Strategy Informer asks David Rosén, CEO and Executive
Producer at Lockpick Entertainment, a few questions about the sequel to Dreamlords
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Kyle Stallock: Dreamlords was released a little over a year ago and now the sequel will soon be released. What made you decide to create the sequel so soon? Will
this be an annual title?
David Rosén: We were very happy with our first title and so where the players. Over
time though you start to notice things and think “Hm, that could’ve been
done in another way”. Our goal was and is to make a really great game and
once you’ve started down that road, it’s unavoidable to end up making
another one. As for the periodicity, it’s hard to tell and depends on what
you mean. Dreamlords is a franchise and rest assured we will see it develop
in the future.
Kyle Stallock: What will you be doing narrative-wise in the sequel and how important is
that to the title?
David Rosén: The Reawakening continues where the first Dreamlords left off. The world
ended in a sea of fire and all went black, the Cynos had to put the world to
sleep to allow it to recuperate. When we now return the Dreamlords has
reawakened and is starting to slowly put the world together again...
Kyle Stallock: Co-op gameplay has been rumored for the original for awhile and David
Rosen even mentioned it in an interview from 2007. Can we expect it soon?
David Rosén: In The Reawakening, as was the case with Dreamlords, you will be able to
collaborate with friends in your convergence (as clans are called in the
game) to craft items, share resources and conquer unclaimed islands in the
name of your convergence.
Kyle Stallock: One of the biggest complaints people had of the original Dreamlords was its steep learning curve, how are you addressing this issue in the sequel?
David Rosén: The original idea was to create the kind of hardcore game we wanted to
play ourselves. While we manage to do exactly that, somewhere it just became
a bit too good... After a while this was pointed out in our forums by the
players and since it was always our intention to make a game *for* gamers we
felt we had to do something. In nature strategy games require a little bit
more of the player than the average MMORPG so it still requires some effort
to get into and it still offers a good challenge for those who like to put
their skills and intellect to the test.
Kyle Stallock: The other biggest complaint was the simplified RTS combat system. Some
even said the original Command and Conquer had more depth. Given the
innovative mix of the patria manager and the client, do you feel the latter
needs greater depth?
David Rosén: I think you are referring to the version of the PvP system we had at
launch which was, to be honest, a bit light. Especially compared to the rest
of the game which was very deep ;) Since our game spans over months and not
minutes the building of the civilization, which compared to other RTSs is
the base building, is done in the Patria Manager and not in an actual PvP
fight. As both we and our players felt the lack of depth in the PvP system
we did a pretty big upgrade to a few months after launch. The players can
now upgrade their buildings and spawn troops from the different tactical
locations which diversify your strategic options quite a bit.
Kyle Stallock: Is there a point where you think you should draw the line in terms of
gameplay depth on either side?
David Rosén: It all depends on what audience you are aiming for really. To reach a vast
market there is no question about the fact that we did Dreamlords too
complex. However we found a niche of players who really wants that deep
challenging game, which to be honest (and for obvious reasons), is quite
rare to find. The problem is to find the right mix of complexity and low
learning curve and that is something we think we did a better job in
Dreamlords the Reawakening. That was the long answer, the short one would
simply be: yes ;)
Kyle Stallock: In an interview with MMORPG.com, Lead Designer Iona Rosin said, regarding
the original Dreamlords, "The system was mathematically correct, but it
didn't fit the real world game experience." Could you describe this "real
world game experience" and how it relates to the sequel?
David Rosén: Well, her comment was actually to the balance we had in the game during
the alpha of the Reawakening. Balancing an MMO is an insane job, balancing
an MMORTS like Dreamlords the Reawakening is probably the hardest balancing
job there is. You get all the problems of an MMO and multiply them with the
complexity of armies and civilization building. We also have the eras which
means we have to provide the players with a progression that feels good but
at the same time doesn’t destroy the balance in the game over era restarts.
To do this properly you need not only to be a game designer but also have a
pretty deep knowledge of math and other game systems. So what she meant was
that during this whole process she focused so hard on getting the
progression and curves right that the players experience ended up in the
second room. For instance a complex structure like this would mathematically
be correct if the player early game received bonus of a certain level in a
certain stat. However with the small values the player had at that time that
bonus would hardly be visible to the player. Thus a mathematically correct
setting would leave the experience more to wish for.
Kyle Stallock: How did the digital distribution method work for you? Are there any
plans to finally offer Dreamlords through traditional methods?
David Rosén: Well all things have both good sides and bad sides I guess. In some ways
it worked really well, in others not so well. We aim to go with more
publishers this time and some of them will do retail boxes. But I am a big
fan of digital distribution and especially now when we Dreamlords the
Reawakening is Free to Play the whole structure of retail gets kind of
obsolete. However should there be retail boxes they will be filled with nice
added value like unique items or something to make sure the player gets
his/her money’s worth.
Kyle Stallock:: If someone didn't like the original, why should they try the sequel?
David Rosén: Well, it really depends on *why* you didn’t like it in the first place. If
you’re looking for a unique blend of RTS and RPG, The Reawakening will
totally be your cup of tea..or coffee...or whatever, you get my point. The
bottom line is after listening and really trying to bring all our player’s
feedback and suggestions into the game, I truly believe we’ve managed the
issues you could’ve experience with Dreamlords.