Runes of Magic: Exclusive End of Beta Interview

The beta for Runes of Magic is nearly over. With all of the localization issues nearing completion, the Frogster America team is pulling out all the stops to make sure the public knows about...
The beta for Runes of Magic is nearly over. With all of the localization issues nearing completion, the Frogster America team is pulling out all the stops to make sure the public knows about the upcoming launch of its game. Sean Kauppinen, Interim President and CEO of Frogster America, Inc., checked in with Ten Ton Hammer's Garrett Fuller to give us all the latest information.

Ten Ton Hammer: The release date is set for March 19th. How are things going in these final days before launch?

Sean Kauppinen: The team has been working on making the launch levels and content completely stable. We’ve done an incredible amount of work on the game and want to thank the community and beta testers for their feedback. We’re also adding additional content to the game with the man-to-man combat feature that we added last week, a new high-level raid dungeon this week, and polish all around.  

I’m excited that we have such a great game at launch and the team is committed to making the game even better with new content and attention to any issues that are found after launch as well.

Ten Ton Hammer: What lessons have you learned from beta that will now carry over into the live game?

Sean: The biggest lesson is the fact that the community can actually change the game. I’ve worked on a lot of games and the community’s feedback has always been important, but this is the first time that it has influenced the game as quickly and as drastically. There are other things that we analyze, such as where people die as we balance the game. I think having a strong tool to analyze how people are playing, enables us to constantly change it to keep it both challenging and fun at the same time.

So the main lesson is the balance between challenge and fun and the second is something we already knew, which is listen to your players.

Ten Ton Hammer: How is the game different from other MMOs on the market?

Sean: Anyone who has played MMOs will likely have a certain level of expectations when it comes to any new MMO. Runes of Magic brings together a lot of mechanics that have worked previously while adding some really unique features, such as the dual class system.  

I found myself playing far beyond the time limit I set for myself on a few occasions so far, so whatever that magic is that makes you lose track of time and really get into the world, Runes of Magic has it.

 Ten Ton Hammer: Being a free-to-play game, how does Runes of Magic go after hardcore players who are more used to a subscription model?

Sean: I think Runes of Magic is setting a new standard in free-to-play that would reset the expectations of most subscription gamers – maybe even have them evaluate what they are getting for their $10-$15/month. Most people now expect more, and the games that will succeed will meet those expectations.  

I’m sure some of those subscription gamers are looking at what they get for $180/year. We would definitely welcome them into our game. If it’s about money, you could play Runes of Magic without ever purchasing diamonds, since we don’t make you buy anything. I will say that the experience is definitely more fun if you have some diamonds for a good mount and some other extras, but it’s not necessary to have a great time. And, you always have the option to just not play and not be billed for it, which isn’t something most subscription games offer without some sort of fee.

Ten Ton Hammer: Once the game is launched, what can players expect in the near future as far as updates go?

Sean: The team is larger than most US live MMO support teams. We’ve got Runewaker’s creative director and almost the entire team still creating content for the live game. Our goal is to add in incredible amount of content that always makes players wonder why they’re paying for content in other games.

Ten Ton Hammer: We wish you the best of luck with launch, is there anything you want to say to fans and players from the beta?

Sean: We want to make sure the TTH community realizes what a great and unique game this is in the free-to-play market and we’re big fans of TTH. If you ever have suggestions on how we can make the game better, we’re here and we’re listening.

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