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The folks at MMO Play have interviewed Corey LeFever, the Senior Game Designer behind the upcoming MMO, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. The interview covers a lot of topics, most notably the game's reliance on party play, and recapturing the feel of old-school MMOs. Here's an excerpt:
How has player reaction been overall to your race/class combination choices? As an old-school pen-and-paper gamer (started playing AD&D, Star Frontiers, and many other tabletop rpgs back in 1981), I like having class restrictions based upon race as they pertain to both lore and abilities. Will other races/classes be added in the future?
Overall, the reaction has been good. It’s also pretty interesting. In a lot of ways, the discussions happening around the ‘net mirrored our internal discussions and debates about which races get which classes. Ultimately, though, we went with what best fit the narratives we want to explore.
Will we consider additional races, classes, and combos thereof in the future? Given the cosmology our Lore folks have whipped up, it’s a distinct possibility. We think it’s fair to say we may see more options down the road.
A lot of mmo games promise an immersive climate/weather system, but they usually end up just as window dressing. How much impact will the climate have upon characters in the game?
We’re still in the iteration process with Climates, so it’s hard to say definitively what the impact will be at this point. It’s our intent to strike a balance between it providing meaningful gameplay and not require folks to need to adjust to them *every* time they set foot out for adventure. We’ll be relying heavily on feedback to ensure we strike the right point there.
In an age where online gamers are catering to solo gameplay, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is going in the opposite direction. Why place such an importance upon needing allies for exploration and adventures? What systems are you putting into place to facilitate greater cooperation and camaraderie? Does this mean that players won't be able to acquire companions or hirelings to accompany them on quests?
MMOs to us are highly social games and the shared experience is really important to us. As gamers ourselves we think it’s cool to hear about your friend’s solo adventures, but we think it’s even better to be there with them creating your memories together. Through shared success -- and learning opportunities through our losses -- we form bonds and memories that last even years after we killed that particularly nasty dragon, plundered that distant tomb of the mad wizard, or saved Thronefast from...wait, getting ahead of myself there. *Ahem*
We’ll be exploring a variety of methods to get folks introduced to one another and grouping regularly. Class interdependency will encourage players to naturally seek one another out, but we are considering a few other methods. We’ll be happy to talk in greater detail about that when we have something to show.
Currently we have no plans for hirelings or companions to join in your adventures. Pets for some classes, such as the Summoner and Necromancer, sure. You’ll still want player characters though to flesh out your groups.