Asheron's Call 100th Update Interview

John Funk | 28 Aug 2008 20:52
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WC: February's update had "Memory Quests," which let players revisit the game's history, as a new type of storytelling device. The recent Book 14 update for Lord of the Rings Online introduced Session Play, a very similar concept - players can play through "stories" of characters not their own. Did one inspire the other, and is there crossover (within Turbine) between different development teams and ideas?

Andy Cataldo: Probably not, but great minds think alike.

Part of the motivation for the AC memory quests was that a lot of the players who we have now but who haven't been there from the beginning ... they get to see the things that they missed. You have these great memories that older players share, and newer players are always hearing about, but never get to see. Or even some things that our older players never got to see.

For example, the Bael'Zharon story - it involved one of the central adversaries of AC lore, an archdemon from 10,000 years ago blessed by darkness. Much of the first fourteen, fifteen months of AC was spent explaining how he was brought back by the greed of players, who broke into vaults where his soul was stored searching for treasure. The storyline culminated in him getting loose, stomping around and killing people. He actually accepted a pledge of loyalty from the biggest PK guild on Darktide. Bael'Zharon is seen as the first great villain, the first great storyline of AC... older players have these stories about going to towns and getting your ass handed to him. For most of the operations, the community specialist, Dave Namerow controlled him, but I got a chance to take my turn.

DJ: With memory quests, we want to let new players experience it and let others relive older memories.

MY favorite story about playing Bael'Zheron was running into a person at a Lifestone: when you rez, you rez without some of your most valuable pieces of armor or equipment. There's this guy at a Lifestone, who'd just rezzed ... without pants. Maybe he lost them while killed. I ran up to him, shook my fist and RP'd. I demanded that he swear loyalty to me, and finally added, "And put on some pants!" He replied: "Yes, I swear fealty to you - but not even for you, Hopeslayer, will I waste the magic in my pants."

WC: Anything else coming down the road in AC inspired by LotRO or DDO? Or vice versa?

Andy: Dave's team is only part of the AC team. A lot of teams get shared (like tech and art). We have people that work on all three games, but "what team are you on?" really is not the way the studio is set up. People move around when they need to, like when they need to grow, or are looking for a change.

DJ: Not a lot of revolving doors, but there's certainly a lot of friendship across franchises. Adam Mackey was the creator of AC, and now works on LotRO - he crosses the franchises occasionally. Certainly, AC isn't above homages here and there. For example, in game we've got a Douglas Adams tribute and a Red Dawn tribute among others.

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