With Wizardry Online‘s updated release day on the horizon, fans and followers of the game have been anxiously awaiting news of what they can expect when the servers are once again fired up January 30th. Wizardry Vault caught up with Associate Producer Rod “Dartok” Haza who hooked us up with information on the development so far and what we can expect to see headed our way once the game goes live.
When it comes to working on an MMO, this isn’t your first rodeo. What are some of the new challenges that Wizardry Online presented compared to the others?
RH: The biggest challenge I was faced with on Wizardry Online was time differences. Because we are working very closely with our partners to bring Wizardry Online to the North American and European markets, it regularly required a lot of folks to be working very early or late hours to keep lines of communication open. I’ve gotten far too familiar with late evenings and the wee hours of the morning!
That said it was great to be working with people as passionate about the Wizardry Franchise as our partners on this project. They have an amazing understanding of the Wizardry franchise, and deeply care about the game. Listening to long explanations of different characters in the game and the tie-ins to other entries in the Wizardry franchise was fascinating! They’ve also been very interested in feedback from our Beta testers and have had a steady supply of questions about how different aspects of the game have been perceived.
When the Royal Shop items were put into beta, they were set at an even 10k in price across the board for testing purposes. How did that go? What were the most popular items?
RH: Most of the items we put into the Royal Shop exist in the Japanese version of the game, so we had a pretty good idea of value of the items. We added to the beta as more of a preview for the players, so that would have be familiar with them and give them an opportunity to try them out. We did hold back a few items that players have not seen yet and will get their first glance at them with the launch of the game. The main information we were able to gather was what items player would come back and buy over and over again. For example the EXP boost item was very popular with players, especially with those that were multi-classing their characters.
What’s one notable content item from the Japanese version that you’re looking forward to bringing over to the SOE version?
RH: When I play a game, I chew up content like it is going out of style. Due to that fact I am looking forward to getting more dungeons and storyline into the game. Don’t get me wrong, I can grind with the best of them, but do like to experience new fights and learn the lore behind the storylines.
The release date was recently revised to January 30th, 2013. Were there technical changes that needed more attention or was it more of a final polish on the product thing?
RH: It was a very tough decision for us to delay the games launch, but felt it was necessary to the games success. It’s incredibly important to us that we present the best possible experience to our players; Wizardry Online is something we care deeply about and don’t want it to go out until it’s the best experience we can possibly make it.
RH: We currently plan to have major content updates, where new dungeons and story progression will be introduced. In between those major updates we will have smaller ones for bug fixes and smaller changes to the game.
What kind of perks are lined up for SOE All Access Pass holders and premium members?
RH: We have put together an exciting bundle of perks when you are a premium member to the game. This include things like additional character slots, increased inventory and bank space, venders will give you a better rate on items you sell them, discounts on selected Royal Shop items, bonuses stats and experience when you group with other members, and we will be giving each member a free 30 Day Talisman of Security each month to help protect their items.
A lot of free to play games run regular in-game specials and events. Will things like Double XP weekends or other typical events be a part of Wizardry Online?
RH: We do have some plans in the works to run special events in game, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise of these events with any details at this time. Stay tuned to web site and forums for details when we release them.
After release, will the forums continue to be the best avenue for providing feedback to the devs?
RH: At SOE, our players are our extended family and their feedback is important to us. We are always looking for ways to foster the community around our games and the Forums are one the best tools to get the players opinions. I actively read the forums to get feedback from the players and plan to continue to do so in the future.
SOE’s latest free-to-play title, Wizardry Online, goes live January 30th, 2013, bringing the CRPG that started it all to life in a massively multiplayer online game set to challenge even the most diehard of dungeon dwellers. See you on the 30th!