Kyle Rowley is RF Online's Community Manager. He recently took a few minutes to answer our questions in this WarCry interview. Find out what's been going on for this localized game from the British MMO publisher.
Answers by Kyle Rowley
Questions by Shannon Drake
WarCry: How has RF Online done since launch? Are you pleased/disappointed/etc. with its performance based on your expectations?
Kyle Rowley: Since the game launched in February of last year, we've seen gone through both highs and lows with the game - but overall, Codemasters are more than pleased with RF Online's performance. We always knew that the game would only really appeal to a niche market, so we never expected to hit World of WarCraft numbers. By successfully launching and operating RF Online, Codemasters Online Gaming have learnt a lot about all the different aspects of MMO games operation - this ranges from community interaction, server maintenance, developer relations and a host of other key areas. Our service can only get better as we learn from our mistakes on other products, so we have very high hopes for our future titles - especially The Lord of the Rings Online.
WarCry: How much has the game changed since launch? What new things have you added since it officially went live? Where is the game right now compared to where you want it to be, ultimately?
Kyle Rowley: Since launch, we have released two major content updates - Giga Final Part 1 and Giga Final Part 2. These two updates were released within a few months of each other and brought a lot of exciting new content to the game.
Obviously we don't want to stop there, so we have further content planned throughout 2007 and beyond, with the inclusion of Episode 2 and the highly anticipated Planet Wars! :D
WarCry: It seems like the PvP system is fairly robust. What do you have to offer players craving a hardcore PvP-style game?
Kyle Rowley: RF Online is a Realm vs. Realm vs. Realm game, with a massive focus on Player vs. Player content. If you're into intense, large-scale battles with thousands of other players - then you'll love RF Online. The game has been designed to take massive amounts of players in one place at one time, so when the games main combat oriented feature (Chip Wars) kick off, it's totally insane! You'll see thousands of players battling it out; some will go it alone while others group together with their guilds - it's just crazy, but totally fun at the same time.
WarCry: Chip Wars sound interesting. Can you tell me about them some?
Kyle Rowley: Chip Wars are the core part of the Realm vs. Realm vs. Realm experience. The basic premise of them is that each race has their own Control Center that contains a unique chip. Each race must try and destroy the others control center, grab the chip and take it down to the talic mine below. They take place three times a day at 3am 11am and 7pm (eight hour intervals) - which means no matter where you're located, you should be able to take part in at least one Chip War a day.
WarCry: I see that it's possible to be elected to the position of leader of your in-game race. How do I get there? What benefits are there? Do people actually listen to their leader?
Kyle Rowley: The game has a very unique and very cool PvP ranking system, which ultimately calculates who the race leaders and archons for each race are. The race leader is feared by his enemy and respected by his fellow race. They are the ones who lead their race into battle every day and raise morale to ensure success. Getting race leader isn't an easy feat and requires a tremendous amount of dedication and hard work. By killing enemies in PvP, players gain something called Contribution Points. These Contribution Points are what determine how highly you are ranked within your race and subsequently how much influence you have over other players.
The race leader gains a few special traits as well. One of which is a huge aluminous light on the top of their head - which can be both a blessing and a curse. They also have the ability to chat to the whole of their race - meaning they can efficiently lead the race into battle. As you can see, the race leader is a very powerful and sought after position within the game.
WarCry: The number one complaint among former players and testers was the grind. What are you doing to ease that and provide more varied play?
Kyle Rowley: As the game was originally designed for Korea, there are obviously certain aspects of the game that players in the west are not used to - or they are used to doing it differently. As RF Online is focused on high level Realm vs. Realm vs. Realm game play, all content prior to that is there to prepare the player for that unique experience.
Both CCR and Codemasters acknowledged that the experience rates in the game were very low on launch, so to rectify this; within Giga Final Part 2 we increased the rates dramatically. This then allowed players to reach the higher levels a lot faster - enabling them to take a more active role in their races struggle for control of the Crag Mine.
Within Episode 2 there are a bunch of changes that will further reduce the 'grind' aspect of the game. Monster AI is being completely re-vamped, with monsters taking a much more tactical approach to combat. New skills and weapons are being implemented to further reward players at milestone levels - so as you can see, 'grind breaker' changes are being added at regular intervals to ensure players don't become bored.
WarCry: Alright, let's say I'm jaded on World of Warcraft and am looking for something new. What would you say to convince me to take a look at RF Online?
Kyle Rowley: I'd say something along the lines of: "If you're fed up of playing the typical boring fantasy RPG - try out RF Online. RF Online has an epic story, an original take on the Sci-Fi genre and the most exhilarating Player vs Player battles ever to grace the games industry. Head on over to http://www.tryrfonline.com for more information on the game and a 10 day free trial!" - or something similar ;)
Marketing spiel aside, the games extremely fun
once you get into it and we have the most dedicated, passionate and out right crazy community I've ever had the pleasure of being associated with :p.
WarCry: What does the future have in store for RF Online? What do you have planned for future updates? Are there any major changes to the game coming?
Kyle Rowley: As I stated earlier, we're looking to implement the first part of Episode 2 sometime in the near future. Episode 2 is going to be split into a number of different parts that will spread the content out over a number of months, so both current and new players have plenty of exciting new content to look forward to.
We'll be releasing more information about Episode 2 Part 1 very shortly, so players should look out for that on the official RF Online website http://www.rf-onlinegame.com.
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