SOE Fan Faire 2007: Interview with Debysue Wolfcale about Gods and Heroes
by: Tony "RadarX" Jones
SOE's Fan Faire had a number of future products on display, one of which was the mythological Gods and Heroes being developed by Perpetual Entertainment. Promising a world where gods, mythical beasts, and epic stories will unfold it's poised be a little out of the ordinary in the MMO genre. While Ten Ton Hammer got a look at this game during E3 and Comic Con , we caught up with Senior Brand Manager Debysue Wolfcalfe who has helped market a number of MMO's ranging from Ultima Online, to EverQuest, to Star Wars Galaxies. We asked her about how things were progressing and what we could expect to see in the near future.
She explained their recent efforts were on "revising the new player starting area" and combat tuning. Their game demonstration during John Smedley's Community Address the previous night showed an incredible battle against one of the end game gods and she was very excited over how the content looked. From her statements it sounded like Gods and Heroes was in the end stages of production and mainly requiring polish. One thing she was very enthusiastic about was the game client stability and how well it had been holding up. It appears they are looking to avoid another Vanguard and have the game launch as smoothly as possible.
A question on a lot of players minds is beta. How is it going and when are people going to get in? Many people attending Fan Faire will be given the opportunity to get in beta and mixed with the invites Perpetual has been doing this should provide them a fairly nice set of testers. Debysue explained "What we want to do is increase the load of simultaneous players so we can get a better feel for how the game operates" and with the potential of thousands of people testing at once it appears they may get their chance. I had tougher questions and showing no fear, it was time to move past the fluffy stuff.
It's no secret SOE is one of the few game companies who does their own marketing and public relations. It's ballsy, but they've got folks with ungodly amounts of experience who have shown flexibility and creativity. That isn't to say they don't make mistakes as any company does, but they've proven themselves over the years. I asked her very pointedly what type of challenges she was finding promoting a product they had no creative control over. She smiled, gave me a polite "That's a great question." and proceeded to give me a well thought out answer.
After giving a great example about selling your own home, she explained the benefit of having someone from the outside come in and sell the product. Many developers are very close to their product and it's difficult at times to see anything wrong with it or to focus on particular aspects. She went on to say she breaks the game down and "looks for the most unique and innovative" features to promote it. Some of the unique aspects of Gods and Heroes is their minion system and god powers which yes are in other games but don't have anywhere near as much impact on gameplay. At times, decisions must be made about what will be shown and Perpetual with the assistance of SOE picks and chooses.
She made sure to emphasize that Perpetual was working very well with her and had a number of employees who previously worked at EA which should be comforting to those who had doubt about what they could do. All in all I walked away feeling a little more comfortable this product had a fighting chance despite not being on the Station Pass. Look for Gods and Heroes sometime in the 3rd Quarter of 2007 and if you are interested in more information about the game, make sure to stop by our Ten Ton Hammer Community Site.