Developer Interview - Matt, Narrative Designer

I like this interview. It isn't super overly polished like most developers are when they address things, it's just candid and interesting (would have preferred video next time though!) regarding the insight into the internal process of someone working on the game.

I also appreciate the notion of GGG looking for ways to thrill the customers/gamers as an exciting part of their job. Far too often developers are not making this the top priority and forget about the "game part of the game" and instead focus on anti consumer practices to net a few extra dollars.

Not to kiss GGG's butt too much, but the game is solid and I've been enjoying it since I came back after 5 years this league (betrayal). It's a bit of a breath of fresh air in an otherwise polluted and toxic industry.

I've had a few minor hickups (inifinite hang time, unexpected DC's that are def not on my end, etc.) but I figure this is par for the course for ftp.

My only major criticism is the microtransactions are so damned expensive. I'm not a stranger to dropping a huge chunk of change on a game accumulatively, but the value doesn't feel right at those prices to feel ok purchasing.

I get why, GGG is a business and they've determined their price point, but I would like to offer a thought here:

Pump out more cosmetics and make them much cheaper and people will end up spending a lot more on them in total, at least I would and I'm sure a bunch of other people would too.

As the client base grows over time (and lets be honest PoE is a well established franchise at this point and has outlived AAA published D3 and is a far better [regarding depth and enjoyment] game), and the trove of cosmetics piles up, I think it makes more sense to reconsider price points because you'll end up making more overall. It's much easier for me to spend $5 on a cosmetic 5 times than it is to spend $25 on a cosmetic once, i just won't do it.

I know that makes little sense because the dollars are the same, but as a consumer, I feel more value that way and I think a lot of people would feel the same.

Plus this doesn't stop you from selling those massively overpriced whale cosmetics, it just makes the general customization more accessible to a general audience.

If you guys listen at all, I know I can't be the first to say this, but please do consider what I'm saying here :) I am specifically the guy who drops 1k on a game over a year if I really love it, but I can't really be asked to spend $25 on a single cosmetic, it just hurts my inner being from a value standpoint.

This would also open up the doors for people that can't afford to spend a thousand dollars on a game in a year to maybe drop five bucks here and there from players that are otherwise ftp, and that can add up because while I don't have the exact statistics from your servers, if it's like literally every other ftp game, a large chunk of folks are ftp only and opening the market to them for $5 can add up fast.

While this would require more manpower (probably another someone with their full time job just doing cosmetics), they can probably get a design in, render it and get it approved and rigged with a new one every week for whatever the going rate is for a designer (maybe 80k first year for some quality?) and that will pay for itself in no time if the purchases are affordable for a general audience, not to mention in time they will start to innovate new prospects. Sure, that's an extra promo each week from marketing, but that's also MORE MARKETING and MORE PRODUCT.

Even if it's only half that for the sake of quality, once every 2 weeks (plus also accounting for financial fatigue of customers), that's 25 more cosmetics a year, $125 of casual spending at 5 bucks a pop over the course of a year from a player base that might otherwise spend $0.

To cover cost they would need to sell 16k copies of 25 different cosmetics, which at five dollars is going to move a lot faster than at 25 or even 42 dollars for a set. Lets just round up to 25k copies to say they get a killer benefits package too. That's 1000 of each cosmetic. That's nothing at 5 bucks each and everything past that is pure profit with added value to the customer. I'm sure they'd be worth at least 3x that.

Additionally, more customization at a more accessible price point is likely to increase concurrent players over time.

Just my two cents.
Last edited by klokwerkaos on Feb 1, 2019, 12:32:42 AM
Awesome interview, Matt is undoubtedly passionate about his gift!
Good stuff, lots of lore left to explore as well (still wondering about the harbingers and the strange paterns that are in a lot of areas ever since). I know this game is focussed more on maxing out builds and trading but more lore would make for a more immersive experience (compared to the ''just grind zones till you hit something good'').

Would like to see some lore being added to several unique maps (acton's, death and taxes, hallowed grounds, pillars of arun, poorjoy's, putrid cloister, vinktar square and whakawairua). Could make them feel more unique and less of a ''clear once for atlas completion''. The other unique maps are pretty self-explanatory imo.

Would also like that the decisions you make during the acts and quests have some sort of impact on the story rather than just grant skill point (or memory fragments in maps). You chose to help person x instead of person y? That's fine and you get reward x but area y is now in ruins or inaccessible. The bandit choice in A2 could be an example, but as you enter A6 and A7 you find that whatever you picked was irrelevant and Ralakesh just assumed command. You could have resistance pockets of bandits still fighting that you could chose to help for additional boons for instance.

People would still pick just what is best for their build but you would see impact and different perspectives throughout your plays (as with syndicate somewhat). Would also add to player retention perhaps since you'd need more characters to access all the content.

Some ideas. Point being lore is good for a game and thanks for adding to that man, keep it coming.
Iak, Iak Matt :)
HP is the way to go, your work is superb in the game, all the best.
Cris give this man a bonus! :)
Is there a chance to get a list of the Voice actors of the game?
Processing tuned down tempest shield MTX [pending...]
Well, judging by his selection of favorite plot-fragments, the mas has a very solid taste ;d. Very curious to see his work in the future.
Betrayal is pretty solid lore-wise, i also genuinely enjoyed Lifegiver's Manifesto sections, here's hoping they'll get expanded upon someday in the future :D Because the potential for something more is there IMO.
Nice interview! Would it be possible to create and purchase voice acting MTX for the game? To be honest, it is quite boring to here every time from Zana: 'Still sane, Exile?' Varietas delectat. ;)
nskLantash wrote:
...Betrayal is pretty solid lore-wise...

I feel a bit opposite. Lore is everywhere, you are pushed into caring for characters that you have no prior experience with (except for old masters and Hillock).

Of course its nice that they used previous leagues as references, but it just alienates me somehow.

Game tries to make me feel like an alien, where you are from the outside and should feel like an outsider. But the result is opposite - you don't care, there is no deep lore and simple surface scratches are not enough.
Warframe "story" has the same issue.

I've found only one comic that was able to pull that of successfully.
Prophet (new series)

You truly felt like and alien to that system and an observer of events that are unfolding.

Betrayal on the other hand - makes me feel indifferent, just give me those useless unveiled items so I could have a chance for +1 totem recipe.

Also most of those carvings, e. g. "Lifegivers manifesto" and poems from Lab, feel like some disappointed millennial didn't get enough likes on his FB post and Starbucks didn't make a proper 1/3 cow milk, 2/3 Jacobs coffee.

P.S. I also liked Crossroads carvings.
Last edited by WiseGuard on Feb 1, 2019, 6:08:47 AM
Great interview! I also appreciate the lore and feel it enhances the game immensely - the notebook in the Marketplace (Act 3) is fantastic and the voice acting throughout the game is as good as it gets.

I would like to see the Syndicate developed further for expanded play in both Standard and league. Standard could use a little excitement and an open-ended plot like The Syndicate would be perfect.
Last edited by Ruenzi on Nov 5, 2020, 5:10:31 AM

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