Most probably every gamer wants to know what are the game developers thinking about one or another aspect of the game, what inspires them in creation of different mechanics of the game, and generally speaking who are those people who stand at the core of development. We have selected the most popular questions and gave them to the team of Sphere 3.
We had for our discussion those whom you should remember from our first interview: Vyacheslav (programmer), Boris (game designer) and Piotr (3D artist).
Let's start from the direct questions face-to-face: Craft. Everyone has heard about it but no one has seen it. Not so long ago we have lifted the veil of a mystery a bit and told what types of professions there will be, how they are going to work. And naturally there rises a question - what stage is this greatly anticipated mechanics of the game in?
Boris: We are carefully building up the crafting system as integral (but not obligatory!) part of the game process. Our goal now is to iron some game play moments and to get rid of some roughness.
Vyacheslav: Technically speaking the system of the crafts is working, though it's not in its final stage yet.
Piotr: Preparation of the locations is in its final stage. Taking into account the visual aspect we are 90% ready.
Can you tell us what has inspired the development team during creation of this system? No doubt they have seen some other games, took some ideas from them?
Piotr: All our team plays games and they influence us in a different ways.
Vyacheslav: Various games of various genre. I doubt that there is one specific game or a craft system which could be considered as a prototype of our own.
Boris: I think that you can't tell that one thing has inspired us. Such a big scale update results in symbiosis of ideas of a very different people.
Creation of craft system has taken quite a long time. Why did it happen?
Boris: One needs to redirect the load of a team from time to time in favor of an urgent tasks. These periods of time accumulate and amount of work for the global tasks has to be stretched out.
Piotr: And you should remember that the amount of work itself does not become smaller. We are not downgrading the specific characteristics of expansion in order to hasten the process.
Will those crafted items be better than are dropped by the world bosses at the present time?
Boris: I doubt that it can be said "better" or "worse". Implementation of the craft system will add to the flexibility of the equipment options to take away the focus from the basic characteristics. We want to make the boundaries between the classes of equipment more blurry and to give some kind of individuality to the new items.
Viachelav: The class of quality will be equal to the quality of the drops from the world bosses but the motive for the obtaining these kinds of items will be the need for combination of certain "special" characteristics.
Little bit about the politics within the game: as you probably know the distribution of power influences a lot which castles will belong to whom. At the present time human race is obviously dominating in numbers never the less demons feel more relaxed during the sieges. Why is it happening, what do you think about it?
Vyacheslav: Drill and discipline!.. At the end community which organized better wins against others.
Boris: Players create the politics themselves and build the relations between them they need. In this case those who play for the demon faction managed to play their role in a way which was more beneficial for them and therefore they gained the dominating position.
What do you think about the alliances signed between the representatives of a different races?
Boris: Politically correct. Although there is a war going on in the game world this is still MMORPG and everyone chooses his behavior in accordance with his personal preferences and the character line he has chosen.
Are there any plans to implement in game mechanics that would convince players that it's more beneficial to fight for his own faction than it is to maintain alliances and to limit himself in numbers of frags?
Viacheslav: It's too early to talk about the updates of the faction mechanics. This is the place where we won't lift the veil of the mystery "laughs".
Boris: On one hand ideologically speaking we have division into factions. On other - we don't want to limit players in options of their behavior. Sooner or later we'll need to decide which way we'll go: to improve self identity of the player in relations to the faction or to give freedom in order to act against identity.
You probably have seen one of the popular threads of the forum where old fans of the series are actively discussing one of the features of the game which has been way back in the original "Sphere". What do you think about this system? Can it be adapted in a present concept of the game?
Piotr: I was expecting theme about the birds...
Boris: We have ideas about creating system of achievements and not only in relation to the PvP. Many ideas based on the first "Sphere" can be adapted into the concept. Titles are not the exclusion.
Vyacheslav: And some things are even ready right now. All the announcements will be done in a due time by administration - don't have any doubts about it.
Will you take this opinion into account?
Boris: We are gathering opinions and suggestions of all the players, no matter where are they from forum, support service or personal message.
Events in Sphere 3 are not abundant in diversity to be honest. All the latest of them have been about the mission "Go there - kill that one - bring that stuff". Does your team have any plans to expand variety of event mechanics?
Vyacheslav: Yes, this is known fact that events do nor vary too much. We are looking into technical feasibility to adjust certain mechanics specifically for the events and global campaigns.
Boris: Including quests as well. The majority of our time is consumed by the system of crafting at the present time therefore expansion of mechanics of that kind is postponed for a later time.
One more question from our players regarding the balance of the classes. The monk and his incredible advantage against other classes according to the opinion of majority has been in the center of discussions. What do you think about it. Does the class balance require global revision?
Boris: Classes that include very different features are always complicated to include into military system. To say it short, yes it requires. Monk is considered in that regard at the first place and this specific class is queued for the rebalance as the number one. But other classes won't be overseen as well. Yes, necromants as well. Even more - we already have some functionality specifically for the rebalance of the classes.
Аre there any plans at all to work on balancing classes, new skills for the classes?
Vyacheslav: Rebalance by default does not exclude possibility to change skills to the point they stop being similar to their initial version.
Piotr: This includes graphics as well. It's more interesting to see it once. It's quite complicated to describe these new features in words.
Some of the players have opinion that the present system of castle items does not stimulate participation in the sieges even taking into account additional bonuses as mount and castle buff. Do you have any plans to attract people to the sieges some other way? May be some additional bonuses of the castles are under development?
Boris: Development of the castle system is one more global task for the development of content. It's too early to announce it. I don't think that the task is to "attract people to the sieges". It's more about making the very essence of the castles and sieges attractive enough to consider the siege as competition for the best privileges in the world of the Sphere.
Piotr: Castles won't get away with bonuses only as they are the whole bunch of content themselves and they need to be developed. We had plans for them since the beginning of OBT and these plans did not go away.
Some people ask to increase the number of slots on the toolbars in order to accommodate more skills and items. What do you think about it - is there a real need for that?
Vyacheslav: Initial design was considered taking into account that the space in toolbars will be rationalized at maximum by the player in order to improve effectiveness precisely in PvP. But that does not exclude following expansion of interface functionality.
Piotr: Interface design is more time consuming task than it can seem at the first look: some functionality may be expanded, some parts may be canceled. Interface is what the player is dealing with all the time and it means that they are getting to use it without even noticing that. At least until they face a problem. And if there are problems we won't leave them unattended.
How are the birds doing?
Boris: Finally we reached the most important thing. So the functionality of the birds...
Vyacheslav: I have some work to do.
Piotr: Art can't wait. See you later!
Boris: Hey, don't leave me alone!..
This is where we'll leave team of developers so that they could continue their work on bringing good stuff and craft to the expanse of Ericuria.
If you have important questions that have been left without answers, leave them in comments and we'll try to discuss them during the next interview.
Original interview can be found: http://forum.gamexp.ru/showthread.php?t=469675