It's been far too long since we first had the pleasure of introducing readers to PoxNora. So long, in fact, that we contacted SOE to see about speaking with the good people in Tucson, AZ about their strategy game that incorporates card collecting, online persistence and progression mechanics into a delightful cocktail of an online game.

There's a lot of changes coming to PoxNora, changes that for the first time will be revealed in this interview with SOE Community Manger Tony "RadarX" Jones. A new website, a new Rune Manager, a new Champions stat system, new maps and hints at the future of PoxNora are just a few of the topics covered beyond the break.

Did we mention all these updates are coming within the next few weeks? Oh, we've also got shiny imagery.
Before we get into the meat of the interview, here's a basic rundown of all the changes coming to PoxNora:

PoxNora Game Update

Improvements have made PoxNora faster, sleeker and more accessible, while still holding true to the incredible turn-based fantasy gameplay that originally captivated its dedicated player base. With enhancements to the user interface and a streamlined player experience, PoxNora also introduces the fifth midterm expansion, Heirs to Legend, where eight new champions add to the 800 iconic pieces already available in game.

PoxNora game update features:

  • New Rune Manager – A new, easier to use rune manager simplifies staying organized and managing collections.
  • New User Interface – Includes a sleek, streamlined rune dock, iconic ability buttons and a separate cool-down location.
  • New and Redesigned Maps – Over 20 new and redesigned maps provide uber replayability.
  • Updated Attack and Defense System – Efficient attack and defense system provides a clearer understanding of damage and statistics.
  • Restructured Leveling System – Updated leveling system makes customization easier and straightforward.
  • New and Improved Tutorial – New players can jump right into the action with the new and improved tutorial.
  • Redesigned Web Site – Players will see improved functionality with the completely revamped PoxNora.com.
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Massively: What would you say is the overall focus of the PoxNora update?

Tony Jones:
Our main focus has been to knock the rougher edges off of the game and make PoxNora more accessible to new players without alienating our loyal fanbase.

PoxNora has grown over the years with new mechanics and over a thousand runes. Last summer we did some extensive play testing at events like Comic Con, GenCon, and SOE's FanFaire to find out what people thought about the game. One thing we noticed was the game was a bit more complex than we felt it needed to be. There were things we could change that would not only improve the game for the existing community, but create a lower learning curve for new players.

A great example of this is our User Interface. We've moved away from text which shows abilities and conditions to an iconic system. This will share the same information in a much more visual and understandable way. We've also completely revamped our Rune Manager which will make it easier to create Battlegroups.

One of the most exciting changes is the way we've changed Champion customization. Currently there can be as many as eight abilities to choose from when upgrading and can be the source of considerable confusion. There will be an automatic leveling system which will grant abilities each level. Players who are more comfortable selecting their own will have a choice between 4 abilities each level.

Players are very interested in the ability to play with a friend. Is 2v2 or perhaps two player co-op a possibility and if so, what are some of the inherent challenges?

These are both exciting ideas that we are very interested in doing. There is quite a bit of technical and design work that will have to be accomplished before we can implement it. I can say currently we're still in the planning phase, and it's certainly something we want added sooner rather than later. We know the community wants it, and we want to deliver it.

Are you guys happy with having eight factions within the game or will more be added in the future?

It would be fun to add other factions but in our existing game we've got over a thousand runes. We would have to provide an ample amount of new runes to create a whole new faction. We are working on some different things that may take advantage of things like that but as far as adding an actual faction, it's not something we're working on at this time. However, it's certainly not off the table.

PoxNora's previous updates have a thematic bent. Can the same be said for this update as well?

Sure! Heirs to Legend is going to be our first release of legendary content, which is going to be completely separate from our expansions. It's going to have its own theme. We aren't releasing details on the specific Champions right now. We're still testing and balancing to make sure that everything is ship-shape. But, we've got an entire story surrounding it and there are going to be some very exciting runes that we think the players are going to love.

What's new about the 20 redesigned maps coming to PoxNora?

Basically we've gone back through and re-tweaked a lot of the existing maps. There were a few things that we felt could be enhanced in order to improve playability and it's something many of our players have been asking to take a look at. There were certain things to improve, like say finding a better placement for a font or a better starting point. Existing players will feel like they're playing a lot of these new maps for the first time.

So the improvements were made with old and new players in mind?

Right, yeah. It's definitely the straight out map improvements that'll appeal to the people who've been asking us to make these changes but new players will also benefit, largely because the maps are a little more friendly.

This article was originally published on Massively.