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Torchlight's Schaefer: MMO subscriptions aren't the way to go

Jef Reahard
March 21, 2011
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Runic Games CEO and Torchlight developer Max Schaefer knows a thing or two about addictive, loot-driven dungeon crawlers. After all, he was a founding member of Blizzard North and instrumental in the development of Diablo and Diablo II. So, when Schaefer talks about game design, people generally listen.

Whether Schaefer's expertise extends to MMO business models is up for debate, though, which makes a recent interview at Charge-Shot.com an interesting read. "I don't think really anyone can do [subscriptions] anymore because pretty much everyone that does subscriptions has one for World of Warcraft," Schaefer posits, while speaking of his plans for the upcoming Torchlight MMO.

While the majority of the interview focuses on the new Xbox Live incarnation of the original Torchlight -- as well as the forthcoming Torchlight II -- it's also a window into Schaefer's design sensibilities and therefore a possible barometer for the type of gameplay that fans might expect from a Torchlight MMO. "[Torchlight] is the kind of game you can play for 20 minutes before you got to go out to dinner, but it's also one that you can geek out on all night. It's just a very accessible format that gives people a chance to enjoy a game rather than work at a game," Schaefer explains.

[Thanks to Craig for the tip!]







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