Runes of Magic Europe Interview with Jorg Koonen
By Mohammed Afzal (MageMoa), OnRPG journalist
Questions answered by Jörg "Kerensky" Koonen, Community Manager Runes of Magic EN/EU
OnRPG: Could you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Jörg Koonen, I am the Community Manager for our English speaking Runes of Magic community. On the forums I am known as "Kerensky". It is my job to represent Runes of Magic to our players. I have spent the last 7 years in Community work in Germany and the UK and am part of the Frogster team since the Open Beta of Runes of Magic started.
OnRPG: People tend to compare Runes of Magic and WoW. They say that there are many similarities between these games, but I do not find them similar at all. Why do you think that people see any kind of similarity between these games?
First of all, being compared to the most successful MMORPG on the market, is not the worst thing that can happen. There are certain features in MMOs that evolved as standard features for games like this. Of course players are used to it and when they play new games they see the similarities.
On the other hand, as you said, there are a lot of features that are not as common, like giving the players their own house from the beginning or our dual class system with innovative class combinations and and and.. plus, sticking to our business model, meaning that we give out content for free and have no subscription or monthly fees. Considering all these classic and new features in RoM and looking at the success of the game, we are very proud of Runes of Magic.
OnRPG: Could you name some of these similarities?
Runes of Magic is what I call a classical Online Role-playing game. A classical MMORPG to me is a game that you play in third person perspective and is set before a medieval high fantasy world where fighters and magicians battle the forces of evil. We got quests telling the story of the world, we got instances, raids, dungeons and a huge world that offers differently themed zones with different monsters. Players can compete against each other in PvP or simply enjoy live as brave explorer.
OnRPG: What aspects of Runes of Magic are completely unique?
The most obvious and striking thing is that we are a Free-to-Play game that offers the same quality and service that players expect from a full-price, subscription based game. But that is only the tip of the iceberg! Once players start the game, they will notice the wide variety of features and the broad scope of the content we offer to our players. Right from the start, players can have their own player house; they can use mounts and soon learn about the benefits of our Dual Class system. This allows for versatile game-play by offering all players to use two different character classes and their skills. Moreover, Runes of Magic is characterized by an epic crafting system and its unique features like the Arcane Transmutor. Guilds can found their own guild castles and expand them with various upgrades. And there are our unique mini-games like the Tower Defense challenge.
OnRPG: Runes of Magic has had many updates lately. Could you inform us about these updates?
Every month we release content updates for Runes of Magic. Every update adds a new zone, a raid or group instance or similar features. Since the release we added two new zones, added new mini games, introduced public encounters, published a new chapter with a new playable race, two new classes and have just recently opened another zone, the Aotulia Volcano, and a new group instance that is called "Cave of the Water Dragon". Each update adds a significant amount of new quests, features, items and much more. Going into detail would be far too much for this interview. I do invite all readers to have a look at our website and see how much we added to the game since the launch.
OnRPG: Chapter II has been released this month. Could you inform our readers a bit more about this huge update?
After a thousand years in exile, where they minded their own business, the Elves have returned to the game world Taborea and with them their biggest enemy, the Naga. With the opening of the second chapter, players now can choose an additional playable race with two specific classes: Wardens and Druids. The Elves have a new beautiful starting zone, we have added three new zones and three new instances, new loot and many new challenges.
OnRPG: Could you tell our readers a bit more about the two new classes?
Wardens and Druids are Elven classes that focus heavily on the magical skills the Elves have developed through their close contact to nature. While the Warden commands three types of powerful pets that have several specific abilities and act as damage dealers, the Druid is a full supporter class with buffs, healing spells and such. These classes replace the Knight and Priest which are only playable by human characters.
As I have stated before, RoM has certainly some very innovative features as well. Player and Guild Housing, Epic Quest lines, Dual Class System with unique elite skills, dynamic crafting system where you can craft your individual armour, mini Games like horse racing,... And, of course, we are providing all this free content on a regular basis for our players.
OnRPG: Why is the name of Chapter II 'The Elven Prophecy' ?
Deep in the history of Taborea the Elves and Humans fought together against the evil forces that threatened to invade the world and enslave all living creatures. At that point a prophecy was made that one day the wall that Elves and Humans created to banish the Naga from their lands would be weakened by an Elven prince. The Elves went into exile to ensure that this would never happen. However not long ago the prophecy became real and now the Elves have returned to mend the error one of their own has made.
OnRPG: I have read something on your forums about a new 'Public Encounter' called "Varanas Nightmare". What are these Public Encounters exactly and what is the whole idea behind "Varanas Nightmare" ?
In Runes of Magic Public Encounters are scenarios that require more than a small group to master. The "Varanas Nightmare" public encounter offers a challenge for up to 150 players. In the capital of Varanas, one of the nobles has fallen ill - he is plagued by a never-ending nightmare. The task of the players is to enter this nightmare and fight the noble's inner demons. Here the Demon Lord himself makes his first real appearance but as he is just a nightmare, players can not challenge him but have to helplessly watch as he supports his minions.
OnRPG: The new title system is quite confusing and I have not been able to find much information about it on your website. Could you explain the new system, please?
We are now offering 2 types of titles. One is, that you get titles when you finish certain quests in an area. The other ones are, for example if you finish the mini game Malatinas dungeon, you get not only a title, but the title also rewards you with bonuses for your attributes.
OnRPG: Aotulia Volcano, a new zone, which has been released recently seems to play an important role in the story line of the game and the end-game content. What makes Aotulia Volcano so special?
As mentioned earlier, with the Elves we have introduced the Naga as a new enemy faction. The new zone, the Aotulia Volcano, is the place where they have been banished to for the last millennium. There they have gathered their forces, preparing and waiting to invade the world of Taborea. Indeed, the content of this zone is aimed at high-level players. We are even going to add more challenging instances, quest lines and a some nice surprises for our players in this region of Runes of Magic.
OnRPG: Are there any upcoming events/updates you would like to tell us about?
Right now the citizens of Taborea celebrate their October Fest - a series of scripted in-game events that are not only entertaining but also offer valuable rewards. Besides that, we are plotting a new "manual" event - The Revenge of the Zurhidon is starting soon. We are challenging our players to face the Zurhidon, a coalition of Demon worshippers that want to bring about the end of the world. And of course we can expect more season-themed events in the future. We are also planning a nice Event for Halloween, with lots of activities for our users. So , as you can see, Events may they be scripted or done by our Community Managers are a central part in the world of Taborea.
OnRPG: Are you looking forward to a certain update/event?
Personally I enjoy all our live events. There is always a lot of fun involved when we can talk to and challenge our players in game. I am a role-player myself and I like to slip into the skins (and textures) of some-NPC and tell the story of our event through the actions of my character.
OnRPG: Runes of Magic's site can be displayed in several languages. What languages are available and why did you decide to make this possible?
At the moment we support English, German, French and Spanish with localized sites, servers and support. For Dutch and Romanian players we keep the website up-to-date in their language. And of course there is Russia and the United States with their own servers and websites. We are looking into extending the range of supported languages and will announce new territories as soon as possible.
OnRPG: Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Actually there is: I would like to take the opportunity to thank all our players for their great support. Thanks to the feedback from our community. The developer Runewaker and we got many new ideas and suggestions what we can and should do with Runes of Magic. And we are already looking forward to the moment our players discover all the new features we have planned.
OnRPG: Thank you for your time!
Thank you too. It was a pleasure.