Exclusive Interview with Rusel DeMaria


Today’s Q&A focuses in on 2Moons, the second major MMORPG from resurrected Acclaim and the first adaptation from the brain of famed designer David Perry. The game promises adult, violent content and is North American adaptation of a Korean MMO.

WarCry Q&A: 2Moons
Answers by Rusel DeMaria – Assistant Director
Questions by Lance Wheeler

imageWarCry: During closed beta, how pleased were you with the feedback you got from your testers?

Rusel DeMaria: One of Acclaim’s major philosophies is to involve the game community fully in the process, through surveys, feedback on forums, beta testing and any suggestions they want to make. During our closed beta period, our testers gave us great feedback, directly in the game, in the forums and through our survey. We’re working to implement improvements to the game and have already completely rewritten the story based on their feedback. Meanwhile, all-new features are going in that our players are going to love. We are particularly excited about the Dead Front events, which will involve up to four full parties in a mad-crazy series of battles and tasks, culminating in a huge boss battle, followed by a PvP free-for-all. It’s a wild event, and open to players in various level ranges.

WarCry: How did you prevent one class from being unequal to another? And how will you respond if the community feels there needs to be a change during release?

Rusel DeMaria: Remember that 2Moons is based on Dekaron, which has been running in Asia for quite some time. So character class balancing was already done, for the most part. Our main job was to localize the game and add features and improvements that would engage the Western audience. As the Chief Creative Officer for Acclaim, David Perry is quite dedicated to bringing games from other countries, but not as mere ports, but as games that benefit from the collaboration with foreign developers and our American knowledge of games. So, our goal is to make 2Moons a game that meets the needs of our audience, which is why we listen so intently to their feedback and comments. On the question of character balance, if we begin to notice any unbalanced classes or skills, we may make careful adjustments, like any MMORPG.

imageWarCry: What did you do different to make your questing different then other MMO’s?

Rusel DeMaria: The 2Moons quest system in part relies on the story of Haran, the world in which 2Moons is set, and a cast of characters, both noble and profane. Each NPC who gives a quest has some issue. Some are tricksters or simply after revenge. Others serve more noble causes, while some simply want you to do their errands. The story unfolds gradually as you perform the quests, and you learn about the heroes and villains of the present and the past, and about the larger struggle. We have tried to provide the quest givers with personalities and interesting stories, so that when you interact with them, there’s some sense of engagement with a character, not just a bot giving out quests.

Also, the quest log always gives you information about what steps you have completed and what step you must currently complete. 2Moons also has a unique system for letting you know that there are available quests nearby, so when you’re traveling through the various territories of Haran, you may see a quest alert that helps guide you to a new quest. Like other games of this kind, you can have as many as 20 active quests in your Quest Log. So there’s always plenty to do, if you want to run quests.

imageWarCry: What goals have you set to complete during open beta and how will you use the testers to fulfill these goals?

Rusel DeMaria: As with any MMO, we are looking for stability, balance and player excitement in our beta period. We also have several new features to introduce, though not all at once. Because 2Moons is free to play, our Open Beta period is much like the real game, but of course we will still be making changes, adding features and fixing issues… there are always issues. But overall, we want to be sure the game is working well and identify any areas of improvement. And perhaps most important next to stability is player feedback, which we will be gathering in our usual ways (see question 1).

WarCry: Many MMO’s seem to be going with higher systems requirements but 2Moons seems to be very low. How do you balance top quality visuals with those specs?

imageRusel DeMaria: 2Moons runs great on average PCs. We see that as a great advantage and opportunity for all players to enjoy a great action MMORPG. We want our players to have fun, and mostly, the feedback we get is that they are enjoying the game, especially once they get used to the system. Because the game is free to play, we want to offer it to the widest possible audience, and that means keeping our technical requirements lower than some of the other games out there. And yet, I don’t think 2Moons suffers any by comparison. The graphics are great and the game play is as exciting as any game.

WarCry: You mentioned you could not walk away from your individual store. Why did you decided to do this then letting people leave to come back later?

Rusel DeMaria: Well, at the moment we see that as one way to handle the personal stores, but of course we’re listening to the feedback from our players. If it turns out that most players want to change that system, we’ll work to improve it. We are already examining many systems and considering alternatives, but we won’t jump into changes without gaining good feedback and considering the impact that those changes might have on the game in general.

imageWarCry: Now that closed beta has ended what have you learned from the testers that wouldn’t had been possible for a developer team?

Rusel DeMaria: Testers go everywhere. They exploit every weakness and discover every flaw. They have found several exploits, which we have fixed, and they learn how to play the game in ways that even developers rarely anticipate. When you set loose hundreds or thousands of players in a living world, you know you’re going to learn a lot from them.

Among the things we learned besides exploits, was that the original story writing was a bit… shall I say… over the top, and not believable. I took it as a mission to improve that, going through every bit of dialog and rewriting it. Our early feedback suggests that it is better now, but perhaps still even more-shall we say earthy?- than some people are comfortable with. So, we’ll listen to their feedback and quite possibly make some further adjustments.

imageOf course, during the Open Beta period, we’re expecting to learn much more from our players and testers, and will probably conduct more surveys so that we can continue to improve the game as we go to commercial release and beyond…

WarCry: How does 2Moons entertain both the casual gamers and hardcore gamers at the same time?

Rusel DeMaria: That’s a good question. I think there is answer, too. For one thing, 2Moons is definitely advertised as pure hard core game play. It’s rough, mean spirited and violent. However, it’s definitely possible to play and have fun without getting totally immersed in the levelling requirements and the competition for PvP honors. Someone who just likes to explore new territories and fight new enemies, throwing in a quest or two, or who likes to adventure with ad hoc parties, should have plenty of fun. The learning curve is not steep, once you get used to a few specific elements of the game. And you can play for a long time. The top level is 150, and it can take a lot of game play to get there. Personally, I can play for hours or, at times, just play for a fraction of an hour and still enjoy my experience. I think in part that’s because the combat system is fun, the visual effects are always cool to watch, and there’s certainly no end of opportunities for adventure, exploration or just plain slaughter!

imageWarCry: What do you feel is the best feature 2Moons offers that no other MMO has yet to offer?

Rusel DeMaria: Well, to begin with, it’s free to play, yet it has a very high quality engine, highly entertaining visuals and a deep skill system and storyline. This is not a low-budget product, but one that has great action, animations, scenery and atmosphere. 2Moons is a game you can play for a long time, joining guilds or exploring with pick-up parties. You won’t complete it in just a few days. And it’s getting better. We’re working relentlessly to add features, new areas and new events and competitions. And it’s all free to play… We are betting entirely on the quality of the game to be successful. There is absolutely no cost assessed to play, and we only make money through our advertising model and our cash shop… and only if people are actively playing the game. Yet players can have a totally satisfying experience without ever spending a cent on the game. This game is a fantastic gift to MMORPG fans!

You can let us know what you think after the click.

About the author