Interviews

Interviews
The Mind Behind 'Mythos'

Suzie Ford | 18 Jun 2008 14:25
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Mythos Interview: WarCry Network

WarCry: Please introduce yourselves.

Hi there! My name is Travis Baldree - I'm the Project Director and one of the developers for Mythos.

WC: Mythos was originally developed to: A) test Hellgate: London's networking technology and then B) became an independent game in its own right. Explain the decision-making process from point A to point B.

After an initial span of about 4-5 months working on A) it became apparent to us that B) could be very viable. At that point, I received the go-ahead to start building a small team to see how far we could take Mythos, and how much we could do with a lean staff and a focus on a fun core experience.

WC: The business model for Mythos is unusual. Please explain how Mythos will 'make money' if not through subscription play. What sort of items will be sold through through the premium shops?

Our initial plan is to utilize a dual-currency system similar to what is used by Three Rings for Puzzle Pirates. In this system, there are two ingame currencies - one that is earned, and one that is purchased for actual money. Certain goods and services will be available for purchase with the 'purchased' currency. The unique part of this system is that players can trade purchased currency for ingame currency or items - in this way, even those who never pay any actual money can still have access to goods that require it. Our aim is not to sell game-in balancing items, but rather convenience services and cosmetic options, primarily.

WC: Mythos has had the 'casual gamer' label slapped on it by MMO purists. How do you respond to that? What sort of gamer is Mythos attempting to attract?

I don't have any problem with being labeled a casual game - primarily because as I grow older I am making the shift from hardcore to casual myself. That doesn't mean I don't care about a fun game with a deep core experience - it means I'm unwilling to put up with needless time wasting and grind. Casual gamers don't want less of a game - they just want the time spent playing it to count. We'd like the hardcore to play as well - we intend to keep layering the experience, and deepening it with late-game content that we hope will keep players interested and active, without feeling they need to commit an extraordinary chunk of their life to do so.

WC: Please give an overview of the crafting system in Mythos.

Mythos employs a unique risk-based crafting system, where you control the properties and subsequent risk of creating an item at a fine level, if you want to. Rather than have you spend your time making 100 pairs of pants to get better at making pants, we instead have you invest in a crafting tree, similar to a skill tree. Investment in this tree unlocks types of recipes, and improves the potency of the effects you can imbue created items with. For a given property on an item, you can increase its potency - which at the same time increases its risk. The greater the risk, the more likely you are to fail - but the greater the reward if you succeed. By careful investment in the crafting tree, you can mitigate this risk. So I can be a sword-crafter who makes extremely fast swords with high heraldic levels - while you might be better at making swords with boosted damage and fire bonuses. We want players to feel they are developing a mastery of a specific kind of crafting through choice, not repetition. At the risk of becoming longwinded, I'll also mention that we have what we call a 'heraldry' system - heraldries are basically craftable socketable items. Each crafted item has a heraldry socket of a given level (which can be improved ) - crafting heraldries allows you to socket a specific set of properties into a crafted item. Only crafted items have heraldry sockets. Of course, to be a great heraldry crafter, you'll have to spend your points in that direction, and that creates a bit of dependency between those who craft heraldries, and those who craft armor or weapons.

WC: During the game's development, what is the most powerful item crafted by beta testers and/or developers? What was it, what items were required to create it, what properties did it have and what level of expertise did it require to create? *grins*

We've had several extremely overpowered heraldry sets throughout the balance process - some lasting for days with enormous damage percentage bonuses. Insightful Strikes V was particularly crazy - 85% increased critical chance, 25% increased damage, 25% increased chance to strike, 10% chance to stun. And you can have MULTIPLE of these in different crafted items.

WC: For players who aren't into crafting, can items be found that approach the power and diversity of crafted items?

We've tried to keep found and crafted items interesting in their own ways. Crafted items usually have properties that aren't commonly found on normal drops. Loot items can have sockets instead of heraldries - and can have many more of them. However, the properties you find on socketables are nowhere near as potent or concentrated as those that are craftable on heraldries. Loot items can also be further enchanted at the roving enchanter. Each path is viable and has its own merits - ideally, you'll employ both crafted and found items during play.

WC: Will there be any auction houses? How will those work?

The auction house is forthcoming - its first incarnation will be the consignment house, which will allow players to sell goods at a fixed price without bidding. We'll be receiving this from Hellgate's ongoing development, and hope to have it integrated soon. A full-featured auction house will follow, built upon this base.

WC: Are there any plans to add more classes and/or races in the future?

Definitely - at this point, it's simply a matter of priority and time. We have many ideas for both races and classes, and fully intend to add more as soon as we are able.

WC: Are there any plans to allow players to multi-class their characters? If not, why not?

At present, no - partially because of the balancing this entails, and partially because we'd like to keep the game fast paced enough that you don't mind starting a new character and trying a new style of play totally different from what you did before.

WC: What are the long-term goals of Mythos in terms of new content and support?

The long term goals are to keep growing the world as long as we have customers who are interested. We intend to continue to add new features, endgame content, PVP games, and whatever our players ask for that we can reasonably provide.

WC: Please add anything else you wish the community to know.

We hope you'll all come take a look at Mythos once we reach Open Beta soon! We look forward to playing with you online  I'd also like to send out a special thank you to all our tireless Beta Testers, who have made this worthwhile with their fantastic feedback and tireless efforts.