Questions by Rick Charbs, Onrpg writer
Answered by Adam Bohn, founder anda CEO of Artix Entertainment
Onrpg was glad to have interviewed Adam Bohn, founder and CEO of Artix Entertainment (“better known as Artix Krieger, the pun spewing, undead slaying, lactose intolerant, wasabi loving Paladin”). This interview focuses on their newest release, AdventureQuest Worlds. You will learn about what updates are to come in the game, the benefits of paying to play or remaining a free account player, and so much more. You will even discover their inspiration in the creation of the game: “One of the players on the forums said flat out, “There is no way AE can make a MMO. It is not possible in flash.” Followed by a giant string of people agreeing.” said Adam Bohn. Boy, were they wrong! We at Onrpg humbly congratulate them on their first multiplayer release!
Onrpg: What makes AdventureQuest Worlds so unique?
Bohn:First, thank you so much for taking the time to interview us about our first massively multiplayer game! How is it unique? Well, many of our players might point out that we are the first MMO they played where you do not start off by killing rats. Actually, you protect and save them! We jump you straight into the action… so the first boss monster of our upcoming main storyline is a full fledged Dragon.
You will not have any loot fights over the rare treasure it drops because our game secretly groups everyone who battles a monster and gives you and everyone else the reward. If you get a really awesome looking sword, staff, dagger, or other weapon that you really like… you do not have to ditch it for a shoddy weapon with better stats. Instead you can visit an enhancement shop and level your existing weapon up! This way you can keep your favorite items with you all the way to the max level.
A lot of players also love that you can do everything on one character – including switching your class on the fly. You pick a starting class when you create your character and can quickly start collecting more classes like Ninja, Pirate, Berserker, and Paladin as you level up and beat special quests. We add new things to the game and hold special events all the time and the players on the forums determine what we focus on and many times what we make!
The top thing that makes our game stand out is that it is a real-time, animated RPG that plays right in your web browser. There is nothing to download or install. So you can open any web browser, anywhere in the world, and play your character on our newest adventure!
Onrpg: What kind of feedback have you received during your test phases of the game? What effect has this had on the current release of the game?
Bohn: Our game creation style is completely driven by player input. The entire team reads the forums and continually makes changes to the game based on the suggestions and feedback of our online community. It can be challenging – because the players SEVERELY OUTNUMBER US! We love what we do and there is no greater happiness than seeing a forum thread full of “Thank You!” or encouraging “Great job!” posts.
The players who contributed in the alpha phase were amazing. We had so many bugs that we should have titled the game ‘ant farm’. We will never forget the week Captain Rhubarb accidentally renamed everyone in the game to… Captain Rhubarb. This was so early on in development that we were not even keeping backups of the database yet. 10,000 accounts were lost but when we all remade our accounts we all got a commemorative ‘My name is Captain Rhubarb’ name tag. Next year we will be celebrating it in game as a major holiday.
Onrpg: New events, quests, and upgrades are released almost daily in AQ Worlds. What recent additions have made their way into the game?
Bohn: My favorite release so far has been the Dragon’s Lair. It is full of half-dragon warriors and wyverns which guard the path to a giant Red Dragon named Vasalkar. He is a tough fight but if you get a few friends and bring him down there are dozens of rare item drops in there! Especially the HUGE swords the half-dragon warriors are wielding. You will find that most of the monsters in the game have a pretty good chance to drop the exact weapon they are wielding. So if you see a monster with something you like…
Recently we added an area called the Crash Site. A UFO crashed there… or so it seems, and a group of steampunk Dwakel (dwarf sized lizardmen) are trying to fix up the crashed flying ship. Guarding it are powerful mecha-like suits of armor… and yes, of course you can get your hands on one. We added the ability for monsters to aggro with this release and even put a trip wire on the boss scene which triggered a full, all out boss fight. Releasing in October was insane for us… because we had three back to back holidays. We built the players an entire haunted house zone filled with chainsaw wielding mad men, ghosts and many rare costumes. Then for Thanksgiving we introduced Grandmaster Lunchlady Oishii who needed your help creating the most dangerous meal ever prepared… the Turdraken (Turkey with a Drake in it with a Chicken in it… A spoof of the real life Turducken) We tested our first cutscenes in the game here. In one the Turdraken grew huge and you got to go inside and blow it up with a Butterbomb Turkey. It was also the first time we allowed players to cook (Oh noes, you failed boiling water!) and tried making a dynamic NPC who went from crying to cheering as you completed the quests.
Right now, we are preparing to launch our special Winter Holiday event. We built a complete reconstruction of the town of Frostvale from DragonFable. There are three questing areas, a PvP Snowball hurling area (it is just for fun… we do not actually let you kill the other players with snow balls… this year) and a ton of prizes including the giant bag of gifts that are waiting under the tree in town for you. The gifts have obvious shapes (Weapon, Armor, Hat, Pet) and you can wear them until they magically open on New Year’s Eve at midnight.
Onrpg: Could you please offer some information on some of the new classes in the game?
Bohn: Certainly! I think it is important to first note that you can change your class at any time in AdventureQuest Worlds. You can start as a Warrior, Mage, Rogue or Healer when you first create your character. You will start ranking up and unlocking skills as you battle monsters. But you can go into town and find people to teach you how to be additional classes including Ninja, Pirate, Berserker and tons of new ones as we add in our ongoing releases. Some classes have prerequisites. For example you must obtain the highest rank of both Warrior and Healer before Paladin unlocks. Once you have a new class you can click on your “armors tab” in your inventory and switch back and forth. So if the group needs a healer… no problem! We give all players space to store 10 different classes.
Because it is the holidays we have been releasing a lot of “for fun” holiday classes. The skillset for the Santa armor is pretty severe though. Our newest serious classes include the ProtoSartorium class. It is steam-powered robotic suit of armor with high-tech abilities like Plasma Bolt and the protective Event Horizon, which completely absorbs damage for 12 seconds. Soon we will be releasing DragonSlayer which is a specialized class with incredible bonuses against dragons and dragonkind.
Onrpg: How does combat function in the game currently?
Bohn: Even though we made a browser game, AQWorlds is a real MMO! Our combat is real time, fully animated and cooperative. It is Click once to target a monster, then choose a skill (hurl a fireball!) or simply click it again to charge it! Each class has up to 7 unlockable skills to aid you and your friends in combat. Everyone who participates in the battle gets full experience, gold and rep for defeating it. The monsters in the game are pretty dumb now, but we are working on coding monsters to think differently. Boss monster fights next year are going to be so intense because we can literally do… anything.
Onrpg: Could you please tell us about the various zones in the game?
Bohn: Your adventure starts in the town of Battleon. It is a completely re-imagined version of the starting town of our first game. The capital city of Swordhaven is currently under attack by an army of the undead. In the main storyline you will be able to choose between being good or evil… and change your mind through a special, repeatable, quest. Swordhaven will be the city for good players and the ruins of Shadowfall (formerly a flying castle built on the back of the largest reanimated skeleton to ever exist). There are tons of small places to go in the game now including the pirate port, dragon’s lair, the graveyard, the Horc battle fortress (Horcs are half orc… half… um… something), and a dozen other locations accessable via your map. A little bit of a spoiler – there will be 13 major zones each with a main villain that you will work towards defeating. We are calling each zone a chapter. Once all of the villains are defeated you will be able to battle the ultimate boss and actually beat the first “book” of the game.
Onrpg: What inspired you to finally create a multiplayer game?
Bohn: If you can keep this just between you… and your gazillion readers, I would love to tell you the true story.
Our original goal was to continue creating single player flash games with elements that let the players work together towards common goals (like we do in Wars.) But the team and I have two HUGE weaknesses. One, we love to play with different technology just to see what we can do. Second… and more to the point… one of the players on the forums said flat out, “There is no way AE can make a MMO. It is not possible in flash.” Followed by a giant string of people agreeing.
There is something about being told that you cannot do something that really… really… really… really makes you want to do it. You could argue a gazillion reasons why we made AdventureQuest Worlds. But the truth is… it was because we were told by the players, other companies, and in many times long the way, our own team, that we could not do it. I believe that we (and everyone else, especially you) are capable of doing anything. So we decided to do it!
With only Minimal and Zhoom doing the coding we completed and released AdventureQuest Worlds in only 8 months. That includes the complete rewrite of the game from Actionscript 2.0 to 3.0 in February. It is the fastest growing and evolving game project we have ever worked on. In the two months we have been live 2.2 million free accounts have been created. Each week we have released… at minimum.. a mini-zone, new monsters, new items and some new functionality. We did not intend to do weekly releases yet – but everyone just loves working on the game so much that we cannot stop. We have been releasing lots of cool new things and rares now… but next year… well, no one is going to believe it until they see it!
Onrpg: How strong is the customization value of the game? How can players be unique?
Bohn: The characters are highly customizable. Currently you customize gender, hair style, hair and eye color. There are a number of armors and “Morphs” that change your over all appearance. Morphs include things that give you the appearance of monsters or something so outrageous that it is not really an armor. Your weapon, helm, cape (or wings, backpack, etc) and pet are customizable too. You can get item designs from shops, monsters, or quests and take them to shops to forge them into usable items. The players really like all of the weird holiday items that we have been releasing. The game engine is really flexible so we can add new items on the fly. We are continuously surprised by how creatively the players are mixing and matching items. There are currently over 700 items with unique art in the game and growing rapidly. We classify them as common, rare, seasonal rare, and “ultra mega never going to be seen again so if you do not get it RIGHT now you lost your chance rare.” Next we will be adding color customizable armors and eventually houses/castles which you can expand and decorate.
Onrpg: Is the game still full of content for a non-paying member? Is it worth to play if you cannot pay for a membership?
Bohn: Most of the game’s areas and items are available to free players. We want everyone to play and enjoy the game. The main reasons to upgrade are to keep us online and expanding, get full access to chat, access to the coolest looking items and a special private server that has less chance for lag.
Onrpg: What are some of your plans for future updates?
Bohn: Right now we are launching our special holiday events. But I would love to tell you about the main storyline that is preparing to unfold. We are scripting and animating an epic cinematic intro which will pull you into our world’s main conflict. Two of our well known and popular characters will fall during the battle… and the unthinkable will happen. You will have to choose to join the good or evil sides and quest to save the world alongside your existing friends and many new ones you will meet along the way.
To support this storyline we are working on improving the functionality that will let us run live events. Battling monsters will only be a part of the game as we add in many interactive objects, giving you new fun ways to play the game. Basically, different types of minigames which will quickly rank up special armors (Examples: Fishing, Moglin Punting, Playing in a Rock Band)…It is an anything-goes fantasy world. It is going to be a blast!
Thank you again for talking to us about AdventureQuest Worlds. We hope your readers will join us as we build the most chaotic game on the web!