WarCry: Advertising is a popular forum topic these days, especially with other games getting celebrity endorsements on national television. Is Turbine working on an enhanced marketing plan?
Andy Cataldo: Yes we are. I of course cannot get into any details yet as the plans are still being finalized, but I think I can say with confidence that Turbine as a whole is dedicated to spreading the word about all of our franchises to as many people as possible.
WarCry: Multi-game passes are another often wished for option. Is this on the docket for Turbine?
Andy Cataldo: We are always looking for ways to improve our customer experience. Being that we work with our partners to operate games in various territories around the world, it's not as simple as making a single pass for all games. Whatever programs we put in place need to work for our customers regardless of where they choose to play our games.
WarCry: A lot of current and former players refer to the "Fourth Sending of Darkness" or "Elements of Revenge" as the greatest of the AC story arcs. The current story arc started in 09/06, and seems to be coming to a head with Aerbax and his (its) experiments. How would you compare the current arc to the fan favorites?
Andy Cataldo: Generally I do not like to compare what we are doing now to what was done in the past. When you create content for a world that has been around as long as AC, there are too many aspects of each arc that are different that make comparing them very difficult. The one constant over the past 8 years is our player's passion for engaging in the adventures we create for them.
WarCry: One of AC's unique qualities is that it's a skill based game, in a world of class based games. Why do you think that skill based games never really caught on?
Andy Cataldo: In my opinion, skill based games require more effort and dedication. I remember back in my early days of playing Asheron's Call I had a giant binder that I kept next to my computer at all times. It literally had (still does, though I don't use it as much now) hundreds and hundreds of pages with everything from different templates I was messing with to the different spell formulas we needed to try. Remember the personal taper? You just don't see that in class based games. Everything nowadays is about instant gratification rather than having to take the time to figure things out. Now don't get me wrong, I am not necessarily saying that's a bad thing, I just have a preference for doing things myself and having my hand held every step of the way.
WarCry: One of AC's unique qualities is its on-going story-line, with monthly updates. How do you manage to put out monthly updates so regularly?
Andy Cataldo: Black Magic and Voodoo dolls! All kidding aside, the AC team is one of the hardest working groups I have ever had the pleasure of working with. These guys come in first thing in the morning and on many nights are here till long after everyone else has left. The amount of effort it takes to get out content every month is amazing to me. Before I came here I was one of those people who would say "how hard can it be to make a quest? You guys must just goof off all day!" Now I will be the first one to admit how wrong I was. The team amazes me every month with what they product with the time they have.
WarCry: Another thing a lot of players keep asking for is a reworking of AC with updated graphics. Some of us remember Sandra's post about how that really wouldn't work. Has the game changed enough to allow for 'prettier' graphics in some future expansion/upgrade?
Andy Cataldo: In this job I have learned that I cannot rule out anything, or say we will never be able to do something. What I will say is that it would take an absolutely amazing effort to do something like that.