Eurogamer: One commonly recognised reason for WOW's success is that Blizzard built its own strong operations to run it in Europe and Asia. How come you're having another company [European publisher GOA] run the game in Europe?
Paul Barnett: Because if you look at Europe, you realise that WOW took months and months and months to get there. It's really really hard to find a company that understands how to put servers in, get bandwidth, speak loads of languages, co-ordinate with all the different countries, realise that the Italians don't like the Germans who are suspicious of the French who don't talk to the English who don't really like the Dutch who don't understand the Spanish.
GOA did it with Dark Age of Camelot and they've done it really well. They've done it in a very European way, but they've done it very well, and it's more of the same. EA couldn't have done it, what the hell would EA know about it? They know nothing about launching MMOs in Europe, unless it's spending lots of money closing them down I suppose.
You might as well give it to a company that you've got a history with, that you respect and understand. Sometimes, like any good relationship, it goes really well and sometimes it has ups and downs. It was unfortunate with the validation of the open beta, we could have done without that nonsense. But on the other hand, you know, the servers are up, they work, they whole of Europe knows the game's coming, it's for sale and it feels great.
Eurogamer: I'm a WOW player, Lich King's around the corner and I'm excited about it. Convince me to play your game instead.
Paul Barnett: I really like Blackpool, it's marvellous. Got a tower, you know. They sell fish and chips and it's got a golden mile, a whole mile of things to do. But you know what, I went on holiday to Blackpool 17 years in a row. Sometimes you just want to go to Vegas.
We're the greatest hits of MMOs with all the crap bits taken out. No item damage - that's really good for WOW heads. No graveyard running. You can level in PVP. You get loot from PVP. Public Quests are a joy. It's funnier than WOW. It's easier to play, but all the dragons are still left to slay: in WOW, there really isn't that much to do, not any more. You can wait for two years and get another ten levels, but you've probably seen it and done it.
Eurogamer: I hate WOW, and I think your game looks like more of the same. Convince me to try it out.
Paul Barnett: Well, bear in mind, we're not a game, we're a hobby. We're designed around the three things all hobbies require: skill, because if anybody else can do it, then who cares; commitment, because if you can do it without really trying it's not a hobby; and imagination, it makes you think.
If you really, really don't like MMOs, you don't like the subscription model, then I'd say stay away, mate. Don't be a hater.
If on the other hand you missed the boat, wasn't sure whether to do it, weren't really online, didn't really understand this new-fangled stuff, we are the easiest to get into, the easiest to understand, the quickest to have the most fun, the most modern, coolest MMO on the planet, and therefore that's why you should give it a shot.