A chimerical night dawns upon us all! Kindle the fires and warm the kettle for another addition of Interview Spotlights featuring a Phoenix, risen from the ashes to bestow you with a personal insight on life from the development side of TalonRO and how
he’d vouch for Luna burning Morroc into ruins faster than Satan Morroc ever could.
Lance: Right, now before we begin there’s something I’d like to address with you for our audience. I think we're all intrigued by the name "Phoenix" - what's the story behind it?
Phoenix: The name Phoenix comes from the fact that Game Design/Development basically redefined my life goals, hence my way of thinking being reborn, because before I wasn't really sure what I was going to do. It also represents my way of thinking in terms of working on games. I really like to bring new life into content or thinking of new approaches for existing problems.
Lance: Jeepers! I can certainly see the connotation behind your alias now. Do tell us, about your past life? And most importantly what brought your majestic presence into the frolicsome lands of TalonRO?
Phoenix: I have a long history with Ragnarok Online as well as this particular server. After the long decade and 1/2 I've been playing RO for roughly there just ain't another server like TalonRO, I knew I was here to stay. What got me playing this particular server initially was actually family that used to play the game with me.
Lance: Ah, your family seem like a marvy bunch! Mine on the other hand wouldn’t have a clue how to even spell MMO, ha! And what does an average working day look like for a dexterous game developer such as yourself?
Phoenix: Game Development is something that requires a lot of time and passion. For the most part with the exception of maybe the weekends I spend a majority of the day working on one thing or another. In most cases this is either writing scripts for future content or pitching new ideas for new content. If I'm not already knee deep in a project for the server, or if I'm taking a break, and while I may not speak often, I'm actively looking at what our players are suggesting or what their feedback is as I'm always under the belief that as a game designer it's our job that we create games for the people above all else. If it's not that, I'm studying/preparing ideas for where we can expand and what we can make even better. As such since I believe in what the player is thinking first most, I will carefully design content in the shoes of a player and making sure that the content is quality and that it's fun. Then I will also look for new approaches to old/existing problems as well and if applicable, and I will implement those new approaches after thorough testing and obviously assuming that they work and they're not just good ideas on paper. In short, a lot of my days consist of making scripts for content, creative thinking, and keeping up with what's going on and what people are saying. Haha.
Lance: Diligent, precise and innovative — looks like we’re in safe hands on the development back-end! Speaking of which, do you have any hair-raising content in the pipelines you’d like to tease our bodacious Talonians with?
Phoenix: I’m wondering how much we’re allowed to say.. Haha.
Lance: You can tell us! We won't utter a word to the higher-ups.
Lance: Do it man.
Phoenix: I’m not sure.
Lance: If not for me, do it for the shish kabob!
Phoenix: I’m a vegetarian.
Lance: ... Do it for the lettuce?
Phoenix: Kidding. I can’t say no to meat.
Phoenix: Well, what?
Lance: Hmn. I may have been bamboozled. Drat!
Lance: So uh... What are your plans for TalonRO from a development standpoint? Anything you’d like to share with us in regard to future planned projects?
Phoenix: You’re just repeating the same question now. But I will say this, I have some very exciting content lined up in the not so distant future. So stay tuned and watch as the magic unfolds – you won’t be disappointed!
Lance: I see my sorcery of asking the same question in a different manner proves ineffective with you, firebrand. On a different note, what has been your greatest achievement and cherished memory on TalonRO so far?
Phoenix: I would probably have to say my hard work and dedication toward farming all my end game equipment when I was still actively playing as just a player of TalonRO. If there was a quest to do it, I did the quest for instance. Not once have I bought quest items off of other players and 9 times out of 10 if it was something I could farm directly from mobs, that's the way I did it.
Lance: How wondrous! and sheer dedication to the grind. Now let’s move onto a specially crafted segment of your spotlight. Lance’s “Zoinks! I shouldn’t have said that” GM quiz extravaganza! There are no right or wrong answers and the points don’t really matter. Cue the music!
[ Doowop, doowop, doo-be-doo-be-doo.. Wop wop wop. Lance's quiz show! ... Wop ]
Lance: Who is more likely to burn Morroc down in desolation the fastest?
A.) Satan Morroc B.) GM Luna C.) GM Spica D.) A forest fire
Phoenix: GM Luna is the best assassin we got; you and I both know this very well. But also it wouldn't be the first time she burned something down. Hahaha.
Lance: You'd be surprised at how many illusive assassins we have in the staff team. Ah-ahem, moving on. What is the most painful way to go out in a blaze of glory?
A.) GM Cherri’s experiment gone wrong B.) GM Zelda’s eternal warp maze, there is no escape C.) Plucked to death in a 1v1 showdown with GM Shiris D.) GM Mimi truth dares you into something against your own will, ultimately you fail and are sent down a bottomless well
Phoenix: If Ocarina of Time taught me anything when I was growing up I would have to go with B because I got lost in the Lost Woods more times than I can count, and GM Zelda's eternal warp maze makes that look like a walk in the park. Hahahaha!
Lance: Her warp mazes are truly a terrifying sight to behold! Onto the next question. You could get away with anything for a day as an admin. Choose your destiny.
A.) GM Boreas
B.) GM Howl
C.) GM Seiren
D.) A Phoenix will embrace his own mischief
Phoenix: Thats obvious, who doesn't want to be GM Howl?
Lance: Who would you call forth in the heat of battle at a steakhouse buffet?
A.) GM Saen
B.) GM Lance
C.) GM Naus
D.) I can handle this. Someone hold my belt buckle!
Phoenix: I like the way you think so I think I would choose you haha.
Lance: Oh you! Now, if you could purchase your very own plush doll, which would you choose to cure your sleepless nights with?
A.) GM Kuma “Beary Cuddly”
B.) GM Radius “A Saiyan’s Touch”
C.) GM Spica “Burn, baby burn”
D.) GM Boreas “Go to sleep or I kikban”
Phoenix: I’m torn between A and C at the moment, haha!
Lance: I’ll accept both answers. And finally, whose home cooked delectable’s would you invite yourself to (all expenses paid), followed by an evening of joyful shindigs and banter?
A.) GM Zelda's “Oreo du fromage”
B.) GM Mimi’s “Rice & ketchup on a platter”
C.) GM Saen’s “Iceland 2 for 1 chicken nuggets microwave supreme”
D.) GM Cherri’s “Never heard of it red velvet creme brulee”
Phoenix: Probably D because while not a lot of people have heard of it, if you actually look it up and read about it, it will definitely spark your interest.
Lance: Capital answers monsieur, let’s wrap things up. But before you leave my feathered ave, would you like to leave a parting note for any aspiring developers who want to follow in your footsteps or to our dear players in general? The stage is yours fluffers!
Phoenix: If you want to be involved in the Video Game Industry at all there's a couple questions you need to ask yourself. You like to play games, but does your love for games go past just being a hobbyist? Are you prepared to learn about programming no matter what path you take? Can you honestly look at any game, even if you love that game to death, and make a list of pros and cons rather than only pros or letting bias get in the way? And most importantly are you fully able to embrace change if it means making the best possible game? These are all things Game Designers and Developers have to be prepared for. Being a Game Developer is more than just loving and playing games, it's about sharing experiences, stories, and ideas with the world, and most important of all, games are supposed to be fun and are to be enjoyed by the consumers. It's also very important to work as a team, as Game Developers work much better in groups. It's very easy for you to look at your own ideas and say "There's nothing possibly wrong with what I did here". This is exactly why they say two, or many heads, is better than one. I strongly advise working closely with other people if you're looking to get into this industry.Also as said earlier, you need to be able to embrace change. It's very easy for Nostalgia, let alone familiarity, to cloud the vision of a great game design or feature. Change is extremely important in making the most polished, creative, and most functional final product. In MMO games this is expanded even further by saying change helps make the game go forward at all times without things getting stale. Think of it this way, how do you think great games become great at all? They try new things and constantly experiment with the unknown.Finally, while it can vary depending on the size of your team and the scope of your project, you should be prepared to take on many different roles whether that be designing game mechanics, stories, characters, interfaces, or even the programming behind the game. It's also pretty important for you to have an understanding of gaming history, so I strongly advise people looking to be Game Designers or Developers to look at past events, consoles, and video games, and see what made those particular things great, or if they failed, why did they fail?In conclusion if I had to summarize what a healthy mentality is for being in the game industry, I couldn't say it any better than Saturo Iwata, a man that singlehandedly saved a variety of video games in development crisis and was once the CEO of one of the most notable game companies in the world, Nintendo "On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer."— Satoru Iwata, keynote speech at GDC 2005. I hope this gives future Designers/Developers more insight on things.
Lance: It's been an absolute pleasure Phoenix.
Phoenix: May the force be with you.
Lance: And you, my young padawan. Now fly!