Cody "Micajah" Bye, Managing Editor
Like a solid kick in the pants, Mythic Entertainment's creative
director Paul Barnett href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/41571" target="_blank">comes
to all his interviews - even those on the phone - with more
witty remarks and creative comments than most individuals can come up
with in a month. The release of href="http://warhammer.tentonhammer.com/" target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online: Age of
Reckoning marked a significant drop in Paul's
public appearances (except for his href="http://www.youtube.com/user/Pbarnett" target="_blank">online
videos that can be seen on YouTube) but after a bit of
legwork Ten Ton Hammer's staff tracked Paul down and got him on the
phone for a quick thirty minute interview.
After exchanging a few pleasantries and some stories about Halloween,
candy versus sweets, and developers in non-costume, we dove into the
pool of Paul Barnett hilarity and fired a number of questions his way.
Barnett, Creative Director from Mythic Entertainment
To start, we had heard a number of rumors about Paul volunteering for
an interesting task in the development of Warhammer Online, which
revolved around setting a number of "gags" and "secret items" around
the world for players to find.
"I was in charge of hiding all the crazy things around the world for
people to find," Paul confirmed. "I can safely say that no one has come
anywhere near finding even two percent of them. There are years and
years of finding all the nonsensical gags that are hidden within the
Of course, Paul had his own favorite gag, which apparently is easy to
see yet has yet to truly be seen.
"My all time favorite is one that takes place in the early part of Tier
1 of the Greenskins," Paul said. "There isn't a single person that's
come close to it. My view is that the gag is so obvious and so big that
people just can't see it."
It seems like humor - at least in the recent batch of post-WoW games -
has been sorely missed by gamers, and it's safe to say that Paul's
sense of humor will certainly be visible in many, many aspects of the
game. For those of you that have played through the Greenskin starting
area, you'll certainly know what I'm blabbering about. A Dwarf bursting
out of a barrel in nothing but his skid-marked stained tightey whiteys
never gets old.
Although the laughs in Warhammer Online come early and often (like
election day voters), there's more to an online game than giggles. With
population balancing such a critical issue for Warhammer Online in
these post-launch weeks, we thought we'd pose a question about the
situation to Paul.
"Very clever people have been given more abacuses and told to look at
things very closely," Paul explained. "Mythic has a horde of metrics
and a rash of people that are very smart and have done this before, so
after the initial surprise they are very good at pulling all the
necessary levers to make the game work better."
On a similar vein, we asked Paul what a Creative Director is in charge
now that the game has officially launched. Does he simply create more
ideas and concepts to use in upcoming patches and/or expansions? Here's
how Paul responded:
"Designers, concepters and world creators are - on the whole - pretty
competent. They pretty much know how to make MMO stuff. They don't need
me to go "I think we need a mail system!" They don't need me to go "I
think we should have chat!"
"They do need me when they try to do something like throw in pop
culture references to holidays. A group of people may say that we
should mirror real life holidays in our game and give them silly names.
Then I stand up and say that we don't want anything to do with that and
why don't we just use one of the crazy festivals that exist in
Warhammer anyway? Instead of creating a Warhammer word for Christmas,
why don't we just have the Festival of the Pie?"
"I always try to think of a creative way to do it without making
something like Sigmar Eggs for Easter."
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