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PotBS: Interview @ FiringSquad
by Dhruin, 2006-07-20 22:28:00Flying Labs' John Tynes has been interviewed at FiringSquad about Pirates of the Burning Sea:
FiringSquad: How hard has it been to make an MMORPG that has such a different setting and gameplay than your normal fantasy themed game?
John Tynes: Very hard. In the field of tabletop RPGs, there's long been a phenomenon where people who were fed up with the rules of Dungeons & Dragons would make their own homebrew game systems, to "fix" the problems of D&D, and then publish them. This made for dozens of copycat fantasy games, each of which was just yet another reinvention of the wheel. Why? It's far easier to start with something you know and alter it than it is to create something new from scratch.
It's been the same thing in MMORPGs. Actual innovation is rare. People have been "fixing" the likes of Ultima Online and Everquest since the day they shipped and in general, it's a lot easier to start by designing a game that is based on one you know intimately. We see this in other areas such as the first-person shooter or the real-time strategy game.
We had to solve a lot of problems: real-time vehicular movement and combat was the biggest. It took us almost two years of constant iteration on those systems before we got to a point where we were happy. The technical issues weren't the biggest hurdles at all -- it was really just finding a way to make naval combat fast and fun without overwhelming the player with complexity.
The genre elements are still something we're working on. We are spending some time right now putting more pirate flavor into the game, trying to make the experience more immersive, colorful, and with a sense of playfulness. At times we take this stuff too seriously so we're trying to lighten up. :)