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...But That's What It's All About
Feargus Urquhart and Chris Avellone offer some thoughts on what drives us.

Josh 'Moxie' Sprague, 2005-07-22

While new info on Neverwinter Nights 2 lurks in the shadows, I wanted to share a small gem with the RPGdot community. Feargus Urquhart and Chris Avellone met with me to talk about their new game, but the conversation also allowed for the discussion of RPG's and their players. If you consider that these guys worked on the Fallouts, the Baldur's Gates, Planescape, the Icewind Dales, Neverwinter Nights, and even back to The Bard's Tale Construction Set, you can easily appreciate what they have to say about the sub-culture that develops around RPG's. In the following the clip, I start a question which has The Simpson's Comic Book Store Guy at its origin. If you're familiar with the show, he's the fan that hassles creators with inanely specific questions and minutia about their work. Instead of being critical though, Feargus comes from a different direction and I think you'll enjoy what he has to say. Chris chimes in as well at points. (Side note: the funniest part is probably when we start referring to geeks as "they.") Listen here.

With the fact that a significant portion of our audience does not hold English as a first language, I'm providing a transcript below.  This should help with wading through our fast speech and occasional slang.

Josh: Do you get tired of questions like, to me this isn't bad, but the incredibly specific question which doesn't seem relevant to maybe like the whole? Will this specific class be able to use this specific thing?

Feargus: No, cause that's what it's all about. I guess we've been answering those kind of questions for so long and we know for our audience that's really important to them. I mean everyone has their kind of character class that they play. You know, I always play a dwarven fighter. I don't know why. I always play a dwarven...I have a
friend that always plays an elven ranger.

Chris: Well, that's what you guys are comfortable with.

Feargus: It's what we like.

Chris: Yeah, it's what you enjoy.

Feargus: Yeah it's what we enjoy. So, because that's I play, I want to know everything there is to know about that as a player. So I can understand perfectly well why, as a gamer on the other side, what they want to know.

Chris: What bonuses do I get? What advantages do I get? How can I be the best dwarven fighter there is?

Feargus: I think there's also a point at which it gets nutty. From the standpoint of like in WoW (World of Warcraft) right now, there's this super-fascination with DPS - damage per second.

Josh: Oh ok, sure.

Feargus: And so like these guys are crunching the numbers and they have these databases of what exactly you have to do and in what order you have to do and at what time. And I'm like, "Is that fun anymore?" It's like they're becoming machines themselves.

Chris: It's a different kind of resource management though.

Feargus: Yeah, that's true.

Josh: Well, I had a guy at work last week give me a lecture about how to be the best merchant in the game. And I'm like, "I don't really play that. I'm not interested." (Laughing)...but he's still telling me what sword sells for what where and how to go gathering. I think that one thing in geek culture...is really wanting people to know...

Feargus: Yes, what they've done. It's their...it's the success that they've had. They've figured something out and they like to tell everybody about it. I think the questions that I find hard and I think you (Chris) even find hard sometimes is when someone comes up to us and wants to talk to us about some specific story element that occurred in a game six years ago: "It was so amazing when Bill was talking to Frank and..." You know what, I've made 10 games since then.

[Ends with Darren Monohan (producer of Neverwinter Nights 2) entering the scene.]

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