by Matt Mihaly, CEO and Creative Director of Sparkplay Media
Earth Eternal first caught our attention as a unique take on the newly
based MMOG genre. We were able to continue our conversation with CEO
and Creative Director of Sparkplay Media, Matt Mihaly, and get some
more answers about what has been going on with EE since our last
conversation. The company was able to raise some venture capital last
year and has fleshed out their game even more. We discuss those
additions as well at look at what makes Earth
different from other
free-to-play games on the market today.
Ton Hammer: We’ve
seen a few
browser based MMOs pop up since we did our first Earth Eternal
interview in 2007, most notably FusionFall and Free Realms. How has the
concept evolved in the past few years, and what would you say are
EE’s most unique attributes?
Earth Eternal will be a
3D MMOG in a browser
Well, I’m thrilled EE’s scope has evolved immensely
in the last two years. We’ve been able to create a much
larger world with more features than we had originally intended, due to
raising venture money in early 2008.
Ton Hammer: Earth
Eternal is billed as
a free-to-play MMO with paid-for benefits. Typically among F2Ps, these
benefits are consumables (potions, etc.) and cosmetic items - things
that don’t affect gameplay. Are you sticking pretty close to
these guidelines, or will players be able to buy more with their Earth
We differ pretty significantly from FusionFall and Free Realms in that
we’re creating a ‘real’ 3d fantasy MMO in
a browser. I don’t mean that as a slight to the other two
games (both of which I admire), but those who play many MMOs will find
Earth Eternal more closely resembles the sophisticated MMO experience
they’re familiar with. .
Our most unique attributes are probably
the range of customization available in a browser MMO, and the
potential in our Groves feature, which will launch a few months after
we go into open beta. Groves will let players control and customize
private areas, either alone or with their clans, with options from
placing buildings and forests to altering the terrain itself to
populating it with monsters or NPCs.
I don’t agree with the premise
of the question, but don’t want to appear to get in an
argument or disagreement
with you. Most F2P games do allow for things that affect gameplay, from
potions to +xp potions to stat-altering potions, etc.
Ton Hammer: Do the proposed classes of knight, mage,
druid, and rogue compare closely with the typical MMO archetypes
with (tank, ranged DPS, healer, melee DPS)? How are they different?
to answer some variation on this question that doesn’t
presume the above though. Here’s an explanation of what we
“We sell a combination of cosmetic and functional items.
Players can buy armor appearances which can be transferred onto any
item, giving players the ability to really customize what they look
like without sacrificing the stats they want.
We also sell some functional items. For instance, larger backpacks than
you can buy with gold in order to expand your inventory space or speed
potions that increase your running speed. “
Sort of. For instance, Druid is
much more of a jack-of-all-trades than a healer, and because you can
abilities from any class you can customize your build pretty
Ton Hammer: Earth Eternal boasts an incredible number
of races: 22 in all, covering most of the animal kingdom (the land
anyway). What makes each race different or special, given that none has
gameplay advantage over another?
is different in terms
of functionality. We made the decision to allow players to choose their
look and divorce it from their function. We wanted to ensure that if
to be a Mage, for instance, you didn’t have to be one of a
few races in order
to be an effective Mage. We may implement non-functional differences
races, like race-specific emotes, but we
don’t intend to
differences between the races