MMORPG: Can you give us some background on Eldevin? What has it been like building the game?
Andrew Mulholland: Eldevin is really a story of small beginnings evolving into big things over time. Originally we saw the first Java applets pop up online and was amazed at the gaming potential that could be unlocked in a web browser. So what started as simple idea, of creating a interactive 3D environment in a web browser became an 8 year project with a massive world crammed full of content and game features. So if we roll back 8 years, we were dedicated to building our own tools and systems to allow us to work completely unrestricted by constraints of someone else's software, if we wanted it, we could just build it. It was then when we started to build our team of highly talented staff to develop the content and world of Eldevin.
The game has really evolved over the development cycle, over time as other games have come out, we've kept a close eye on the MMO world and we've tried to take the best of what we've seen and integrate it into Eldevin, with our own unique perspective and ideas. As the tools have been in development with the content we've been able to go back and make the game run, look and play, better than we ever thought it could in the beginning.
At times this has been incredibly challenging, our company directors were both fresh graduates as are many of our employees and while this has meant we had great ideas and fresh perspectives it has also meant that during development we've encountered times when we realised something we'd done in the past simply wasn't good enough and rather than release a sub-standard project we've gone back and revamped the entire system. The result we feel is a game we can be truly proud of and much better gameplay experience for our players.
We've had a team of artists creating realms, dungeons, enemies and cities in tandem with scripters and writers. We've put a huge amount of effort into the story and content for the game and, for the size of the team, I feel we've really created something special.
MMORPG: You mention how the world is at war in Eldevin, can you tell us about the factions players can choose from?
John Stewart: When players join the world of Eldevin, it is very much a Kingdom in disarray. In recent years the Kingdom of Eldevin discovered 6 magical spheres which, when brought together, caused disaster for the kingdom as the power of their magic could not be contained. Therefore they were each entrusted to the Champions of the Eldevin Army and taken to the far corners of the known world. Over time these orbs have corrupted the Champion, their armies and even the land itself. Creating 6 distinct factions aligned to each sphere; Fire, Ice, Dark, Light, Blood and Nature. You begin your journey in the Nature realm, which is preparing for War with the Dark Realm, while forging an uneasy alliance with the Light Realm. However as you can expect some of the other realms such as the Blood realm may also be trying to gain a foothold in the struggle for power.
Early in the game (level 5), we flash you back to an exciting solo instance in which you fight against the Dragons that previously held this magical spheres in which you learn about the past and lore of the game.
As a player you quickly meet some of these factions as well as some of the lesser factions within the Nature realm (Eldevin Kingdom), and at level 5 the player will have the choice of where to join with the Eldevin Army or the Arcane Council of Mages. This provides the player with 2 distinct and different stories that continue throughout the entire game. (If you want you can do both, we leave that up to you!) However you will encounter and quest with many other factions throughout the game, gaining or losing reputation depending on your actions. Ultimately we'd like you to be able to switch allegiances entirely, but this would be a story development in an expansion and for now your main allegiance will lie with the Nature Realm.
MMORPG: The game runs on a browser which makes it very easy for players to access. Tell us about how you built up the infrastructure to be so available?
John Stewart: Our lead-programmer and co-founder Glenn Murphy has chosen to work ten hours a day for almost eight years, sacrificing weekends too, in order to provide the team with the tools and systems that have enabled the game to run in high quality in the web browser.
Over this time the team has worked to great lengths to create a sophisticated 3D engine that allows an amazing game to be played without a hardware graphics card or expensive gaming PC. We haven't however ruled out creating a hardware renderer in the future!
MMORPG: How quickly can players get started in the game?
Andrew Mulholland: You simply make an account, the initial download for the game will be less than 5 megabytes, it’s a Java Applet which loads in your browser. You create your character, you start playing, all within a couple of minutes!
MMORPG: Can you talk about what classes will be playable?
John Stewart: Our class system is really quite exciting, in that we don't make you select a class. Instead we have six unique talent trees; Warrior, Assassin, Ranger, Templar, Mage and Prophet. At every level after five you gain talent points that can be spent in any tree that you wish. This allows you to specialise or mix and match your skills to create any build you wish. To compliment your talents and abilities you gain from the talent trees, we have a pool of around thirty abilities that all characters get access too to, obviously some of these can be further improved by specific talents but the point is that every skill is available to every player allowing you to tailor to your own play style.
MMORPG: Does the game offer PvP of any kind, how can players interact?
John Stewart: For beta we have a small amount of instanced PvP, both 5v5 Battlegrounds and Free-for-All arenas. Up till now though our focus has been in created an extensive PvE world packed with content. Right at the start of the game we have group dungeon, balanced just for a few players to introduce you to our "Looking for Group" system. This takes place right in the starting zone so if you haven't brought friends, you will certainly find some quickly!
As MMO players ourselves, we all know how fun games can be when playing co-operatively with friends, so as well as creating great solo content we've tried hard to ensure, no matter what level you are, there is always group content available. We've placed group dungeons liberally throughout the main storyline and side quests, added group-based levelling features, and we've also placed minimal level restrictions on our realms. So if you're a level ten player keen to check out a level twenty zone, you can simply take along a few friends to keep the local wildlife at bay and explore to your heart's content!
We also have a large crafting system, which includes 7 gathering and 7 crafting professions and we're still adding new items and sets to these professions in the build-up towards our closed beta release, these can then be traded between players.
MMORPG: How does the world map out for players to explore?
John Stewart: The lower level content is all within easy reach of your starting area, enabling you to explore and advance in the earlier levels just on your own (virtual) two legs. As the higher levels spiral out in all directions from there, we've added a bunch of inexpensive and convenient ways for you to travel from one side of the map to the other. We have fast-travel via dragon masters available from all major cities, as well as teleportation stones and scrolls.
One thing we’ve tried to do is avoid creating a linear game, so while at early levels the content is in designated areas, once you reach around level 20 the entire world opens up to you. You never need to say good bye to the earlier realms you are familiar with though, as we’ve filled these with content suitable for all levels. Eldevin City especially is packed with crafting zones, quests, Eldevin Arena (with new challenges becoming available every few levels) and the city market also features a thriving trade hub. Another feature you can find in the city is a central notice board system, that regardless of level, will always point you to a new adventure! So you’ll never need to look far for something fun to do!
MMORPG: What are your plans moving into 2013? Can we expect a beta at some point in the year?
Andrew Mulholland: Yes, definitely! We're already working on our first servers for the closed beta which we have scheduled to start this March. Assuming everything goes well we'll be gearing towards open beta as soon as possible! We are very close and we’re really excited to see players in Eldevin soon, we’ve always tried to listen to our players and with their opinions, and with their feedback we hope we can continue to improve Eldevin on the run up to the global launch! (late 2013)