Interview with Travis McGeathy

Sony Online Entertainment: Lead Designer of EverQuest

Upon hearing of the new EverQuest expansion, Depths of Darkhollow, the staff here at RPG Land became excited at the opportunity to talk to Travis McGeathy, lead designer of Sony Online Entertainment’s still-popular MMORPG. Without further ado, we present you with our short Q&A sesssion:

RPG LandThanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about the EverQuest: Depths of Darkhollow expansion. Would you like to introduce yourself to our audience?
Travis McGeathyI’m Travis McGeathy, the lead designer for EverQuest. Players know me as “Rashere” on the EQLive boards.

RPG LandWe see from your website that the new feature is the ability to turn into monsters for special quests. What in the world sparked such an interesting idea?
Travis McGeathyPlayers have always loved illusions, which allow them to temporarily look like a creature from the game so you could really say it started there. A few years back, EverQuest went a step further and briefly implemented the ability to play as a monster in newbie yards, but it was removed shortly thereafter. While the original implementation had some problems, the core idea of being able to play as a monster has been around for a while.

With Dragons of Norrath, we introduced the concept of missions which are essentially quests built for a full group that take players into an instanced version of a zone. We’ve always found that players connect more to the lore of the game when they are playing through it than when they are reading about it in dialogues or a book, so we used these missions to engage players in the lore behind the area.

The ability to play as a monster in the mission is an extension of our desire for players to be able to play through the lore of the game. By letting players experience the world as one of EverQuest‘s monsters, they can live through Norrath’s history through the eyes of the participants at the time and get a better understand of the events that shape the world they play in.

RPG LandWith the ability to play as the monsters, is there any possiblity of PvP combat with them? If not combat, will there be any sort of competitive features that go with being a monster?
Travis McGeathyBeing able to play as monsters in a PvP setting is something we’ve been thinking about, but don’t plan to implement with this expansion. Players will still be able to duel each other and, on PvP servers, engage in all out war, but we aren’t building any new competitive features at the moment.

RPG LandTo better illustrate what one of these Monster Missions will be like, can you describe the step by step process of taking one on?
Travis McGeathyStarting a monster mission will be very similar to how you would begin a normal mission. Players will need to find the NPC that gives the mission, talk to them, and they will be offered one or more missions. Once they accept one, they will be able to choose from a selection of monsters that are available to be played in that mission. Then, when the player enters the mission zone, they will appear as the monster they have chosen.

RPG LandThe game looks more visually pleasing than ever with this expansion. Will the minimum system requirements needed to play EverQuest change with Depths of Darkhollow?
Travis McGeathyAlthough the graphics are greatly improved, we aren’t raising the minimum requirements to play Depths of Darkhollow. If you have an older computer, you will be able to scale back the visual effects to ensure that you can maintain a good frame rate.

RPG LandThanks again for answering our questions. Any closing remarks?
Travis McGeathyDepths of Darkhollow launches this September, and we can’t wait to get it into the hands of the players. We’re extremely excited about the expansion and the new game play potential in the ability to play as a monster.

We at RPG Land send our thanks to Travis and the rest of the EverQuest team, as well as the good folks at Sony Online Entertainment. EverQuest: Depths of Darkhollow hits shelves in September, and will sell for $29.99. Feast your eyes on screens and movies at SOE’s website.