E3: My interview with Mark Jacobs

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I mentioned a couple days ago that I met Mark Jacobs at E3 and was able to ask him several questions about the recent announcements.  The writeup of the interview is now available.  In this writeup I have included most of the subjects that I feel many people are either confused about or simply in the dark about in regards to cutbacks and balance.  Here is a snippet from my writeup:

When asked about the reasons for taking out the cities and essentially the content with them, Mark explained to me that the cities which were removed had not even been developed as living cities like The Inevitable or Altdorf. “They were just cities with NPCS, auction houses, banks, that sort of thing. They weren’t the focus of RvR in the way they are now”, Mark said while describing the state of the removed content. This is a huge misconception that I believe drives most of the confusion for people. Back before the living cities system was thought up the capital cities were going to be nothing more than better looking cities. Mark explains their transition saying, “What we decided to do was, what if we took the cities to the next level. These cities have so much more content than the original cities that multiplying by three doesn’t cut it. These cities have somewhere near 100 quests each either leading to them, in them, or leading out of them. We weren’t going to have that before. They have rvr, public quests, and dungeons centered around them.”

If it isn’t clear yet, the cities removed from the game were never going to adopt the living city model. So, in reality, we didn’t lose any content. Mark clarifies this exact statement by saying, “People said we were going to cut out content; One guy said we were cutting out 2/3 of our content. But wait a second, this is the end game. All the tiers were in tact 1-4 and the only thing we cut out was a city that was originally going to be there to be sacked. We never talked about doing all these other things with the city”. Mark went on to say something that I really feel says it all: “I’ll happily cut 2 cities that you can run around in on each side for one massive city with tons of new content, more than we would have had before, where RvR is centered around the city. That is an absolute no brainer.” [Read the full article]

That clears things up 100% for me as to why they cut the cities and I hope that people can finally understand and move on.  You’ll find Mark’s thoughts on the classes as well as balance and the open group system in there as well.  If I can find the time I’ll transcribe the entire interview in Q/A format for you guys.

Thanks again to Mark Jacobs.

  • Great interview! I’ve been waiting for this one for a few days and I’m glad it’s as good as you’ve hyped it. Hopefully this will be the definitive answer for many people on the reasoning behind the content cuts.

  • “I’ll happily cut 2 cities that you can run around in on each side for one massive city with tons of new content, more than we would have had before, where RvR is centered around the city. That is an absolute no brainer.”

    Mythic knows what they are doing, and I have no problems with it.

  • good interview, Keen. The more I heard, the more I want to play. I still think we will see the LFG span even with Open Grouping System but I hope that the system can be refined so that you say we only want a healer that is level 25-30. Keeping the Open Grouping functionality but adding options to the standard LFG … I guess that is why we have patches to add additional functionality at a later date.

  • @007deadlsins: I think we’ll still see LFG spam as well. I’m guilty of it myself even with a LFG system. Additionally, I believe there is a standard LFG system where you can set filters fairly standard to mmorpgs these days. The “open group” system is strictly that – entirely “open”.

  • @Keen – Great Interview, I really like reading what Mark Jacobs has to say, I think Mythic is going to pull it off.

    Open Party system works really well for PQ’s and RVR groups, it lacks a little bit on the PVE side, though I’m sure they’ll take another look at that shortly, currently it only lists what chapter the group is doing, and how far away they are. No quest details, etc…

  • @Delthis: Plans are for a Fall release which means it can technically release in December. I’m still betting on a late September release though.

  • I have a bet that WAR will release with in 2 weeks of the WotLK. Both around middle December just in time for X-Mas.

  • “I’m still betting on a late September release though.”

    Your more optimistic than me Keen.

    I’m guessing November.

    But it looks like things are moving along smoothly.

  • I still find it lame. I hope eventually they add 4 more cities and that they are all living cities. Great for horizontal expansion. I like options, and basically the only option now is to take and pillage one, not one of three. It should also be interesting to see how the statues are going to work. Maybe only 10 now per faction. Or are there going to be 30 statues, 10 per realm in that one city.

  • Well.. and now it sounds like it was never planned and better for the game.. Nice way to cover slacking in Flophammer online.

  • Good stuff.

    I was already past the city cuts. The classes worry me more (no non-tanking melee class for dwarves?), but regardless no sense playing classes that haven’t been fully fleshed out.

  • Open Group will not stop LFG unless the Open Group has no limit on sizes, if theres a limit to how many people can join then people will not leave their groups “open” because they will need a tank, or healer, or whatever for the remaining spot/spots.

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t we been hearing whispers about living cities for quite some time now? My understanding was that all capitals were going to be “living cities.”

    The fact that they cut four of them sounds to me like they just didn’t plan their time well enough to actually get the content in for the cities other than Altdorf and the Inevitable.

    Cutting four out of them a couple months out of release is no different than cutting them six months ago because there was no way they could possibly get them done in time, imho. They were still cut from the original scope.

  • Snafzg: I think they knew about this decision for a while now, so they did not bother to develop the content for the other cities.

  • Cutting the cities isn’t a big deal, I’d rather have two very polished cities, than 6 poorly executed ones.

    I think we all learned a lesson from AoC – Make sure your end game is polished when you release, don’t plan to implement stuff before you expect your players to reach max level.

  • @Photonic #10: I talked with mark about the possibility of adding them as living cities later and the benefits of using them for parallel expansion. He agreed. He also talked about how releasing 1 at a time will allow them to cut back on the number of bugs and mistakes in the game. Releasing 1 major city (per side) in the massive state they are in is 100% going to cause SOME issues. They’ll address these issues and fine tune the cities making it easier to implement more living cities later.

    @Snafzg: Yes we have been hearing about them for several months now, however your understanding is where most people were confused. All capitals were not going to be living cities based on the sheer amount of work and problems (See above) that could arise from them. According to what we’re told now the other cities were simply going to be attackable capital cities but not these enormous pieces of content.

  • Great interview!

    On another note, any ETA on the Open Beta? (got my hands on a CE :))