Who'd win in a cage match between SOE's upcoming MMOs, spy-themed The Agency and family-friendly Free Realms? On one side, you have all the guns, explosives, and "M"-ratings. On the other side, you have cartoon-inspired graphics, Real Money Trading, and loads of fun from-7-to-70 minigames. And right in the middle of them both, there'd be John "Smed" Smedley keeping score. These are the kinds of things that come to mind while reading the latest interview with Smed. He talks, again, about the new MMOs and the innovations they bring to the genre, in a pleasantly relaxed tone. Absent are mad, loud proclamations to Funcom, EA Mythic and Blizzard describing how, in great detail SOE MMOs will KICK THEIR MMO'S BUTT.
He may not see his games in direct competition with the others, but players do. They want to know HOW the games will kick butt, WHERE they will do it, how PAINFUL it will be, and where they can get a front row seat. In this ION interview, Smed talks about how children who play Free Realms can be given an allowance in the game to limit the amount they spend on in-game goods. If you get your friends to try Free Realms, hey, you can find some shiny nickels in your account to perhaps buy that lovely outfit you've been eying. With The Agency, on the other hand, you want boom? They will have boom. You want bleed? Bleed will happen. SOE is committed to getting an "M" rating for the game, even if they need to have an NPC cuss to do it. We want passion and we get bullet points. We want butt-kicking and get fireside chats. Smed, please tell us how The Agency is going to slam Age of Conan to the ground. Tell us how Free Realms will make players around the world go "Maple What?". We want to believe!