ARGO Online is one of Korean developer, Mgame’s latest MMORPG. The game will be brought to Europe and North America in early 2011 by burda:ic, through its MMO portal, alaplaya. Belonging to the rare Steampunk genre, the game aims to merge both technology and magic into the game and create a conflict between 2 races with superior knowledge of either: the technologically advanced Noblian race and magic wielding Floresslah.
Players will get a chance to play as either of the races and join the fight for the planet’s most valuable resource for survival: Earthdium. In this interview, we will be taking a more in-depth look into the game and find out how does ARGO exactly fit into the current competitive MMORPG market.
Q: Hello, this is Robert (cinderboy), journalist from OnRPG. Can you please introduce yourself to the readers?
A: Hi Robert. My name is Hendrik Loga, Product Manager @ alaplaya. I’m in charge of S4 League and LOCO as well. Guess some of you already know these games^^. Today, I’m going to introduce our latest game ARGO to you and answer some interesting questions to give you and the OnRPG community a deeper look into an Online RPG with an absolutely interesting story in a very unique Steampunk and Fantasy remix.
Q: Amongst the many Free to Play MMORPGs available in the Asian market, why the decision to choose Mgame’s ARGO?
A: There are a lot of MMORPGs around spamming the market with a low quality and less affectionate developments. It is not easy for a good game to come up. Just, if you provide something that is in contrast to these mass products. A high quality standard and hybrid game concepts are the key of the next generation online RPGs.
ARGO combines RPG with TPS and RTS into one very unique high quality game with the setting of a post apocalyptic world. But not only the combinations of different game genres are important to make a game interesting and unique, it is the combination of various styles as well. ARGO is a post-apocalyptic MMORPG which brings Fantasy and Steampunk together.
Q: You did not alter the original name, ARGO. Can you tell us what does ARGO actually stands for?
A: The story of ARGO says that during the last World War only a selection of scholars, scientists and industrials survived in subterranean shelters. When they started their journey below the surface, they traveled in a ship called “ARGO”. It is not a specific shortcut or something like that.
Q: ARGO is touted as a “steampunk” MMORPG. What elements should a MMORPG have in order to be given this tag?
A: Steampunk is a very cool and upcoming style. The steampunk community is already very big but there are still good games missing that provide such an interesting setting like in ARGO. “Steampunk” mainly is a literarily term that describes a dystopic fictional future leant to a postindustrial and Victorian age like you maybe know from “Jules Vernes” science fiction novels. Everything looks like as if it is made of old radios, mechanics, gears and copper. Steampunk stands for an alternative future were the steampower isn’t just used for railways and machines, but rather hover ships, weapons, buildings, space shuttles, etc.
In ARGO we have two factions facing each other. On the one side the Floresslah which is the “Fantasy” faction an on the other the Steampunk faction “Noblian”.
Q: Players get to choose between 2 warring factions, the Noblian and Floressiah. Can you tell us what some of the differences between these 2 factions are and introduce the classes available?
A: ARGO shows a possible future of mankind after the World War 4, called Serpestis. In this post apocalyptic world, two factions with totally different life philosophies are facing each other. One stands for technology and process – the steampunk faction Noblian. Their goal is to rebuild the human’s civilization on earth with techniques and development.
A life in peace and symbiosis is the creed of the Floresslah. Since the humans have destroyed nearly the whole world ages ago, they started a natural life to become one with the earth. Mother Nature accepted this transformation and endowed them with magical abilities. In comparison to the steampunker Noblian, the Floresslah are the Fantasy faction in ARGO.
I think these two opinions and philosophies are very interesting and totally representative for the current situation on our earth. Everybody should ask himself how he sees the mankind’s future. Shall we keep go the trail of progress or shall we go back to our roots? What do you think?
The players can choose one from eight classes for each faction. Each class is balanced for PvP and PvE battles, depending on their equipment and skillsetting which is controlled by the user of course. In ARGO we have classical tank and healer positions as well as supporter classes like the Explorer or Elementarist.
Q: Do you have any worries that one faction will be more populated than the other, hence causing an imbalance in the PvP battles between the 2 sides?
A: Well, I think the two factions were created interesting enough to address the players for both. Main playground (or battleground) is the open world area. From higher level the two factions do questing together in the same area. PvP conflicts will be the order of the day. Beside this there will be several PvP dungeons and instances too.
We have already started the discussion with our alaplaya community about these two factions. What they think about humans’ future and which side they would choose and it seems everybody has an interesting opinion about this. My first impression was that most of them would choose the Steampunks Noblian. But that was a delusion. In my eyes there are both factions strong enough that we won’t have any balancing issues like you suggested.
Q: The game is touted as having traditional MMORPG, RTS and even TPS (third person shooter) elements. While it sounds rather confusing to players, can you explain how this system works and show us some screenshots of the different modes?
A: During the game the user can switch between a classical RPG view and the “free-aiming-mode”. In this mode the game feels like you are playing a TPS game like in LOCO for example. You really have to aim for your target and fire in the right moment. The RTS part is a PvP battleground mode were the two factions have to build up their own base and defense towers during the battle.
Q: Let us now talk about the Player Vs Player (PvP) aspect of the game. Is it right if I say that other than normal leveling maps, there will be maps at higher levels where the 2 warring races will eventually meet? Is it even possible to infiltrate another race’s supposed “peace mode” maps?
A: To protect the lower chars and to give new users the chance to collect enough experience in the ARGO, both factions have their own starting area. When they turn Level 30, they will get access to a new continent, which is an open PVP area. From now on each step can be your last one 🙂 . Infiltrating the starting areas is not possible.
Q: I understand there is this interesting feature, the PvP dungeon. How does this actually works?
A: A PvP dungeon is a combination of a PvP battleground and a raid dungeon. The dungeon has two entrances – one for each faction. In the middle of the map both enemies need to fight a big boss of the dungeon and try to defeat him before the hostiles do so.
Q: Are there any more elements for PvP found in ARGO you will like to add on?
A: Well, as already mentioned, the RTS Mode as PvP Mode will be very interesting. Of course we have planned to add more PVP modes to ARGO. One may be the „Capture the Flag”. But I cannot reveal anything about this now. Let me say some words about the mounts in ARGO. You can ride single mounts or use really big Juggernauts which can be mounted by up to ten players. These vehicles are big tanks, were users can fight from. Nice feature and strategical element for PvP battle is, that the users don’t need to leave their save positions.
Q: ARGO at this point sounds like a very much PvP-oriented MMORPG. Will this be deterrence in getting the “m” players to play the game long term?
A: PVP is an important element of MMORPGs today. But the sector of a working PVE part becomes more and more relevant to the users. They want to explore a wide and nice world, do amazing quests and solve demanding stories. We tried to provide a balanced game which includes enough PVP as well as PVE content and possibilities. There are a lot of nice and interesting area and countries awaiting the PVE user to get explored.
Q: Earthdium. Their preciousssssss. Tell us what role does this much sought mineral actually plays in the game and where can players actually find it.
A: At first, let me give you a small introduction about the background of this very rare element. Because of the humans’ high energy consumption in the 21the century, scientists and scholars need to find an alternative to stop this lack of energy. They did a lot of experiments and finally they have found a combination of different minerals. They named this new element “Earthdium”.
With this element, most of the energy issues could be solved. After the nuclear age of World War 4, most of the creatures that lived on the surface began to transmute with this new element. Earthdium is very rare and both factions have the desire to own it. It can be found in the nature as well be looted from monsters and mutated creatures.
Everything in ARGO is about to gain this material. Both factions, Floresslah and Noblian, want to own this rare resource, because they need it for their weapons, mounts, professions, etc. Earthdium is required for everything in ARGO. So better you have enough of it.^^
Q: Will ARGO have “life” professions, like botanist, alchemist etc? How important a role will these professions play as players progress in the game?
A: Of course each player can choose a profession for his character according to the class his is playing. It makes sense to choose a carrier as “Medicine Producer” if you play a “Priest” or “Shaman”. Currently we plan to open nine different professions from the beginning. Further details will be released later.
Q: Almost every MMORPG released in recent times has a rather fancy pet system. While ARGO apparently has one of its own, how will it be different from the others? What role does the pet actually play alongside a player?
A: The pets in ARGO do not have just decorative functionalities. Each faction has of course different pets and it is up to the user to evolve them. Each pet has different “evolution phases” und gets several abilities during this evolution. You start with a small and cute babydog, but during your life in ARGO, this little fellow begins to rise till he becomes a terrifying hunter that causes serious damage to all enemies. But not each pet is for fighting. Some will support the player in other ways or loot dead hostiles and carry the stuff.
Q: While this is supposedly too early to ask, how will the structure of the cash shop be? I am sure players will be worried since any “overpowered” items found will no doubt give spending players an overwhelming advantage in PvPs.
A: Of course this issue is one of the most sensitive and important points and we are going to take care about this heavily. A well balanced structure between cash and non-cash items is essential for the survival of a game. But we have already a lot of experience with that from our other games like S4 League, Florensia or LOCO.
Q: ARGO has been slated for a Spring 2011 release. Is there a more specific schedule planned, like a month, for Closed Beta and Open Beta?
A: We plan to bring up the Closed Beta in Q1 this year. The CBT application has already launched. Maybe you can gain one of the rare CBT keys J
Q: Will players get to see all the features mentioned above from the start of service, or will some be remain unreleased for further testing?
A: Yes, all the mentioned features will be available from the beginning of commercial launch. So, this is just the beginning. Lots of more nice features await you.
Q: Before ending this interview, is there anything you will like to say to our readers?
A: If you have tasted blood now, you are good advised to apply for one of the rare closed beta key at www.argo.alaplaya.net. To shortcut the waiting time, maybe some of our other F2P games will awaken your interest. Just have a look through.
Q: Thank you for your time!
A: Thank you for giving me the chance to answer such interesting questions and I looking forward to meet all the OnRPG users in ARGO^^