Levels and LEGOs: A Q&A with LEGO Universe's Design Director - Page 2

Updated Thu, Oct 13, 2011 by Ethec

Ten Ton Hammer: Along with level progression, the LEGO Universe team introduced Faction Kits for each of the 4 player factions. Are these premium offerings, and what do these kits add to the game?

Jordan Itkowitz: Yup, we added 4 new Faction Kits to the game in August, and these are only sold by the Faction Vendors in Nimbus Station and Nexus Tower (you need to become a Member in order to travel to these worlds).  As with the original Faction Specialty Kits, each of these 4 new Kits has 3 full Ranks to move through, and each Rank has 4-6 pieces to earn and equip.

Sentinels can now become a Space Ranger, which is more tech- and ranged-based than the melee Knight and Samurai kits. It also has a pretty sweet sub-orbital laser beam AoE and you also can create a black hole and suck enemies into the void.

LEGO Universe interview with Jordan Itkowitz

Assembly Faction members can now become an Inventor (in addition to the Engineer and Summoner kits), a mad scientist-like kit which allows you to spawn swarms of bees, summon an electrical Tesla shield and a floating robot protector. Lots of wacky stuff.

Venture League has the new Adventurer kit (joining the Buccaneer and Daredevil) which gives you a hat and a whip like that famous adventurer guy. You know, Johnny Thunder. It’s also Venture League’s support kit, so you can perform team heals and team speed buffs (the longest speed buff in the game, by the way).

And the Paradox Faction adds the Shinobi kit (the other kits are the Space Marauder and Sorceror), which has all kinds of nasty Ninja tricks, including an AoE that calls down bolts of lightning, a shadow rush, and a skill that lets you spray the field with hundreds of shurikens. (I’m playing this kit right now and it’s awesome).

Faction Kits are some of the most popular (and expensive) gear in the game, and so we also added some content in the August release that lets you preview 4 of the original Faction Kits in Avant Gardens as a free player. Just a taste of some of the awesomeness you’ll experience once you get to Nimbus Station and start working on your real Faction Kits.

LEGO Universe interview with Jordan Itkowitz

Ten Ton Hammer: Is creativity in building rewarded with the new 40 level progression system? Or are ratings and bragging rights still the standard among LEGO builders?

Jordan Itkowitz: You do get U-Score towards your Level by completing building-themed Missions and Achievements and by visiting Properties, but ratings and popularity are still the major metrics by which players judge each others’ Properties.

We will be making some specific, targeted changes to this system in the coming months. There are a ton of amazing Properties out there – it’s mind-boggling what some of the builders have created on their worlds. We’re also seeing a lot of fun role-play activity on the Properties – groups of players banding together to play out adventures in the worlds they’ve created. Eventually we’d like to give more concrete incentives and rewards for that type of creative play.

LEGO Universe interview with Jordan Itkowitz

Ten Ton Hammer: The Spider Queen encounter was a nice bonus - should players expect new content regularly? Should we expect content updates more often now that LEGO U is free to play?

Jordan Itkowitz: Yeah, I was really excited by how epic that battle turned out – all part of the revisions to Avant Gardens to give it a more complete and dynamic experience arc.

And yes, there will be new content regularly – in fact, the Ninjago update was just released, and it’s one of the biggest content releases we’ve ever done. A huge world, 100+ new Missions and Achievements, awesome new Spinjitzu powers for all 4 Elements, new Skeleton enemies, 150+ new pieces of gear, and we’ve raised the level cap to 45. Of course, you’ll need to sign up to play it all, but given how much of a blockbuster Ninjago has been for the LEGO Group this year, we’re hoping that will be a no-brainer for our free players. 

Our thanks to Jordan Itkowitz.

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