Articles - Interview with Silirrion

Anarchy Online has been in our lives for the last seven years now, not just our lives but yours as well. How does it make you feel that there are people who have really been with Anarchy Online for virtually that entire time?

I think it’s fantastic, and not just because it has turned into my career rather than a hobby! The community around the game and its development down the years is why I have ended up here working on the game, and that goes for almost the entire development team as well. We are here because of what Anarchy Online was, is and will become. It’s definitely a little strange to think of it being such a long time, for many of us here it has been a part of a large percentage of our lives now…time flies when you are having fun I guess!

Is it difficult to think of new ways to celebrate after all this time? Oh and is there any development for a bouncy castle by any chance?!

It’s always fun to come up with the new little gifts for things like the anniversary celebrations! It’s a nice opportunity to put in some more fun social items as a little present for the players…as for a bouncy castle, well, not quite, but those who regularly tackle a certain dragon beneath a certain castle might be in for a surprise or two when the new update is upon us.

There are often cries for "more challenging content" however, challenging always seems to lead to fighting harder or learning new behaviour of mobs - is there any chance that there might be new content in Anarchy Online that is more tuned with the concepts we have seen for working out clues like for the blood on the tombstones in the Inferno Spirit Questline, or more so with what we have already seen with Dreamfall, or perhaps the content we may see within The Secret World .. more content to make us think?

I think we have tried hard to achieve just that with much of the recent content, and in particular with the new team instances. Now that we are able to introduce more dynamic behavior due to the controlled environment offered by the team instances it makes for much more interesting and involved encounters. We do have to remember what the game is about though and that’s primarily the combat and encounters, rather than just adding elements to the game play that might seem a little alien.

If there was something in Anarchy Online that you wish you could click your fingers.. oh wait, urm, that might happen but just take time with the development team. Ok, rephrase - if you could click your fingers and make something change instantly in Anarchy Online, what would it be?

Now there is a question! I think if it’s in terms of a ‘magic’ solution to something that’s beyond the technology and way the game is built I would probably choose to make the game world a lot more ‘seamless’ as it were. Not that I would do away with instancing, its vital and important for game play. In fact I’m probably one of the most vocal advocates for using instances. I really think they provide a much better experience when used for the appropriate situation. Seeing the benefit of both approaches is a good thing I believe and it’s a scenario where the two opinions don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to be a fan of both instances and open world experiences! So for the main land mass itself it might be quite cool to try waking from one end to the other any way you liked. It’s probably beyond our technology, so it’s more a pipe dream, but it’s good to have some dreams of our own too!

However much good content, fantastic additions and amazing work you and your team put out, there is always criticism and people shouting about this and that being nerfed in the official forums as well as forums on fansites. Obviously, it is important to gain feedback, but do the team sometimes find it difficult to hear so much criticism whereas the positive comments are often left unsaid?

I think we are fairly pragmatic about it and you learn to not take feedback too personally. When you have tens of thousands of players, and tens of thousands of opinions, it’s natural that everyone won’t agree all of the time. As someone who came from a background in community I feel strongly about working past the more negative feedback and suchlike to be able to get at the genuine and constructive feedback that is often hidden away there. It is definitely easier said than done on occasion though! There are definitely days when you feel that you have just given the players the equivalent of a free beer and they are complaining that they didn’t get two!

As an addition to the previous question, do you and or your team wish that more people would provide positive feedback so they can see where they are doing things right.. or is it just taken as a given when those bits aren't brought up negatively in the forums?

That’s probably true to an extent yes, although we also get feedback from other channels as well and from actually being in the game. For example with content updates a good ninety percent of the forum feedback is about the items or the rewards, as that’s what really motivates players to improve their characters. So when it comes to getting the feedback about the actual game play itself we tend to actually see how players react to it in the game. So we get to see first hand whether the players are actually enjoying the game and the new content or not.

Our biggest hopes for the future is that we will continue to see updates from you all at Funcom for Anarchy Online and also that the community will continue to be as fantastically dedicated as they have been for the last seven years. What is your biggest hope for Anarchy Online’s future?

Probably my biggest hope is that the game continues to carve out its path and continues to keep players satisfied and interested in spending time on Rubi-Ka. The team here is dedicated to keeping the planet thriving and continuing to provide new and interesting content for people to enjoy. We see that dedication every time we go to recruit new people to work on the team for example, and it’s why we bring people into the company that already have a love for the game and a desire to ensure it remains and exciting place to be for some time to come yet! So I hope that in another seven years time someone like me is able to be replying to an interview like this exploring how the game is still going strong and providing a game world for a whole new generation of explorers to enjoy!

Thank you again for taking the time to answer questions with us Silirrion! and here is to another 7 years at least!!

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Last updated on 12.07.2011 by Khuri
Article written by Ukblizzard
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