Exclusive: Pantheon Development Team Q&A

If you've spent any time at all carousing in MMO circles, you’ve no doubt heard Brad McQuaid’s name mentioned at some point.

WildStar: Interview with Mike Donatelli

Hey WildStar fans. As many of you know, the game’s long-awaited “Winter Beta” is upon us and the beta servers are live and kicking with testers making their mark on Planet Nexus. Now, I know I know, not all of you are in the beta yet, but until that blessed day arrives I have some more news that may serve to quench your thirst for info about this upcoming sci-fi MMO.

While I was hanging in California to chat with some of the Carbine team and get some hands-on time with WildStar, I managed to snag an interview with the game’s Design Director, Mike Donatelli. He gave me the rundown on how Winter Beta is progressing, as well as a few tidbits on crafting and some of the social systems that are going into the game.

So while you’re patiently waiting for those beta keys sit back, relax and enjoy some Winter Beta news.

Wandering the Tears: Looking Beyond Veeshan

Tears of Veeshan is not the only thing launching on Tuesday, November 12. Game Update 68 is happening at the same time, which will add two new features: Tier 4 Guild Halls and Mercenary Slots. In the final part of our interview with the EverQuest II team we spoke to them about these features, tried to discern some information on the future and briefly discussed Player Studio.

Wandering the Tears: Content, Progression & Lore

Tears of Veeshan is quickly approaching, with less than one week remaining to pre-order EverQuest II's 10th expansion pack. As the launch date of Tuesday, November 12 looms, we took some time to speak with the EQII team about Tears of Veeshan and beyond.

FireFall: Retake the World

“See this grin on my face? I love talking about this game!”

After spending an hour talking to David Williams about FireFall, it’s easy to see why. As one of the lead designers at Red 5 Studios, Williams spends much of his time adding to a post-apocalyptic vision of Earth. But his passion for the game runs deep, sprawling into eSports and beyond.

After I’d caught up with everything the team is planning for Stage 2 of open beta (and there’s a lot of it), he tells me about a recent Jetball final. Following on from all the work the team had poured in over the past year, with an impressive spectator mode, new game types and new PvP gear, I’d asked how the competitive scene was going.

 “The European team – Epsilon – they’re probably the top FireFall team right now. And they were up against a team that’s been surprising everyone recently. It went to the third round of the third match, and it was 3-0 to Epsilon. The other team, they were pushing and pushing, Epsilon was bunkered in and it was a done deal.”

“The other team did this crazy push with about 30 seconds to play, got in and dunked the ball for three, and tied it up. Everyone in the chat room is going berserk. ‘Oh my god, we’re going to extra time.’”

“Wait a second. Ball just respawned. Epsilon’s going for it.”

“Five. Four. Three. Two. He’s taking the shot.”

“One. Bank shot. Ball goes in. One second to play, Epsilon wins by a point. It was nuts. So yeah, to answer your question, it’s going pretty well.”

Like a Boss! An Interview With Ion Hazzikostas

Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar is now live but I got the chance to speak with Ion Hazzikostas, Lead Encounter Designer for World of Warcraft, the day before. I questioned him on the patch and Mists of Pandaria in general, as well as what the future may hold. His answers were very forthcoming...

Riot: The eSports Watershed

ESports has come a long way in the past couple of years, with tournaments and seasons becoming a core part of gaming culture. For the incredibly popular League of Legends, that change hasn’t come about by accident. I caught up with Dustin Beck, VP of eSports, to discuss how Riot Games had reached this point, and how it would continue to grow.

Beck himself is an eSports fanatic; when we met at Gamescom he was avidly watching the international wildcard tournament, with the winning team clinching a spot in the League Championship Series (LCS) Season 3 World Championship. The European playoffs and Season 4 qualifiers later that week were a huge deal for fans in Cologne, with an enthusiastic audience dominating most of Hall 8

The Elder Scrolls Online: Making a Promise

The Elder Scrolls Online is an interesting proposition. Not quite an MMO, ZeniMax Online hopes to bring that single-player RPG feeling to the online world in a whole new way. For studio general manager Matt Firor, it’s a challenge that’s multiplied by bringing the game to PC, Mac and next generation consoles.

This, however, isn’t Firor’s first rodeo. After working in online gaming for the past 25 years and titles like Dark Age of Camelot under his belt, he was picked by parent company ZeniMax Media in 2007 to head up ZeniMax Online. Since then, his team has been working away on a new way of bringing Tamriel to life.

WildStar: Lunch with Da Gaffer Pt 3

When you look at it in bite-size chunks, it’s difficult to realize just how big a project like WildStar really is. Over the course of a two hour lunch, executive producer Jeremy Gaffney answered a series of questions from the UK community that really showed how much Carbine Studios has sunk into its upcoming MMO.

Earlier in the day we discussed the changing industry, upcoming reveals and the raiding scene. Once lunch arrived, conversation shifted to PvP and class design. Both sections are well worth a read if you haven’t managed to already.

As the sunny Brighton afternoon drew on, we turned to WildStar’s add-ons and social tools. But before we got to that, Jeremy reminisced about earlier times as one of the founders at Turbine. 

WildStar: Lunch with Da Gaffer Pt 2

Speak to Jeremy Gaffney for any length of time, and two things become apparent. First, after working on MMOs for most of his adult life, he has a wealth of experience to draw on. And second, in an industry dominated by marketing spiel, he provides refreshingly blunt and honest opinions.

As executive producer at Carbine Studios, Gaffney is responsible for guiding WildStar to a release that we hope is later this year. Taking time out of his schedule, he joined members of the community for lunch on the Brighton seafront. While we perused the menu, we discussed the changing MMO industry, upcoming reveals and the raiding scene.

As our fish and chips or plates of pasta arrived, the conversation shifted to role-play, charging models and class design. And read on for Part 3, which includes an update on beta, add-on issues and more. But first, there was the matter of PvP.