(In colpevolissimo ritardo) L’intervista che Alex ci ha rilasciato al Coruscant Invitational 2016 presso la Star Wars Celebration.
Starfighters Italia: We’ve just finished the SOS 2016. We enjoyed it so much in Italy. What are the impressions from your point of view, both regarding the SOS events and the amazing Coruscant Invitational?
Alex Davy: I think it’s been a really great series of events. I wasn’t able to attend any of the preliminary SOS tournaments but I know they generated a lot of excitement in every country. What we are trying to do is push X-Wing in a more international direction and develop the international community, so I think these events were huge. So getting to see the final event of the competition here at the Coruscant Invitational was very rewarding. Not only because there were 8 great players, but also because everybody had a really good time, there was a great sense of camaraderie in addition to some very creative list building and some great flying! So I think it was – all told – a great series of events and I’m very happy that we shared this experience with the X-Wing community.
Starfighters Italia: Do you have plans on tweaking the SOS formula for next year, like adding other countries or qualifier tournaments?
Alex Davy: I can’t speak to specific detail for specific events, but I can say that we always try to improve things based on feedback to make the events bigger and better. We are learning from this year’s trial run of the SOS and we will apply that to anything we might do in the future.
Starfighters Italia: One of the most frequent suggestions that we got in Italy was to take features from both the Main event format and the Hangar bay format and apply them to regular tournaments. Would you like to move some features to regular matches?
Alex Davy: I think that the regular standard for competitive X-Wing will always be the 100 point dogfight. We would love to host additional formats and encourage alternative modes of play. Hangar bay had a great response and has been a lot of fun. One of the things that we’re looking at in the future is having more of that kind of events: the game has been going on for almost four years and most of the focus has been spent on that 100 point format. And while that’s a great way to demonstrate your skill and a sort of “pure way” to play the game, we’re looking at some more casual, fun and relaxed formats to play the game.
Starfighters Italia: In the past years we tried to organize Epic, Team Epic and Escalation events. While Team Epic has been a lot of fun for players, Epic was too long and time consuming, while Escalation despite being very fun and challenging to play, was too long and complicate in the preparation. Do you plan on modyfing the same formats or adding new formats?
Alex Davy: probably a little bit of both. I think we’re primarily interested in exploring new tournaments. We may at a certain point update the Escalation and Epic documents, because we now have several years of experience under our belts. One of the things that actually is on my to-do-list is reviewing the epic and team epic documents and see if there is room for improvements there. In terms of new formats we are trying to introduce new ones and you know, concentrating on different things each year. Hangar bay was really cool, and I would expect to see similar events in the future.
Starfighters Italia: HB was amazing. Some players complained that X-Wing is missing an official format for smaller scale battles. A really common format in the US that we tried multiple times is the so called “furball” (1- or 2-ship squadron, up to 42 points). A suggestion that Italian players are sending to FFG and you is “Give us official furball rules!” and “Give us some official league rules!”. There have meen many experiments around, like the Prototype Toronto League, and at the moment many shops are trying to run their own leagues. Do you also feel that going towards more casual play is key to attract new players?
Alex Davy: I think that exploring new formats is a big part of attracting new players without feeling the competitive tension of main events. Regular events like Regional Champs or even Store champs can be challenging and stress-delivering for new players. It’s good to hear feedback about waht players like; I know that the OP dept is growing and I will definitely pass this feedback along. I would expect to see some new experimentations and new formats in the forthcoming future. A big focus of OP going forward is promoting casual events.
Starfighters Italia: In the direction of promoting casual events, I ‘ve just red a post about the new quarter kits. Seasonal kits were really good in my opinion, considering the cost and contentents. But I have to say that we were a bit disappointed regarding kits delivery times in Europe, with kits coming late to us. Do you plan on enhancing the schedule of deliveries to EU, Asia, Australia.
Alex Davy: This is a question that Zach could answer better than me! We’ll pass this over to him!
Starfighters Italia: About new products. We’ve just seen the preview of Wave 9. It seems amazing, with many new mechanics. Since you jumped in with Wave 4, we’ve seen the metagame shaking at every new wave of expansion packs: cloaking mechanics, large turrets, TLTs, new factions, tractor beams. Your teem seems to be working more on game mechanics rather than simply working on card abilities. Can you give us some insights about this? Do you feel this might have repercussions on the long term?
Alex Davy: this is obviously a very difficult and delicate balance! That’s one of the core dilemmas of designing a product that continuously expands. When you do new ships and new wave of ships, you want to add something that changes the game and makes it more exciting. You don’t want to keep the game static, otherwise people will lose interest. If there’s something new and interesting in a wave, then you’ll avoid things stagnating. But at the same time, you don’t want to part ways from the beautifully simple rules of the game. One of the greatest things is how elegant and straightforward X-Wing is; we don’t want to introduce something that makes the game feel not like x-wing anymore and takes it way from its core rules. Up to now we had some innovations that contributed to the variety of the game like the SLAM action, cloaking, mobile firing arcs in Wave 9. These are additions that in my opinion enrich the game without disrupting the core of the game itself. Our motto is Keep it simple, keep it elegant, keep it x-wing!
Starfighters Italia: X-wing being the most simple and elegant game in the FFG range is having the largest success in OP. We’ve seen the announcement of the Corellian Conflict campaign expansion for Armada. What other news have been presented at the panel?
Corellian conflict: a way for two teams of players to build fleets and send them fighting battles and adjusting to successes and losses in a campaign environment. It will include new fighters and ships, also playable in competitive games. Preview of the campaign can be found here (link to article)
Starfighters Italia: what is your opinion regarding x wing cinematic play? Many players have been asking for single-player aimed rules. Heroes of The Aturi Cluster has had an amazing feedback. Something from FFG on that side could be great!
Alex Davy: Cinematic play can really bring people and clubs together! I think that a lot of people has not played the campaigns that come with the ships. You’ll find some interesting mechanics and depth that will bring hours of fun. Personally speaking I’d like to do something in that direction. Please note that this is not an indication of any future plans but just my personal thoughts as player. I’d like to do some co-op or themed stuff for X-Wing, because we’d like to involve also more casual players into X-wing. I can’t say anything specifically about future plans but we understand the desire for that kind of thing, so this is something that we might study and explore at some time in the future.
Starfighters Italia: Last question and I’ll let you go back to the booth! We won’t talk about the “x-wing fix” topic, because US players have discussed this a lot and honestly, we don’t really need an X-Wing title to save the T-65! What can we expect event-wise and game-wise for 2017, also because of the new calendar for OP? Give us a glimpse!
Alex Davy: Also this question is better for Zach, but in general you can expect that the splitting of the championships along the year will help so solve issues related to overlapping of tournaments – as many players are interested in more than one FFG game!
Starfighters Italia: Thank you for your time and see you soon!
Alex Davy: Glad to meet you! Ciao Piloti!