Ten Ton Hammer Interviews Perpetual's Travis George- Page 2 of 2



Ten Ton Hammer: A lot of games-in-development are trying to get away from the easy descriptions of class roles: offensive tank, melee DPS, healer, and the like. Are you happier with players using these kind of descriptions since Gods & Heroes isn't so much about the role of the player's class, but also the composition and leadership of the player-commanded (and AI-controlled) minions?


Travis: I think that's kind of twofold. Obviously, if you break too far away then players are thrust into an unfamiliar environment. If we were just doing a solo game, it'd be a little different. But our soldier could become a tank, our gladiator can become a DPS'er, obviously our priest is a healer… so even within those contexts we have different templates. We've gone through all the feats and said, 'This is how I want to play this particular class,' and we've tried to open up as many possibilities as we can even within the player's class itself. You're not going to see a soldier that's the same as every soldier.

When you bring in the minion system, it really lets you play your character as you want to play. Your desire to play a particular style dictates gameplay, not the other way around. One of the things we've been really careful with is this: we're not trying to make the minions dictate how a player plays. We're trying to let the minions open up new ways for the player to play. What I mean by that is: if I play a priest, in most MMOs I mostly have to DPS when soloing or else you'll never kill anything. In our game, you have several options. I can take that priest, optimize their skills how I want within my character template, but when I add minions, I can command a variety of minions. I can actually spec my priest to be more of an offensive caster and have healers [minions] to actually heal for me. Or I could spec my healer to the healing spec and I could add all DPS to the party and I could actually heal them. It really offers a ton of flexibility.

Ten Ton Hammer: Has your test community responded well to this level of flexibility and freedom? Do people get that the game is about more than developing your character, it's about your character in conjunction with your minions, who are so much more than just pets?

Travis: I read the forums every day, and when I go through there and read, it seems like people are starting to get that. And as we open up more and communicate more with them, I think we are really going to start to see the potential as we go forward.

Ten Ton Hammer: I wanted to ask you a few questions about the newly announced Nomad class, which you were so kind to write a dev diary about for Ten Ton Hammer. Could you talk a bit about the process by which the team moved from DPS-intensive Rogue to the jack-of-all-trades Nomad?

Travis: Sure. It started out with: we just didn't feel as a team that we could do the rogue up to the standards that we set for ourselves. We said that we were going to do a set amount of classes and that we were going to do them really well and try to do something different than the standard rogue who's backstabbing, etc. There were a lot of plans in place and it just didn't come together.

So, one of the things I started looking at was what are the roles of the class that people tend to play, taking into account the minion system and the things we've previously talked about. It became clear that we have healer minions, on the other hand we have players that are officially children of the gods and we want them to feel more powerful than just your run-of-the-mill minions. We were placing a pretty big burden on the priest class and players who enjoyed playing the priest class to heal all the other classes in the game since no one else had any healing abilities. We also noticed that we didn't really have a class that could be called a "hybrid" – while we have spec differentiations within each class, they're kind of focused around performing a specific set of roles or functions. Personally, I love playing hybrid classes.

So we set out to say, 'What do we need this class to do? What do we feel like everyone else has?' We did a really extensive comparison – giant charts of who does what well, etc. etc. – and we kind of built the nomad from that. It kind of came out to this really cool spellcaster / melee hybrid that can heal or supplement a group's DPS. We tested it internally a ton. I probably redesigned the feats for it three times. I had a lot of help from the design team as a whole, and Stieg of course was giving input the entire time and was making sure we were going down the right path.

Ten Ton Hammer: Will the Nomad be a more challenging class to play?

Travis:The goal is, of course, that everyone has everybody has fun playing and picks a class that they enjoy. So I don't think that it will be more difficult. What I think we've done is that there's a wider variety of things that the Nomad can do. Players who really take time to understand all the intricacies of the class might find it more versatile in certain situations than it would appear at first glance. So I wouldn't say it would be more challenging, but I think players can really hone their own style of play out of it.

Ten Ton Hammer:One of the things that I think sometimes gets lost, and you brought it up earlier, is that the players are the sons and daughters of the Roman gods. There's a choice between two gods for each character class, and we saw a demonstration of getting god powers back at GDC in March. How else will your god affiliation affect gameplay?

There's a couple ways. Other than just the god powers that the gods grant you – you actually have to quest for those, so that's kind of an ongoing thing – you choose your god right at the beginning, you can interact with your god directly, which is pretty cool. They'll grant you these powers as you do more and more things for them throughout the game.

Another thing that we're working with is called favor, which is a quantifiable value for how much your god likes you. And you can do various things to increase your favor – completing quests and a variety of other things – and a cool thing you'll be able to do is that you'll be able to acquire what we're calling "myth minions" as well as gear and armor specific to my god.

Ten Ton Hammer: The "myth minions" – are they spun from classical heroes?

Travis:I believe a fair amount of them, if not all of them, are non-humanoid. What I can say is that you'll know a Myth Minion when you see it!

Ten Ton Hammer: Is there anything you'd like to talk about that you're working on right now?

Travis: One thing I would like to comment on is that I've been doing a lot of work on the minion system. I'm really, really excited about the minion system. The combat system's cool, and everyone loves the combat system, but I think the minion system really makes this game special and unique. It's something that nobody else has. Everybody has combat, and we can certainly better than a lot of MMOs out there. But, the minion system – I've been doing a lot of work lately on that and we're actually getting ready to reveal some pretty cool new stuff about it. What you saw at Gamer Day – it's going to be a lot better next time you see it.

I don't know if I should talk about details of that, but specifically the minion system is going to be seeing a lot of changes for the better. Everybody here is really excited about it. It'll be easier to explain to people when we start to talk about it and it'll be easier for people to get into. It'll offer a level of customization that you didn't even see at Gamer Day. A lot of people that have seen it before and have been impressed with it will be blown away next time. It's going to be more simple, and more expandable. I've been working on that for about the past two months kind of in secrecy, so it's going to be pretty exciting.

Thanks to Travis George and Perpetual Entertainment for taking time to sit with us for a "between the cons" interview!

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.