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Interview

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Kyleron Barons of Faction Earth
By: OMGN | Game Data | 6:25am, January 5, 2005
AREA-51 m7700
Following is an interview that was done by this writer with Kyleron Barons of the Massively Multiplayer Online RPG Faction Earth :


OMGN: Are you the creator of Faction Earth? If so, what gave you the idea for it?



My name is Kyleron Barons (City Plex Warlord), alias of course. Even in game
design we like to immerse ourselves in the game world. I am a game addict,
especially online role-playing games, specifically persistent worlds.



I am the creator and lead designer of Faction Earth. My inspiration for FE
comes from a long history of online role-playing game and seeing the need
for something new. When I look for a new game to play it seems 99% of the
games are fantasy related....nothing near-future, nothing post-apocalyptic.


OMGN: What was your gaming experience prior to you becoming involved with Faction Earth?



Prior to starting FE, I was a player only. I was very into Ultima Online,
which I believe is the greatest online role-playing game ever devised. That
was inspirational. A persistent world, with no real story line, where you
could do anything you wanted, go anywhere you wanted and be whatever you
want....with no limitations. I think that open-ended concept was a
revolutionary idea and, in essence, created a virtual world - a virtual
community. The depth of detail in Ultima Online was exceptional. When I
started designing FE I wanted that type of open-ended world with no limits
on what you could do.



OMGN: How has your involvement with Faction Earth enhanced
your gaming enjoyment?




My involvement with FE definitely made me look at games differently. From a
design perspective you see the work that goes into a game and appreciate the
final product even more. You can also see and appreciate the sacrifices and
time people put into these things. Most people have no idea about this.



OMGN: What is Phoenix7?



Phoenix 7 is the main company behind Faction Earth.

The name comes from the fact that I have always loved vacationing in
Phoenix, Arizona. I am not sure where the 7 came from, though. I liked the
number, and Phoenix 7 seemed to flow well.

OMGN: What has the response to Faction Earth been like?



The response to Faction Earth has been amazing. We had so much interest in
the first version - the forums flourished and people really got into it. I
think its one of those things where if you love online role-playing games
and you find one that actually puts the detail into it, it becomes part of
you and you can't get enough.



OMGN: What SF authors/works provided inspiration for the Faction Earth scenario?



When I look at inspiration for FE, I think of books, movies, and even music.
Things like The Matrix, Enemy of the State, Strange Days, Swordfish, Blade
Runner. And William Gibson books are serious FE genre. Listen to Billy Idol's
Cyberpunk album.



OMGN: Some say that Faction Earth is just another MMORPG. How do you
respond?




Faction Earth is far more than just another online game. It's an amazingly
detailed online role-playing game. It's persistent and open-ended. While
most games focus on brutal graphics, the stories and detail are usually
quite lame. Ultima Online got it right. The detail was incredible, and
almost 10 years later they still have over 200,000 players...that tells you
something. That being said, the detail level on FE will be unrivaled. The
world will be huge, with over 30 skills, over 20 specialty traits, 3 races,
10 ethnicities, 10 gods, political affiliations, home ownership, use of
vehicles, faction-based warfare, hundreds of NPCs, and thousands of items
including over 250 weapons. That's the kind of detail we are talking about.
When designing, I basically tried to think of a way to incorporate
everything into the game.



OMGN: How active is the Faction Earth community in helping to promote the game, creating fansites for the game and making good suggestions?



I've seen a few fan sites and I've seen lots of user-submitted content. We
have users submitting lots of fan fiction and such.



OMGN: Where do you see Faction Earth a year from now?



Faction Earth, in one year, should be fully operational. By then we should
have not only the base world up and running, but will be continually adding
items, maps, missions, and updates every month.



OMGN: About how far away would you say that Faction Earth is from being completed?

Faction Earth V2 (or Skunkworks) will be in limited beta, a mini test Plex,
sometime in FebruaryMarch '05. We hope to have a full Plex online and in
open beta by February or March with a full public release shortly
thereafter.



OMGN: What is the Skunkworks beta?



"Skunkworks" is the term we used to refer to our secret beta and development
team. You may have heard the term used before to refer to secret government
projects.

OMGN: Currently, MMORPG specialist websites do not seem as interested in Faction Earth as they are in other games. To what would you attribute this?



The first version of FE was a decent attempt. We learned what people wanted,
didn't want, and how to do things better. The whole architecture of FE was
re-written to make the game better and to make management easier. I think
that because we didn't actively promote the game at that point and because
we decided to re-work the app we didn't really show up on the radar of most
game sites and gamers, even though we had massive gamer interest.


OMGN: There are some who believe that innovation has disappeared from MMO gaming. In what ways does Faction Earth break the mold?



I agree that innovation has disappeared. People pump out games that are
basically mindless with great graphics. But let's face it; at the root of
it, Doom, Quake, Halo, Unreal, and Half Life are all basically the same game
in my opinion. First person shooters are wildly popular and it seems to me
they all are the same with different graphics. You splash flashy graphics
and people say wow, they play it for a couple weeks and then move on. I bet
you can't find anyone who's been playing Quake five days a week for years on end, but you could easily build a list of thousands who have played at this
pace for games like Everquest and Ultima Online. I don't think most game
designers are too innovative.
When you try to please everyone you start to sacrifice. You have to draw
the line in the sand and say this is what the game is, this is what's best
for the game. If you don't like it find another game.





OMGN: What is the greatest hurdle that you have faced thus far in creating/running Faction Earth?



The biggest obstacle in designing Faction Earth is resources. Phoenix 7 is
not a big design house owned by a fortune 500 company. We don't have
hundreds of programmers and millions in the budget. We do what it takes to
get things done and that's not always easy. We have to be careful of our
time and money, yet are sure to never sacrifice.



OMGN: The MMORPG genre has come under criticism since so many of the females in these games are anorexic, big-breasted and wear hardly any clothes or armor despite that many of these females are supposedly engaged in military activities. What do you think of this criticism and does Faction Earth avoid this stereotypical treatment of females?



Hmm, good question. It's audience I think. Sex sells and your audience for
these types of games are guys. Look at Lara Croft, she was a hot action
star, most of the people playing that were guys. As a society I think we've
gotten to be a little too extreme and sensitive. It seems everyone's
feelings get hurt for something. People need to relax.



OMGN: Currently, Faction Earth is a downloadable game. Are there any plans to make it a store-bought game?


I don't know about being a store bought game, I'd rather just have free
downloads and offer paid version on the web site. I'd rather sell a full
version for $14.99 on the web site then sell it through a store for $50.00.
It's better for the customer.


OMGN: Is there anything that you would like to add about Faction Earth?


I'd invite people to read the Faction Earth web site. Check it out and
you'll see the world we've built is amazing. If you are into role-playing
games, love persistent online worlds, and want a different genre then orcs
and dragons, then we've got the game for you. See you on the other side.

Written by Charles Rector
Views Today: 0 | Total Views: 4,626

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