Talking about the possibility of new careers leads naturally into Mark Jacobs' recent comments on your focus on the live game. While you have had discussions about what will be in the expansion, that's not something you're focusing on right now. What you just discussed as far as not feeling the need to put in additional classes, does that tie into this same 'focus on what you already have' mentality?
"We will never expand the live game simply for the sake of expansion. We will never develop another expansion just so we can put another box on the shelf."
Yeah, we will never expand the live game simply for the sake of expansion. We will never develop another expansion just so we can put another box on the shelf. For us, expansions represent a strategic element of the ongoing lifecycle of this product. If you're familiar with what we did on Dark Age of Camelot
, it was always a mix of free live content updates and occasional retail expansions.
We generally feel that for a game like this, that's only been out for a couple of months, it's far more appropriate for us to be focusing on adding new content in a way that doesn't cost the players additional money. In these rough economic times the last thing we want to do is force our players to shell out another fifty bucks to continue playing the game.
We want to reward their loyalty, we want to show we're dedicated to the ongoing quality of the product we already have on the market, and we want to leverage all the resources we've got. We have an entire team here that's already worked their fingers to the bone on this game. Adam has no fingers left, he just has two stumps he uses to beat on the keyboard. These people have worked so hard for the last few years, we want to make sure that content is given enough attention.
A game like ours, because it has so many different features in it, we were aware it was going to require constant adjustment and changes as the game matures. You'll start to see that in patches like 1.1. This patch is, in many ways, focused on improving the mature game. It's focused on making sure the experience is not just a weird retro-fitted version of what we launched with. These are living breathing systems that change over time. A responsible developer will recognize it's not on the player to shell out money to keep the game running. It's the developer's responsibility to make sure the game is fun and exciting.
Expansions should be different from this baseline; they should represent a unique and special addition to the existing content. That will come well into the future.Adam:
We like free stuff.
How do you view all these changes coming to the game so soon after launch?Josh:
"Expansions should be different from this baseline; they should represent a unique and special addition to the existing content. That will come well into the future."
I think they're part of the natural maturation process of the game. They're also a part of the ongoing dialogue we have with our users. The very legitimate and important feedback we've gotten from the players is really being seen in this update. It's sort of the 'greatest hits' patch when it comes to what players have been asking for. Things the players felt needed improving, things players felt needed to be added to the game ...
On that note of free stuff, despite the focus on patching there has already been several content updates. Heavy metal in particular sounded like it was getting some positive feedback. Are you going to be focusing on providing more of these unique events vs. 'holidays'? Adam:
Absolutely. We're all about it. We were really excited to do the Witching Night and Heavy Metal events. They were our first foray into live events, and the player response has been so good that we're currently deep into planning a bunch more. Some of those might be more like annual events, but one of the themes we'll be following is that we don't want to just shove a patch out. We don't want to just shove out major new changes to the game and go "here's 27 pages of patch notes, go have fun." You'll see more and more of these, and they'll directly connect with new content and updates as they come into the game.Josh:
In the next year or so, you'll see everything ranging from 'holidays' to new content updates to things I think can only reasonably be described as 'free expansion packs'. We're not talking about any details yet, but our commitment to free content is not just lip service. It's a philosophical position we have for the kind of product we're trying to provide. We always want the player to be looking forward to something big and new a month down the road.
Can you give us a sense of when we might see the event?Josh:
"We're not talking about any details yet, but our commitment to free content is not just lip service. It's a philosophical position we have for the kind of product we're trying to provide. We always want the player to be looking forward to something big and new a month down the road."
You will get a press release on Friday about what the next will be. I'll even tell you what it's called. It's called "Keg's End" and it involves a lot of drinking. The way you folks acknowledged the contribution issue was very unique. Do you feel very strongly about making sure players know that you know when there are problems like this?Josh:
That's always a tough situation. We can't address everything anyone ever complains about. That said, we want to make sure that there is transparency. That their legitimate concerns are being actively worked on, that we're not oblivious to them. It is a challenging thing to figure out how to convey that to the community. Do you want to do it in sort of an official way ...Adam:
Or do you want to do it with cream pies
We tried a little bit of each. We admit, we thought the humor in the first video was more obvious than it turned out to be. Which is why we rapidly set up the second video to make sure everyone knew what was going on. "Wow, swing and a miss on that there." We were trying to be open and honest on it. We screwed up, the players noticed, and we were fixing it as fast as we could. It turned into a whole political thing.
We're committed to openness and transparency, but we'll probably continue to try different delivery methods until we find something that is a little less dangerous than patch notes on YouTube.
There was some talk recently about an official forum coming down the pipe for Warhammer. Is that something you guys can comment on?Josh:
Any of that kind of stuff comes directly from the desk of Mark Jacobs. Any sort of announcements of that sort you'll get directly from Mark.