Tagged: MMORPG

Relics of Annorath is an upcoming MMORPG in Alpha-testing stage which takes place in a medieval/post-modern setting features a complex economic system.
It’s being developed by a Swiss company “Quantum Bytes” and uses the beautiful GNU/Linux friendly Unigine engine.

Even at this early stage of the development they provide a native GNU/Linux support (for the Alpha testers).
Sadly currently most of their website contains info in German with very little English (so maybe the Swiss/German readers could give us more info about the game as google translate is unable to translate https websites – so it seems).

The game is looking great at the Alpha stage but I assume that it would take some time till the open beta.
Also it seems that they are using the excellent foss program Blender for this game.

Links
Relics of Annorath
native GNU/Linux support
Quantum Bytes
Unigine
Blender

The free as beer PvP MMORPG Regnum Online recently got a major balance update.

Great Balance Update!

We are happy to announce that after months of hard work, we have finalized a complete re-balance of all of the classes in Regnum Online. This is the biggest gameplay update since we launched invasions.

The Balance Update represents much clearer definition of the game’s playable classes, as offensive classes (Barbarians, Warlocks and Marksmen) will be able to inflict more damage, defensive classes (Knights, Conjurers and Hunters) now have more versatility, allowing users to customize their characters into a support setup or prepare them for a more offensive role.

New Server Hardware, more armor, a better mana recharge system, an improved combat system, new network code. The exciting change list is enormous, if you want to see it in detail follow this link

About Regnum Online
Regnum Online is a FREE TO PLAY (F2P) MMORPG inviting you to play with no level or time restrictions. All that is required is that you fight for your realm.

- Regnum offers 3 realms to choose from.
- 9 fully customizable player characters.
- An ever expanding number of quests.
- The ability to capture forts and castles.
- Expansive lands to explore.
- Glorious graphical environments in DirectX and OpenGL.
- Support for Windows and Linux platforms.
- Premium content is available for enhanced game play.

Screenshots

Video

The changelog is huge :
Version: 1.6.3 (Date: 2010/9/21)

Description:
New character progression system

Now all characters start with their powers at level 0 more power points have been included to compensate. No more level 1 freebies, there is a more clear trade of between specializing or having a more varied configuration.

New network code / Positioning system

The new network code should provides a smoother experience and adds a lag compensation technique to minimize phantom swings.

Animations and effects
•    New reviving animation
•    New casting animation for mass resurrection
•    New casting animation for Precise Block
•    Many new spell visual effects

Game World
•    New location for Trelleborg’s Save
•    Increased slope for Algaros mountain
•    Redesigned Thorkul’s mountain to increase Alsius playable area in the warzone
•    New graphics for Golems, Zombies Liches and Imps

Combat System – Attack
•    Damage re-balance for all classes to increase duration of fights.
•    Attack speed formula changed from minus time to plus speed Warrior Attack speed general increase.
•    Archer increase in Range: all bows range is increased by 5m
•    Lower ranged weapon charge: The time you have to stay still when firing a ranged shot (as an archer or a mage) has been diminished 15% (this means higher attack speed).
•    New calculation for damage bonuses to make weapon damage bonus work always positively
•    Redefinition of Damage related bonuses: New damage bonus type called DAMAGE BONUS. This modifier affects ALL of your damage.  The old damage bonus (that only affects the damage produced by the weapon) is now called WEAPON DAMAGE BONUS
•    New Critical calculation: We have implemented a more elegant system for calculating chances of critical hits. Critical related spells numbers have been changed for the new system. The new values have been designed to have a BIGGER impact on your chances of critical hits. Critical hit chance is now represented as a % of hits.
•    New Hit chance/Evasion calculation: We have adjusted some values and given more weight to character stats and weapons stats than character level. This means that some spells related to evasion and hit chance will have a stronger effect. Balance to these spells (mostly buffs) will be done at a future stage.
•    Evasion, damage resists and spell resists for normal looking mobs have been decreased

Combat system – Defense

•    Armor performance increase in general for all classes.
•    Armor class factor working as intended: we increased the armor factor for all classes but now each class has a different armor factor. From more to less armor this is the order: Knights, barbarian, Marksman, Hunter, Warlock, Conjurer.
•    New armor formula for Damage Over Time.
•    Health increase for all classes
•    A short immunity to crowd control of the same type was added after the effect to provide some chance of counter action.
•    Base evasion and spell resistance reduced.
Combat System – Spells
•    Casting speed formula changed from minus time to plus speed
•    New Mana regeneration scheme
Mana regeneration is now different per class: Warriors regenerate faster than archers who regenerate faster than Mages. Also, warriors regenerate a little bit faster while in combat. Archers regenerate a little bit faster while out of combat mode. Mana regeneration for mages is the same as before as they have tools to steal and/or generate mana.
•    Global Cool down now varies per spell
•    Re-designed Summon tree
We always wanted summons to be different than just pets. At last we had the time to tackle this issue. Summons should be cast during combat to change the tide of battle (not as a pet), Summons should be different, All summons are usable at level 50.
•    Bonus Speed reduction in the whole game: we are removing the multiple speed bonus options on archers and hunters. Hunters will keep a passive natural higher speed. We are making warriors faster (by using buffs)
•    Hunters and pets change: We are trying to make hunters specialize between the rogue/assassin and ranger archetypes. So, if you want to camouflage yourself you will lose your pet.
•    Summons cannot be healed anymore

Warriors
•    Onslaught: Moved to a common warrior discipline, it does not affect its caster anymore does not affect caster anymore to make this spell into an RVR support spell.

Knights
•    Taunt: Improved functionality
•    Shield Wall changed to instant cast, increased protection in all levels (70% at level 5), and duration reduced to 10 seconds (Mana reduced in all levels)
•    Stars Shield changed to instant cast, increased protection in all levels (70% at level 5), and duration reduced to 10 seconds (mana reduced in all levels)
•    Heroic Presence: Cooldown reduced to 120 seconds. Cast time reduced to 1.5 seconds. Protection reduced 40% – 80% from level 1 to 5. Mana reduced to 320 – 400 from level 1 to 5.
•    Army of One: changed for a more tactical use. Duration Reduced to 15 seconds in all levels. Cooldown 50 seconds. Mana Cost 220 to 300. Removed Evasion penalty.
•    New spell: Intimidate: Slows opponent at range 12m: 6 to 10% from 6 to 10 seconds from level 1 to 5. Cooldown 6 seconds mana cost 50/110.
•    Rigorous Preparation: Merged with Awareness. Critical reduction increased to -10 to -18%.
•    New Spell: Defensive stance: 200% armor bonus, -90% damage bonus, no mana cost.
•    New Spell: Offensive Stance: Damage Bonus 5% to 25% (values to be adjusted) Armor bonus -95%. Evasion -100%, no mana cost.
•    New Spell: Protect Ally: Dispels Crowd control effects of an ally and a chance to heal for a small amount of health.  Level 1 stun and a 30% chance of 100 health points. Level 2 stun, Freeze and a 45% and a chance of 100 health points. Level 3 stun, Freeze, Dizzy and a 60% chance of 100 health points. Level 4 stun, Freeze, Dizzy, Knock Down and an 80% chance of 100 health points. Dispels All and a 100% chance of 100 health points
•    New Precise Block and animation: New precise block allows a knight to block everything from 1 to 5 seconds without being able to move and/or attack, no casting time. Mana cost 50 in all levels (it’s like holding up your shield yourself)
•    Block modification: changed from a passive to an active spell. 100% more chances of blocking (this means twice as your base blocking) in every level. 12 to 25 seconds. Cooldown 50 seconds. No casting time. Mana cost: 60-140.

Barbarians
•    Rage of the Earth arch increased from 25° to 45°
•    Spring moved to the Warcries discipline. Cool down halved to 25 seconds, bonus speed slightly reduced (5- 25%)
•    Unstoppable Madness: Duration reduced to 10 seconds in all levels. New resistance added: cannot attack. Resistance levels adjusted to 40% to 90% from level 1 to 5. Mana reduced to 220-300. Cooldown reduced to 40 seconds.
•    New Spell: Fulminating: Damage Bonus 15% in level 1 – 70% in level 5. Duration 5 seconds.

Archers
•    Mobility: speed bonus reduced (2- 10%)
•    Son of the wind: removed speed bonus
•    Parabolic shot: duration increased to 15-30 seconds. Range reduced 20 to 25%.
•    Escapist: changed to a new skill that provides high evasion. Mana: 200-320 – duration: 7-15s – cooldown: 60s. because of the changes to evasion formula Escapist value has been adjusted to 500 evasion points in every level (remember that this value is affected by passive spell and dodge).
•    Modified: Arrow prices have been lowered

Hunters
•    Wild Spirit: speed bonus diminished (2-7%)
•    Camouflage: remove speed penalties (The hunter is now able to cast certain buffs while camouflaged)
•    New Spell: Cold Blood, a short and powerful damage buff
•    SOTW: mana reduced: 260-420. Cooldown 80s
•    Low Profile: added casting time 0.5 (as our other sanctuary spells) duration reduced 4-10s. Cool down reduced to 60s. Mana cost reduced to 180-260.
•    Sentinel: added +1-5 Dexterity points (besides its usual Concentration bonus)
•    New Spell Death sentence. Changed for an assist spell for RVR battles. This spell is designed to assist warriors. Increase of melee damage 5% 20%, Cooldown: 30 Seconds
•    New Spell for hunters: Reveal Enemy. Allows a Hunter to interrupt the effect of camouflage, Stalker Surroundings , and camouflage corps. Duration 15-50 seconds. Cooldown 20 seconds. Mana 200-300.
•    Enhanced Stalker Surroundings: Now caster and his allies can move with a reduced speed of 40%. Allies loose the effect if they get 10 meters away from caser for a period of 5 seconds.
•    Natural Armor: Protection reduced to 10% to 30%.
•    Stalker surrounding and camouflage: You can now see your camouflaged allies.

Marksmen
•    New Marksmen spell instead of Dead Sentence called Dead Eye: Damage Bonus 5%-15% with a reduction of Attack speed of 20% in every level. Duration: 20 seconds.
•    Winter Stroke: increased range to 35m.
•    Foresight: ranged increased to 10 to 20% from level 1 to 5

Mages
•    Arcane Devotion: 100% casting time at level 5 to compensate for change in casting time formula

Warlocks
•    Sultar’s Terror: Variable knockdown duration Splash Damage Nerf
•    Soul Keeper: Same drain changed so it drains in 10 rounds of 100HP (1 second per round). Cannot be cast on mobs.

Conjurers

•    Force armor: duration increased to 60 seconds Cooldown increased to 70s. Protection reduced to 10-30%
•    Steel Skin: Resistance Bonus reduced to 50%-70% from level 1 to 5
•    Heal Ally: Heals 5% to 12%. Mana cost reduced to 50-145. Cooldown reduced to 5 seconds.
•    New Spell: (Ranged) Greater healing Cast time 3 seconds. Cooldown 2 minutes
•    New Spell: Life Savior
•    Mana communion moved to Mana control: to help support configurations
•    New Summon Discipline that offers the possibility of playing with different types of summons: attack summons (imps and zombies), assist summons (lich and zarkit) pet summons Golems.
•    Friendly Shielding cool down reduced from 90 seconds to 25 seconds
•    Sorcery discipline changes: Material wall and magic barrier are moved to sorcery in replacement of Tremor (removed) and Mirage (removed).
•    New spell: Life Savior: heals 20% to 60% of health from level 1 to 5. Mana cost: 240 to 400. Cooldown 60 seconds. Casting Time 3 seconds.
•    New Spell Mass resurrection: 5%-50% chance from level 1 to 5 of reviving everyone within a radius of 6 meters. Cooldown 4 minutes. Cast time: 5 seconds. Manna cost: 400-800.
•    New summons: Imps, Zombies and Golems

Content
•    Quests involving interaction with animals: interaction now is successful.
•    Price of items: now it’s calculated correctly.

Premium
•    Updated: mounts English descriptions.
•    New: Change Horns Color.
•    New: Change Horns Color (Exotic).
•    New: Beard Dye.
•    New: Beard Dye (Exotic).

And lots of bugfixes.

Links
Regnum Online
Full Huge Changelog

Regnum Online is a free MMORPG that concentrates on PvP (Players vs Player) and has a great graphics.
This game was first started several years ago (the graphics has improved a lot since then) and at the time there was only the Spanish/English Ra server.
Because the company that develops Regnum Online – NGD Studios is from Argentina, most of the users on the Ra server are Spanish speakers.
A few years ago a new English only server was formed named Horus, but there was a problem back then – characters where not transferable between servers.

Now, until the 06/08/2010 you can transfer your old characters for from the Ra server to Horus, free of charge for a limited time !
Read here on how to make the transfer.

There are also German and French servers but currently you cannot transfer your old characters to those servers.

For those of you who used to play this game years ago, now the game has improved a lot.
As you can see from the screenshots the graphic is excellent and now feature emotions !
Invasions also been recently introduced which add exciting new elements and improvements to the core gameplay of the game.

Screenshots

Regnum Online is a FREE TO PLAY (F2P) MMORPG inviting you to play with no level or time restrictions. All that is required is that you fight for your realm.
- Regnum offers 3 realms to choose from.
- 9 fully customizable player characters.
- An ever expanding number of quests.
- The ability to capture forts and castles.
- Expansive lands to explore.
- Glorious graphical environments in DirectX and OpenGL.
- Support for Windows and Linux platforms.
- Premium content is available for enhanced game play.

Links
Regnum Online
Guide on Transferring The Characters from Ra To Horus
NGD Studios

Breakthrough for Free Software Gaming–Ryzom Announces Full Release of Source Code and Artwork, and a Partnership with the Free Software Foundation to Host a Repository of the Game’s Artistic Assets.

PARIS, FRANCE, May 6, 2010 — Winch Gate Properties Ltd, the developer and publisher of massively-multiplayer online science-fantasy role playing games, is proud to announce the release of the source code and artistic assets of the popular MMORPG Ryzom to the Free Software Development Community.

Developers can now access the source code of the end-user client, content creation tools and server in order to make modifications, enhancements or to create their own virtual worlds. This move marks a milestone in Ryzom’s long history and dedication to the free software movement. In order to ensure that Ryzom continues to grow and foster as a free software project, Winch Gate is now releasing Ryzom under the terms of the Free Software Foundation’s GNU Affero General Public License.

Winch Gate is also excited to provide the free software community with high quality professional artistic assets including 3D objects, animation tracks, particle effects and thousands of textures. All of the Ryzom artistic assets will be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike to ensure that they and any derivative art will be available to all free software projects. These assets will be hosted in a new online repository in partnership with the Free Software Foundation.

By freeing Ryzom code, Winch Gate is transforming the MMORPG marketplace and is setting a precedent for how gaming software should evolve–in freedom. The source code released totals over two (2) million lines of source code and over 20,000 high quality textures and thousands of 3D objects.

Welcoming the news, Free Software Foundation executive director Peter Brown said, “This is a unique opportunity for the free software movement and the emerging free gaming field to accelerate the production of free games and 3D worlds. We recognize the importance of gaming and the current dominance of proprietary gaming software, so today represents a significant breakthrough from which our community can benefit.” The FSF has published more information about the scope of today’s release, and suggested ways for developers to get involved

Vianney Lecroart, Chief Technology Officer of Winch Gate says, “The Free Software community often has a difficult time finding great graphical assets that they can use in their own projects. We are sure that the thousands of textures and 3D objects we are releasing under the CC BY-SA will help a lot of Free Software projects.”

Winch Gate intends to incorporate certain code changes and enhancements into the official version of the Ryzom game. All code developed outside Winch Gate’s in-house development staff will be thoroughly reviewed to ensure quality standards, stability and security. In order to engage and foster growth in the Ryzom project, Ryzom will have a group of community managers who can manage patch submissions and feature requests. Support will continue to be given for the official Ryzom software only, with third-party projects unsupported by Winch Gate.

Initial projects will include bug fixes and porting to operating systems such as GNU/Linux and Apple Mac OS X. Timeframes for these enhancements will vary depending on the scale of the project and the project team. The level and world data associated with Ryzom will not be released as free content and their use will remain exclusive to players of the Ryzom game.

The source code and additional information will be available from the Ryzom Core Development Portal.

The Ryzom’s free media assets are available from Ryzom’s Asset Repository.

About Ryzom
Ryzom is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing or MMORPG Game set more than 3.000 years into the future, on a living, evolving virtual world: beautiful Atys, where after creating your own personal avatar you will guide it through this strange fantastic planet to uncover its mysteries.
The game boasts a unique science-fantasy setting, a distinctive and artistic visual style and a sophisticated plot based upon the conflict of two mysterious supernatural powers. The storyline was awarded “Mmorpg.com Best Story” award. Gameplay is highly adaptive to your personal preferences and the actions/skills system is remarkably unique, sophisticated and profound.
Ryzom Ring is the proprietary innovative free expansion that brings MMORPGs to a new level. Ryzom Ring allows you to create your own role-play and RPG Adventures on the world of Atys.

About Winch Gate
Winch Gate Properties Ltd is the developer and publisher of the massively-multiplayer online science fantasy role playing game Ryzom since 2009. Former employees from Nevrax joined the company to continue to work on Ryzom.

For more information contact:
Vianney Lecroart, Chief Technology Officer
vl@ryzom.com
irc: #ryzom on irc.freenode.net

Links
Announcement
MMORPG Ryzom
Free Software Foundation’s GNU Affero General Public License
Ryzom Core Development Portal
Ryzom’s Asset Repository

Thanks for rettichschnidi from the lgp IRC channel at the freenodes server for the news.

Fragoria is a Flash based web browser MMORPG with beautiful graphics and was available in Russian and German since 2008.
Now the English closed beta has been started and you can apply here.

Fragoria offers : classes, skills,leveling, pets, huge world, PvP, magic , crafting system and more !
And it’s all free to play !

Welcome to Fragoria, the epic flash-based Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) set in a fantasy world. Fragoria is a beautifully designed online game with real-time combat, however because it is a browser-based game you can play it without having to download a large client beforehand. Play it on any computer with access to the Internet!

In Fragoria you will travel through a vast medieval world full of various monsters, NPCs, and other players. Here you will find a rich storyline that weaves its way through a multitude of quests, building the world around you at every turn. During your experience you will customize your character, build up your skills, trade for better equipment, and raise a pet to become to become more powerful. As you advance your character you can join a guild and even PvP against other players.

Screenshots :

Doesn’t look bad for a Flash based web browser game … doesn’t it ?

Links
Fragoria
Apply for Beta

I had the pleasure to interview Konrad Kiss from Bitgap who is working on a new Sci-Fi MMORPG named Xenocell which I wrote about earlier.

This interview is very long and detailed – so i hope you will enjoy it at least as much as I did.

1. You have developed a web-based game in the past and you have listened to the proposals and suggestions of the community.
What have you learned from those players regarding making a good MMORPG ?

Droidarena was a game where the player had to create a virtual robot, program it using a simple AI language specifically created for that game, and send it to battle where it would confront other enemy robots.

When I started that game, I knew that I was targeting a rather specific group with it; – young hobby programmers. To my biggest surprise, Droidarena managed to draw in players of both genders and all ages. I recognized it only later, that it was due to the immense amount of communication options I’ve built into and around the game.

Back in around 2001 when Droidarena launched, there were no buzzwords such as social networking. I was still lucky enough to recognize the power of communication in time, and started expanding the game based on that. I fine-tuned the rules to encourage the formation of clans (corporations). I wanted players to feel like they belonged to their friends in their corporations. Within a single year, this resulted in a very strong and helpful community, which was very rewarding to see evolve.

I also learned that managing a community is best done by staying neutral and as much anonymous as I could. This formed a private line which players did not cross – I’d like to believe that it was out of respect partially for having created the game. In my opinion, together with a handful but exceptional GMs, that respect was the basis of being able to control a game with tens of thousands of players.

Of course I had to move quickly on bug reports, and deliver new features in time to keep the community satisfied and helpful. If you can’t make your players feel valued, then your game is pretty much doomed. I learned that the easy way, fortunately, thanks to an amazing, imaginative, helpful and luckily huge fan base.

2. Xenocell is being developed using the Torque3D engine which is not Linux friendly like their first Torque Game Engine yet you are planning to make a native Linux client, how are you planning to achieve this goal ? porting to Mac and re-port it to Linux ?

Being a GarageGames associate developer, I can see that there are steps being made to bring Torque 3D to the Linux platform. These are not guaranteed to succeed, but they are good signs of something moving forward.

While with their TGEA line GarageGames firmly rejected a Linux port of the engine, this is totally different with the brand new Torque 3D 1.0. Not only does it have better wrapped core features that generally make it a lot easier to port the engine under just about any platform, but the port to Linux itself is also supported by GarageGames and a number of community members.

I believe that we will see dedicated server features ported to Linux within 6 months. I also think that a Linux client is very likely to appear in the first half of 2010. To be fair, I need to mention, these are only my speculations, and are nothing official.

If a client wouldn’t happen soon by GarageGames or the rest of the Torque 3D developer community, we’d set more resources aside to deliver both Linux and a Mac clients by the end of 2010.

Since Linux’s OpenGL libraries are a lot more usable than those on the MacOS X, we are not likely to start a Linux port based on the Mac version. We’d probably go straight from Windows to Linux instead.

3. Except making Xenocell your company is also “migrating” games that use the Torque Game Engine to Torque Game Engine Advanced and T3D.
How long does it takes to port a game from TGE to TGEA and T3D ?
What are the benefits to the players and developers moving their games in the middle of development to other engine ?
And most importantly, will a Linux compatibility remains when porting from Torque to the later engines ?

Torque has changed a lot since the first versions of TGE were available sometime around early 2001. Fortunately, most of the porting is rarely from any of the ancient versions, although we did have one specific task where the code was from late 2005.

It usually takes about 10-20 days to port a Torque game, but it depends heavily on how modified the original engine was. It could add up to months even, or be done within a few days. All games are different. Though even if the source was not modified, and the game only uses the scripting aspect of Torque, the changes are usually numerous, and not all of them can be ported.

A port does not only require us to work on the game, but the developer as well. Things like terrain blocks usually need to be recreated. The material system is vast and full of new features that should be harnessed. A port often requires recreating most of the artwork by the developer, so it is not always an easy task.

To be honest, Linux compatibility was not required from us when doing a port so far. TGE was compatible with Linux, but TGEA broke that tradition. Only the latest version of TGEA, 1.8.1 opened towards MacOS X. Torque 3D was based on TGEA 1.8.1, and it did inherit the MacOS X compatibility, but neither of the engines after TGE support Linux yet.

Torque 3D shows great promise nonetheless. It has made it possible for independent developers to publish games on all major game platforms such as Nintendo’s Wii, Microsoft’s XBOX 360, Sony’s Playstation 3 and Apple’s iPhone. Understandably, these platforms enjoyed a higher priority than operating systems which are not known for being game platforms.

If a port is worth it? When the targeted platform is Windows only, the benefits are always worth the port. The engine is constantly evolving feature-wise. The basic lighting mode in Torque 3D that could be compared to TGE’s lighting gives many times the frame rate in some situations. That’s because the code that does the lighting is clearer, more optimized, and uses up-to-date techniques to do its job. Programming evolves just like any other profession, and it’s just perfectly desirable to make use of this advancement. If eye-candy and better resource management are not enough to convince a developer to upgrade to a better Torque engine, bugs are found and squashed with great response time from GarageGames. This alone is enough reason for me to take the extra time to port Xenocell to the latest version of Torque.

However, for many independent developers it is also a financial question whether to upgrade. Torque 3D costs many times the original price of TGE. Even considering this, I still believe that Torque 3D has a better feature over price ratio than TGE did. The recently released public demo version of Torque 3D might convince more TGE developers about its worth, and I’m hoping that people will start seeing Torque 3D as an AAA engine at an unbelievably low price instead of the successor of TGE. It is a completely different engine now.

4. You wrote that Xenocell won’t be like the other MMORPG games, what didn’t you like in the other MMORPG games and what have you changed in your game to make it unique ? what can you tell us about Xenocell ? – please be detailed.

I’ve been having the idea for Xenocell since sometime around 2003. There were a few big MMOs around, and I’ve always loved the idea of 32+ multiplayer games. I started with Everquest, played Lineage, World of Warcraft, probably all NCSoft games, Age of Conan, Tabula Rasa – you name it. I’ve probably played them all. But usually, with the exception of World of Warcraft, I just played them for a few months to see their what they added to the idea of an MMORPG.

What I’ve learned is that most of these games were about completing endless quests and leveling up. My goal each time was to level up to the next level. After a while, I stopped following the story, because it became boring. In some games, I could not use some of my features, because they were too complicated to learn, and were far from being intuitive enough for me to just make the right guess about them.

What I think Xenocell will be different in is that it will be a lot simpler. There will not be a hundred icons on the screen. You will not need to endlessly level up. The whole process of leveling up can be considered as a longer tutorial in the game. Upon reaching the maximum level of 20 within a few weeks, the player will have opened a great and vast dimension of new skills and abilities.

This game is not about questing. Although the base storyline is very important, the main idea behind the game is the player acting as one unit in a persistent RTS match fought by many clans in the same world.

Your clan leader might issue you and a few others to go on patrol to a resource site owned by your clan. Whether it gets attacked or not, that depends on enemy clans. Instead of NPC assigned static quests you receive commands that your superior commanders will give you. Everything you do for your clan will earn you something. You will still have the option to go out and grind mobs, but the point of the player’s role will be shifted from an adventurer to a soldier with active duty.

We did our best to come up with some improvements on the field of MMO AI. Since MMO game servers need to handle hundreds if not thousands of players, we realized that our initial plans to create more sophisticated AI were brave to say the least. However, we did manage to conjure up a system that will match up to most leading commercial MMOs. Soon after our launch, we will further enhance the AI side of the game by giving our NPCs active memories of players and their actions. This is supposed to supplement our faction system in a way that will be unique to an MMO so far. You will be able to have NPCs as your enemies or friends, and be attacked by them on sight, or be able to call for their help when in trouble. They will take a vehicle and join you for a limited time to fight by your side if you want.

Another thing I haven’t sen anywhere is our skills system. Players can gather a huge number of skills from the DNA of animals and plants. So in essence, you will have access to hundreds of skills, but will only be able to store about 20 in your own body. Even from those 20, you will have to choose 8 skills that you will want concentrate on, that is, the ones that you will use at any time. You will be able to rearrange those 8 skills when not in combat.

It will be different to find two players with the same active skill set. This system will add a new level of strategy, to which I’ve only seen something remotely similar in Guild Wars.

Finally, I also would like to mention, that Xenocell will introduce a new layer of communication in the game. I can not yet offer more details about this aspect, though I can tell that the way we’ll use the power of player-player communication is a unique one that has not yet been introduced to any MMOs as far as I know.

5. Most MMORPG games that I know about enforce “powerplaying” and “fast leveling” because if your hero is weak he will have a very hard time facing stronger players in PvP areas.
Does Xenocell also “enforce” fast leveling or a low level character could also help, survive and enjoy the game ?

On one hand, Xenocell has limited leveling. The player will be able to gather a lot more items and abilities once the highest level is reached, yet the road there will not be a long and hard one – the very opposite. It will probably take less than a week for hardcore players, and a month at most for any average player.

We wanted to have leveling only until the player feels familiar with the game and its world. Experience levels serve as a protection of some sort against players that reached the maximum level – where the game begins. In this regard, lower level players will have certain defenses against higher level players that do not apply between level 20 veterans.

Low level players will also have their own PvP areas. They will not be able to reach enemy territory only until they can likely defend themselves, but they will be able to enter Clan versus Clan zones from the beginning if they want to do so.

Clans will want to continually have lower level players in their ranks, since these players will be able to join fights for common resources. While these resources are abundant, they can only be defended by players of up to a certain level. Alternatively, a common resource site can be attacked or protected by higher level players, but only with very serious drawbacks.

Solo play will also be encouraged. Only scout class players and solo players will be able to retrieve access cards to a clan’s resource silo. This access card is required when one clan attacks another’s resource site. This is a process that must start with one player and probably ends with two clans clashing for control of the said resource.

All in all, I believe that we managed to design a system where every player is important – no matter what level or class he or she is. I think this will let more players enjoy the game in the long term.

6. In most MMORPG’s that I’ve seen the quests are very simple and boring : go to X, kill 15 Y, speak to Z to get the reward.
What can you tell us about the quests in Xenocell ? how different would they be from other MMORPG’s ?

Some of our quests will be much like those you see in other MMOs. Although in-game events will constantly alter these quests, they will be there there. On one hand, this is a method that connects this game with other MMOs. On the other hand, it is a great way to tell a story.

What’s going to be more exciting is the way we solved quests that are given out by players to players. We call them orders, and they bring bonuses to both the issuing player and the one completing the order.

Say, if you are a commander of a clan, you will receive bonuses for controlling more resources, so your task will be making your soldiers take over an enemy silo. You can make them do that by assigning them quests, such as “Get an access card to an enemy silo.”, “Hack the defense system of this silo using this access card.” or eventually “Win this resource site for our team.”. These sentences are very simplified, but it all boils down to this. You will also be able to gain ranks via completing orders.

There’s another quest system in development that will automatically assign headhunter quests. Players will be assigned to hunt one another down within a given time frame. This is of course if both players accept the quest. Whoever kills the other player first will win the quest. The time we’re thinking of is hours, not minutes. Any two online players of the same level from different factions will be chosen automatically and offered the possibility via signing up to be available for such a quest. One to be the victim who needs to survive and the other who is the hunter. They will need to find each other through a number of means – asking NPCs, using terminals or reports from spy drones. It sounds very exciting to me, since I personally enjoy solo PvP a lot.

7. From what I understand from your website, Xenocell will be pay to play based on monthly fee, will you also include a free to play options ?

We have not yet finalized the method of payments yet. It is also possible that instead of the monthly fee, the game will only have micro-transactions. Or both ways.

What’s certain is that the game will be playable free of charge. If you want to start another character, that might cost you the price of a burger. If you want to use some special vehicle or weapon, you might need to get a license for that or be a premium subscriber.

It’s too early to say more about what the limitations of a free to play character would be, but I would want it to be able to play the game without any level restriction.

Right now, we are preparing for every possibility tech-wise, so when we make our final decision, it will not be constrained by technical difficulties. We want to be able to handle both recurring and micro payments, so we will be able to decide just before we launch the game, after taking a step back and having a final look at what we have accomplished.

8. What classes and unique abilities will there be in Xenocell ? please explain in detail about them.

The game begins with a human colonization space vessel crash-landing on an alien planet. The starter classes are much the same as any job you’d have on a spaceship or within a young colony. There are five base classes.

Marines provide high damage per second from powerful and heavy weapons and are built to be at the front line of intense battles. Scouts remain unseen, providing moderate damage from a long range, or using fast weapons to get a high number of shots in. The job of the Pilot is to get from one location to another as fast as possible, with all personnel and material belongings safe and sound. The technological advances and technical capability of the Scientist is not to be underestimated, especially on the psionic battlefield. Lastly, behind the enemy lines, the true masters of life and death are the Medics, who maintain and strengthen the Human machine.

At level 10, each player can further specialize by choosing a subclass. Subclasses build on the original classes, but get additional bonuses to certain tasks. Let’s see them one by one.

Marine subclasses remain the best choice for direct combat. Special Ops are the best types of Marines to have in a party; they can take damage, they can deal damage, and they are easily motivated when supported by numerous allies. Paratroopers walk alone, and are not the type that you want to cross. They gain different kinds of bonuses when they are not in a team. Lastly, Bions are literally war machines. They are physically formidable beings capable of wielding the most powerful weaponry. They excessively use implants to boost their mostly physical powers.

Scout subclasses are the masters of infiltration. Snipers excel in finding a target, ending it permanently, and leaving no traces behind. Infiltrators have the mastery of psionics that they need to remain entirely unseen as they demolish their enemy’s last hopes. Lastly, a class that comes from the Droidarena universe, the Decker. Deckers have become well versed in electronics and code, as well as learning what makes nearly everything tick. Being able to hack defenses, they are a key class when starting an offensive on an enemy resource site.

Pilots subclasses will probably be a very popular choice. Combat Pilots are the hardiest of all Pilots, coming close to being a Marine in combat capability, while being able to control flying vehicles in battle. Carrier Pilots are your best bets for long range transport and hauling. This includes the skills to transport an entire team! Finally, Navigators are the masterminds of multi-tasking and massive vehicle maintenance. The biggest and baddest of all vehicles are commanded by Navigators.

While crafting will be available without having to choose a profession, Scientist subclasses will be able to create plans and craft better items. Researchers are the ones that do all of the analysis and testing of theories and new devices, as well as the ones who get to play with the most interesting of toys from the extraterrestrial races. Engineers are the premier minds behind manufacture and production, both at the personnel level and at the architectural level. They are a sought-after class when clan structures need to be built or repaired. Masters of the science and art of psionics, Adepts bring to mind the old saying, “Sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic.” Few can combat the raw psionic force of an Adept.

Although Medics are the healers of Xenocell, its subclasses can go other routes. Combat Surgeons are one of the most frightening combatants to come up against. Their array of quick healing skills, enhancement type psionics, and vicious combat prowess, makes them hard to defeat. The job of the Biotechnician is to make the best better. Cutting edge Biotechnology, performance enhancing substances and implants, and anti-Biotech/cyborg psionic abilities make Biotechnicians the most skilled of all doctors. Wounds and injuries previously believed to be untreatable are within the reach of the Mentalist’s healing. Mutilated limbs, rended organs, even fatal diseases… all curable by the psionic powers of a well equipped Mentalist.

9. In Xenocell a player can own cars/planes/ships and other stuff.
Can you please explain how it works ? how the player acquires those items ? for how long do they stay in players control ?

Acquiring vehicles in Xenocell can be in different ways. Most smaller vehicles without turrets can be purchased by the player. Other vehicles require licenses to drive and are accessible to pilots only. These vehicles are usually the ones that can carry more personnel or can serve as a clan base.

With the exception of a few vehicles, the player can “summon” his vehicles at any time when on open terrain. The vehicle is then hauled from a nearby base to the player’s position in a few seconds.

The player starts driving the vehicle until he exits the vehicle, or the vehicle is destroyed. If the vehicle is destroyed, it’s “summon” skill will have a long cooldown until the vehicle can be summoned again, so it’s a good idea to look after your vehicle in battle. However, you can have several vehicles at your disposal, but each of the “summon” skills take up one slot from your 8 skill slots.

When using vehicles, players lose their skill bar, and the vehicle’s own skill bar is shown. Through upgrades, players will be able to add new skills to their vehicles. This includes mounting a turret on a jeep, or upgrading it with Nitrous-Oxide. All vehicles have a certain number of free skill slots. When these slots are all used, no more upgrades can be used on a vehicle.

There are different kinds of vehicles. Jeeps, tanks, planes, gunships, APC-s, bikes, jet-packs and so on.. Of course, there’s no use to a vehicle, when you need to infiltrate an enemy underground base.

10. In Xenocell website I’ve noticed a remark about players ability to change and influence the world, can you tell us more about this ?
To what degree a player can change the world in a MMORPG game ?

We are finishing a system that will monitor a player’s acts. It will judge the player and try to assign points to the player towards being good or bad in a specific situation. We will globally monitor responses to the game world by the players, and create game events that will alter the existing scene.

Such an example would be a captain that would ask your help with the construction of a special rifle. You could steal the rifle or you could help him. If many people stole the rifle, the guy would go broke, and look for another profession. If more players would help him with the rifle, he would start a store and a tuned-up version of the rifle would end up in his store for a reasonable price.

Of course this would apply on a more global scale as well. Alternately, this would decide what the sequel to the first chapter of the game would be. There’s an alien conspiracy to be discovered, and at the end, probably not long after reaching level 20, the player will have to make a choice. If many players choose one ending over another when completing the main story line, very drastic events will happen within a few months. I’d really love to tell you more about it, but I’d be spoiling the game for our players, so I better not disclose the details of the end of the storyline.

We are also looking into letting CvC areas be destroyable in a sense. We’d like to see craters caused by huge explosions. Eventually these anomalies would disappear within hours or minutes, but in the meantime they’d reshape the scene in a way that could be used strategically. For now, we will not include this feature, but we are actively working on it!

Thank you very much for the interview.

And thank you Konrad Kiss for your superb answers, can’t wait to play Xenocell !

Xenocell is unconventional sci-fi MMORPG which uses the Torque 3D engine and will be available trough monthly subscription, but other free to play options might be available.
Bitgap intends to port this game to GNU/Linux, but it won’t be on lunch day (probably after the Mac client).
The game is set to launch at 2010.

About the game
“The game is an unconventional MMORPG. MMORPG stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. We did our best to design a game that”s incredibly fun to play, introduces a brand new side of MMOs, while giving more to the player than grinding through static quest lines of the same type over and over again. No any two players will experience the same game, the same events and the same tasks that lie ahead.

Xenocell is a sci-fi game that plays in the near future.
After mankind”s first attempt to reach for the stars, upon entering the target system, our flagship, the UNS Eden is forced to crash land on the harsh alien world of Ibelis – because of reasons unknown at the time.

As a survivor, your primary role will be staying alive in the unfriendly environment. The planet”s wildlife, the weather, and even other survivors will risk your life continously. However, by gradually evolving yourself through the help of the DNA of the local wildlife, you will not only be able to survive on the harsh planet, but you will also gain abilities that surpass those of humans – both physically and mentally. They say it”s like crack, you get addicted once you see your own evolution take place before your very eyes. The way it goes is your call, and yours alone – choose between several dozens of special abilities and new senses, like running, jumping, night vision, heat vision, improved hearing, or even psi and telekinesis. We keep the fun ones to tell later.

Not much time will pass before you realize: to stay alive, you will need much more than alien DNA.
You will need to build huge machines of war to fight even your very own kind for the scarce resources, raw materials and relics that are spread throughout the planet.

However, you will probably not be able to do this alone. You will befriend mercenaries thoughout your journeys. Hell, even you might become one to make a living. Gather friends to form squads, or even dreaded clans and families. As you go up the ranks, accept and assign tasks, quests and orders.

Build a huge base of operations, and start making weapons in your factories. Research new blueprints, and with the right knowledge and resources, you and your ones will be creating armored vehicles, automated sentry guns, and a vast arsenal of other weapons to use in the war for survival.

Will you be a pilot, or would you rather surprise the enemy in your oldschool M1 Abrams tank? You also could just go in before the battle begins, and recon the target. Maybe to take care of the defense sentry guns that protect the entrance to that extractor, so your clan can raid it with everything you got soon after. Upon a successful raid, you claim the extractor”s raw materials for your people, making new blueprints become available for research. There”s a really exciting team vs. team aspect in our game, which we find truly unique.

Some survivors believe that raw materials are the only way off the planet. Others think there”s more to this lump of mud than what first meets the eye. Huge, strange buildings can be found in the desert, and recently a quake revealed the entrance to some ancient complex. The alien monorail that survivors started using to travel over the desert was not made by humans, yet the survivors managed to breath life into it, making traveling a unique experience for those who can not yet afford a chopper, a jeep or even a hoverblade.

The war upon the night sky will always remind you, that there are others around. Others, who might be the very reason you are trapped on this planet. You could choose to investigate, but that will take you down a path from where there”s no turning back. What are the chances of a peaceful first encounter with a sentient alien species? You might believe that one man can change the world. You could be right…

I know you have already been told a thousand times before, that a specific game world is “alive”. Game companies like to use that phrase often. Believe me, nothing has been so “alive” as much as we plan Xenocell to become. Your actions in the game affect your connections to all kinds of beings. You can gather friends and enemies, who will fight you, or who will fight by you.
If you do not plan to live by the big book of ethics, make sure you leave no witnesses to your unlawful actions – better not let a rumor start about things that didn”t happen, right?”

Screenshots :

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Game Website
Bitgap

Poisonville which is developed by Bigpoint is a Java based MMORPG Browser game that uses the FREE jmonkey engine

Poisonville is heavily inspired by GTA, here you also can steal cars,drive motorcycles, fly helicopters, shoot people, complete missions, buy stuff, rob stuff and off course go to strip clubs to spend the stuff ;)

Poisonville’s development budget was around 1 Million Euros which is seen in the impressive for a web based game screenshots.
It’s the first browser based game that uses motioncapturing for animation
The game offers high quality texture and models and at the same time requires only 64k Internet connection to work fluently.
The game will be free to play buy paying costumers can achieve the same goals faster.
The game is currently in closed beta.

Poisonville is a “Free Roaming Action MMORPG” running directly from a browser without additional plugins or downloads.

Poisonville is a fictional american city where crime and corruption are daily business. The city is divided between four gangs who crave for domination and the Police has a hard to time to keep the order, mostly because they’ve been paid to look the other way.

The player returns after 10 years to regain reputation and respect within his old gang but also to make new connections and friends.

Heists, Deliveries, Retrieval and Neutralize Missions are just a few of the “jobs” the player can accept and fulfill using all kinds of vehicles from bike and choppers over jetskis, cars and trucks – the support of his/her gangmembers always asured as long as the karma stays positive. The players actions and behaviour are taken into account when it comes to reputation and respect within Poisonville.

The players appearance also plays a big role when it comes to reputation: the better you dress, the better your chances to get the more classy jobs and the higher the interest of the opposite sex.

Screenshots :

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Website

jmonkey engine forum thread

Syndicate-Online is a Sci-Fi MMORPG currently in development using the amazing Unigine game engine which is cross platform – so a GNU/Linux port is very possible.

About the game :

The Idea
“Syndicate-online” – the massively multiplayer online game where thousands of players can live and communicate with each other in the unique game world in real time mode. They strike up new acquaintances, can trade with each other, fight or simply communicate. Our players can enter the bright 3D world with seamless game space where they can influence the further development of a subject-line. The game is targeted for the wide audience, but first of all it will be interesting for fans of bright and dynamic PvP.

Key features of the game:

  • Unique SCI FI setting. The large technologically developed city of the future that consists of set of unique regions harmonically combines the elements of the modern world and cyber punk.
  • Gameplay basis. Great PvP (player vs. player) fights: unions of players can capture and control strategically important regions and city objects thus influencing the realignment of forces and the further development of the game world.
  • Unique economical system. To learn more – follow the previews!
  • The advanced technological possibilities of a client part are based on the next-gen engine Uningine. In a combination with the well-thought-out game-design players can have a variety of fascinating and easy-to-use game services.
  • Absolutely free game. The client part of the game is shareware and you don’t have to pay for game time!
  • In the nearest plans of developers – to provide the maximum stability of the client and the server, working out the variety of interesting and convenient game services, support game community and dynamically interact with it.

The World
If you are tired from the classical fantasy-worlds that have too much in common and if you wish to plunge into the world of high technologies, unusual interlacing of the reality and fantasy – the world of “Syndicate-online” gives you such chance.

The game world combines set of original elements of the cyber-punk, science fiction, mysticism which fancifully intertwine, forming the changing and mysterious world. The action is taken place in the territory of megapolis.

The development of informational systems and great technological potential against a planetary energetic crisis leads to the creation of a huge megapolis in which civilization centers are concentrated.

The megapolis is an original stronghold of a mankind’s civilisation in which fully automatic life-support systems give society the chance to choose the way whether it can transform into the new quality of existence or to die.

Megapolis as the game environment consists of set of unique areas. The large city of the future with the developed infrastructure, unusual transport facilities, magnificent shopping malls, luxury restaurants, night clubs and casinos represents the ultramodern, technologically developed city with futurism and cyber-punk elements.

Communication systems are represented not only with the traditional transportation – port, railway, metro, but also with high-technology ways of transport – spaceport, ram wing machines, systems of teleportation. Alongside with the luxury of rich ultramodern blocks that belong to large corporations, the city is steeped in poverty and despair, violence and corruption, the uncontrolled strive for profit and power. The place where the incredible amount of resources is concentrated becomes the battle area of two outlooks each of them has its own forceful arguments. You have to choose on which side to act in this conflict. Probably your choice will be decisive on the wages of distribution of power over megapolis and destinies of millions of its inhabitants.

Races.
Before you start playing «Syndicate-online» you should choose what character to play and for what outlook you will battle. Each of the presented classes is unique and can reach the highest level of its professionalism in this or that specialization. Choosing the side you should battle for determines specific traits of this or that game class.

Neovitals – once ruling caste seeking to restore its influence and power proclaims the idea of pureness of human race, preservation of genofond pureness, principles of scientific and technical rationality. The basic feature of the Neovitals militarized groups is the use of robotics and specially devised exo-skeleton armour. Despite their small number Neovitals represent the severe fighting force united by an overall aim. Using the technology of cloning allows Neovitals to restore killed in action soldiers. There are 3 basic specializations:

Implanters – a new branch in human evolution that had proved its right for freedom of choice. They proclaimed the idea of overman as a symbiosis of the cybernetic implants and live human body. Indisputable implanters’ advantage is the use of a great variety of cyber-implants which have been specially created for combat. Using new types of weapon lethal for people from flesh and blood implanters possess really destructive potential. There are 3 basic specializations.

Screenshots :

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Website

Forum (Russian)