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Ragnar Tørnquist Answers Ten Ton Hammer Reader Questions for The Secret World - Page 2

Updated Mon, May 10, 2010 by B. de la Durantaye

Anacche asks: In creating such a rich and diverse lore, from many controversial topics, was there anything that you wanted to do, but felt it was too taboo?
 
Ragnar: We're not afraid of taboos! Certainly nothing that we really wanted to do. Meaning we're probably going to piss some people off, regardless, but we never set out to be controversial. We just wanted to build the type of world we all wanted to explore and play in.
 
Anacche asks: Being a fan and loyal slave to the Age of Conan, should I feel pretty well at home in TSW or will I still find a learning curve?  
 
Ragnar: It's a very different game in a lot of ways. But if you've played MMORPGs before - Age of Conan, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars - you'll soon feel at home in The Secret World. We're not reinventing the wheel, but rather focusing on those elements that are key to our gameplay and setting. It's not a carbon copy of anything that's out there, that's for sure.
 
Anacche asks: AoC was heavily criticized for being what some would describe as being half-cooked and unpolished outside of Tortage (although it's pretty well consensus that Tortage always has been a spectacle for all MMO lovers to behold). Is launch polish a major focal point this time around for TSW?  
 
Ragnar: Absolutely. My job is to make sure everything is as polished as possible, that every little bit fits together and feels right, that we're launching the kind of game that both me and the team can be proud of. We don't intend to let this one go until we're all happy.

Tearing up the junkyard in The Secret World
Tearing up the junkyard in The Secret World
 
Anacche asks: Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft worked together quite a bit, and Howard contributed quite a bit to Lovecraft's lore. Many people are pointing at the perceived Lovecraft references in what little we've seen in TSW--was this a conscious connection? Should we be expecting more early 20th century dark authors to feature prominently in Funcom MMOs?
 
Ragnar: I've been a fan of Lovecraft since I was way too young to read Lovecraft, and The Secret World was influenced - partly, in addition to many, many other influences - from the very beginning, before Funcom acquired the Conan license. So it's a coincidence but a happy one. I think most people in Funcom appreciate a bit of darkness. Maybe it's a Scandinavian thing?
 
centrik asks: I got into the TSW beta via that AoC subscription offer. On my AoC account page, I have the TSW beta icon thingy. When should I expect to hear more?
 
Ragnar: We haven't made any announcements yet.
 
centrik asks:  Does this mean I'm guaranteed access at the beginning of the beta, or just at some point throughout the process?
 
Ragnar: We're not ready to talk about this yet.
 
Abyssus asks: Your previous MMOGs have always had enough great ideas and eye candy to make many an MMO gamer drool, but what have you learned from the post-release failings of Anarchy Online, and Age of Conan, and how are you going to ensure The Secret World doesn't suffer the same fate?
 
Ragnar: I'm probably not the right person to talk about Age of Conan, since I didn't work on that game, but we hope to create a game that balances the eye candy with solid, long lasting gameplay, and we're putting a lot of focus on longevity this time around - to make sure that players always have tons of stuff to do, even when they've churned through all the content. Also, our plan is to make sure the content feels high quality throughout, that there's no sudden dip after leaving the starting zones. We've got an extremely stable engine and server setup at this stage, so we don't have to worry too much about the technology. Our focus is primarily content.
 
Anacche asks: AoC pushed the bar massively in terms of brutality and violence in an MMO - where will TSW sit on this scale?  
 
Ragnar: Brutality and violence isn't a focus area for us. Of course, you fight demons and vampires and the walking dead - creatures from your darkest nightmares - so there's definitely some blood and guts, but no more than you'd find in your regular Hollywood movie.
    
Anacche asks:  Is there anything you really wanted to do in TSW that you just couldn't due to time or technology restraints? Is there anything you really wanted to do in previous MMOGs that you couldn't accomplish until TSW?
 
Ragnar: There are of course tons of things we'd love to do that we don't have time to do, but that's the nature of game development. And the advantage with MMORPGs is that we're never done. We can keep improving, keep introducing new features and new content for years and years. And that makes it a lot easier to launch a bit smaller - focused and polished - and then build bigger, adding to that solid base. You'll find that we'll have tons of things up our sleeves after launch, things that will make it worthwhile to stick around and see where the game is heading.

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