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Free Realms Dragon*Con 2010 Panel Wrap-Up!

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Free Realms Dragon*Con 2010 Panel Wrap-Up!

Post  Destiny Moonshade on Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:42 am

The Free Realms panel at Dragon*Con, which we told you about earlier today, has finished! For those of you who missed out, here's a little wrap up of what was mentioned on the Ustream event, as well as the whole thing recorded!


Free Realms/Clone Wars Adventures Community Manager Jason "Pex" Ryan heading the panel

Highlights:

* Hosting this panel was Free Realms community manager Jason "Pex" Ryan as well as had Free Realms producer Nick Parkinson on Skype to answer questions
* Race Track Challenge: As mentioned, Roland Spore's race track was chosen as part of a challenge to appear in-game in Snowhill. Nick mentioned that it's coming in "the next couple of weeks. You'll be seeing it here real soon."
* New Areas: It's in development and it's early in the process, but there's nothing to announce for now.
* Royal vault: When asked about bringing back the vault, Nick replied "Not right now. We're always in discussion about bringing things back . . . In terms of like the next month or so, I wouldn't count on it." A reason why it was removed was a majority of players, who are the younger audience, never really used it. However, Nick mentions that "we still have the functionality behind all that stuff. So while you may not see the vault system come back as a vault system, we can take that functionality and maybe integrate it into a new feature in a slightly different way."
* Halloween: There will be new content, as Nick says. "I'm not going to be promising all new costumes, but there might be something even better" When asked for hints, Nick replied "You can probably look forward to some kind of new house. Not just a lot, but an actual house."
* Mac/PS3 Version: They're working on getting them to work on either system and it's coming in the "next couple of months." There's no firm release date, but Pex says "We're expecting everything this year as a sort of official statement on that."
* Housing: Housing Lots have proved to be extremely popular for SOE, and they're looking into making more of them. And not just lots themed to the different lands in Free Realms, but also have unique areas for lots. Pex gives an example of him wanting to see a lot based off the cloud world in Rio Cloudjumper's minigame. I myself (Nymo) suggested an underwater theme, which they liked. According to Nick, water in housing has been very popular and they're looking to adding more water to housing, and not just literally having it completely under water. Our own Free Realms Insider member Stephani Rabbitheart suggested having lots based on something like combat instances, and they said it's possible, and are even working on it.
* Character Customization: They said that Style Cards hasn't been widely used and were considered hard to use to the younger players. It's possible that they could instead have something like salons in-game to make character customization easier. That would mean they would have to revisit it and completely remove style cards (which of course would make many people angry), but replace it with a hopefully much better and easier system.
* Clothing: More clothes has also been a huge request from players, as much as requests for new lands or jobs. In reply to Steampunk-style clothing, which the staff at SOE are big fans of, Nick mentioned that there were some Steampunk concepts this week and that they're in the pipeline. On the topic of Elite Clothing, no new Elite (or level 20) clothing is planned.
* More Sports: Currently, there's no new sport games planned in the pipeline right now. However, Nick says that there are more minigames coming up.
* Apps: When asked about doing any iPhone games/apps, Pex mentions that, being a part of Sony, they would first want to do things with the PSP if they were to go down that route. Nick mentions that there's always been talks about it.
* Pet Clothing: Nick says "Yes and no." It would be just too much to do clothing for each and every species of pets, and if there was, it would likely just be for one kind of animal.
* New Jobs: From the sound of it, nothing so far.
* Sitting: This has kind of been talked about before, and again, it's possible. The problem is that there's a lot more work that's needed to get it to work, and they would rather use those resources to get newer content out.
* More Servers: When asked about new servers, Pex says there won't be any, unless the traffic FR gets now doubles, then they will consider.
* Emotes: Some emotes were removed simply because they were buggy and didn't work right. "They caused problems with character animations and interactions with the world and had to come out" says Nick. They would like to have them back in, and were even talking about it last week.
* Clone Wars Adventures: On a side topic, it sounds like a PS3 version of CWA is planned. According to Pex, the PC version would launch first, PS3 would be planned to go next, and possibly a Mac version after that.
* FR Across All Platforms: Unfortunately, you will not be able to use your existing character on the PS3 version of the game. Pex says it will be "it's own world" and will have it's own servers. As for the Mac version, there's nothing final on that yet. They say it's technically possible to allow cross-platform play between PC and PS3, but having the different control styles and having one group of players have a keyboard and the other set not necessarily having one can lead to a bit of an issue.
* Teleporting: When asked about using teleporters across the different houses you own and blocking people to teleport to you, Nick answered that it's possible for them to put those in the game, only as long as there's enough demand for it.
* Boothing/Kicking People From Housing: When asked about being able to kick annoying people from your house, Nick mentioend that they're more likely to let people block people from housing with a block list. He also mentions that they're working on a new system for housing that will let you have controls for things like that. Nothing can be said about that now, as it's still in the early stages, so "more on that later."


In the end, many of the reasons for changes and not seeing things in game all boils down to their resources and keeping the game accessible. There's many suggestions that SOE gets, many of which they would love to see in the game themselves, but it all comes down to how and where they spend their resources to make it possible. They could spend time on getting sitting animations right for the game, but they would rather use their staff to make new content like pets and rides. They also find themselves in a balancing act trying to give both the newer/younger demographic what they want and what the older players want. They try to balance content (like new games, activities, quests, holiday things, etc) for both of them, but keep in mind that the majority of the players you don't hear from still haven't reached level 20 in any job. So SOE has been trying to make the game easier for them to actually go in the game and play/explore, since what they found out is that most new players do the same activities over and over again in the place they start off. This is why they introduced things like the activity guide to help get the new younger players do other things.

But first some pictures of some of the fun Dragon*Con attendees were able to witness:

[center]
SOE Community Relations Team Member Aaron "Gnobrin" Brisnett in his Steampunk attire


"That's my boss" -Pex; Senior Community Manager at SOE Linda "Brasse" Carlson
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