My name is Jörg “Kerensky” Koonen and I am the EU/EN Community Manager for Runes of Magic. I would like to thank you for the opportunity to give your readers a first glimpse on the upcoming update Chapter III – The Elder Kingdom.
With the success of ROM along with Chapter 2, what is your vision for Chapter 3 and what kind of feedback/requests from the registered users have you followed through in this new expansion?
When Runewaker started the development of Runes of Magic we knew that we didn’t want to walk the same trodden paths as other MMORPGs. We wanted to push the envelope and change the public’s perception of what people can expect from F2P online roleplaying games by offering a wide variety of fun features and tons of content to explore.During the first year of live service we reviewed our community’s feedback closely and used many ideas our players offered us as springboard for new concepts. Obviously we can’t implement every idea at once but every bit of feedback influences the development process in the short-, mid- and long term.Just one example: We got a good number of requests for more content and instances in the mid-level range. One of the solutions was to work on a system to set the difficulty of instances. Roleplayers asked for more ‘flavour–content’, so the wedding chapel, which was already in its very early development, is finally going to be introduced in Chapter III.Of course these are just a few examples of all the tweaks and changes we’re implementing with Chapter III many of them might not be too obvious while others are.
Can you give our readers an insight into what new concepts, ideas and lands will unfold in Runes of Magic: The Elder Kingdoms’?
Of course. After the fall of the Demon Lord, the iconic arch-enemy of the first two chapters, we were looking to create new challenges for our players. Not only have we told a very intense and deep story but have also improved the game on a technical level. The development team at Runewaker has been extending and optimising the code and game engine thus allowing us to implement new and exciting features.This time we focus on the once great but now crumbling kingdom of Dalanis. Here people have seen little of the demonic powers that have threatened the world but are engaged in a power struggle between the six kingdoms that were once united under the banner of king Kalume.For one, unlike the existing design where the different areas and zones are confined by mountain ridges or water, the new continent will be something big and new with several differently themed regions. Then of course we are very proud of the Siege Wars feature that is currently in testing. Guilds can now organize and raid the opponent guild’s castle – complete with siege engines in massive battles.Moving forward in the story allows for introducing new enemies, new features and new systems. The extended skill-system is just one example for that. After the dozens and dozens of Elite Skills we already have in the game we wanted to try something new and give our players more options. The extended system will allow for a wider variety of strategies.
Continuing on from the last question, will the new chapter offer more story content and ideas that gamers will not have seen before in previous versions and how difficult is it to dramatically change the ambience and feel of a game without losing what has made the game so successful but also offer a new vision?
Well, we don’t change the game dramatically. We’re adding or exchanging content and features that fit the story, that look and feel like the Runes of Magic our players have come to expect. Our vision is to go where no other free-to-play MMORPG has gone before: Continuously adding new content that matches in scope and quality that of subscription based games – and all without any strings attached.
One of the nicest and most interesting features within ROM is it reward system, can you tell us about one or two of the new rewards we can look forward to and will there be any changes to the player ranking systems?
Sorry, no information we can give out to the public yet.
Buying your own home and furnishing it is cool! Will ROM chapter 3 offer any similar ideas along this theme?
Of course we are looking at extending the options for our players when it comes to decorating their homes or guild castles. While that is not the main focus of Chapter III, we already have a number of additional decorative elements (ranging from furniture to costumes to pets and mounts) and a few additional styles in the development pipeline.
Apart from the quality of ROM, what do you see as some of the games unique features and do you feel that ROM has proved to the MMO world that a free2play game has the kind of quality that many retail version offer?
When we launched Runes of Magic a year ago, it was our aim to prove exactly that: Free to Play MMORPGs can be as sophisticated, polished and of the same or even better quality than any other pay-to-play title. And looking back at the progress we made – in terms of content, features and the amount of players:It is still hard for me to put a finger on the most striking feature as I like so many of them. I am still stunned by all the fine visual details – especially in the boss rooms of our instances: Blinking eyes on the ceiling? A rotating world map under a floor made of glass? These are the features that I adore.
The quests within ROM are core to creating new, exciting and interesting play – can you tell us a few snippets of what we can expect chapter 3?
All I can talk about at the moment is that we are adding tons of new quests that will continue to tell the story of the new continent and unveil more of the history of the new areas and its inhabitants. Obviously we don’t want to spoil the fun of those players wanting to explore the content.
As the game moves on – its over 2 years since ROM hit the scene - would you say that because the game is being constantly honed, updated and approved offering newer ideas and is now finely tuned to offer MMO gamers an even more engrossing experience, it is now more focused toward hardcore gamers? (What would you say its appeal is to both newbie’s and hardcore players especially in Chapter 3?)
Every patch we are releasing adds to and improves the game as a whole. We believe that the introduction of the new elven starter zone and the continuing review of the older starter areas new and old players alike will feel the appeal to start a new character in Runes of Magic.Advanced, high-level players will have the chance to progress further, as we are looking at raising the level cap and introducing content for lv 55 and above. The new continent, the new dungeons are aimed at characters that have successfully reached the higher and highest levels of the game.So with all that in mind, we are certain that players who haven’t had a look at Runes of Magic yet will certainly feel at home on Taborea and discover the real depth and the width of the game – things that can’t be conveyed in words only.
That’s all from Jorg, I hope you guys had fun reading. If you would like to know more about the game or stay up-to-date with the latest news on Chapter III – The Elder Kingdom please visit our site at www.runesofmagic.com . Very special thanks to Chris Clarke and of course Jorg for making this interview possible.