GamerZines: Fallen Earth has only just made it onto store shelves. How important is it for MMOs to be available in both physical and digital forms?
Marie Croall, senior game designer: While it does benefit us to have boxes on store shelves, it certainly seems like digital distribution is quickly becoming the standard for the gaming industry. That said there are also many people who like to buy their games in-store…therefore seeing Fallen Earth on the shelf might be their very first look at the game, so we would always like to support the retail channel whenever we can.
GZ: Fallen Earth launched in September last year. Over the past fifteen months what crucial lessons has the development team learnt about launching and maintaining an MMO?
MC: We’ve really learned so much since launch. I guess for me the most crucial thing is not to blow an opportunity. It’s much worse to rush content out than to delay it and get it right. It sort of becomes an "easier said than done" type of thing, so it’s a lesson we have to keep reminding ourselves.
GZ: What is the most bizarre player complaint or bug you’ve dealt with over that time?
MC: The best bug, probably not the weirdest, but my favorite was the player who sent in a very well written bug report about a location with missing nodes. He or she included waypoints and descriptions; all very accurate information. At the bottom of the bug report they also included a screenshot of the area with the mission text and area circled in red, scrawled across the bottom of the screenshot it said "node, no nodes…LIES!" The juxtaposition of the incredible details with the screenshot was one of the funniest things we got in.
GZ: The MMO space seems very hard to penetrate with many new IPs failing to make their mark. Do you think it has gotten harder over the past year for MMOs in particular to find their audience?
MC: I think it’s a very competitive genre. Keeping an audience may be a more difficult task than finding that audience. It’s a tough thing to maintain a live game while developing new content, and also players are getting more sophisticated about their preferences. It’s a good thing overall as it encourages all of us to step it up and get really innovative.
GZ: World of Warcraft is still the MMO which all others are judged against. What does Fallen Earth do better than Blizzard’s franchise?
MC: Wow, that’s sort of like asking what a high school football player does better than an NFL quarterback. The big advantage to having a small team is we can get in the game and interact with players on a very personal level. We know a lot of the players by name, both in game in real life. When we get bugs, comments or feedback through email, we can respond to it personally. The larger you get, the more you lose that.
Tags: Fallen Earth
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