Funcom's Gaute Godager • Page 2

On launching Conan - and what comes next.

Eurogamer: So this is the stuff you've announced about adding consequences, PVP levels and so on.

Gaute Godager: Yeah, that's part of it. The Kingship system is the second part of it. It's basically two stages, where we start by doing something immediate - giving you something neat to play with, which is the item system, the level system, the PVP items and the fugitive system, things like that. Then you have the long term one, which is the Kingship. That gives you guild alliances and those kind of things.

Eurogamer: The fugitive system sounds like an attempt to protect lower level players, while still allowing them to be involved. Is that right? Can you explain how it will actually work?

Gaute Godager: Yeah. The method that we're using is one where you get something called "Fugitive Points" for certain types of behaviour. You get them from attacking someone, being the aggressive party, you get them from killing someone much lower than you - and certain other types of behaviour too. It's focused around never telling the player that they can't do something - but if you do it, it will have a consequence.

The consequences that you have are Fugitive Points. Those points will dribble away with time - they time out - but you can also grind them off by doing communal things. We're trying to make a penal system without actually making one. Basically, if you help with guild activities, for example, you'll get a faster reduction of fugitive status.

There are two steps of fugitive status. The first one we call Orange, and if you're in Orange state then other people can attack you without themselves being flagged as a fugitive. The second state is Red - and then not only can everyone attack you without being flagged themselves, in addition to that there's a chance of you dropping an item. It's a bit like a bounty on your head.

It's something we've been playing around with for some time, and there are a host of technical and balance issues to make this work so that it's not hugely exploitable.

Eurogamer: Talking about the changes you're making to quests and zones, there's been some criticism of the content of the game as you progress - it definitely thins out as you go along, and at some points you can be dumped back to old-fashioned grinding. What's being done to fix that?

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Gaute Godager: I think there are a host of issues and a host of reasons for that. First of all, I think we have actually already addressed quite a few of those things. We did have a lot more chaining - which means that you need to do an early quest to get the later quests in the chain. Let's say that you're 27 and you arrive in an area - if you haven't done the 20 and 22 quests, you don't see the 27 quests. We've broken quite a few of those chains up so that they'll be more available to people.

Secondly, we have added quite a lot more content in the early and late thirties, which are the places where people were making themselves heard most clearly about these issues. I do also think that we need to promote the quests that we have - because we do have a lot of quests. It's just about finding them.

Let's say you do Conall's Valley when you leave Tortage. Then you arrive in Khopshef Province, say, and you don't see any quests there. That's basically because you now need to go to another quest hub, rather than the one on the docks where you arrive. We don't have enough funnelling quests to push you into that new area. Even though when we discuss it internally, we say, well, we actually have the same amount of quests in sheer numbers as we have at lower levels - they aren't advertised and available enough.

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