John talks WOW, trying to attract new gamers and Pirates of the Burning Sea
HEXUS: With WOW being one of the most iconic MMO titles how hard is it to compete with so many people comparing to this title?
John: WOW is a great success story, so comparisons are unavoidable. We measure our success by how well we compete against all of the games in the MMO space and are proud of the continued success that EverQuest and EverQuest II are seeing in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
HEXUS: Will we see Sony Online Entertainment offering any of their titles to the free2play model which many MMO publishers are doing, especially the likes of Codemasters?
John: SOE has announced that Free Realms, a new MMO world targeted at a younger audience, will be free to play. We are committed to developing new entertainment experiences with rich, compelling gameplay that can be consumed without an up-front purchase or recurring service fee.
HEXUS: Many new gamers, or those not au fait, find the MMO scene not the most friendly to understand and seamless to get into, this is off putting by initial terminology and requests they do not understand. What kind of effort does Sony Online Entertainment undertake to pull in new gamers and ensure they don’t find the initial experience too daunting?
John: We always try to create games that are easy to pick up and play, but offer complexity to those that desire it. As the gaming community expands, we do see the need to present our games in a way that is easy to comprehend by those that haven’t played MMOs in the past. That said, EverQuest and EverQuest II are by no means casual games and do require some commitment, so it’s unlikely that the game will become overly simplistic.
HEXUS: EverQuest II Rise of Kunark was a recent release from you. Gamers can buy the complete series of add on etc in one box? Can you tell us what ROK offers and are their further expansion due for 2008?
John: EverQuest II Rise of Kunark is available as an all-in-one compilation pack which includes the original base game and all previously released adventure and expansion packs. Rise of Kunark builds on the EverQuest II storyline with new lands to explore and countless creatures and quests. The level cap is also increased to 80 with this expansion. While we haven’t announced anything yet, you can more than likely expect a new expansion later this year.
HEXUS: A lot of people are put off having to put all the credit card details in when playing EverQuest II - even when signing up for the free trail period. Have you ever considered changing this?
John: SOE does offer a 14-day free trial of EverQuest II that does not require a credit card.
HEXUS: With Pirates of the Burning Sea due for release in January, firstly can you offer a few words of editorial to our readers why they should not miss out on this title and can you tell us anything more about what goodies our readers can look forward to from SOE?
John: Pirates of the Burning Sea is an MMORPG set in the Caribbean circa 1720. You will be able to set sail under the British, French or Spanish flags as a naval officer, freetrader or privateer, or become a pirate with no allegiances at all. The game features sword fighting and crafting in a player-driven economy. Something completely new is the introduction of tactical ship combat in which players will engage ships that they have acquired and outfitted in open seas combat. SOE will also be bringing Free Realms to market this year and is currently developing The Agency. Free Realms is an MMO world targeted at a younger audience, and The Agency is an action MMORPG that places you in the role of an elite agent set in a world of espionage and intrigue.
Thanks for your time and your continued support. Sony Online Entertainment
Don't forget to check out our Pirates of the Burning Sea competition in which we are giving away 5 copies of the swashbuckling MMORPG.