Interview with Brad McQuaid on Countdowntoclassic

Brad McQuaid sat for an extended interview with the podcast Countdown to Classic. Here’s a link to the main article on CtoC, which includes an embedded audio file containing the full interview:

Full disclosure: I haven’t had time yet to listen in. I’ll add some highlights here once I do. :slight_smile:

Here’s a quick summary of the hour-long discussion:

  • General background and design approach.
  • Combat design - synergy between player abilities. Enemies responding to group comp. No button mashing. More strategic choices and situational awareness.
  • Class balance - all classes that fulfill certain roles should be able to perform on the same level. Avoid the meta/ideal group comp with only specific classes.
  • Group finding - filling out profile to help find others with similar interests, playtimes, etc. Things like bind points to help you stay able to keep close to / continue playing with the group you’ve found.
  • Mentoring system - temporarily downgrade higher-level characters to play with lower-level friends. Scales everything down to keep balance. Inspired by approach of City of Heroes.
  • Ranger class - do ranged dps, rush in quickly, do melee dps, then rush back out to range. Highlights importance of positioning and working with the environment.
  • Casual players - design elements to be able to accomplish in “bite-sized chunks,” even epic dungeons. Play an hour or two then log off. When you log back in, be in a fairly safe place, then pick back up for the next hour or two.
  • For non-Everquest players - designers are proud of the EQ heritage, but this is not EQ3. Learn from what they did well and what people disliked. Example: Downtime is important but not when it becomes boring or tedious.
  • Interacting in the world - the vast majority of mobs in the world can be engaged. Some limitations for NPCs like bankers, etc. “If we limit you at all, there’s a good reason behind it.”
  • Factions and alignment - Not setting up warring factions like in WoW, but keep these things in mind on alternate ruleset servers for PvP, RP, etc., where faction and alignment can lead to those oppositions. Don’t favor one approach over the other – favor creating options for people to explore the approaches they enjoy.
  • Industry / external pressures - don’t view other MMOs as competitors. The market is large enough. Different games can appeal to different groups. Focus is on making the game that he and the team want to make, and that their community will enjoy. Competition doesn’t affect their vision.
  • Instancing - Very little, if any, instancing. Vast majority will be non-instanced. If anything, they might use it to help with storytelling and lore. Will have protections against griefing while still staying in a shared-world type environment.
  • Game status - Wrapping up pre-alpha now, heading towards what will likely be the last PA phase. Project Faerthale in the works. Can’t wait to share it. Changes to gameplay and visuals. After than, on to Alpha, which will be mostly feature complete. Pantheon will not be just a modern-skinned, old school MMO.

Cannot wait to try the next pre-alpha…

Same here, @Bemidien!

Appreciate the summary Design!