Greed Monger Interview – Bringing Out the Worst in Us (In a Good Way)
Questions by Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF), OnRPG Journalist
Answers by Jason Appleton, Lead Designer and Executive Producer of Greed Monger
Hey everyone! I am ApocaRUFF and today I will be discussing Greed Monger, an up-and-coming sandbox MMO, with one of the developers of the project. Since I first heard of Greed Monger a few days ago, I was extremely hyped. It hopes to provide players with an unprecedented amount of freedom. I can safely say this is quite the ambitious project.
For me, sandbox MMOs are my heaven. I love a game that offers me a lot of options in all areas. I do not like linear gameplay at all. Recently, most games in the MMO market have been slowly moving towards more freedom and less restriction. Unfortunately, very few games offer the amount of freedom that a true sandbox does. This is why I feel that Greed Monger will be a great addition to the genre and the gaming community in general.
Hello! Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Personally, I am very excited about Greed Monger so I am grateful for the opportunity. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and what role you play in this project?
My name is Jason Appleton and I am the Lead Designer and Executive Producer of Greed Monger.
What made you want to break into the MMO industry and what do you think you can bring to it?
I have been a gamer since my first SX64 (Commore's version of a portable computer), which was purchased on a payment plan by my mother from a yard sale. Maniac Mansion, Rambo First Blood, etc, I couldn't get enough. Then, when Ultima Online came out I just couldn't believe it. It was magic for me. All of the other players running around together, the skills, the bartering. Nothing to this day has come close to capturing the essence I so much enjoyed of Ultima Online. I still check it out from time to time just for the sake of nostalgia.
I look at MMORPG's of today like modern movies compared to old movies. Big budget crap with no soul. How companies can squander tens of millions on something so lack lackluster today is absolutely beyond me. Give me 20% of the budget of half of these games and I'll show you innovation never seen before. But these companies no longer care about real innovation. Just like in the music business which I was in for several years, big companies don’t want to risk big budgets on anything unproven and it's always up to the indies to innovate and the majors to adopt once proven successful. I plan to bring something unique to the market that people like myself have been craving for decades but nobody would try.
I can't help but notice that your team is quite small and each member plays more than one role. Will you have to expand your team to reach your goals or do you feel that you can achieve them with your current team?
Yes, I am already in discussions with several other potential team members. I'm not just looking for people that will do a job for a check and be done. One thing I learned early on in business is that, to be successful you have to surround yourself with people smarter than you and then funnel your passion through them to achieve great things. That's what I'm looking for. People who are as passionate about the concept of this game as they are their next check. Innovators, thinkers, people who have a world of ideas stirring in them that they have yet to be able to express or bring to fruition. I want Greed Monger to be a hot bed of new ideas that people have yet to see. That takes some time to find, but so far I think things are shaping up well. Within a couple of weeks I expect to have a much fuller team ready to tear into Greed Monger.
I really love the freedom you want to have in the game and how much players will be able to do. Unfortunately, in games that offer similar features to yours, things can become a bit repetitive. How will you keep the game interesting and stop it from becoming a chore to play?
Oh boy, lots of ways. I can't possibly cover everything we have planned right now but let’s just say forums will be blazing with "what happened last night" posts.
One of the features advertised on the website is developer-controlled monsters. How will you make sure that these developer-controlled fights are fair to players and keep people from rage quitting if they end up dying from a developer-controlled attack?
People will die, and they will raise up to fight again more organized. As with any Raid style mob in a game there will be some trial and error involved in even being competitive with the Gods...many of these experiences will be impromptu and unplanned amongst the players we spawn on, which will be taken into account when they happen, but they of course won't be a walk in the park for anyone.
You have mentioned that it might be possible for players to create their own gods and submit them to become one of the Developer-controlled gods. How will players be able to do this and what requirements would need to be filled? How much of a role will gods play in the lives of the players?
Due to the fact that Greed Monger will literally start with nothing but nature, there is no lore to speak of, yet. The players and guilds who form together will be the ones who create the lore in the game based on their submissions of stories of their experiences in the game. We have lore and story in a lock box that won't be revealed to players until they have established themselves as a society. For now, they aren't worth the attention of the Gods as they are mere ants collecting leaf fragments. Think about it this way, we on Earth have our history as it's been written over centuries. If alien beings came down from the clouds tomorrow we would soon find out the truth behind why we are here and suddenly light will be shed on all of the darkness we currently believe as fact. Expect something similar in the future of Greed Monger.
While watching your Quick Landscape Demo video, I wondered how players will interact with the game world. Will it be point-and-click or some other method?
The same way you would interact with the world in Everquest, WOW etc. I guess I don't understand what you mean.
As a crafting-focused sandbox, I am sure there will be some form of resource gathering. How will players gather resources (will it be a dynamic or static system) and what sorts of resources will they be able get?
Resources will be gathered from everything in the world and will be a combination of dynamic and static. When you kill an animal for instance, it may drop useable bone with which to craft an item or weapon, or it may drop something rare and useful for a mage like a still beating heart. There will be static resource nodes scattered throughout but that won't guarantee you anything. Greed Monger will be a darker and harder game than something like Guild Wars 2. It won’t be candy coated to appeal to the mass market.
How many recipes do you estimate the game will have at launch and will there be any room for creativity when it comes to crafting?
Oh my God, if I have my way about it, a thousand plus. But realistically, I don't yet know. Our goal is to get the basic system and recipes/plans established that players will need to get going in the world but ultimately, I do have plans for experimental crafting in the future. I have some ideas that I'd really like to implement but I'm honestly not yet sure how possible it will be.
One of the planned skills is Treasure Hunter. What kind of neat things can players find with this skill and how will it benefit them?
Oh we are going to make this fun...all I'm saying for now.
Speaking of skills, what are some of the other skills you want to give players and could you give us some examples as to what players will be able to do with them?
This is a difficult question because there are things about the game I have yet to discuss anywhere yet and I don't want to release it in detail yet. All I will say here is, the game will progress in Ages based on population and economic growth. Skills that are useful to you today could become obsolete in the "future".
I am a big fan of magic in games and I know that your game will include it from looking at your website. What can we look forward to doing with magic?
Our magic system won't be broken down into Archetypes or Class Titles. Magic is magic. What you decide to use the most will make up who you are. If we had 60 magic skills available, you would still only be able to use a small number at any given time. I have always played magic users in games and I know one thing I've always wanted was to be a truly evil magic user. I plan on making that possible. In Greed Monger, if you are an evil mage, I almost want what you have to do to become evil, creep you out or make you ponder whether you really want to be evil. The opposite is true for good magic users. It may be all crimson and clovers for them but the question you have to ask yourself is, what are you willing to give up for more power? Everything in Greed Monger comes at a price.
One of my favorite parts of any MMO is player-versus-player combat. What role will this play in your game, and how will you make it fun? I am also interested in knowing if the game will be full-loot or if you will keep everything on you when you die?
Player Vs. Player will be restricted to select zones. Zones that happen to be home to a higher percentage of rare monsters and harvestables. Full loot in these zones and competition will be fierce.
One of the big features about the game is the ability to buy land. This makes me wonder just how big the world will be. Could you tell us about the planned size of the game world and how you plan to keep the place from feeling crowded?
Due to the nature of the land ownership system, land values will go up and down based on land available. We honestly don't know yet exactly how large to make each climate but are constantly monitoring interest in the game to gauge it. When I say climate, I'm referring to a land mass in a particular weather or climate condition such as Green Grasslands, Sandy Desert, Rocky mountainous etc. These land masses will be very large to say the least regardless, but the question is, how many various Climates we will launch with.
Thank you for answering my questions. I have a lot more to ask, and I am sure others do to, but I will save those for another day. Is there anything you would say to our readers? And perhaps you could share an estimate on when alpha or beta testing will begin?
Thank you so much for your support with Greed Monger. The best thing an independent effort like Greed Monger can hope for is for people who like what we are doing to spread the word. The community is truly what is going to make this game the best it can be. We are providing the vehicle, but it's up to the playerbase to provide the gas. I am hoping we can get at least an alpha phase ready within 3-4 months of the Kickstarter Phase 1 Conclusion.
Thank you for answering our questions. I look forward to the future of Greed Monger, as I am sure others do too.