[Facebook page] There aren’t really many full 3D and Free-to-Play online games I can think of which fully relates to actual history and the particular time’s culture. Enter Gloria Victis, an upcoming MMORPG focused on a time where swords and bows clashed.
With so many fantasy and hybrid titles available which are deemed successful, why tread the waters with such a unique theme? We find out from developer Black Eye Games in this interview, first posted at MMOGames.com.
Q: Hello there, kindly let us know your name and give us a brief introduction of the studio.
A: My name is Liting Zhu and I am the Public Relations and Marketing Manager of Black Eye Games. The studio comprises of passionate and extremely skilled individuals who got together over two years ago due to being frustrated at not having a quality MMORPG to play and not finding many developers who actually listened to their player base. We are all experienced and skilled in our respective fields but one thing needs to be stressed, we are all gamers.
Q: The Kickstarter campaign for Gloria Victis ended around a year ago. How have things been since then and what stage is the game currently in?
A: Despite not reaching our target and having to say farewell to a couple of team members who had families to feed we are determined to create a game that breaks the flood of low budget pay to win titles flooding the market these days. We have steamed on ahead with the help of media coverage as well as the the charity of various software companies such as Unity.
We went from concepts to a working Pre-Alpha albeit just laying down the skeletons in order to flesh them out. The current Pre-Alpha is an island which contains a forest, cliffside village, several rivers, several waterfalls, a swamp, hills, windmill and fields, walled town, castle and plains. The mechanics such as non-directional combat are far from complete but the player can get an idea on how combat will work out.
Q: Star Citizen is doing very well and has kept its fund raiser machine running for quite some time now. Why aren’t you guys doing the same for this title?
A: The reason is both a technical as well as an ethical one. Our new website has been under construction for some time now as well as the drafting of different thank you gifts for different amounts of donations. The launch of our new website which will detail the various concepts and aspects of our project is also the official start of our fundraising campaign which will happen on multiple platforms.
The ethical reason is that as ethical developers we feel an obligation to show what people are donating towards and would like to have something to show potential donors such as concepts which will be present on our website as well as actual stuff in the form of a playable game client which will allow them to see their donations shaping the game as well as providing us with feedback to improve the game via a tickets system which will be on our new website.
Basically the main reason is that we truly wish our supporters to make an informed decision to donate and to truly include them in the game development process.
Q: How did the idea of doing a Free-to-Play MMORPG based on the medieval times came about?
A: Being gamers ourselves we were sick of strange fantasy games flooding the market such as ones where bestiary were random amalgamations of body parts. So we decided to make a realistic MMORPG with realistic art styles and a bloody, gritty feel to it and what better time period to do it in than X – XV Century Europe?
As for the free to play component, as gamers we understand the pain of dealing with games which offer paying players huge advantages via the item shop therefore Gloria Victis will be truly Free to Play, the item shop will only offer cosmetic items that do not affect gameplay mechanics.
Q: There aren’t many online games out there which is developed based on actual history and facts, with players seemingly feel more at home with fantasy themes. Wasn’t there even a bit of concern you guys were making something the market might not want or need?
A: Medieval games are quite a niche category and admittingly we will not be appealing to the entire gaming world out there but what we are trying to create is a lasting community. Let us look at the success of recent fantasy titles, often player count at launch is extremely high but begins to taper off in a few months and the player base joining the next fantasy title clone.
We are trying to build a lasting community that enjoys role-play, a community like what Eve Online has. There certainly are those that will like a realistic medieval game take for instance the success of Mount and Blade and Runescape (which I see as Low-Fantasy).
Q: What game engine is Gloria Victis being developed on and why was it chosen?
A: Gloria Victis is being developed in Unity 3D Engine, it is quite a universal language and popular.
Q: Since the game engine used is Unity, does it mean we will be seeing some cross-platform or mobile action in the future?
A: Gloria Victis will be too large for mobile play but perhaps we will see some cross-platform action.
Q: Is there a main storyline in Gloria Victis? Do players start the game with a specific aim?
A: There are two storylines, the first the usual overarching story of the world. The second storyline is the most interesting part, it is YOUR story. In essence there are large things you cannot change such as the religious and political turmoil but you too write your own story, how large that story is is dependant on your creativity, luck as well as skill.
For instance, a player who is leading a small warband finds himself ambushed by several warbands in enemy territory, he fights a heroic battle and somehow manages to win, his story will be the talk of the community. The roleplaying aspect of the game is a huge part in writing your own story.
In terms of quests, there are the main line of quests which advance the player’s understanding of the world and the lore and also scripted unique quests for each player. Depending on the moral actions the players have chosen as well as general play style the game will present the player with different quests to reflect on the player’s actions. There will be thousands and thousands of these non-linear quests which each player will be able to experience a portion of depending on their actions.
Q: Are there any classes in the game? If not, what are some of the main features which distinguishes a certain player from others?
A: There are no hard bound classes in the game, rather than the game binding a character to a class, a player binds himself to one. There is a huge skill tree similar to the skill tree of Path of Exile representing the various skills and competencies a person can devote their time to training where the player will be able to truly develop their character as they wish. The choices the player makes identifies their class instead of having their class define their character.
Q: With the aim to be as accurate to history as possible, does it mean there will be no weapons such as wands, staff or even players skills with fancy effects?
A: There will be no magic at all in the sense of fireballs and such. Skills are in the sense of techniques for specific weapons such as flourry and feints based on medieval combat manuals found in historical records, so in essence directional basic attacks and other special attacks depending on the weapon that aims to add flavour to combat and are harder to evade or parry either due to different animations as well as some techniques are quicker strikes.
Q: How do players earn their keep and progress in the game? Is it through the normal way of questing, grinding instanced dungeons and repeatedly killing open world monsters?
A: Players are free to roam the world choosing what they wish to do, basically any activity advances the player. The player roleplays as a medieval individual, going about day to day tasks, hunting, killing, exploring and helping others by doing quests. There is really no grind in the game as the emphasis of the game is not on level or gear progression but progression of the character in terms of relations with NPCs, other players and moving upwards in medieval society.
However, having said that there will be bosses and dungeons present in the game, what we wish to stress here is the diverse options that players will be able to choose from in terms of play. Gloria Victis is semi sandbox in terms of overall gameplay, the player chooses what they want to do and who they want to be.
Q: Non-target combat is an interesting feature to lock on. Was there any reason why it was chosen?
A: The combat system present in most games involve clicking to lock onto a target and then proceeding to spam skills as soon as they are off cooldown. We feel such a system to be dull and unrealistic, therefore we opted for a non-target combat system where the skill of the player is crucial in determining the outcome of fights.
The player has to strike in the correct direction as well as from the correct distance to connect with their target therefore the players who are the most skilled as players will be the best fighters. Though this means there might be quite a steep learning curve for new players, such a system fulfills our aim of creating a game with minimal grind and one that is not about level or gear progression.
Q: Let us move on to PvP. Being in the medieval times, it is inevitable to have tournaments. How are these different “modes” being portrayed in the game?
A: There are so many modes of PvP available, let us start with the in game sanctioned means. The first obviously is tournaments, they will be ingame events where players will be allowed to participate in a variety of duels: mixed melee, single sword, archery and of course everyone’s favourite: Jousting. The winner will receive glory, fame amongst their peers as well as special rewards. Another sanctioned mode of PvP is one on one duels agreed upon by both parties for instance to settle disputes.
The third form of sanctioned PvP is conflicts between Warbands of the same nation vying for non-instanced real estate and strategic positions on the map such as ownership of towns, castles, forts and watchtowers. The final form is PvP versus individuals hostile to your own faction, so large Realm vs Realm wars between factions, raiding enemy nation caravans and excursions deep into enemy territory to raid villages and the likes.
Unsanctioned forms of PvP are ones where the player will be punished by NPCs (or other players) for committing, these include becoming a brigand and preying on people in the wilderness and attacking targets that are not hostile towards your faction. To discourage griefing and abuse towards newer weaker players, there are plenty of safe zones where to commit murder would be suicide due to the overwhelming presence of guards and such. When a location (village, town, castle, fort, city, capital city, port) is under siege, the entire area becomes open PvP.
Q: How about mounted combat? Will this be available in just an organized PvP mode, or will it be applicable even in the open world?
A: Mounts are an integral part of the game and are applicable in the open world. What is unique about Gloria Victis is that a player can have multiple mounts out. We have a wide variety of mounts that will be available in the game each with different speeds as well as carrying capacities.
For instance, a mounted knight type player would have a pack mule out with its carrying capacity on carrying his baggage and a warhorse whose carrying capacity is used on carrying warhorse armour. A merchant on the other hand would use perhaps two oxen to transport large amounts of goods between cities. The mounts available in the game are: horses, donkeys, mules, oxen, camels and elephants.
Q: I read briefly about the different factions in Gloria Victis. Can you briefly go through with us on this system and to what extent will this system affect each gamer’s gameplay experience?
A: Each faction is modelled after an empire or power that existed during X – XV Century Europe. The factions have different stories, quests as well as aesthetically different armour and other equipment. The factions also exist in different climates, it is unlikely a person from one faction would be able to go deep into another faction unless they are part of a huge invading army.
Q: Are the factions at war? And to probe further, are open world player kills allowed?
A: Open world player kills are allowed in certain parts of the world to prevent newer players from being picked on. The faction are indeed at war and realm versus realm battles are huge affairs, with up to thousands of NPC units and hundreds of players on each side in either epic field battles, ambushes or sieges. The player plays an active part in shaping the political geography of the world but also measures will be in place to prevent the other factions from completely being steamrolled and their players finding the game boring.
Q: Other than all the wars and fighting, there seems to be a housing system as well. Can you tell us more about this system and what benefits will players get from owning one and decorating it?
A: There are two forms of housing, non instanced and instanced. Non-instanced housing can be made into player owned shops on streets, so an avid crafter would want to purchase it to have a fixed location to spread the word of his skill in crafting. Housing also serves as storage as well as production facilities.
Instead of thinking about it as housing, rather think about it as a space where the player can do what they want with. Other things that non-instanced real estate can be made into are things such as taverns, farms etcetera, we aim to have as much player ownership of the world as possible for a sense of realism and as players set up shops we will gradually phase out NPC shops.
Q: Being Free-to-Play, it is inevitable that potential players will be curious about what items will be sold, especially those items which will give players “an edge”.
A: Items will strictly be cosmetic and quality of life items. There will be no items for sale that affect gameplay mechanics or the gear of the player.
Q: What is the development working on right now? Is there a date set for the next milestone?
A: We are currently redoing all our animations with new technology as well as building a world with double the range of sight as we originally had as well as phasing in our complex player controlled sandboxed crafting process.
Q: Before this interview ends, please provide us with a short pitch why gamers should pay attention to Gloria Victis, and why it is different from other games in the market.
A: Simply because it is a game that is being developed by people who are gamers who listen to gamers for gamers. We are ethical developers and our principles and vision means that Gloria Victis will be a game truly worth playing.
Q: Many thanks to Black Eye Games for this indepth interview on Gloria Victis.
A: Thanks MMOGames.com it was pleasure answering the questions.