I’ve played one MMO in my entire lifetime – Final Fantasy XI since 2004. In that time, I’ve seen the game develop, age, mature, the players demature/become more immature, etc. I am still contemplating a post about it for this month’s theme.
Back in 07/08, a friend of mine from FFXI told me about a game she was working on. It was set in Medieval Rome. Okay, that’s all she really needed to say, because being the history nut I am, I wanted to join.
Fast forward a bit, and the project goes away. My friend is out of a job. 😦 Which sucks. Sucks more for her, and I can’t lie that I was a bit disappointed that the game wasn’t coming out. I promptly just chalked it up to crappy circumstances.
Then in late fall last year, I got an email about this game that sounded REALLY REALLY FAMILIAR. Holy crap, it’s the same game. Well.. different company, but same game, within reason. And I joined immediately as a Closed Beta tester.
I wasn’t able to play a lot, but whenever I was, I really enjoyed it. Sure, there were bugs, but that’s what I expect in a beta. It was a lot of fun to be able to just run around, pet cats, and stare at the beautiful graphics within the game. (seriously, I kept forgetting to level because the game was just so PRETTY.)
They changed the way Beta went down, and I was able to enter a haiku contest on Facebook and get an unlimited CB key to play all the time. Which was nice, since my playtime was pretty erratic.
Towards the end of February, they were offering up a chance to go down, visit the new Game Developer, and cover the game for a magazine. Well.. Hi. I like to write. I like video games. So I entered the contest and promptly forgot about it (see a trend?). I didn’t expect to win – no one expects to win, really – and I continued playing the game.
Time passed, and in the middle of April, I got an email saying “Congrats! You won. No. Really. You won. We’ll set up the trip.” I shot out of my chair like a rocket and went screaming through the house.
In May, I went down to Austin for the first time in years (last time I was back was for SXSW, which is a whole other entity). And, quite literally, I met some of the coolest people out there currently that are making video games if not some of the coolest people -ever-. I felt like I was really shown everything about the game – they let me sit in on meetings, I got to ask questions about EVERYTHING I wanted to (from the inane – cats – to certain statistics that will be coming out in my piece forthcoming), I got to go to team Happy Hour(s), eat a ton of good food (more sweet potato fries please), and just really, seriously, had a great experience, which wouldn’t have happened if they weren’t such awesome people.
I wrote up my story (which should come out soon, and of course I will have a link when it finally comes out) about my experiences, about meeting the amazing staff of Heatwave Interactive, and, quite honestly, how excited I was to play this game when it finally released. I haven’t been -this excited- for a video game in years. (Despite loving video games, I don’t really play a lot of them and I don’t own a lot of them. Owning a lot of games = quite a bit of money that I don’t have.)
I pre-ordered it, have played open beta, headstart and..
Today the game comes out.
So if you’re at all interested in playing a game where the staff cares enough to treat you like a human being, take your suggestions into account, and hey – the CEO himself apologizes when the servers are down – come on, when’s the last time you saw a game company (or hell, most companies) give this kind of service?
I guess you could call me a fangirl at this point of this game, but having met a lot of the staff, I really believe in these guys. They have the capability to do amazing things, and this is just the first of many projects for this amazing team, I’m sure of it. As much as I love this game, I have fun playing it, and it is a blast, I love knowing that if something messes up that it will be fixed. I’m willing to do whatever it takes for them to help them succeed. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way about a company. It’s something that I’ll never forget – their kindness, generosity, and open door policy has been something that I feel sets them apart from the rest. It’s well worth the $50 + whatever kind of subscription fee plan you choose to support a company like this so they can continue to knock it out of the park.
I hope to see you all in game! I’m on the Bacchus server currently. Let me know if you sign up! You can buy it from Amazon, Gamestop, Steam, D2D, and many other retailers.