change is the addition of estates. Every player will have their own valley in the Italian countryside to call their own that contains their Villa and many supporting buildings. The estate is destroyed in the storyline that predates the game and the player has to rebuild it over the course of leveling up. We have also been working hard to add some features most MMO fans expect to see in their games nowadays. Already in place are new tools for managing your quests and seeing where to do them. Coming very soon are auction houses and a new crafting game. Server stability and capacity have also been greatly improved; and on the client we have improved the frame rate and the game’s visual quality.

JOL: One of the first characteristic that gives interest to a community in a MMORPG is to know if the game will be localized in its language, because even if you speak English, that gives a better immersion to the player if the game is translated in his own language. So, we think the localization should be here to bring more players into the game and not – like often - be done after many players ask it. What are you project for the localizations of Gods & Heroes ?

TS: We do plan on supporting G&H in other languages besides English. We are translating the game to German and we’ll be keeping an eye on other markets to see if there is interest in the game – hopefully we’ll have the game localized to several other languages before long.

JOL: About the content, how many missions and quest will be available for the players at the release of the game ? And, have you estimated, globally, the global game time ? Will the player progression be fast and easy, or the opposite?

TS: We’ll be shipping the game with over 2,400 quests with another 700 or so to be released not long after we ship. The game play time varies wildly depending on how hard you work on the content, I suspect most players will find themselves working through the content for many weeks. As far as the difficulty of the game – it starts off relatively easy and ramps up in difficulty as you level. Players new to the genre will be able to pick up the game and learn the ropes, but MMO veterans should find the game challenging if they play for just a little while.

JOL: Should we have to consider Gods & Heroes like a « sandbox » game or is it more adapted to a « casual » public ? 

TS: Gods & Heroes isn’t really a sandbox game, nor is it casual. The experience is reasonably directed as you work through the quest lines, though players do have the freedom to explore and can choose to follow different paths as they play. Often the game model is referred to as a “Theme Park” at the office. You have many zones to explore that have their own styles with instances and quests scattered throughout. This is similar to wandering around in a theme park full of rides other pastimes.

JOL: The minions squads make me think like the « mercenaries » of EverQuest or the « Bridge Officers » in StarTrek Online. Won’t this gameplay promote solo play at the expense of a game in group or guild?

TS: It will to an extent, but people that play MMOs spend a lot of time playing by themselves by choice. People who play MMOs don’t always feel like being social; even if they feel like chatting while they play they may not feel like grouping up. Our goal is to make a game you can play by yourself or with just a few friends and have a good time. You will need the help of friends or a good guild to successfully beat the top end content, though. The high level content is balanced against a group of players and all their minions.

JOL: The estates for the players is a wonderful idea. In the beta, we saw that they evolved with the quest made by the player. What will be the possibilities and the functionality inside the estates ingame ?

TS: The possibilities for estates are almost boundless. We’re talking about all sorts of ideas including a resource gathering game, rich estate customization, running your own ludis, managing politics with Rome, and even player invasions. G&H is going to be evolving very rapidly so there will constantly be new things to play with – and these new feature will generally start in the estates.

JOL: Will there be a craft system in Gods & Heroes (weapons, clothes/armor, food, architecture, etc …. ) ?

TS: Yup, we have a crafting system well into development that is looking pretty exciting. It focuses on persistence and skill to create custom items instead of using a traditional recipe system. We should have more to share about crafting soon.

JOL: Which classes will be available at the beginning of the game? Could we create a scout at the beginning or will it be unlocked during the game? 

TS: We’ll be launching with four classes: the Mystic, the Priest, the Soldier, and the Gladiator. We have two more classes that will be enabled shortly after launch – the Scout and the Nomad. A lot of folks are clamoring for the Scout, so while it won’t be available at launch we’ll be adding it to the game as soon as we are able.

JOL: Could you say something about the mounts and vehicles in Gods & Heroes? Will we be able to participate in chariot race for example?

TS: Mounts and vehicles are another feature we would like to get in, but they will likely fall behind other priorities for awhile. Having chariot races in Rome’s Hippodrome is definitely something we want to see in game someday! In the meantime, we have added a new fast travel system to make it easier to get around in the world.

JOL: The last question is a little bit delicate and I will try to formulate it in the best way, because it explains the feelings of a lot of players. The community was very shocked after the brutal stop of the beta from Perpetual, some already pre-ordered the game at this time. What will Heatweave Interactive do to regain the confidence of the MMO players after that?

TS: I think the best thing we can do to quell this concern is to simply launch the game. The server capacity is up, the client is stable, and the game play is looking good. We have made a lot of progress on the game but there is still a lot to be done. Our players will get participate in a game that is dynamic and evolving; and will get to help decide the direction we take as development continues. It is going to be a fun ride!

JOL: Many thanks Tim!

Answers translated by Uthara (JOL-GnH Section)
Screens by Tanatoy (GnH French CM)

French version of the interview

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