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Durango - Nexon's Foray Into Mobile Survival MMOs

William Murphy Posted:
Interviews 0

Two weeks ago, Nexon announced its first foray into the mobile survival MMO space with Durango. We caught up with the development team to see what Durango brings to the table and what features players can expect to find. See what they had to say.

MMORPG: Can you give us a background on the world of Durango?

Nexon: Players are warped from the modern world to the ‘Durango’ through an unknown accident. Durango looks like earth in the Mesozoic era, with dinosaurs roaming in the wild, but it is not clear if players are actually warped to prehistoric earth.

MMORPG: The game shows a lot of crafting elements, how does that system work?  Is it akin to ARK, and other games in the sandbox MMO territory?

Nexon: Crafting in Durango is basically a combination system according to crafting recipes. However, players can put a variety of ingredients in the recipe – for example, an axe is made by assembling “Blade + Handle (stick) + String (to fix)”. So you can make an axe with stone blade + tree branch + reed or even with kitchen knife + iron pipe + fishing line. Characteristics and the performance of axes differ according to the ingredients used and how it is processed. You’ll get different damage, durability, weight or rare features such as being slippery or dirty. If you have boots made out of leather, you can even boil your boots when you are extremely starving. This is apparently not the best recipe we suggest in game, but nothing’s impossible in our game.

MMORPG: How will players unlock weaponry in the game, there seems to be a huge variety of choices? Though who needs more than a chainsaw?

Nexon: If you learn more crafting skills in the game, you get to have more equipment that you can build by yourself. Some of the tools can be built with ingredients originated from Durango, while some of the tools (that are warped from earth along with players) would need other warped items in order to use – for example, users can make primary level of fire arms such as harquebus with ingredients from Durango, while they can also luckily grab a rifle warped from earth. But as you can imagine, you can’t get bullets for the rifle unless they are warped from the earth.  

MMORPG: Why go Isometric? Was it purely dictated by the mobile as platform?

Nexon: The answer is YES. Isometric view tends to have more strong points on mobile devices in terms of control and expression. You don’t have to take care of camera work in isometric view, and your only concern would be controlling your character while interacting with other objects nearby. We thought it is still not really comfortable to manipulate camera viewpoint, character and character’s interaction with environment at the same time on mobile devices. Also, by using isometric view, we were able to combine 2D / 3D graphic styles through which we were able to greatly reduce client size while still being able to show high end graphics on most of the mobile devices.

MMORPG: How will the game work in terms of an MMO? Seamless world, or will it be highly instanced, as Mobile MMOs often are?

Nexon: Durango provides real time synchronized game play in a seamless open world. Large land is almost the size of Azeroth in WoW, and the terrains are not entirely packed in client – you get to download nearby maps through server real time, like you do when you’re using Google map. However, this large land would require too much hardcore game play for mobile, most of the game play are set on the archipelago – with islands less than 1 mile in diameter, which about 100 players can come and go. Those islands often appear through exploring, but they also get to disappear like in Minecraft, which makes almost an infinite combination of the type of terrain.

MMORPG: We got really excited by the prospect of a new MMO from the Vindictus studio, but admit to being a little sad that it’s mobile only. Are you considering adding it to PC or even consoles? Seems like it could do really well on either.

Nexon: At the beginning, we started the project targeting both PC and mobile platforms, but according to our motto “Building an MMORPG which can be played anytime, anywhere” we grew to focus more on mobile devices. Building UI is most crucial in expanding to other platforms – if we add keyboard, mouse or controller support later, we would have more chance to expand to PC or even console platforms. However, we’d like to focus on optimizing on mobile touchscreen devices.

(To clarify, most of the key members of What! Studio (including director of the studio) are the devs who created Vindictus at the beginning, but Vindictus studio and What! Studio are completely different studios now.)

Find out more about Durango's features on Page 2!

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William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.