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Action MMO | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 10/30/08)  | Pub:Nexon America Inc.
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Developer Journals: Making a Strategic Game - Planning Ahead

By Guest Writer on March 24, 2009

Making a Strategic Game - Planning Ahead

It’s not every day you come across an MMORPG and you think, “Wow, this game is really different!” Going into the development of Atlantica, as we have stated before, our goal was to offer a game that is new, exciting and refreshing. The more successful titles offer a lot of depth and player involvement. Because of this immersion factor, players are often drawn in and absorbed into these online worlds. Incorporating strategic gameplay is just another element of adding depth; we wanted players to think and plan every move, which we felt would help players become more absorbed into what’s happening.

In most MMORPGs, players often resort to “face-rolling” or clicking the “I-win” button as fast as they can when it comes to PvE or PvP. We wanted to stray from the simple hack-and-slash gameplay that so many of us have become accustomed to, because we don’t believe your ability to click the mouse as fast as you can should be the determining factor in a battle. Of course that’s not to say there isn’t any strategy involved in some of these other titles, but rather we feel that our system of a turn-based system offers more depth and strategy.

In our previous Developer Journals, we discussed the thought process behind turn-based combat and the mercenary system. By adding all these different variables and an element of strategy in combat, it creates a system that players really have to master. In doing so, we believe we have a system that encourage players to come back for more, whether it’s to try out a different formation of mercenaries, or to just better understand turn-based combat. It also creates a deeper, more rewarding experience because of the time players tend to invest to become a good player. You have to plan ahead to be successful.

I hope I didn’t scare anyone with that last statement; because regardless of the variables and different strategies involved in Atlantica, it actually has a quick learning curve and a low barrier to entry, like most classic games requiring strategy. Such games often provide a fair environment for any player because it doesn’t favor reflexes, vision or any physical response that would be advantageous to a certain class of players. And as I’ve mentioned before, having that fair environment makes it easier for new players to adopt the game. It’s easy to learn, yet hard to master, and that’s what’s so great about strategic games.

As we continue to update Atlantica with new content, our focus remains on the strategic aspects of Atlantica Online, and that means more mercenaries! For those joining us for the first time, players can recruit mercenaries of different classes. So you can actually mix and match mercenaries to fit your play style or overpower specific builds. By adding new mercenaries to the game, it greatly increases the number of possible builds and strategies, especially in the Free Leagues, where players can challenge other players. We’re excited to see the imagination, diversity and possible builds that will arise from the new additions.

The diversity of monster AI is another aspect of strategy we look at, such as having the monsters actually attack and defend the way a real player would. A related feature includes the ability to view enemy formations before they initiate battle, selecting their opponents wisely. Even the aspects outside of fighting are strategic, such as playing the market and buying/selling items at the right time. So we really do make a conscious effort to make Atlantica more strategic with every update, and with the Game Developers’ Conference around the corner, expect to hear some exciting Atlantica news!