by Cameron "Aelryn" Sorden
My adrenaline is pumping and my hands are sweaty from killing the opposing lone guard with a particularly nasty and devastating combo attack. He never had a chance. I turn left-- no one. I turn right-- all clear. I grab the crystal and start charging back to my base, weighted down by the shimmering chunks of rock which have sprouted all over my body, the Fury equivalent of painting a giant red target on my back. Seemingly out of nowhere, three enemies leap at me! Fortunately, my backup is close by. She freezes them in place with a rooting attack and their ranged damage isn’t quite powerful enough to take me down as I slide the fourth and final crystal into our base, winning the match!
Adam joins my team and shows me the ropes at the PAX Fury terminals.
It’s easy to explain Fury. It’s fast-paced, no holds barred action. You move fast, act fast, kill fast, and die fast. Also, you don’t waste any time recovering health and mana or sitting around with resurrection penalties. You’re back in the game fast. At PAX 2007, I got to sit down and get a quick and dirty introduction to Fury with a demo walkthrough and then a hands-on with an especially deadly and nasty build put together by Adam Carpenter himself.
Adam describes Fury best in his own words, though: “What we really tried to do with Fury was create a new genre by blending the best of the FPS with the best of the RPG elements together and make something new and fresh. It’s the fastest RPG on the market. Ninety percent of the abilities in the game are instant-cast with a one second global cooldown, so you’re focusing on mental twitch, not physical. You’re evaluating your situation, your team’s situation, what’s going on around you—situational awareness is key.”
Fury really is a new genre unto itself. It feels like an FPS but goes far deeper than your average session of Halo 2 or Unreal Tournament. The depth comes mostly from the staggering array of abilities you can choose for your character and the different builds that you can create. Many mid-level abilities are tied to specific weapon classes and the highest abilities are tied to specific weapons. A high level swordsman will play much differently than a high level spearman. But if you get whipped by a high level spearman and decide he’s pretty cool, you can just rebuild your character into a spearman—that’s the fluid beauty of Fury.
Tactical combat is very important in Fury. Do you stand and fight or run for help? Either way can mean a quick death, depending on your opponent.
Adam discussed some of the design ideas behind the unique system with us: “We’ve removed the mana bar in Fury, because in most games mana is like the ‘fun bar.’ When you run out of mana it’s time to sit down, shut up, and regen. But mana also creates decision-making. So what we had to do was add what we call the metagame. It’s a system of charged opposing axes where you have the energy axis, which is fire and water, and then the form axis, which is nature and air. As you use charge abilities your axes will build. So if you use water skills, your blue water bar will increase. As your water axis increases, your water skills become stronger and your fire skills become weaker. Then you have consumption abilities which will do more damage and be more effective than regular skills but require charges to use, so at a very simple level it’s sustained DPS versus burst DPS.”
It gets even better though, because the charge system goes deeper than that. Adam continued, “At a more complicated level, you have abilities like Lure Water, which will rip all the blue charges off of somebody. That not only deprives my opponent of those charges, but gives me a few options: I can use those for abilities, or dump them on an ally for him to use, or throw them onto an enemy with a fire focus to weaken his skills (since the charges oppose his primary element). There’s a really nasty skill called ‘Magnetize’ that swaps the polarity of an opponent’s charges, which can either play havoc with his abilities or provide you with charges of a different element to steal.”
I felt the FURY!
After showing me a few matches with his current favorite build, a monk-type character designed to build up nature and water charges and then unload them at close range, Adam let me sit down and take the reins. He explained that there were a few different play variants and that I was playing the Fury version of capture the flag, which consisted of finding crystals and returning them to your base. The first team to gather four crystals won. But it wasn’t just about gathering… you could also steal your opponents’ crystals from their base and use them in your own—a very effective strategy.
The first thing you’ll notice is that this is a game with a lot of movement. You’ll be playing in three dimensions, often using ranged attacks from different levels until your opponents can close the distance with a devastating melee attack. Firing on the run isn’t always the best strategy, though. You take more damage when on the move, so sometimes you’re better off standing and fighting with your own melee attacks when the enemy shows up. Don’t expect people to be jumping around like lunatics, either. The Fury developers hate that guy as much as you do, so most skills can’t be used while you’re in the air. Knockback is a very effective tactic for that same reason.
I ran out into the field, my blood pumping, and after a brief exchange I was quickly slaughtered. No big deal though—the only sting death has in Fury is the shame of dying. I hopped right back into the action and got cracking. A few more combat exchanges and I started getting a feel for the build. Adam was right—his character kicked some serious ass. Three matches later, I was hooked. Fury is a game with some real cojones, and if you want something a little more pulse-pounding than your average MMO and with as much strategy as Guild Wars, Fury is it. Sit down with some good friends, crack some dew, and give it a chance in the upcoming beta event. Odds are good that you’ll be feeling the Fury.
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