I am as curious as anyone when a new face becomes visible behind Mind Ark and their Planet Partners veil of secrecy. So when Joakim started posting on the Calypso forums last month I sent him a message asking if he would be willing to answer some questions for our readers here at EntropiaPlanets. He willingly obliged, and took time out of his hectic schedule for us. < < < J O A K I M Q. You have been registered on the Calypso forums for most of this year, but just started making your presence known this week. Who are you, what do you do for MindArk or Planet Calypso? (some people would like to know if you are a MA employee or a Calypso employee) A. I work for Planet Calypso, but before that I was employed as a software tester at Mindark. Q. Are you working out of Sweden or Mexico? A. I am working in Sweden Q. Do you have any family? A. Yes. Q. Dog or Cat person? A. None, I had both dog and a cat when I was younger Q. iPhone or Android? A. iPhone. < < < G A M E S Q. Favorite game from the 90s? Why? A. This is a very hard question since I have a lot of great childhood memories of games. I will just go with the first things which comes up in my mind: Super Metroid Megaman X Secret of Mana Seiken Densetsu 3 (Secret of Mana 2) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the past Quake Diablo etc... Zelda - A Link to the Past Map. (Source: http://zelda.wikia.com/wiki/File:A_Link_to_the_Past_Overworld_Map_(Light_World).png) Q. Favorite single player game? why? A. Same as above and there is a lot more, well back in the days my family and friends had a lot of single player games but we played them together. I remember when playing the first Metroid (NES) I was painting and memorizing the map while my older brother were progressing through the game. Q. Favorite multiplayer game? Why? A. Golden Eye 007 Time Splitters Super Smash Bros Diablo 2 Unreal Tournament Super Mario Kart Q. Favorite MMO (not counting Entropia Universe)? Why? A. World Of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic World Of Warcraft provided me with endgame challenges, and to overcome these challenges with a team of great players and personalities has been one of the greatest experience I had in gaming. I really enjoyed Star Wars: The Old Republic, I love the star wars universe and everything related to that but when hit the max level there were not much fun to do, and the things that was fun were very buggy which made me lose interest. I thought that they would fix these issues rather quickly however that was not the case, in the end I was bored. Star Wars: The Old Republic - A group of elite Imperials ready to storm across a light bridge. (Source: http://www.swtor.com/info/media/) Q. How often do you go 'undercover' and play in Entropia? A. As often as I can :) Q. Have you ever flown on one of my ships (EntropiaTransport.com)? And if so how was your experience with the crew? A. Nope < < < M I N D A R K Q. A little research shows that you have worked as a tester for MindArk in the past. What is that like, and how does the testing process work? A. It’s a challenge but a fun one as well. The testing method we are using are Agile Testing with daily scrum meetings. Q. What is the difference between working for MA and working for Calypso? Or is there really no difference at all? A. Of course it is very different, not only by having a new role from software tester to a game designer. I think this was the right step to take, all the experience from testing is making me a better game designer both in planning and execution. Q. Do MA guys get put on Calypso projects or Calypso guys on platform projects? How does that work? A. Yes, sometimes cooperation is needed. Q. Do you have any involvement with Space development or Monria? A. Space development, no. Monria, i did the initial quest progression implementation requested by Mindark, nothing more. Q. If so what can you share about the future they will have? A. No Q. What are your thoughts about the PR approach MA has had in the past and what their plans are for the future. A. I think the past was not so great, but we can see great improvements today. Q. A statistic that people like to throw around is that MA hasn't had a profit year since 2009. How much of that is creative book keeping, and how much of that is that they are really suffering bad losses through this growing stage? A. I can’t answer that since i’m not the financial guy, however I know that we do not suffer from bad losses in this growing stage. < < < C A L Y P S O Q. Calypso has already a long history with several dramatic changes of the environment and story-line branches that are perceived unfinished by many players. Are there plans to add more 'historic' landmarks to the current Calypso? Are there plans to continue those old storyline branches or are they considered being finished? A. We will add more historic landmarks and we will pick up and continue with old storyline branches. "Our team has great ideas and a lot of these ideas can never be implemented due to the RCE, there are so many factors which plays a role in this virtual world." Q. I am sure that you know the players are thirsty for any form of communication with the devs they can get. Your recent posts have promoted an impromptu Joakim for President campaign, what would your vote be? A. I vote blank :) Q. One of the big changes/issues with this recent VU was the new hitboxes on mobs. What will these be used for? A. Hit and collision detection. Q. For issues like there were with the VU last month, (constant crashes, people unable to log in, and those that could log in unable to hunt due to the buggy hit boxes) what percent of the staff comes in during the night or weekend to work on it? A. A designated team. < < < G A M E D E S I G N Q. From a game design perspective, is the RCE setting a blessing or a burden? why? A. Our team has great ideas and a lot of these ideas can never be implemented due to the RCE, there are so many factors which plays a role in this virtual world. If we want to implement something fun and different we will have to calculate everything we can in order to make some sort of balance, after all this is a RCE MMO. Q. What is the biggest challenge in designing EU? What is your personal favorite part of EU? A. The greatest challenge is to satisfy all the players inside Planet Calypso. My personal favorite is the great community this game have. Q. What do you personally think is the most worthwhile project to address in EU development in the near future? A. As for Calypso development we will continue to revamp servers on Eudoria, re-creating and improving the feel that we all know was lost many years ago. As for Mindark development it’s all about the players, I think that creating something around our amazing community should be highly prioritized. Fixing all the social tools and aspect of the game is crucial and should have been done several years ago in my opinion, BUT the most important thing right now is to fix the client stability for players. Q. In the end, is 'popular demand' from the current player base paramount over consistency of settings and a designers mindset? What decides when the demands of the current player base seem to conflict with features potentially attracting new players? A. There is always conflicts when designing content for current players and new players, but we do our best to make both sides happy. < < < F U T U R E Q. Is there any chance we will ever get a 'xxxx avatars currently online at Planet xxxx' at the login screen or website? A. Yes. Q. Any chance we can get some teasers or more firm timelines about taming? A. Nope. Q. Any hints or teasers on how the melee amps will work or when they will be released? A. I believe Kim wrote some information about this on the Planet Calypso forums. Q. Two of the new features this VU were the Progress Window and the 'random' skill gain timed bonus. Are they related in some way? How or when is the bonus triggered? A. No, they are not related. I don’t know how or when the bonus is triggered. Q. Are there any plans for features (or in depth instances) to indulge players competitive spirits that are not hunting/crafting/mining related? Mini games or puzzles, with daily/all time leader-boards, golfing(the old golf course from when VU10 first came out) billiards(on the Motherships), racing? boxing? Darts? chess/checkers/board/strategy games/etc....? There are a lot of possibilities for things like this to add a layer of 'reality' to our virtuality. A. I don’t know, features are on MindArk table, however I would love to see some of this features implemented :) Q. Anything you would like to add or comment on? A. People claiming Planet Calypso and Mindark is the same thing are wrong, we are very different teams with different incentives, people seems to forget that. Calypso is NOT MindArk.