Pantheon’s Brad McQuaid on ‘vertical interdependence,’ WoW killers, and attracting nontraditional MMO players
- McQuaid is touting vertical interdependence, the idea that lowbies and highbies in a game have something to offer each other and can even play on some level together “in a way that’s not exploitative, but still meaningful.”
- Community is at the core of his game’s value system; it sounds as if he believes large communities erode that small-town feel and make relationships too easy to shirk, and consequently, Pantheon’s servers will be sized to be both “lively” and the kind of place where everybody knows your name (and takes into account your bad reputation).
- He even weighs in on the purported shift from group-centric gameplay to solo gameplay, pinning it on the mass-market appeal of World of Warcraft and the subsequent industry me-toos. “These mega-expensive attempts to create a WoW killer did indeed harm the MMO gamespace and MMO developers,” he writes. “The player who is really focused on community, challenge and long-term investment has been orphaned.”
The newsletter also includes a peek into the game’s AI design as well as a bit on the challenge on just how to “explain to all of the other gamers what kind of game Pantheon will be” — in other words, how to reach out to non-MMORPG players, including the “younger players who are gravitating to [Visionary Realms’] type of game”:
“For some, it’s easy to make comparisons to some other MMOs, but we wanted to make something different as well. We wanted the same core of promoting social interaction and understanding of true risk vs. reward but we wanted to be able to communicate this kind of experience to players who have never played some of these other MMOs. So for us, a big part of our journey has been in reaching out to these players—the ones who are thrill-seekers, who fill their hard drives with co-op games, who desire and thrive as part of a large community. We wanted to not only reach them but welcome them into our growing community.”