Reakktor Media's Black
, published by gamigo, may be one of the most
anticipated MMOGs coming up in the free-to-play market. Our fans here
at Ten Ton Hammer have liked what they've seen so far and have made it
clear they want to see more. We stopped by the gamigo booth at gamescom
this year to check in with gamigo PR Manager, Dennis Hartmann. Dennis
took us through a demo of the game to show off its features, and boy,
did it have a lot of features.
Starting from the logical beginning, we saw character creation. Even
though you'll be flying a ship for most of your career in Black Prophecy
will still be able to create a 3D model of your character avatar. The
options are plenty from piercings to width and tone; standard for many
MMORPGs, but maybe not so standard in a space combat MMOG.
From there we saw some beginning missions. Players will start at a
Portal which contains nine missions. The first of these will teach the
player how to interact with the game: basic tutorials on how to shoot
and aim. The treat during these and other missions are the game's
cutscenes. Though rendered with the game client, the story does evolve
and changing camera angles put to use with a powerfully epic musical
score rivaling that of any feature film set the mood quickly and quite
effectively. Full voice-overs will compliment the cutscenes.
Inside a space station
Without giving away the story, the first cutscene we watched put us
into a defensive turret to protect our colony ship from attack. The
turret was static, placed securely atop a large vessel, but that didn't
at all put a dent in the feel of raw sci-fi combat. Hartmann fired the
turret at dozens of intruding ships which approached wave after wave.
Radar and HUD displays assisted with aiming as enemies were blown out
of the sky in a rapid show of fireworks. The camera angles available
reinforced the game's overall theme of action, arcade and simulator all
rolled into one. Players can select from simple views where only the
HUD is displayed for a minimalistic view, or one of the interior of the
turret, which renders nicely the inside of the pit along with
protective windowpanes and panels. Near the end of the mission the
attacking battleship will approach, where turrets of its own need to be
attacked before the final climax of the destruction of the enemy
After the tutorial shooting missions players will then select their
faction and receive their first ship. The next missions will teach
gamers how to fly their newly acquired ships. Again, several views are
available in the main gameplay of Black
and players can switch between cockpit, first
person and third person views.
The environmental objects in the game set the mood and develop the
universe's setting. From space docks to eateries to adult entertainment
builds a believable society within the game. It's
not all about blowing stuff up and exploration can be an enjoyable
treat within the game. To illustrate further, Hermann then took us to
an icy galaxy where all the asteroids and planets were packed in
closely and he navigated through the crystalline galaxy. It was
breathtaking, but also very dangerous as it was easy to see how one
could get lost and end up in a collision or worse.
Next we took a look at the stations in which players will be able to
upgrade their ships and perform crafting. Though not planned for
launch, Reakktor does intend to allow players to walk around the
stations in the future. Here players can also find more missions for
solo or group play. The group size has changed, now allowing up to ten
players in a single group. The most captivating part of the station was
its clan missions. These missions will allow a clan to join together
for what can only be described as an epic battle. Battleships will be
deployed, which will have several wings. These wings can then be
assigned different roles. For example, one wing will be charged with
defense of the battleship while another wing will be on patrol duty,
engaging dogfights with patrolling enemies. Heavy fighters
could be sent in to attack the opposing battleship. Clan missions are
designed to be intense and strategic and will require good team
coordination to accomplish.
Mods to a player ship will affect not only its combat and defensive
power, but also its maneuverability. Heavy ships will be slow and heavy
but will be well armored. Lighter ships will be more agile but will be
able to take fewer hits. As modifications are applied to the ship in
terms of weaponry, engines or armor, the appearance of the ship will
change as well. The higher level the modification, the greater the
change in appearance. In addition, the item shop will contain some
visual-only modifications for player ships. The options are many, so
the look of player ships will vary greatly.
Fast, gorgeous space
Crafting is done by obtaining blueprints from enemies. With these
blueprints components will need to be gathered and then can be
assembled to make various items including ship modifications. The
components will be available as loot from enemies as well as collected
at resource stations. Resource stations will be contested and clans can
fight for control. The more powerful the clan, the more resources, and
the better the items and mods they'll be able to manufacture. Crafting
is a bit of a gamble in the way that if you fail at your attempt you
will lose all your resources, but retain the blueprint for another
attempt. This system will prevent mass manufacturing and also provoke
players into a sense of need for control over the resource stations. On
the other hand, critical successes are a part of crafting too, which
will occasionally cause crafted items to be far superior than planned.
Insurance will be available if players don't want to risk losing their
The PvP zones will contain NPCs to fight, so there will be some extra
strategy involved when entering the zones. NPCs also serve the purpose
of guaranteeing there will always be a battle to be had, whether there
are opposing players in the area or not.
There is currently no death penalty in the game. Downed players will
simply respawn near their death point. Discussions are in place about
whether or not to include a penalty.
It's not hard to see what our readers are excited about. Black Prophecy
promises to be a full-featured space combat MMOG with plenty to do and
even more to see.
The next wave of beta testers will be invited in late September with
open beta scheduled for November and the game will be available in
German and English at launch. Servers will be available in both North
America and in Europe to ensure good ping times for players.