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Interview with Julien Crevits from Runes of Magic

  GameOn took the opportunity to grab an interview with Julien Crevits, the community manager for Runes of Magic, a free online MMO.  

For those not familiar with the game, Runes of Magic is a fantasy MMORPG that is set in Taborea, a land undergoing the usual turmoil. Players can run story missions, take on quests, and train their skills. There are also dungeon sieges and, for the PvPers, solo and guild on guild battles.

runes of magic

Please tell our readers about the set-up of the development team, what they have done before and if their initial vision for ROM has achieved all their original goals - so far!?

The founding members of Runewaker were all very experienced in the field of MMO games and decided to share and build upon their knowledge to pursue their quest for better games. They studied the global MMO market for a long time before launching their product, willing to create a successful game on a global level. After one year of commercial operation, the game is thriving, with more than three million players in our western territories and thousands of new players every day. They still have many ideas for Runes of Magic which are currently in development or will be added later on.

How have the team ensured the game through the expansions/chapters have seamlessly built upon the storyline without veering away from the ideals of the game but at the same time offer more new ideas?

The team has been following a general masterplan which has been established from the very beginning of the game, with plans and ideas for the years to come. They never left aside their guideline but made sure to also add in ideas from the players which matched their objectives or opened new perspectives for further developments. One of the advantages of dealing with a fantasy world is that everything is possible. Needless to say, there are always new ideas and sometimes, even if we try our best to implement as many new ideas as we can, it can be quite challenging to decide which ideas should be realized first.

Runes of Magic

For gamers who have not played ROM how would you describe the experience and what makes the game so unique?

There's one feature which can answer both questions: Runes of Magic features a unique dual class system enabling players to combine one of eight primary classes with a secondary class. The result is a deep player experience: the possibilities are numerous; every combination is interesting enough to be tested. Every player can create his own character and his own gear through a crafting system which will help him to create an outfit with characteristics he will be the only one to have. Each dual class combination produces its own powerful elite skills which can influence in many ways the players' experience of the game. This is just one of many features of the game, but it definitely shows how unique RoM is.

You now have millions of registered users so who exactly are these players and with many being experienced and familar with MMOs, it can't be simply the game is free. Many will have played other titles like Lord of the Rings and Warcraft so ROM must have some special appeal or hidden qualities?

You gave away the easiest answer! Basically, players coming from other MMORPGs are really interested in RoM because they are not lost when they first launch the game: the background is a stylized fantasy world; the classes match the usual archetypes of the genre. But really quickly, as they progress in the game, they discover a deep background, an original story, linked to unique features such as the dual class system or the really thorough crafting system, and they can't help themselves going further in their discovery of these different aspects. In a few words, RoM offers many features which are really proper to this game, but most of the players are already satisfied with the most evident ones, like housing or guild castles, because they are not used to see them all together in a game.

Runes of Magic

What kind of drop out do you get and are you constantly getting feedback from fans and incorporating any of their ideas in the game?

You can't tell your game is a good game if it's not taking into account the feedback from your players. The game is designed for them, to suit their expectations. It would be foolish not to introduce some of their ideas. Every single day, users are posting on the official boards with ideas and suggestions to improve their own experience of the game. It is obvious we cannot implement all the demands, but when many voices rise to get a particular thing, as, let's say, the wedding system (which we will add with the main launch of Chapter III in May), we do our best to add it.

Before we move onto chapter 3, Chapter 2 The Elven Prophecy was released near the end of the last quarter of 2009! How successful has it been and what did it add to the Taborea world in terms of ideas, races and excitement!?

It was definitely a great success. The two new classes linked to the new elvish race found their own audience and seemed to match the players' expectations. Chapter II also added new zones, some linked to the new race, others added to allow players to reach the level cap which was increased from 50 to 55 (it will be raised again from 55 to 60 with Chapter III). Players really enjoyed learning more about the threats looming over Taborea and having the opportunity to eliminate or to fight against some of them.

Considering the success of Runes of Magic, the logical next step was to localize the game and to start other servers in French and Spanish, to allow players from these countries to enjoy the game in their own language: this was another success, since both servers have a lively community and are well populated. We now have seven language versions, with the Russian and the Korean servers. 

Runes of Magic

We played the first chapter of ROM and never went on to play any more purely because we didn't have the time. One of the criticisms of the game was it continued grind. How would you counter that and do subsequent chapters give the player more involvement in the game with other actions?

In Runes of Magic, you need to kill a lot of hostile creatures, as in every single MMORPG. But you never do it without a purpose in RoM. All the quests are integrated in a comprehensive storyline that unfolds alongside the players' progression. However, we designed for Chapter III a brand new type of quests which asks players to pay close attention to the quest log to be able to solve them. Overall, we now have more than 2,400 quests in the game, lots of them being linked to epic quest lines ending by the death of some of Taborea's most important threats like the Demon Lord.

Runes of Magic Chapter III - The Elder Kingdoms is due soon. What has been your vision for this new chapter and can gamers expect some unexpected surprises?

One of our objectives was to offer our players a continuation to their adventures in the world of Taborea. We offered them a few months ago through an update the possibility to defeat the Demon Lord, the arch enemy of the first two chapters, so they can discover the end to the storyline they had been forging for the last year and get ready for more epic battles. "The Elder Kingdoms" opens a new chapter for the game with Zandorya, a long forgotten continent. Even if we already revealed a lot regarding Chapter III, there are still many things to discover regarding the history of the continent and players are invited to design its future by answering the call of King Callaway.

Runes of Magic

ROM is now being translated into many languages, can people say in one country player someone from another on one server and how would this work?

Definitely. We have some international servers in English language which have been created with this particular purpose in mind. For instance, we have many Spanish and French players who started to play Runes of Magic on international servers like Siochain before we started the French and Spanish servers. Anyone is able to play on the server he wants, as long as he is doing it from a country where Frogster owns the rights for Runes of Magic operation.

One thing that fascinates us is the fact that there are still many new players joining up to play ROM and perhaps getting excited about chapter 2 and 3 but it will take them many months to reach chapter 3 let alone chapter 2. Many gamers feel let down not being able to see and play and experience these new chapters as they appear fresh with new ideas. How can you appease these thoughts!?

If you have a closer look at all the features we announced, many of them are available for every player: the new monster card system which grants improved characteristics to players, the wedding system, the new party search feature are just some among many other elements that every single player can benefit from right from the start, regardless his level. Moreover, we started a particular campaign called Expedition 60 which aims at helping people to reach higher levels with experience and talent points bonuses, so that new players can make fast progress and get the chance to discover the new content as soon as possible.

If you wish to find out more about Runes of Magic you can see the GameOn
Review here

Offical website here

Runes of Magic
Julien Crevits

Rasher | 23rd May, 2010

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