Here’s Part 2 of my interview on RPG Vault (IGN.COM), I didn’t realize I waffled on so long, to end up with PARTS! 🙂
The direct link is HERE.
2Moons Interview – Part 2
We question David Perry about PvP, weapons, armor, the magic system and more in his first online world endeavor
August 28, 2006 – Over the past decade or so, we have seen a number of developers gain international recognition through their work in the online world category, while others have entered it after establishing their names and reputations in the single-player space. David Perry is a recent addition to the latter group. Having begun his career at the tender age of 15, he already had over a decade of experience in 1993 when he formed his own studio, Shiny Entertainment and began work on its first hit, Earthworm Jim. Subsequent releases included titles such as MDK, Messiah and Sacrifice, the last of which won dozens of awards in the strategy genre. The team’s latest projects, based on The Matrix property, reportedly sold over six million units, generating an estimated $300 million in retail sales. Earlier this year, Perry left Shiny and started GameConsultants.com.
In this role, he’s involved in 2Moons, the intriguing persistent state endeavor announced two weeks ago by publisher Acclaim. The initial press release served up some very interesting pieces of information. For instance, it stated that the game will be free, violent and aimed at adult players, with the focus being to become a high-level combatant in a world characterized by the tagline “No mercy for the weak, no pity for the dying, no tears for the slain.” The way in which development is being handled also piqued our curiosity. Although based on GameHi’s Dekaron, a massively multiplayer offering that has been a success in Korea, 2Moons is described as a “re-make” rather than a translated or even localized version. Naturally, we were immediately keen to know more, so we were very pleased for the chance to question David Perry.
Jonric: What would you like to tell us at this time about PvP in 2Moons, how it will function, and how you plan to address the issues that can be associated with it?
David Perry: As I’ve spent a lot of time playing the game alone (I have my own server), I’ve not really spent enough time experimenting with the PvP system. It’s set up so you get thrown in jail if you cross the line, but overall, PvP is an option when in PvP territory. We also have duels, which are fun with similar level players as it becomes all about strategy.
The main non-combat activity in this game is fishing… Overall, I have to stress that this is not really a direction we will be expanding as much since we really want the player to take more risks and explore more
I should note that I’m not looking for regular beta testers for this game; I’m looking for those with designer DNA. I want real feedback. They will have direct contact to me, and I will apply pressure to get changes made in Korea. That’s how the final balancing will occur.
Jonric: How do weapons and armor factor into the game? Will it be possible to enhance them, and necessary to repair them? And are any other types of items particularly important?
David Perry: We currently have lots of weapons, skills and armor. We have hundreds (many hundreds) of options to choose how you will configure your character. We also have full weapon strengthening in two forms. One lets you add extra powers to weapons, a socket-type system that involves embedding jewels and stones into weapons or armor to enhance it. This modifies things like striking power, attack power, defensibility, resistance, etc. via modes like ice, fire, electric, poison, cure – upgrades poison resistance, for example.
I’ve been told the game has close to 150 levels; however, I’ve not experienced above level 90 yet. As you can imagine, even keeping you busy up to level 90 requires a lot of choices. The items do degrade, and you need to visit a blacksmith to repair them. You can also intensify weapons.
Potions are essential to your survival; you can stack them and increase your inventory size to carry more. When I head out, I carry a truckload, so if others in my party are close to death we don’t need to turn back. I can just drop some for them.
Jonric: For those who are interested in playing spellcasters, what’s the nature of the magic system we’ll find in 2Moons?
David Perry: The magic system is currently using mana. You manage this somewhat like you manage health, by using potion bottles. The better magic skills you use, the more mana they consume, and the more you need to start managing your supply. This is not much of an issue at the start of the game, but as your character gets more powerful, it becomes something you need to think about, so there’s a strategy involving to what to use when. It turns out however that when you go fishing, some of the fish you catch have special magical powers, and so they can help replace lost mana.
Jonric: In the same general vein that you just brought up, will there be much in the way of activities aside from fighting?
David Perry: The main non-combat activity in this game is fishing. You upgrade your fishing poles, bait, fishing skills, etc. You can also improve items, and then set up a store and sell them. Overall, I have to stress that this is not really a direction we will be expanding as much since we really want the player to take more risks and explore more, instead of providing services for others… World of Warcraft has that covered.
Jonric: Will we meet many friendly and neutral NPCs in 2Moons, and what kinds of functions will they fulfill?
David Perry: The NPC’s are really there for support – helping you find things, leading you to quests, storing things, selling you supplies, equipping you, training you, buying stuff back from you, etc.
With Henry Jones handling the writing, some will also be there to amuse you.
Jonric: Will there be a significant quest element? Should we expect a large number of them, and various types?
David Perry: There are hundreds of quests in a mixture of types – to help others, help yourself, to learn things, to explore, or to kill something. New ones are being added all the time. Remembering that I want some users to be able to enjoy this as their first MMORPG, we are currently adding some tutorial quests as the Korean game tended to just throw you in a bit fast. There are instanced dungeons as well.
Just make sure to sign up, track our progress, and if you have designer DNA, then join our beta test and give us a hand shaping this into the kind of experience you enjoy.
Jonric: In the inevitable times when your character dies, are there penalties like lost items and experience points?
David Perry: Currently, when you die, you can continue to watch your party, or you can be teleported back to your reincarnation point. As you move around the world, you can change this point, and that removes the need to backtrack a lot. As there’s a reasonable amount of teleporters around, it’s not too difficult to get back to where you were.
At the moment, dying costs you nothing in the game except time, being separated from your party, them suddenly being a man down in battle, and you feeling like an idiot that they are all alive and you are laying dead. If they have a healer, they can reincarnate you on the spot. Thankfully, he just needs time to work.
Jonric: Further to the party system, is the play oriented toward them or soloing, and are there longer-term organizations like guilds?
David Perry: The game has party and guild systems. The person running the party can set the mode to be Basic, Order, Free or Random and this affects who gets the swag. Free is the default I use so all party members have a right to grab swag, but it can be changed easily. The game is designed to be solo to start, then when the going gets tough, you form or join a party, then when you get to a high enough level, you can form a guild.
Jonric: Regarding the interface, what points of view and how much camera control will be supported, and what are the other main elements?
David Perry: The player currently controls the player with the keyboard and the camera with the mouse. They can also click on a part of the terrain to run there. I’m not totally happy with the camera right now as I don’t want to have to control it all the time, preferring the more console-style / World of Warcraft-like camera on your back system. I’m discussing this now with Mr. Baek, the lead designer in Korea.
We have a long-range map plus a short-range one. The skills / potions are along the bottom of the screen, as is your experience bar. The game has windows for things like Character Status, Inventory, Skill Management, Party Controls, Guild Controls, Tracking Quests, Chatting, Emotes, Conversations, Trading, etc. To chat to an NPC, you walk up to someone and click on them, you then have responses to choose from.
Jonric: What are the likely system requirements, does the game and server technology include any notable features?
David Perry: The game requires a decent PC- the better it is, the better the game gets. The minimum spec in Korea is 800mhz, 256MB+ RAM, 32MB video card. I will be stepping this up a bit from there for the USA as I want people to see it looking really slick. The good news is it’s even running well on laptops playing wirelessly with a server in Korea. The game has an MP3 player built in also so you can enjoy Britney Spears when playing… you know someone will.
The server side is actually being worked out now between Acclaim and GameHi. Acclaim is buying brand new servers to run from, so I’m not going to speculate on this just yet.
Jonric: Is there much to say yet about longer-term aspects like community support and the game’s future evolution?
David Perry: We will be doing all the normal support systems, the website, forums, newsletters, etc. We are discussing new message transport systems for the USA. More on that in the future.
I expect we will add more and more violence. 🙂
Jonric: What will your revenue model be, and what were the primary considerations affecting this decision?
David Perry: FREE – advertising you can turn off, item sales, which may be free if paid for by sponsors, or you can buy them yourself. We want all Acclaim games to be available to as many players as possible. That means everyone with a decent PC. Price is key. I think we have that nailed. Then, it’s just up to us and our testers to make the game fun so people stick around. That’s another GREAT benefit of MMORPGs; you can patch when you have upgrades to add.
Jonric: Although it won’t be available for at least several months, why should we look forward to playing 2Moons?
David Perry: I would check out a free, violent massively multiplayer game – especially if I only have to download it and the download is a decent size; we are somewhere around 600 MB.
Jonric: Do you have any closing thoughts to conclude this interview, or possibly a question to leave with the readers?
David Perry: Just make sure to sign up, track our progress, and if you have designer DNA, then join our beta test and give us a hand shaping this into the kind of experience you enjoy.
One kind of experience we’ve always enjoyed here at RPG Vault is the opportunity to learn about upcoming massively multiplayer projects by questioning the individuals whose imagination and talents drive the process of bringing them to realization. Accordingly, we once again express our appreciation to illustrious developer David Perry who is working on 2Moons together with North American publisher Acclaim and Korean-based studio GameHi.
— Richard Aihoshi – ‘Jonric’