Set, Ra, and Horus - The Next Gods for Your Hero? - An Interview with Gods and Heroes' Chris "Binky" Launius

by Cody "Micajah" Bye

As I journeyed through the various booths at the Austin Game Developers Conference, I stopped by the Perpetual booth to check in with one of the more personable individuals in the entire video gaming industry. As I stood at the booth, Chris" Binky" Launius, the community manager for Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising, spotted me first and began heading my dirction.

The cheerful, enthusiastic, red-bearded man shook my hand with a bear's grip and we instantly began talking about our convention schedules and how things had been going over the last few weeks. In our conversation we discussed what's been occurring at Perpetual since ComicCon, what sort of progress Gods and Heroes had taken, and what would be happening post launch with the game. Although mainly an update, Chris also dropped an interesting hint as to what the next set of gods may be in Gods and Heroes....

The Perpetual Entertainment booth at the Austin Game Developers Conference.

Ten Ton Hammer: What have you been working on since we talked to you last at ComicCon?

Binky: Since ComicCon our biggest project has been stability and the scalability of the architecture. We've been doing lots of stress testing. We've let in close to an additional 10,000 closed beta testers since ComicCon. We worked all through all the cons and Labor Day weekend, everyone's just been at home trying to crash all the servers as many times as possible. Our beta team has done a great job and found a ton of bugs for us, and we couldn't have done it without them. We're getting to the final stages of closed beta and once we do a couple more things we're going to open it up to the public and its a straight march to launch.

Ten Ton Hammer: To stress the servers, do you simply send out an announcement to the community asking them to log-in to a certain area on a certain day?

Binky: That's exactly it. The normal beta we've been running has been open Wednesday through Sunday, leaving Monday and Tuesday open for updating. What we've done is condensed the hours players can get online to encourage individuals to hop on at certain times of the day. It's hard because some people can't play at those times of the day, and as a community manager it's hard telling those people that, "Well, we have to do it because we want to stress test." But it is part of the process of betas, and we're almost through with that phase. Then we can let everyone in.

Ten Ton Hammer: How many players would you like to let in by the end of the beta?

Binky: As many as we can. We don't have a cap, because we really want to test the limits of the servers and the scalability of those servers - like if one server gets full then the next kicks on. That sort of thing. We're looking to get as many people in and get as many people in the game as possible.

We also want as many people to get in the game as we can because we want players to really get their hands on the new minion system. It's hard to explain, but people really like it when they get their hands on it. We want people to be able to get in their and experience that type of gameplay.

Here's a nice example of some Gods and Heroes squad combat.

Ten Ton Hammer: Are you finding that more people outside the game are finally understanding what the minion system is all about?

Binky: We are, and it's really through the press sites, beta experience, and the convention scene that's really making this happen. The demos that we've been doing have really helped open people's eyes. Like I said, it's hard to comprehend, but once you see it or play it, the minion system clicks and I hear people saying, "Awesome!"

Ten Ton Hammer: Where are Stieg and Chris, the "big name" guys? Why haven't they been at the shows?

Binky: They are busting humps, man. They are nose-to-the-grindstone. I get emails from them at 2 or 3 in the morning. They are on a march to launch, and they want to get the game as solid and fun as possible. We're still making some pretty significant changes to a few of the systems, because we're getting feedback. We're actually evaluating those ideas and doing some tests to see what the other players think.

We're changing systems still, and that's going to continue throughout the life of the game.

Ten Ton Hammer: Do you have an example of something that recently got changed?

Binky: Absolutely! The whole feat tree system. The feat trees were originally really complex and convoluted. We've condensed them down into a more familiar and more easily understood system. Instead of making you buy every feat with your feat points when you earn them, we actually give you a lot of the major combat feats as you progress. You'll be spending your feat points mainly on passive, buff-type feats. You see, some of the areas were designed with certain combat feats in mind, and we don't want someone to not have a good experience because they didn't choose the right feat paths. If you spend all that time leveling up and you earn enough points to buy a feat, you shouldn't be disappointed.

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