MMORPG.com had a chance to sit with Scott Hartsman and get a few questions answered. They talk about class balance, dynamic content, and payment models for MMORPG’s in general. No new information has been spilled in this interview, but we get another looking into the mind of Hartsman’s design philosophies.
Here’s a preview:
MMORPG.com: Rift’s class system to me seems to be the game’s most exciting invention. But it also seems like an absolute nightmare from a balance and design perspective. Care to shed a little light on how the team’s approaching class-balance in terms of PvP, and even more so in terms of making sure each class feels distinct?
Scott Hartsman: When you look at the raw numbers, it’s pretty common for people to think that balance must be a nightmare, but in a lot of ways, it hasn’t been any worse so far than previous games I’ve worked on. Getting into specifics of “Well, first we make sure that healing is appropriate in PvP, then see how that applies to PvE,” and so on, because you’d have a 1000 page treatise.
That said, let me talk about it at the highest level.
It’s hard work, no doubt, but we were able to start on it far earlier than any product I’ve worked on in the past. By the time this game launches, there will have been well over a year of pure iteration and improvement.
On top of that, we have more people working on souls and callings than other games I’ve worked on (Instead of “The Class Balance Guy,” we have “The Class Team”), and their combined experience stretches across more than their fair share of MMOs, whether we’re talking EQ, EQ2, WoW, DAoC, WAR, and more.
It’s real work, with real problems, but it’s doable work, with fun solutions.