Life in Limbo
True Games, recently acquired by UTV, has several online games in their development stable. They include Warrior Epic, Mytheon, Sky Legends and Faxion (Fac-shun) Online. Faxion is their first completely internal project and Creative Director Mike Madden was on hand to show off the game. Mike’s game credits include stints at Ubisoft, Wolfpack Studios and Stray Bullet. With MMO Shadowbane under his belt, he is no stranger to PvP focused MMOs which is what Faxion Online is all about.
You are a lost soul, finding yourself in Limbo. You can redeem yourself… or not. In Purgatory City, you make your choice. Will you fight for Heaven or for Hell? Will you gain your horns and demon wings or will you gain your halo and angel wings? Who will command the seven deadly sins? Heaven, or Hell?
“Our goal is to bring back the intimate feel of MMOs,” said Mike, who has played both Ultima Online and EverQuest and remembers the early days where in-game reputations meant something and you were familiar with most of the players on your server. The plan for Faxion is for smaller servers, with perhaps 1,500 concurrent users.
“We have the usual MMO staple classes,” he continued, “Your healer, warrior and mage, but Faxion will have multi-classing similar to that in Shadowbane.”
Players will select a primary class, but the skill buys of the 2nd class will cost twice as much and the 3rd class will be three times. This also promises diverse character progression as there will be those of us who want to play a pure mage, a warrior who might want just a touch of magic for luring or a minor heal, and those who just love being a jack of all trades.
Faxion will also have some offline skill advancement, like EVE Online does, where skills train over time. “None of this standing in front of the bank, casting and re-casting a spell to gain a point or two in Abjuration,” Mike joked, referring to the EverQuest skill advancement grind.
Combat will be on-the-run instant abilities. No casting bars and interrupted heals. Instead the balancing mechanism will be the refresh timer. Positioning will have benefits and players flanking and having the high ground for example will do more damage.
Faxion has a different take on the healer. They drop AE nodes for heals and buffs. The effectiveness depends on the healer level, but they remain until turned off or the nodes are destroyed. However, they command dedicated mana. In other words, a heal node might take 20% of your mana and that mana is locked into the node. It will only regenerate when the node is turned off.
Although most abilities are instant, there will be some high risk, big pay-off abilities. A mage, for example, could empty his entire mana bar for a fire ball with the power of a meteorite shower over a large area, but that leaves him in a weakened, vulnerable state until some of his mana regenerates.
Players receive their wings at level 20 and they can be used in combat strategically. Wings will certainly be used in some quests as you will be able to glide in this game. Some locations will be accessible only by gliding there. The other main identifier, your horns or halo, is gained at level 40.
PvP is about territory control. At anytime that a player logs in, there will be a fight over one of the deadly sins. Currently, the mechanic is “king of the hill” and if there is a server victory – if all seven deadly sins are claimed by one side, they will be rewarded with special quests and bonuses for a few days before the server is reset. The losing faction will also receive some bonuses at reset which will give them a boost for the next territory control attempt.
The majority of the world is Limbo with Purgatory City the area where players of both factions will mix and mingle. Limbo is a gloomy, dour place with ruins and fog. Heaven and Hell are also in game and accessible by players who have gained enough faction to enter. True Games has not strayed far from classic imagery and I could hear the crackling fires in hell which was also dotted with pools of lava, smoke and drifting cinders.
Then there are the seven deadly sins. Lust is represented by the gardens of ardor which is a huge hedge maze with lots of statuary and a pink and rose palette. Sloth is represented by swamp land with slow, old river boats and NPCs lying about with half completed work. Pride had architecture on a gigantic scale. Gluttony featured pristine farmlands and feast halls where big, fat NPCs lolled about. Behind the halls was a waste dump where the farmers scavenged for food.
A game that depicts Heaven and Hell could potentially be offensive, but True Games uses quite a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor in this game. One weapon is a “Bible thumper” and one quest has Harry, Larry and Mary Krishna who are handing out flowers. I wondered out loud if the Heavenly quest was to help them or stop them.
“All religions are fair game!” exclaimed Mike, amidst laughter from the other Devs assisting in the demo. “There’s Elrond Hibberd in game as well.” I can’t wait to meet him… and wonder if we’ll also meet Cheesus Onastik.