Asheron's Call was one of the three games that helped kick start the graphical online RPG genre and now as it hits its 8th anniversary, we talk to Turbine's Community Manager for the game, Andy Cataldo. He updates us on the game's status and future.
Answers by Andy Cataldo (AC CM)
Questions by Robert Hackett
WarCry: Turbine just celebrated its 8th year with Asheron's Call. What would you consider the best incident in the past 8 years?
Andy Cataldo: I would have to say the defense of the Shard of Herald on Thistledown is still one of my favorite moments from the history of the game. Seeing players doing something that unexpected, and seeing how the team at the time reacted to it, was great.
WarCry: If you had a 'do-over', what would you re-do from the last 8 years?
Andy Cataldo: Housing. Not that I think housing is bad, but in hindsight there are a lot of things that I would have done differently to allow us more freedom with housing now.
WarCry: Some of the often-requested to be added features include things like a quest panel, land control, and pets. Since some of these work fairly well in other Turbine games, are there any plans to incorporate this type of functionality? Or is the technology AC is founded on just too old?
Andy Cataldo: We absolutely have some ideas around all of these things. Pets, while still in their early stages, still have some great potential. A quest panel is a bit tougher. To make something like that work we have to go through every line of every quest ever put in to the game over the past 8 years...no small task. As far as Land Control goes, all I will say is we have some ideas.
WarCry: PvPers are an often vocal section of any online community. In AC, there's an entire server dedicated to PvPing. Are there any plans to create more PvP incentives, such as trophies or perhaps simply titles?
Andy Cataldo: Definitely! We understand that PvP and Darktide are an important part of Asheron's Call. The one thing we have to be careful of is that nearly everything we do can have some sort of effect on PvP. We also want to make sure we get things right when we make any additions or changes to PvP. We would much rather take our time making the changes and get them right, rather than rushing out and making changes without any foresight.
WarCry: What do you think makes a game 'innovative' (MMO or otherwise)?
Andy Cataldo: For me it's all about originality. Doing something that no one else has done. It may not even work, but making the attempt rather than just doing what has already been done is something that goes a long way with me.
WarCry: What was the most difficult task on AC that you've had to do this year?
Andy Cataldo: I guess it would be making sure that we continue get our content out every month. Most people have no idea how much time and effort it takes to write, implement, test, test again, and patch new content on a month to month basis. Most of the team has given up on the concept of sleeping at this point.
WarCry: What is a project you're looking forward to working on this year for AC?
Andy Cataldo: If I told you I would have to kill you, but let's just say we think that everyone who is a fan of Asheron's Call will be pleased with what we have planned for 2008.