Articles - X-mas interview with Aythem

Nina "Aythem" Sund is developer, mainly specilizing on quests. However, this year she's also the cultprint for Cristmas content. While we leave to players to decide if she's been naughty or good, we asked her couple of questions regarding development of seasonal joy.

Q: Why do you choose to spend time developing time-limited content, rather then working on more permanent features?

A: Creating time-limited items is something that we think the community have fun with and it isn't really done at the cost of permanent features. We are continually creating permanent content and fixing bugs, but we can make Christmas or Halloween items at the same time. These items are part of a fun tradition in AO, and we love doing them as much as we love making new instances, quests, items and encounters.

We try to find a balance where we can do a little bit of everything for each update, as all the different aspects of the game are important in their own way.

Q: How much challenge or pressure does developing such special features present? After all, some players remember X-mas from years ago.

A: The team doesn't feel pressure in creating these items. Truly, the process is just loads of fun for everyone. The degree of challenge varies, depending on what we decide to do and what we need. For example, an item that only requires an existing effect to be added to it is quicker to make than a new mesh or a series of quests. The team decides together what to make for this season and everyone gets involved.

Q: And how challenging is coming up with stuff that even low players can complete, as opposed to quests and missions developed specially for players in certain level range?

A: Making content that is suitable for all levels requires careful planning so that we don't send level 10 characters out in an area full of level 80 mobs for example, but I think we have found a good balance with both previous and currently material. Overall, we try to keep things easy and on the light-hearted side of things, such as this year's escaped toys or straight forward food delivery. Getting these seasonal items shouldn't be difficult, but rather something you can enjoy and have fun with.

Q: X-mas is a season of sharing. Early X-mases (I believe it was up to 2002) offered tradable item in form of Christmas gifts, that allowed players to share the spirit, while content of gifts was still a surprise. Can we expect something similar this (or upcoming) seasons?

A: We have recently been talking about something different in that alley, so keep your eyes peeled for future updates :).

Q: With Christmas being originally religion related holiday, how hard is it to come up with content that's merry while being equally appealing to everyone regardless of their faith?

A: It's not really very difficult, as there are a lot of decorations we draw inspiration from that have no connection to any particular religion. In today's society you can find a lot of decor that offer both fun and joy without 'belonging' to one faith or the other. We appreciate that our players come from different cultures and have different religious beliefs, and we do our best to make sure we don't overstep any boundaries. I think we've stuck to fun and merry items throughout all seasonal holidays in AO.

Q: For a first time, players will have to spend RL money for one of the X-mas items (Candy Cane Hoverboard). With most of the population being in spending frenzy around this time of year, do you think they will still buy them? And how much fuss this might create?

A: We saw that people were interested in the special Halloween hover bike and we wanted to offer something unique for Christmas as well. There are many players who enjoy collecting limited or rare items. Putting special items like this in game enables people who want to collect them to do just that.

Q: What do you wish for this year? And how do you plan to celebrate upcoming holidays?

A: This year, I hope Santa has a PSP Slim Base, or the Sandman books I still don't have in his bag. Hopefully I've been a good girl this year, or I'll only get lumps of coal :). I'll soon find out when I go home to celebrate at my parents, along with a few Christmas dinners with friends before returning to Oslo to relax for a few days around New Years.

Q: Anything you want to wish to players of AO?

A: I wish everyone a lovely holiday, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice or anything else. I hope you enter these last weeks of 2007 and the first of 2008 with happiness, contentment and joy.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Last updated on 12.07.2011 by Khuri
Article written by Trgeorge
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