The Producer of Hero's Journey answers more questions
Melissa Meyer, the Producer of Hero's Journey, sheds some light on instancing and comparisons to Guild Wars, their backstory, their political system and the concept of everyone being a hero. Also included are two new screenshots.
A Hero’s Journey is by definition a sort of solitary one (if you accept that every player in the game is a Hero). How do you intend to promote socialization and dependence on others to complete tasks? Or do you?
While the professions of Hero's Journey are based on the fundamental roles found in most MMOs (Tanks, Ranged, Control, Support, etc.), our design encourages interdependance just a little bit more. Here's just a couple ways we encourage cooperation in Hero's Journey:
Every profession in Hero's Journey has the power to perform at least one service that is essential to other players. The most essential of these may also be obtained from NPCs, but going to another player will have greater benefits and will likely be more convenient. These services will be entirely up to your discretion to use or take advantage of.
Finding other players offering these services will be easy as well -- players currently offering services will appear as a beacon on the in-game minimap.
Our special combat combos take two or more characters to execute. But these aren't your typical MMO combos where randomly executed abilities can be combined. Instead, Hero's Journey combos require teamwork and strategy to perform, and result in great rewards.
Alternate Solutions in Quests
Our Quests provide for alternate solutions ... but players must be clever enough to take advantage of these alternatives, and they must also have the requisite abilities to do so. The more types of players enter a quest, the more alternatives and the most flexibility a party will have when solving the Quest.
Master / Apprentice Relationships
High level characters may elect to form a long-term mentoring relationship with lower level characters. Apprentices learn more quickly when hunting with their Masters, and also for a short time later while practicing what was learned. Masters also benefit from the exchange, gaining experience at a slightly faster rate when they’re assisting their Apprentice. All around, Master / Apprentice Relationships are a win / win situation that allows players to help their friends “catch up” if they’ve fallen behind.
The world of Hero’s Journey is still a mystery to many. Can you talk about the backstory of your game, both from a fictional point of view and what logistical efforts are being put into developing it?
Our backstory is developed by an in-house team of designers. Among them are some of the people that developed the extensive backstories for our IFE games, DragonRealms and GemStone. We have also included our Art Director – not only for her amazing capacity at developing creative fiction, but also for her power to assist us in visualizing the world of Elanthia, past and present.
Outside of a few documents, our history is mostly in notes and scribbles at the moment, but we’re slowly working to flesh those out into comprehensible written word. And now that our GameMaster team has begun to mature, we have begun to involve them in assisting us in fleshing out the details.
Our objective is to integrate the history of the world into the game and gameplay to such a degree that people will be inspired to seek it out, read it and enjoy it.
In prior interviews we explained that the world was destroyed hundreds of years ago by the ruling factions, and they are now attempting to put it back together. Beyond that, it is hard to describe in only a few paragraphs. Our history is detailed and in-depth … and discovering all the little details will be an engaging part of gameplay. A backstory of that degree would require many of it’s own Weekly Q&As to begin to unveil.
The game has been criticized by some as “too instance” dependent. This is a charge I know you do not agree with. Can you explain definitively how much instancing will be present and what forms of common gameplay will exist?
This concern keeps coming up and we've made an effort to address it many times. So let me be clear: HERO'S JOURNEY IS NOTHING LIKE GUILD WARS. We use instances more like City of Heroes, or World of Warcraft. There are SOME places that are instanced, but there are many places that are common.
There will be a full range of hunting options from level 1 to level 50 throughout the common areas of the world … and there will be more than plenty of territory to explore and uncover.
Quests in Hero’s Journey come in many varieties. While we talk at length about our dynamic Quests that allow for interesting and fun interactions with the environment and with the creatures, there will also be many simple Quests that players can perform in common hunting areas. While these may not be as interactive as Quests in instanced areas, they should be enjoyable in their own right.
Hero’s Journey’s cities, towns and villages will be located within common areas where players can meet, create hunting parties, exchange services, trade and socialize. However, instances will be used for player housing (instanced neighborhoods), as well as for Guild housing.
Living World Machines and Factions
It is in common areas where the political factions of Hero’s Journey will most often vie for control of the world.
Your game is said to feature a political system where factions vie for power. Can you explain how this works?
The world of Elanthia is made up of three primary factions that are struggling for control of the world.
The Kinnaes – Those people of the world who believe that Elanthia’s salvation will come through the promotion and health of nature and the world itself.
The Arcanum – Those people of the world who believe that Elanthia can only be healed through the use of Arcane magic.
The Gearsmiths – Those people of the world who believe that Gear (a pseudo-scientific magic) is the only way that Elanthia will be set to rights.
Factions are fight for control of a number of elements in the game:
Guilds – The more guilds aligned with a faction, the greater it’s power.
Faction Resources – Special resources in the game are valuable to factions. The more they have, the better.
Cities, Villages, Towns – Factions may gain control of many of the world’s community areas. Granting citizens of those towns great benefits for belonging to the appropriate faction.
Outlying Territories – The outlying territories of Elanthia are chaotic wastelands. The factions fight for control of these … more land is more power.
The Triumvirate – The Triumvirate is the organization that oversees the three factions. At any time one of the factions will control the Triumvirate, and thus, will control the world. Benefits to all faction members result.
Players may participate in the faction conflict through a variety of means including:
Guilds – Each guild will ultimately choose a faction alliance. Furthering that faction’s goals will earn the members of that Guild benefits.
Resource Collection – special resources in the game are valuable to the factions, and collecting these resources for the factions will help them rise in power.
PvP – PvP may aid a faction in gaining greater power.
Quests – Players may complete special quests in order to improve the power of their faction.
Living World Machines – Living World Machines are giant ecosystems within the Common World that are made up of a combination of Gear, Arcane and Natural elements. Players may interact with various aspects of the Living World Machines for a number of results – access to resources, access to common areas in the world, and faction power.