GR: In what is probably a sacrilegious move in the eyes of the world's grinding fanatics, Mythos is designed for quick, non-commital, drop in, drop out gameplay. What's your opinion on grind-heavy MMOs? Does the mechanic still offer any real benefits, other than for the publisher's bank account?
MS: We hate grind-heavy experiences because of the sheer amount of time theysuck out of your life. The grind serves two business purposes – it monopolizes the player’s time, keeping them from checking out the competition, and it provides revenue for time card-based payment models. It is possible to grind in Mythos, too – we do it all the time. But we deliberately made it work in realistic, quick-session intervals. We think our business model requires that people really enjoy their gameplay sessions, and not think of it as a grind or a burden.
GR: How are you balancing a 'casual' approach to the MMO with hardcore players' seemingly inherent need to grind and show off their levels?
MS: First and foremost is our easy interface. Mythos is easy to play in the sense that you aren’t fighting with the controls, there isn’t any steep learning curve, and there is an open world you can simply explore and experience at your own pace. This makes it accessible to the casual user, but doesn’t preclude adding depth in the building of characters and collection of cool loot. We’d like casual gamers to start playing Mythos because it’s easy and fun, and then become hardcore gamers as they build their characters!
GR: You've said that Mythos' evolution has been a very organic one, coming from the close interaction between the development team and the beta community. How strong is the exchange of ideas
between those two groups? Have any major changes to the game come about as a result?
MS: We take community input very seriously. We think responsiveness to the user base has been sorely lacking in the industry, especially in the US/EU markets, and we’ve really tried to make our beta testers feel invested in the process of creating Mythos. We pore over forum posts, making lists and checking off myriad feature suggestions and balance advice. One huge example is the new “Overworld” contiguous outdoor zones – this was the direct product of input and suggestions from our testers.