The Half-Wit Phoenix
- Feb 3, 2005
- Swedish Woods
- Avatar Name
- Silicon Skam Chip
The Drama-loving CEO wants to bring the people together –and split them up.
German-born Marco Behrmann started out as a Copywriter in 2002 for MindArk, only 27 years old. He’s always had a knack for writing. Before taking on the virtual worlds he wrapped his head around pen and paper role-playing games, and he’s been one of the major contributors to published roleplaying-series such as Eon, Viking, NeoTech and the latest one; Noir, in which he was the main writer and publisher. The Art Director of FPC, Alf Svensson, also contributed to Noir as one of the artists.
Since the beginning Marco has moved up in the Entropia hierarchy via titles such as Community Manager, Chief Information Officer of MindArk and then finally taking on the task as CEO of First Planet Company a year ago.
The Colonist Experience
Starting a new company is a challenge in itself, and Marco & co. have had quite a hectic first year.
- It's a lot of organizing, it’s a big change of course and we’re working very hard on making FPC its own culture and identity. We’re not MindArk.
First Planet Company has yet to move out of the offices that they now share with MindArk, but Marco assures that it’s going to happen as soon as they have the possibility. It's just not a good time right now.
They want to be known as the online game, not the virtual universe that MindArk is building. The game-play and storyline is in focus.
- We're not making a virtual world. We don’t have the same outlook. We're making a game, and we want to give the user the colonist MMO experience. Colonist being the key.
Calypso won’t be alone in the universe much longer. The planet partners are readying their launch, but that isn’t a concern.
- I don’t see it as a competition. I know what MindArk is planning. They want diversity, differences.
Ahh… The Conversion.
While the community first got to really see the CryEngine2 in late summer this year, it’s been in the works for a length of time.
- How has the conversion been for you?
Marco sighs and smiles - the feedback during this progress hasn't been all good.
- We’re well aware that there are issues, and understand that people get frustrated. We’re working on reducing the system requirements, which creates a threshold. One really big challenge is to transform the old Entropia experience into the new Planet Calypso experience – The Colonist Experience. To create an online game while not destroying the good evolution, the culture, of the Entropia era.
- We made a game out of an engine that wasn’t made for our needs. We were one of CryTek’s first clients, and the CE2 was not made for MMOs. Things always take time, especially when it comes to real cash economy environments with the demands for stability integrity and security. But at least everything is going according to plan now. Old content is coming out at a steady rate, and new content is in the works.
Marco also reveals that the voting booths will be reintroduced. The loot system will also get a little, but maybe very welcomed, change.
- The number of No Loot situations will be reduced drastically and maybe get removed completely. It is on the to-do plan, and it will be realized quite soon. With it comes a whole new concept, a new layer to the economy.
The conversion has been pretty unfriendly to newcomers. Finally, sweating is back in game, but a lot remains to be done. For one thing, the mentor system still isn’t in place. Recently, Marco asked the EntropiaForum community to give ideas on how to improve the mentor system.
[wrap=right]https://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/gallery/files/5/8/marcoside.jpg[/wrap]Making people bond…
- There were very good suggestions in there. When the mentor system is reintroduced, it will be the new one. We want to revamp the newcomer situation drastically. Right now, you're just dumped on a planet without any hints on where to go or what to do. The upcoming mission-system will be of great help to newcomers. There will be tasks and jobs that players of all levels can take on.
- Several years ago you mentioned factories…
- Yes, that is one example of a job. Factories are still being considered. It would leave room for jobs, and at the same time it would be another big business possibility. Right now land-areas are pretty much the highest you can get in the terms of in-game business. A factory would be great, because it would combine the layers of players. Newcomers should need veterans and veterans should need newcomers, he explains enthusiastically.
- One idea for the factories is machines that allocate resources and workers that allocate time. Workers get skill-points for working there without using their own money on resources, while the factory owner gets the items and perhaps a skill-percentage. It's a win-win situation for both groups.
Bringing people together and creating a closer knit community is close to heart for Marco and the FPC group.
- The internet platform brings all kind of people together, with different play-styles and interests. We wish to make activities that create synergies between the different groups. The mid-level players seem to always be forgotten, I know, but we want to make sure that does not happen.
It’s not just the community itself that will undergo changes in terms of needing each other. First Planet Company will be working together with the community to create some of the new content.
- Of course, some things need to stay secret –largely because of the real cash economy. But we do want to build Calypso together with the community, just like new colonists located in a new world.
After the destruction of Hadesheim, and the removing of the Minopolis buildings, there is no large metropolis on Calypso anymore.
- That’s one of the things we want to create together with the community. We want to make people feel like they were there, they were a part of it, and they helped build it. To create a dynamic interactive storyline around it, like episodes during a season seen on TV series. An episode can be called “The creation of the Genesis Corporate City” and it involves events, quests, missions, jobs, and business opportunities in order to get the city in order and the outcome will be determined by how the player community acts and interacts. If the events and missions and investments aren't done, maybe the Genesis City will be smaller or less developed, while if the tasks are carried out successfully the City will be grand and offer special services to the players. Things like that.
… And then breaking them up
Marco has a tendency of leaving breadcrumbs, little tidbits of information here and there that make the community ponder, and that fire up the neurons and causes discussions. He admits, with a huge grin on his face, that he loves a good conspiracy.
- The politics system is one thing I’d like to implement one day. Just think, it’s a beautiful thing. The schemes! The Conspiracies! The backroom shady deals!
He virtually squeals of joy talking about it. No doubt about it, the CEO loves drama, something that also comes forward when we talk about the water plant.
- What’s the use?
- Maybe there isn't any, maybe it'll be used later on. I like to see people speculating over such, I think its great when people use their personal knowledge to figure things out. It adds fuel to conspiracy theories. And it is important as a player to know that conspiracy theories are an important part of the theme in The Colonist Experience.
This summer we were told about the Corporations. Genesis made a new headquarter building in Twin and launched the first Mining Armor. We were told to find out what corporation we'd sympathize with. It sounded like we'd get some real drama storyline in Calypso, but alas nothing has happened in that area since then.
- The storyline was launched a bit too early, but it will pick up again in a few months. It got distracted by the lack of content and the release of VU 10.0 in August which basically allocated all available FPC resources up to launch.
But there won't be any lack of events in the near future. Merry Mayhem is on for this Christmas, as usual.
Big thanks to the translators!