Black Prophecy Q&A – Behind the Scenes
Christian Schütt (also known as “SnowCrash”), formerly Black Prophecy’s Community Manager and now its Assistant Product Manager, discussed the hopes and fears of Black Prophecy’s fans with Patrick Streppel, member of the executive board of gamigo, and Kirk Lenke, CEO of Reakktor Media.
From the interview the most interesting questions were:
After the announcement was made that BLACK PROPHECY would be published as a free-to-play game, a lot of players were concerned that it would follow the item-shop principle known from other comparable games in which the player with the biggest wallet can buy the best items and therefore dominate. In press interviews it has implied that this will not be the case. Can you please explain to the community, what principle is planned for BLACK PROPHECY and why it was chosen?
It’s true that we will earn money from the sale of virtual items in BLACK PROPHECY (as opposed to through subscription fees, selling the game in stores, or through advertisement). Besides the obvious advantages (you get to play an online game and can see its quality with your own eyes without making any sort of financial commitment), the motto here is “time is money”. We’re taking a lot of care to make sure that you play as long as you want to WITHOUT spending any money. That means that you have access all game content, can complete every mission and conquer every player if you invest enough time to level your character up and collect or upgrade all the items needed. This is the case with a number of our other games, because, unlike at other game companies, you’ve often find players at the top of the rankings that haven’t spent any money to get there. Exactly how this will work is still in design, but players that buy items will not gain an advantage, they will just save time. This is especially designed with players in mind that work during the day and therefore don’t have time to play for hours each day but would still like to be able to keep up with their friends or their clan.
Patrick has pretty much said everything there is to say about the principle we’re planning, so I’ll answer the question of “why?” for the community. Since the GDC 2009 in SF and subsequent talks, what we already guessed has become more and more evident: that demand from MMOG publishers who operate on monthly subscriptions was very low – actually pretty much non-existent, to be honest. At least this was the answer from all the publishers we were in talks with. Which was more than just a few…
Again and again they told us that BLACK PROPHECY is a very interesting game, but it would be important to produce it as a free-to-play game.
Because of the bankruptcy and our aim to save the company from bankruptcy but without having to let employees go, it would have been reckless not to follow industry demands.
Some players are worried that, as a free-to-play game, there may be fewer updates and patches. Can you tell us what you have planned for that?
Fewer updates because of free-to-play? Not at all! Sales volume of a free-to-play is not less than in a subscription game, actually we are hoping for an even greater success because more players will have access to the game – which means a bigger budget for content! It’s already laid out for the first 12 months and includes a lot of smaller and a few bigger updates!
Neglecting to update is the nail in the coffin for any MMOG. We all know that. We’ve already laid out a roadmap for content patches and add-ons and are starting on its development so players won’t have to wait too long for new material. In the development of assets, we’ve put a lot of effort into making sure that we don’t limit ourselves as far as add-ons such as stationwalking, housing, and things like that are concerned. These are a few examples of things that are on our agenda. At the same time, Michael Marrak also has a few things planned that players will really enjoy and will probably challenge our game designers quite a bit.
Read more: http://blackprophecy.com/index.php?id=124