Visions of Zosimos by Forever Interactive is a forthcoming trading card game. We had the chance to sit down with a trio of members of the development team to find out more.
MMORPG: What happened with the original plan to make VoZ an MMORPG? Why shift to CCG?
Emil: We are following the business strategy that CCP did with Eve Online. They created White Wolf so that they could fully fund Eve after they failed to maintain development on it originally. VoZ is our White Wolf. We also saw how Legends of Norrath was plugged into EQ2 and decided that is something we wanted to incorporate between our games VoZ and Infernal World.
Steve: VoZ was always intended to be an MMOCCG, however, prior to VoZ, we were developing a full-blown MMORPG called Infernal World, based off the Multiverse Engine. VoZ was supposed to be a complete card game that existed within Infernal World. However, when that engine went belly up, we started to look at alternative IP’s. VoZ exists within the same universe that Infernal World exists in and the lore between them is deeply intertwined.
Eldon: Well when the original game of Infernal World failed to get funding during the Recession, the idea was to take the assets from IF to make something something else that would be able to give the company a revenue stream and which would allow us to make Infernal World and other games. At the time CCG’s really weren’t on a virtual medium yet and was a great idea to allow us to reuse assets, lore, and designs and get the company off the ground.
MMORPG: Will you ever return to the MMO format, if the CCG is successful perhaps?
Emil: I love MMO’s and have made some of my best friendships online with friends. Even as a kid playing JRPG’s I always wondered about playing them with friends since they were always single player. The first game I ever designed was a MMORPG so I think they will always be at the forefront of what we build.
Steve: Given the scope and scale of Infernal World, we will need a fair amount of capital to bring that game back and fully to fruition. Given this fact, the goal is to finish the gold version of VoZ, we have another IP in the pipeline for after VoZ, then from the persistent revenue from those two games, the goal is to resurrect Infernal World.
Eldon: Yes. Once we get enough revenue into the company the idea is to work on Infernal World but also the other titles we have in the works. Really what our goal is to make a variety of games that each have their own appeal to them that draws people in to play games by Forever Interactive, kind of like another very popular company. Basically want we want to be, at least in my words, become the Blizzard of the midwest. As far as I know our next title will be our bomberman/zelda style MOBA called Battle Gnomes and after that maybe it will be Infernal World or another title which we have lurking in our heads.
MMORPG: Collectible Card games seem to be all the rage these days. MTG Online, Hex, Paladins, Hearthstone, etc... What makes Visions of Zosimos stand out from an increasingly crowded field?
Emil: VoZ is intended to mash genres in an effort to create something truly unique. Creating a true MMOCCG is an attempt to bring them together which hasn’t been done before. We have tangential design which draws in our own human history into our unique fantasy environment. We also have a new resource system which is unlike all other card games. It uses Mind, Body and Soul dice in a system we call Flux. You have to allocate your dice pools strategically to play your cards in different ways. Now with our elemental dice system we can get bursts of big plays that really excite the players. We put a lot of hard work into making this game unique and everywhere we go showcasing this game that is exactly what our players say “It’s unlike anything they have seen before!”.
Steve: All of the other online CCG’s out there rely on either purely CCG gameplay or CCG gameplay and very light tactics. VoZ is different in how it handles the integration between CCG and full-blown strategy. You can win a match using nothing but cards in your deck, nothing but your homunculus and everything in-between. The game offers some of the deepest strategy in this genre. The game lore also plays a large part in this. It is historical fiction in the grandest sense. We took real world influences from alchemy, gnosticism and secret knowledge that exists in the real world and blended that with layer after layer of fiction. Finally, there are deeply integrated MMO elements to it, including aspects like raid modes, questing systems, co-op style gameplay and more. It is simply more than just the existing CCG offerings.
Eldon: So all, if not most, CCGs revolve around the idea of creating a deck using a combination of select cards to attempt execute a grand strategy before the other player can execute theirs. You see a lot of strategy and theorycrafting in games like MTG, Hex and Hearthstone and VoZ is no different. In fact we double down on it by incorporating the Homunculus, which is a central figure you craft out of 3 materia cards that dictate what you can bring to the game in terms of card types and Realm/Element. The thing that makes us different is the Tactics you have to bring to the board, literally. The game is played on a hex based board where things like placement, facing, and distance of your enemies have to be taken into account, especially that of your homunculus since you play your cards through it onto the board at a predetermined ranged depending on the card you want to play. Again, we even doubled down on this by making a fluctuating resource system, one that incorporates dice that move from one pool to another when used, that changes what tactics you can employ on any given turn. In the end, we added more depth to the CCG genre by adding in deep tactics that will make you rethink your deck and homunculus strategy. The phrase “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy” applies to VoZ more than any other CCG game out there.
MMORPG: What different types of cards are there?
Emil: I think my favorite are the Materia Cards because they really bring a strategy within themselves. How you build your Homunculi really matters because it directly affects how your decks are constructed. Within the Materia Cards are the essences of our ancient ancestors. Alchemist and Warriors, Leaders and Kings, both Good and Bad people from Earth’s historical past. The lore and mystery that surround these figures are vast and intriguing. It really ties into our tangential design.
Steve: Each set of cards is based around an element that exists within alchemy and gnosticism and these sets have uniquely different playstyles. VoZ has a lot more depth to it when considering the mechanics , than normal CCG’s do. The game goes beyond just the cards in your hand. We offer multiple overarching card “types” that each have a number of subsects. Your hand of cards is just one overarching type, that are essentially your battle cards. You also have cards that you use to craft your homunculus, and each subsect of that type, can drastically change the match you engage in as much as your battle cards.
Eldon: Three are two major types of cards: Materia cards and Deck Cards. Within Materia there are three subtypes know as Constructs, Memories and Essence cards which represent your Homunculi’s Body, Mind and Soul respectively. As mentioned before these cards restrict what you can bring to the table in terms of Deck card types and what Realm/Element they come from. There are also abilities on each Materia Card that can be employed on the board. Then there are Deck Cards which includes Minions, Spells, Enchantments, Ambushes and Glyphs. To use these cards you must cast them using one of three types of dice: Minions use Body Dice, Spells and Enchants use Mind Dice, finally Ambushes Glyphs use Soul Dice. These cards have their own abilities and different rules on how to deploy them on the board.
MMORPG: Are there different types of homunculus and how do they affect play style?
Steve: The homunculi are unique depending on which element you are playing. As stated earlier, each card set has an elemental theme and depending on which card set you are playing, you will need to have a homunculus that matches that element (i.e., you cannot play a fire deck with an earth homunculus).
What was not stated earlier however, was the realm aspect. Each element has a light and dark realm to it. This can further enhance the customization and tactics you take into consideration when crafting your homunculus. What this all means for you is that you have the ability to kit your version of the homunculi to your specific play-style. Each homunculus is comprised of 3 materia and each materia slot has a number of materia cards that offer unique abilities or boosts, both passive and active. This allows you to deeply fine-tune your playstyle. Your homunculus is also your lifeline. If he or she dies, you lose the game.
Eldon: Since you make your own Homunculus out of a number of different Materia cards there are several different types of Homunculus you create. There is a theme behind some of them to allow you to be more focused in a card type like either minions or spells or focus on pool types like Magical or Astral but there is also a way to create a Homunculus and deck that is Homunculi focused so he is just a brute on the board. We set the Homunculus so that you can create what you want to fit your playstyle.