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MMORPG Center Interviews Earthrise's Atanas Atanasov


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Moving Forward in Earthrise with Masthead’s Atanas Atanasov

 

Now that a lot of the initial hiccups of Earthrise’s launch appear to resolved, we thought now would be a great time to find out what is in the near future for the game. We recently had the opportunity to discuss the launch, resolutions, and going forward with Masthead’s director Atanas Atanasov.

 

It looks like the team is working on a lot of comfort features/improvements. In addition to the chat improvements, the help with questing, and tweaking of the UI, and the other improvements laid out in your recent road map, is there any other usability improvements we might look forward to going into the summer months?

 

Our team has been working hard in the past couple of months to fix the technical issues that plagued the game since launch. That left us with less time to work on new features and improvements. Now that we have a much more stable game, our focus is back on what makes an MMORPG the top virtual entertainment genre – constant updates and improvements including new content and features in an ever-changing world. Along with the features listed in our roadmap, we plan to keep improving the user cooperation inside the game such as better guild management, more game features requiring gathering and cooperation between players, some in-game events. We are currently discussing internally with our team what will be our focus during Summer once the roadmap features are complete and the client is more optimized with better performance. We will most probably work on enhancing the currently existing features in the game and those that are coming in May and June.

 

Earthrise suffered from some initial launch hiccups. What early steps did the team take to alleviate some of those issues in the first few days, and what is the team doing to continue to improve the infrastructure surrounding the game.

 

Every MMO has issues at launch and shortly after that and Earthrise was not an exception. Our first steps for improvement were changing the priority from new game features and the roadmap which was announced before launch to improving the server and client performance. We also focused on developing some internal tools to monitor and speed up the overall operations process of the game. Right now Earthrise is in a much better condition performance wise, an MMO that we wanted to see on launch day. Our future plans for improving the technical side of the game include introducing of test servers, where players can see and test the latest build, which is getting ready for the official servers. We also plan to improve the build and patch pipeline, which should speed up the time between patches.

 

I’ve been beating the drum lately about the wide open opportunity that an MMO developer has to create a robust players-driven economic and housing system. I think a sandbox style game is the perfect place for features like this. Are there any plans for player housing or player controlled bases/community structures?

 

The territorial warfare, which will launch very soon will feature player controlled buildings and resources. Guilds will be able to capture territories and build their own custom base of operations. They will need to balance between economic and military structures to either produce more resources or improve the base defences. We are also considering player housing, but there is still a lot of other work to be done before we announce it officially.

 

Obviously listening to the player-base is of primary importance to any game developer. There have been some recent high profile examples of what happens when a development team doesn’t pay attention to the wants/needs/feedback of its players. The “Choose your game feature” polls are a clear indication that the Earthrise team takes player feedback seriously. How much time do the developers spend on the forums reading/responding to questions and comments?

 

I am personally reading the forums every day, including the holidays and weekends. Other people from our team include the support, our lead game designer and his team, our lead writer, and the UI programmers. The rest of team also visit and read the forums but on less regular basis.

 

Most of the comments given by our team are those of myself and our lead game designer. We don’t have clear policy how much time should be spent on forums, it all depends on the cases and how hot a topic is.

 

Speaking of the “Choose your game feature” polls on the forums, there have been a lot of great ideas coming out of those conversations. Would it be safe to assume players could see a lot of these features implemented eventually even if they weren’t the top vote getter that month?

 

The “Choose your feature” board on the official Earthrise forums has been very well accepted by the players. They are full with ideas and suggestions for improving the game. We are reading all of them. In fact we did add 2 player suggestions to this month poll for a new game feature. We would like to implement a lot of features that are commented on this board. Given time and priorities, players can expect to see some of them in game.

 

Now that a lot of the initial technical issues have been resolved are there plans to entice those players who may have moved on, but still own the game, to return? Also, are you still on track to offer a trail program in May?

 

Our plans to attract new players to Earthrise include lowering the client price, bonuses for players who bring their friends to the game and of course a trial. The trial however will be introduced gradually, first we plan to send invitations to selected people who are currently not playing the game, only after that we will offer a trial available to everyone.

 

Thank you to Atanas for taking the time to answer our questions. For more information on Earthrise, visit their website: http://www.play-earthrise.com/

Originally posted here.

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