TGN Stratics was fortunate enough to interview Frogster CEO Lars Koschin to discuss Runes of Magic at E3! He talks about the Free to Play business model, and new features coming to ROM with the release of their new Chapter: The Elder Kingdoms. You may find the Video here. and the transcript below. Nadine: What up, gamers. Nadine here with TGN-Stratics. I'm standing here with Lars, the CEO of Frogster America. How are you? Lars: I'm good. Nadine: Fantastic. Will you tell us a little bit about Runes of Magic, it launched about a year ago, and a little bit about the history, perhaps? Lars: Yes. So, Runes of Magic was basically the first real triple-A free-to-play title on the market. So, when we launched that in the US in December, the main target was to create a new user experience, so people can really play triple-A, high quality titles without spending monthly subscriptions. So you have a very, very intensive and dense play experience playing Runes of Magic without having monthly subscriptions like World of Warcraft. So World of Warcraft players always like to peek into the game, and then say “Wow, that look really great, and I don't have to pay for it”. So, the main problem that you have when you're playing World of Warcraft, in comparison to Runes of Magic, is World of Warcraft takes a lot of time, but the money that you spend is always the same. So, it's always the $15 per month. So you have college kids, or high school kids that can easily spend 8 hours a day playing World of Warcraft, and as a person that has a job and maybe a family, you're falling behind. That means you cannot compare, cannot compete against someone who invests like 8 hours a day. That is my personal experience when I've played World of Warcraft, I got kicked out of my guild because when they said like “Do you want to do the 6-hour raid Saturday morning?” I would say “No, I have a family, I can't do it”. So, you do that three times and you get kicked out. Nadine: That's a huge investment. Lars: Yes, absolutely. So for me, it was a problem. So, I didn't really enjoy it them, so I was more like the lonely player after it, and have to play alone. So I never had this really good group experience. In Runes of Magic it's different, when you play, you can go to the shop and you can upgrade your weapons, and you can spend real money for it. So you can compete with people that play the game, and don't spend any money, but spend a lot of time. So, basically what we do it, we level this imbalance between the players. We level that out, so that means that, well if you don't have the time you still can make it up with spending money. But also, you can reach everything in the game for free, you don't have to pay. There's no... We don't force you, you can spend a lot of time in it and then reach the same as someone that spends money. Nadine: I see. So besides free-to-play, which is a great option for the players, is there other features or reasons why WoW players would move to RoM? Lars: We have the duel-class system, so you can choose two classes. I think that's really appealing, because in most games when you start with one class, you have to play this class. So we have that you can choose a second class in our game, so you can switch between those classes, so that makes it very flexible. So that means when there's a healer missing in the group, and your class normally is a warrior but the second class is a healer, you can just switch, and the you're a full healer. You have to have the double equipment, but it make it more flexible for the players. Nadine: I see, and what about crafting options? I know some gamers are always curious about their options for crafting. Lars: We actually encourage people to use crafting, while there's always some kind of problem, because for some people it's always too boring, for some people there's too much to do and they want to have it easier. So, I think I haven't seen the perfect crafting system. But for us, the community effect in crafting was also a big thing, so what we did was we introduced crafting stations that give you a bonus in crafting. So, people have their own apartments, and they purcahse crafting stations in there, and invite people to do crafting sessions there. Nadine: It's like a little house party. Lars: It is, absolutely. So we have people that are really famous on servers, because they have really, really nic apartments. Nadine: With good crafting stations. Lars: Yes, and they just sit there and enjoy when people like it, and being there,. They talk in their apartment, and it's very famous. Nadine: It's like really inviting people to your home, and getting along with people from across the globe. Lars: Absolutely. If you buy better furniture you get bonuses, which means that everyone who's in this apartment gets a bonus. So, you can get experience bonuses, and you just sit there and do crafting, and you level when you're crafting, and that's really new. Also, what you can do is you can buy special books that you just read, and during that time you learn a skill and you get more experience, and you level up. I think it's very unique, it's kind of like a mix of all the games, we try to put this all together and make a fun experience playing it, without spending a lot of money. Or, if you want, don't spend a lot of time. Nadine: Yeah, well that's convenient, gamers, and it's still important to read books to learn things. So, user generated content; how does RoM support that? Lars: There's no direct system to implement it with user-generated content, so what we do is we encourage players to attend events, and follow this, we generate special events with special content. The main problem that most other games have is players level very fast through everything to the top content, to the and-game content, and then they're just stuck there and say “So, where's the rest of the content?”, and they never see all the rest of the content that you created around the game. They just go the perfect levelling way and they don't see all this other stuff. So we use events to drag them away from this levelling system, and not let them just advance too fast, and distract them from levelling just through the content, through the events. And that's a content we put into the game, and I think people enjoy that, really. It's always something different, it's always in regions that people have mostly never seen, so we take them away from the normal levelling path, and I think that's really successful so far. Nadine: Wonderful, and so what are some new features that the gamers might be excited about in the next few months, that you have coming out? Lars: We just launched the expansion, the next chapter, and I think my personal favourite thing that was implemented was the mount where you can ride with two persons. Like you can take your buddy with you, or you can take someone else, riding on the mount. I think that's fabulous, and then also we focused more on PvP, so I think the guild fights where the guild castles get teleported to a battleground, and then fight against each other. Like having their actual guild castles in the battleground is, I think, a fabulous system; it's a lot of fun. Nadine: Wonderful, thank you, I appreciate the information. There you have it, runesofmagic.com, check it out. Thank you so much Lars. I'm Nadine with TGN-Stratics, we'll check you next time.