Exclusive Warrior Epic Interview - Whispers of Hope

When Warrior Epic, the upcoming MMO from Possibility Space
When Warrior Epic, the upcoming MMO from Possibility Space and True Games, went into closed beta testing a few months ago, players clamored to get into the game and really try out the many systems touted by the WE developers. Now the game is nearing completion and the developers are preparing to open their doors to the public sometime in 2009. Ten Ton Hammer's Danny "Ralsu" Gourley has been following the game in every step of the development process, and he recently had an opportunity to chat with Brice Lucas, Senior Web Designer/Developer and Community Manager for WE, to check up on the progress of the game and find out the nitty-gritty details behind some of the combat systems in the MMO. Enjoy!

Ten Ton Hammer: How did the alliance between Possibility Space and True Games come about, and what does this mean for the development of Warrior Epic?

Brice Lucas, Senior Web Designer/Developer and Community Manager

Brice Lucas: Gage and Bob, the CEO’s of Possibility Space and TGI were introduced by mutual friends and, after some lengthy conversations, it was determined that the culture, direction, and overall goals of both of our companies were aligned.  I have had the pleasure of working for Possibility Space and TGI and can say that the partnership will enable us to not only make Warrior Epic a better game, but to also expand on the way that we interact with our community. 

Ten Ton Hammer: What is the focus for the team as the start of open beta approaches, and how has input from the closed beta testers affected the game?

Brice: Our core focus will be getting a high ACU (Active Concurrent Users) on our servers and fixing any major bugs prior to an official release.

Our closed beta was awesome, primarily because of the unfiltered feedback that we got from our users.  Playing with the community in person enabled us to get some incredibly valuable information.  Everyone wanted to help us make our game into something that they would love. While individual feedback would sometimes deviate a bit from what was possible, there was a certain degree of consistency in the overall consensus regarding certain aspects of our game.  When there is consistency among the views of thousands, you can safely wager that making the appropriate changes would be well received.

While open beta is planned, True Games will first re-launch closed beta in February to gauge the overall quality of the player experience.  We humbly hope that players from our first CBT will return to test our improvements and changes to the game.

Ten Ton Hammer: In past gameplay videos (like the old trailer), Warrior Epic has looked like a dungeon crawler. Can we expect to collect a lot of loot and that doing so will be one of the driving forces in the game?

Brice: There will be tons of loot in Warrior Epic, and an insane level of customization for just about everything you find… but Warrior Epic is not focused on grinding and looting. Our game is focused on playing with friends and kicking their asses in PvP or using strategy to make it through a quest.  In typical RPG’s you just keep finding gear that does more and more damage to whatever enemy you hit it with.  In our game, new weapons and equipment will enable you to formulate new strategies for existing or yet to be hired warriors thereby giving you a different experience depending on what you have equipped and whom you have it equipped on.

An exclusive look at a Warrior Epic player character.

Ten Ton Hammer: Speaking of the videos, the new video kicks ass. It portends drama and makes the upcoming action in the game all the more appealing. Will the story be very deep for Warrior Epic? It’s usually secondary in dungeon crawlers.

Brice: I’m glad you love the new videos, we worked hard on them.  The world of Warrior Epic is still in its infancy stages, but will be fully realized as the game develops.  We really want our players to be immersed in the lore and culture of the game and that can only be done through great story telling.  As an example, I have included one of the short stories from the game.   

Ten Ton Hammer: One more question based from videos. The Faustus video seemed to show off the art style of Warrior Epic and some of the dungeons. Can you tell us more about the decision behind the art style and how varied the locations we see in the game will be?

Brice: I have always said that we have some of the most amazing artists working on our game… and with Feng coordinating the creative direction of our team; it is definitely turning out to be very unique.  I love the variety of monsters being put into Warrior Epic.  Everyone has heard of ogres and dragons… but who has heard of a Slonard?  The game is thick with creativity… it permeates everything, especially some of the locales.  Every environment in Warrior Epic will offer up a completely different experience than the others.  The beasts will be different, meaning that you will have to re-think how you approach a quest with any particular warrior.  Who will you bring?  What will you equip them with?  You will really have to master the environments before you are able to be a truly effective player. 

The Warrior Hall is a key element of your character progression in Warrior Epic.

Ten Ton Hammer: How will the combat work? Will it be action-based or turn-based? Why?

Brice: Our combat system is a prime example of us responding to the wishes of our community.  In earlier builds of the game, we used a turn-based system that did work well but also removed some of the player interaction from the game.  In heeding our community’s requests, we decided to go real time… which gives you quite a bit more control over combat situations in the game.

Ten Ton Hammer: One of the highly-touted features of WE is the Warrior Spirit System, which allows players to place the spirits of their deceased warriors into their weapons to unleash powerful special attacks. How has this system been refined since its inception?

Brice: The spirit system feature is bananas.  Initially, the mechanics of it were limited to equipping the spirits of up to three fallen warriors onto your chosen hero prior to going into battle and summoning them in times of need to devastate all they touched.  However, we have now expanded the system to include a spirit weapon infusion mechanic.  Basically, every weapon and piece of equipment in Warrior Epic can be leveled up by infusing the spirits of fallen warriors into them.  These infusions not only increase the base stats of the gear, they also add entirely new attributes… cosmetic and functional.  

Ten Ton Hammer: Another key feature of WE is the Warrior Hall. How customizable are these halls, and how many warriors will we be able to house in it? Can other players visit our Warrior Hall?

Brice: All quests are launched from a single Warrior Hall.  Meaning, if a group is meeting up for a quest, campaign run, or PvP match… they will do so in one player’s hall.  The halls are incredibly customizable and can make or break a group.  In other games, your strength is typically defined by how much of a badass your most powerful warrior is… but in Warrior Epic it’s all about the hall.  Building on an armory, apothecary, or shooting range will increase the effectiveness of EVERYONE’s warriors when they quest from your fortress.  They will be able to see your trophies and your accomplishments while they are part of your group, so if your castle makes you look like a titan… people will be more likely to play with you.

With Warrior Epic, players will be able to download portions of the game via a type of peer-to-peer system.

Ten Ton Hammer: The Download on Demand feature that allows gamers to download the game in pieces as they need it in a sort of peer-to-peer system is listed on the updated website. Is it safe to assume that early testing of that feature went well? How big is the full client, and will a full download option be available?

Brice: Testing the DoD system went well during the first CB.  We were able to isolate many bugs and fix them accordingly… especially during the Play Days.  The full client currently sits around 1GB (gigabyte) and will be available as an alternative download option on the official site.

Ten Ton Hammer: We know the gates for WE open in 2009. Will players be able to get in without invitation (is it a true open beta), and will you group with us on the first night?

Brice: Of course I will group with you guys on the first night!  There will be another Closed Beta due out VERY soon, after which we will jump into Open Beta and proceed to the full launch.  Be sure to hit me up in the new forums next month and stop by our IRC channel sometime.

Ten Ton Hammer: Finally, WE currently sits at the number seven spot in my Top Ten Free-to-Play Games based on its features and the awesome job the Possibility Space team did in interacting with the community before the old forums closed. How do you think the game will compare to the other titles on that list?

Brice: Warrior Epic will offer something completely different than the other games on your list.  The micro-transaction market has a LOT of room to grow and I am excited to see that genre diversify with new and exciting titles.  We are here to show the world that you don’t need a bloated, $40 million budget to make an excellent game and that micro-transaction based models are not only a viable business model in western markets, but that it can be done well without exposing users to progress locks or subscription fees.

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