Blizzard Entertainment and....Artix Games? What could these two possibly have in common? Artix has developed three successful online RPGs and has just launched their first MMO. Read on to find out more in what is undoubtedly the most entertaining interview I have ever conducted.
Please introduce yourself and define your position within Artix Entertainment.
Artix: "I would like to thank the Warcry Network for taking the time to talk with us. Well met! I am Artix von Krieger the Paladin. My job here is to battle the evil legions of the undead, pick up after the puppy on walks, and build web RPGs including AdventureQuest, DragonFable and MechQuest.
Safiria: [Sigh] Greetings, I am Safiria Nyx the Vampire Queen. When I'm not expanding my clan of undead Vampires I am...
Artix: Wait - you are a Vampire?
Safiria: [sigh] We've been over this... oooh look a shiny object!
Artix: Oooooooh where!?
Artix Entertainment is based in Land O'Lakes, Florida so this question must be asked: Land O'Lakes like the butter? *grins*
Artix: Are you trying to butter us up? That question has been churning in my mind since we moved here. It is nice building the games in one place since we were spread so thin before. Ironicially it is really our puns that are our bread and butter here. It really helps our profit margarines. I am really milking this joke... but do not worry we are open minded here - not lactose intolerant at all. Sorry, I am a little nervous and have butter-flies in my stomach. I need to rebutt-er that statement. I think I ate too many butter-milk pancakes with Mrs Butter-worth syrup. At least it was butter than the Butter-cups I was eating from Halloween. That reminds me of the time I was such a butter-fingers that I dropped a butterball turkey last Thanksgiving... hey... wait.. Safiria why are you trying to cover my mouth with Butter-scotch Tape?
Safiria: You're cut off.
Artix: Huh.... I cannot believe it is not butter!
Safiria: Cut off!
Artix: But look.. I just made this new Butter RPG called BUTTERQUEST!
Safiria: Oh dear god...... what is WRONG with you!?!!!?!
NEW GAME: http://www.ButterQuest.com (Warcry exclusive!)
Now that that's out of the way, what games has Artix produced? Please give a thumbnail sketch of each one.
Artix: We have four major RPGs. All of them are free and play in your web browser with nothing to download or install. Our friendly team works on the games alongside the community updating them with fun new events, quests, or monsters each week! Our newest game, AQWorlds is our first massively multiplayer game.
Safiria: That's not what he meant by "sketch"
Which do you like better: MMORPGs or single-player RPGs?
Artix: I like them both better!
Artix: We have been creating single player web RPGs for 6 really fun years.
Safiria: During our 6th year anniversary we launched our first MMO, AdventureQuest Worlds. It's a completely new game with all new original art and a story that will encompass elements from our existing three games.
Artix: I like being able to jump into the single player games and play the new releases right after they are released. I REALLY like playing along side the other players in the MMO.
What technologies/engines does Artix use for its games?
Artix: FLASH! <Que's up soundtrack: Flash... Aaaaaah aaaaah aaaaaa! Defender of the universe>
Safiria: Our games are all written in Adobe Flash so they are small and run within your web browser. Your character data is saved to our databases. This means you can play as your character from any computer in the world.
Does Artix offer on-site mini games? If so, how do they fit into the other games developed by Artix?
Safiria: We build mini-games in our spare time and put them on www.Ebilgames.com. While the focus of our main games is combat, there are also some minigames built into them.
What age group does Artix aim for during game development?
Artix: Honestly - I just make games I would like to play.
What ages are most represented in Artix's games?
Artix: Age of Empires, Dark Age of Camelot, Brain Age, Age of Mythology... hmm...
Safiria: Our demographic is really broad.
Artix: ... the Stone Age?
Safiria: We have a huge number of 13 to 17 year old players.
Your site (http://www.artixentertainment.com) claims 12,000,000 unique visitors each month. This compares favorably with Blizzard's just-announced eleven million WoW subscribers. How many of these visitors play one of Artix's games and/or mini-games?
Artix: For little web games we do have a lot of incredible players. In recent months we had as high as 17.6 million unique visitors to our game sites, which is just unthinkable! Those numbers are like saying "these are not the droids you are looking for..." to the advertisers who help sponsor the free sections of our games.
Safiria: Except, of course, those advertisers are all COMPETING games...
Artix: Yes, but over the past 6 years we have seen a lot of them come and go. We are still here ;-) Of the unique visitors about 33% of them have an active account with us in at least one game. We believe everyone keeps coming back to see or new releases!
How often are MechQuest, DragonFable and AdventureQuest updated?
Artix: We update all of the games every single week! This month (November) we are starting the month of Dragons. We are putting the first Dragons into our MMO. Meanwhile in MechQuest they will be discovering an asteriod containing a mechanical Dragonoid which has been floating around space for the past 10,000 years. This is a major plot point unraveling a major in game mystery. In DragonFable they are adding bizarre chef Dragons who want to start a adventurer restaurant. You will team up with the famous DragonSlayer Galanoth and take them down... and learn the trade of DragonSlaying for yourself!
Safiria: Because the game runs in your web browser, you do not need to download anything to see our latest release. Just login and you'll be able to battle the newest monsters and go on the latest quests!
Are accounts ever removed when unused for a period of time?
Safiria: There are different clean up systems for the different games. When it is time for database clean up we only remove unused accounts with non-verified emails. We never delete upgraded (paid) accounts.
Artix: I offer burial services for the purged accounts so they do not come back as undead accounts.
Artix is somewhat like the corner 'mom and pop store' with a game like World of Warcraft being like Walmart. How does Artix compete so well?
Safiria: We joke about a lot of things at AE, but this is one topic we take very seriously.
Artix: Our games are here and growing because of our players. We take their input very seriously and do our best every day to make the games better for them.
Safiria: World of Warcraft had a huge team and insane budget to build their MMO. We had two guys and some pizza to make ours. AdventureQuest Worlds is the first MMO with real time combat we have seen in Flash. It is really amazing that we were able to build it.
Artix: But seriously, how do we compete with games like World of Warcraft? (Compete = T-ball vs Pro Baseball?) We compete by listening to our players. Even as you read this we are continuing to build and improve AQWorlds. I would like to take this moment and show my appreciation for Zhoom, Minimal, J6, Miltonius, Reens, Llusien, Safiria, Nythera, Jemini, the forum staff and the Alpha/Beta players that put so much work into the initial release of the MMO. It was a huge success. But the game that exists now is still just a seed compared to the lush, magical forest it is about to become. A forest with... great oaks... and deer... and little woodland creatures that scurry and go *pfft pfft pfft* and cows...
Safiria: Cut off!
Artix: But I made a butter RPG!
What future development plans does Artix have up its sleeve?
Safiria: We have huge events coming up in AdventureQuest, DragonFable, MechQuest and AQWorlds during this holiday season.
Artix: Special holiday zones and chain quests Undead Reindeer... RiegnMecha with laser eyes, Revenge of the Techno turkey, giant greedy present stealing frost Dragons....
Safiria: Huh, weird. You are being serious this time.
Artix: A lot of our resources are being put into the MMO. AdventureQuest Worlds is going to grow faster than any of our previous games. The big projects on the to-do list are guilds, housing/castles and PvP.
Safiria: I think he wanted to know if you were going to make any new games.
Artix: Safiria! That project is top secret. You were not supposed to say anything about that at all.
Safiria: OMG, I'm so sorry. But, since I already mentioned it...
Artix: Alright <clears throat>. We have built three web RPGs, and now a massively multiplayer game. We are ready to move to the next level.
Zhoom: <drum roll>
Safiria: Wait... what?
Safiria: Are you serious? After building AQ, DF, MQ and AQW you want to build a game featuring stick figures?
Artix: No... I built AQ, DF, MQ and AQW so that I COULD build a game about stick figures.
Artix: Again, I would like to thank the Warcry Network for taking the time to speak with us about our web games. If you would like to learn more about our games, or just watch us crash and burn like some sort of ticking timebomb internet trainwreck, please visit:
Thanks so much to Artix and Safiria for such and entertaining and truly informative interview! Look for more from these two in the future!