Interview with a Game Master (conclusion)

Yesterday we started talking with Sl0th, a Game Master for the popular online role-playing game Fly For Fun (Flyff). Today we wrap up that interview with a discussion of player relations, casual gaming, girl gamers, and kids online.
Written by Ed Burnette, Contributor

Yesterday we started talking with Sl0th, a Game Master for the popular online role-playing game Fly For Fun (Flyff). Today we wrap up that interview with a discussion of player relations, casual gaming, girl gamers, and kids online.

ZDNet: Flyff recently underwent a major upgrade, and some of the changes were quite controversial with players. Can you describe that experience?

Sl0th: The change from V7 to V9 was fine for me... as long as I stayed on the Kern server. It was the only place I could go that I wasn't going to get yelled at by players angry that there had been so much changed in their world. We (the GMs) had to take every bit of feedback from players, moderators, other GMs, and a handful of other people and try to get our developers to understand... well everything. It was a very trying, tiring period but in the end enough things were fixed that most people, while maybe not happy with the changes, can at least deal with them.


ZDNet: What do you think of the 'casual gamer' vs. 'hard core gamer' distinction? Does it really exist?

Sl0th: Oh, yes the distinction most certainly exists. I have seen many a player go from level 1 to level 60 in a few days. We just had someone get an S Class pet [the highest level] in just 9 days. But at the same time I've seen players that have had a character for months and are a relatively low level.

The greatest thing about Flyff is that there are a good number of players that use it like a social networking site. Except that with Flyff when you get tired of chatting you can pull out a sword and go hunt down some monsters.

ZDNet: Do you get many female players?

Sl0th: We have noticed that we’re lucky enough to have a fairly large female player base. It's something that, for me, is very refreshing to see. To be perfectly honest I really have no idea why we have so many female players. I suspect that it’s because of the strong sense of community but I don't know understand how that would appeal more to a female player. Or maybe it’s just because of our cutesy character models.


ZDNet: How about non-English speaking players? Do you track global usage?

Sl0th: We do track global usage; unfortunately I can't into regional details or anything like that. There are also some countries that have their own version of Flyff and licensing prevents from spreading to those areas.

We don't really do anything to encourage global usage. Well, that is not quite true. We do things that encourage global usage but we don't do them thinking, "Well, *this* should increase the amount of users we have in <insert place here>."

We have a community manager that is just naturally engaging and I've always gotten the feeling that she really doesn't want to leave anyone out of the community. She is quite literally pulling people to our game from all over the world by charisma alone. <grins> She's going to think I'm looking for an early promotion after she reads this.

ZDNet: Given the many languages spoken online, have the developers thought about incorporating some kind of built-in translator into the game?

Sl0th: I don't really know if the developers have given any thought to an in game translator. I think it'd be an awesome idea but, given the amount of stuff that has their attention at the moment, I don't really see them putting time aside to make that happen. We all have a lot on our plates right now.

ZDNet: What kinds of problems do you run into with cheating and scamming, and what do you do to address them?

Sl0th: We really do try to discourage players from lending items or as we often see, letting other players "Try On" clothing sets. This goes back to the whole escapism thing. People can be as mean spirited and selfish as they want to be and if they want something they will try anything to get it. It is a sad but a very apparent part of all MMORPGs.

The biggest problem we encounter with these people is the effect they have on our younger players. I can't even tell you how many emails I've gotten from players that are just kids, upset that someone they thought was a friend made off with all of their stuff. It is really quite horrible but I guess that is just a part of the game world. That is... until we implement changes to make it impossible to scam people like that.


ZDNet: So there a lot of kids playing the game?

Sl0th: Sure, I see younger players in game all the time. I also see many families playing together (which is very cool).

We really try to make this a game that even young people can play without being over-exposed to the uglier sides of peoples’ personalities (e.g., swearing, racism, sexual content). We keep a lid on most things of that nature, although stuff does get through the cracks. We try to keep gameplay at a level where say, a 12 year old playing their first MMORPG, could manage. I think that that was a part of the problems with the initial version of V9. It just became so darn hard, hence, all the changes that took place.

ZDNet: To wrap things up, do you have any tips or secrets for players? How can they make it more fun than just slowly grinding out the experience points?

Sl0th: I've noticed that the most fun a high level player can have is putting together the largest party possible, going out, and just train and hang out with their friends. It makes the time go by faster and makes getting that next .05% feel like less of a grind. The more powerful you become...the harder it becomes to gain *more* power.

Secrets, secrets, secrets... Hmmmm... at this point we're pretty much playing with all our cards showing so no. We're working hard to get the changes that so many people asked for implemented but everyone knows that already. Ha! No, I don't have any secrets for you. Sorry.

ZDNet: Thanks for your time.

Sl0th: Thanks for the interview Ed. I appreciate your interest in our game and in our company. I hope I see you in game again sometime.

[ See also: Part 1 of the interview ]

For more information on Fly For Fun, see their website at http://flyff.gpotato.com.

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