When we were creating Atlantica Online, we really wanted to emphasize the multiplayer element of an MMORPG. We developed a unique system for combat with our turn-based gameplay, and combined that with the ability to control and manipulate multiple characters (mercenaries). But we wondered, what more we could do to complement these innovative features and further distinguish Atlantica from other MMORPGs? One of our solutions: expand the possibilities for player interaction.
Giving players a variety of ways to work together, as well as fight against each other, was very important to us as we developed Atlantica. We wanted to provide players different aspects of the game that they could get immersed in, rather than grinding their way from dungeon to dungeon. Our hope is that this will ultimately make the game more enjoyable, keeping players coming back for more to explore.
We came up with different options for players to get in on the multiplayer act. One of the primary ways for player interaction is to become part of a guild. However, we wanted the guilds in Atlantica to be much more than just a chat room to discuss how to get past certain monsters. Being part of a guild in Atlantica offers many more benefits.
For one, you can travel to Guild Dungeons, which aren’t accessible to non-guild members. These exclusive areas can only be accessed after a guild leader purchases a key that grants a guild entry into the dungeon. Once you are in a Guild Dungeon, the opponents you will face there will be tougher than what you would find in a regular dungeon, but your efforts will be rewarded with greater loot.
Another bonus of being a guild member is crafting as a team. Being able to craft particular items that can be sold at the market can give players a substantial edge in Atlantica. Crafting through a guild means that every member is contributing towards the production of an item, which translates to more of them being built faster.
Guilds are also where players can become deeply involved in the role-playing part of the game. If your desired role is king, a guild is your path to the crown. If a guild accumulates the necessary Guild points, it can take control of a town. How well that guild governs its town, by managing issues like Security, Commerce and Culture, will determine how much money your guild can collect in taxes.
Guilds can even expand the level of player interaction through partnering with other guilds to form a nation. Here is where a thirst for power is rewarded - play your cards right and you can be named king of the country. As a nation, you can then challenge other nations in battles for supremacy.
If your pursuits are less Machiavellian or you’re just averse to joining a guild, there are other outlets for you to interact with other players and to help you advance further in the game. Forming a party is one way. Battling monsters within a party of up to three players earns you more experience points and items. To encourage even more partying in Atlantica, we’ve produced shadow dungeons. These dungeons within a dungeon emerge as you go up in levels, popping up as a task you must complete as part of quests. The opponents you will face in the shadow dungeons will be particularly nasty and difficult to defeat. Therefore, it’s best to take them on with a party. The rewards for making it through these shadow dungeons, like the risks, will be greater, including some mercenaries you wouldn’t be able to acquire otherwise.
Our goal of players interacting with one another was the main driving force behind the implementation of the Stamina system, which encourages players to help each other, as well as to fight against each other in player-versus-player battles. Since it was introduced in the second phase of our closed beta, we have taken the input - as well as the harsh feedback - players provided at the outset to refine and make improvements to the system so that it can be enjoyed by players. Ultimately, we believe Stamina will benefit the game in the long run.
Stamina leads to more players participating in the player-versus-player arena called the Free Leagues, since you get more Stamina points by winning Free League matches. Stamina also encourages more experienced players to help newer players, whether by answering help requests or teaching players crafting skills, with the benefit being more Stamina for the helper. We believe stamina adds another dimension to the game that can lead to more interesting outcomes for players.
These are just some of the steps we’ve taken to make Atlantica more fun when it comes to building a sense of community for Atlantica.