What follows is an exclusive interview conducted by myself, Insomniac1, featuring PoxNora’s new Lead Design, Derek Chin also known as Sokolov. The interview was conducted by email and has been officially approved.
PoxPulse: As many may know, you were a part of the PoxNora design team in the past. How does it feel to be back, Sokolov?
Sokolov: It’s amazing! The way I play games, I am constantly thinking about them from a design perspective anyway, so being paid to do that while having the power to actually execute on my idea is a dream. When Hawkfain mentioned the possibility for me to take over for CorpsE and work on PoxNora again, I jumped at the chance to do so!
PoxPulse: Now that you are the lead designer, what sort of changes should the PoxNora community expect to see in the near future and beyond?
Sokolov: Initially, the status quo will be maintained as I get up to speed on what has changed since I’ve been gone. My role has changed a lot since I am taking over as opposed to working under CorpsE, so this will give me a chance to get acclimated to my new responsibilities are while I assess the amount of resources available for future goals. I will, of course, be continuing to make balance adjustments as players have expected in the past while I ramp up.
One of my first tasks, however, will be to address the current perception of powercreep. To that end, I plan to establish stricter policies surrounding cost and design of runes to guide balance of existing runes as well as the design of new runes. I will be introducing more of my trademark innovative runes that focus more on lateral increases in power and build off existing runes rather than being auto-include in and of themselves.
In terms of the way expansions are done, that will likely remain the same in the foreseeable future. I believe the structure CorpsE put into place is fundamentally sound and provides exciting new content for players to explore with each expansion. Veteran Poxers also know that, thematically, expansions have their art and theme done pretty early. That said, nothing is coded or set in stone in terms of the implementation of individual runes, so there’s plenty of room for me to infuse my own vision and flavor in the upcoming expansion – even if I can’t change the fact that KF will be getting a really cool looking [classified information].
PoxPulse: What are your long term goals for PoxNora?
Sokolov: I want to see PoxNora continue to succeed and grow. Okay, that’s a bit of a cop-out answer, but I believe that PoxNora is a great game and has potential to grow. Unfortunately, it has always been hindered by accessibility issues – it’s a fairly niche type of game, and its complexity and graphical style, what veteran players love, can sometimes drive new players away. For example, imagine you are a new player. If there is a rune that you played against you really want – how do you obtain it? It’s not an easy question to answer. So these kinds of issues, issues such as the ever-increasing number of abilities on champions, UI/website usability problems, and related concerns are things I will be focusing on.
Additionally, I believe in community involvement and communication and have some ideas on how we can improve the game in these areas. Primarily, I want to encourage and reward players to play a more active in the design process, as well as better communicate what I am looking into and focusing on.
PoxPulse: To many it seems as if the PoxNora team places very little emphasis on bringing new players into the game. What should we expect to see in the future in regards to the new player experience?
Sokolov: I believe this is a fundamental area what needs to be improved if PoxNora is to succeed on a greater scale. I don’t have any specifics I can share right now beyond what I have mentioned above, but rest assured this is on my list.
PoxPulse: Some players have expressed concern that you are against free to play PoxNora. What is your position on free to play PoxNora and should we expect changes to the player rewards system?
Sokolov: Technically, PoxNora is already free-to-play. However, Poxers understand that to play at a competitive level, you need to spend money; it is more like a CCG than a F2P game.
My position is that as it stands, PoxNora does not have the mass market appeal required to make a fully F2P system work financially in SoE’s favor. That doesn’t mean that fully F2P models are bad, or that it will never work for PoxNora, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done before that can occur. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that the gold store isn’t being expanded or will be discontinued; just don’t expect everything to be available on there the way some other F2P games have their setup.
PoxPulse: When designing runes, what is the general process you follow from concept to completion?
Sokolov: Great question! I would actually like to produce a series on the process at some point, so I will reserve this topic for that.
PoxPulse: Will you be continuing the design and development of the new themes introduced with Wild Alliance?
Sokolov: As mentioned before, expansion design will remain largely the same in terms of format. So that means each faction can expect their new set of runes to be designed mostly to work with one another. In the past, this has meant either a brand new theme (Myx), one that builds on an existing race (Imps), or one that builds on existing abilities (Strig with Flight). So in the future, there is definitely room to expand on runes introduced with Wild Alliance, especially if particular themes seem to be popular amongst players.
PoxPulse: Blaine Smith, aka CorpsE, the previous Lead Designer, started a tradition of periodically buffing shoebox runes. Should we expect this tradition to continue?
Sokolov: Definitely. I have some great ideas on how to make the process more exciting and fruitful. Please look forward to it!
PoxPulse: What inside information can you share regarding the upcoming midterm release, Wild Alliance Legends?
Sokolov: This is the first release that will come under my “reign.” Keep in mind these runes will be on par with existing runes in terms of power level and I didn’t have full control over all aspects of these runes. Hopefully you can get a taste of the type of design I will be attempting to guide PoxNora towards going forward.
PoxPulse: What inside information can you share regarding the next full expansion, which has yet to be officially announced?
Sokolov: Image Link
PoxPulse: Do you have a favorite faction? If so, which one and why? If not, please explain!
Sokolov: My favorite faction is Savage Tundra. It’s what I played the most during my days as a player. I branched out more as a Green, since I had access to many more runes. My current favorite
deck is an FS/FW AP denial build.
PoxPulse: What are some of the runes you have designed in the past? If you had to pick one, which would be your favorite and why?
Sokolov: I had a hand in a lot of runes, but some of my favorites are Escape Magic, Azaren, and Waylay. If I was forced to pick one… I’d have to go with Northern Cross Templar. He became a bit more powerful than I originally intended but I think he is thematically interesting and came with the Inquisition ability which is fairly unique in PoxNora. He is a tank with disruption abilities which forces the opposing player to deal with him – which actually makes him able to fulfill his role, unlike older tank runes such as Arctic Turtle which players can just walk around and ignore.
PoxPulse: Should we expect to hear from you often on the PoxNora Forums and in game?
Sokolov: As I said before, I believe in community involvement and one of my goals for PoxNora is to improve communication with the playerbase and get them more involved in various aspects of the game!
PoxPulse: Is there anything else you would like to share with the PoxNora community?
Sokolov: Look forward to exciting new things. I have so much I want to do and I am very excited about the future of PoxNora!