I had the chance to participate in a live 'webinar' with Chronicles of the Spellborn developers and Acclaim Games representatives. The concept of a live visual and aural chat is intriguing and is certainly an innovation that I've yet to see in the gaming world. Not only did listeners have the chance to put voices to names, but they also had the chance to view the developers' desktops and exclusive images.
Developers El Dryver and Matthew Florianz and Acclaim representatives David Perry (CCO), Neil Malhotra (CTO), David DeWald (The Historian) and Howard Marks (CEO) all participated in the webinar. In short, it was a who's who of the development and North American distribution teams for TCotS.
Here's a brief summary of the chat:
- Players have been asking what will come down the pipe after the North American release. El Dryver answered that patches to improve gameplay, add content, etc. will continue throughout 2009. He hinted a 'big news' coming this summer. Dryver also commented on the team's dedication to making TCotS a living, breathing world fraught with politics, PvP, PvE, new instances. Florianz added that TCotS will never "do things twice the same way". He called this a bold statement from the development team but one they stand firmly behind.
- Balancing and skill issues are closely monitored and due to the close monitoring by the development team, there have been few balance issues. Most that have been noted have been due to bugs that have since been ironed out.
- Both Dryver and Florian emphasized over and over again how much players are in control of their 'toons. TCotS is not a game that depends on dice rolls. For instance, if a toon has the ability to dodge, it will. If it has the ability to swing a sword, it will. What happens after that, well, let's just say that the player owns the responsibility AND the blame. For good or ill, don't look to the dice as savior or villain.
- Rather than adding new classes, Dryver indicated that existing classes will have their abilities and skills expanded.
- Developers are aware of and participate in the community's live events.
- The open beta has started in North America as of today, March 20th. However, no new accounts can be activated until March 21st as today's limit has been reached.
- There will be no character wipe after the open beta ends.
- The open beta will allow players to experience the entire game without limitation.
- After the open beta, players will have the option to continue to play for free. The free to play section will embody 3 areas with full functionality in terms of guilds, PvP, quests, mailboxes, etc.
- A full premium paid account will cost $15.00 per month. Acclaim will offer a 'set and forget' billing so that players entering their credit card information will be able to be charged on a monthly basis.
- Acclaim play cards can be purchased as several major outlets in North America.
- So far gold selling for real-world cash is not a problem. Spammers have been placed on a global ignore. They can continue to spam but no one will see it! Developers will keep a close watch on this type of activity and look for ways to catch them in code. As spammers get smarter, so will the team.
All in all, the developer chat was a lot of fun. David Perry, Chief Creative Officer, indicated that this is going to be something that will continue in the future. Webinars can host up to a thousand people so keep an eye on the official site or here at WarCry for the next scheduled chat. Also keep your eye on WarCry for a Chronicles of the Spellborn review coming your way soon!