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Eminence: Xander's Tales - MMO + RPG + TCG

Michael Bitton Posted:
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MMORPG.com: What is Eminence: Xander's Tales?

Aeterna Studios: Eminence: Xander's Tales is a card collecting role playing adventure re-imagined for mobiles, tablets and desktop devices. It combines three popular genres (MMO, RPG, TCG) behind a full explorable virtual world and a deep evolving story.

MMORPG.com: Why mix MMO and TCG elements? What do you feel this fusion adds to the MMO experience?

Aeterna Studios: Combining these two segments opens new dimensions to how a traditional TCG is played. Card games are inherently social and competitive. When people collected pokemon cards, all they wanted to do was show off how cool they were and battle with friends. Introducing an MMO layer to a TCG enhances the social experience and depth of the gameplay.

MMORPG.com: How does the card battling itself work?

Aeterna Studios: The battle system for Eminence: XT takes inspiration from the mechanics of Triple Triad, which is a mini game found in Final Fantasy 8. As much as we loved TT's basic rules and simplicity, it was quite limited in the sense that it could only be played with NPC characters in the original game. We started thinking about how we could evolve the concept and introduce a social layer where players could actually play against each other.

Shortly after, we realised that these concepts would serve well for a TCG. Many TCGs commonly adopt a battle system which consists of using attack and defence points. In Eminence, every card is ranked by four numbers on every edge of a single card. Card battles are quick but very strategic, players essentially have to think several steps ahead and plan their moves from the offset. The objective of the battle is to capture as many of your opponents cards by strategically placing your cards adjacent to theirs where the rank numbers of the two cards will be compared. If yours is greater, you capture your opponent's card. If they do the same then they'll capture one of yours. This goes back and forth until all spaces on the board have been occupied and the player with the most captured cards/points wins. It's a relatively simple and blissful system which can get quite deep when new rules are introduced changing the nature of the core mechanic.

One of the most exciting aspects of the original TT game was that you could lose a card if you lost a duel. We wanted to apply this in a social environment to make card duels risky and bring out the competitiveness in players, though the card steal rule can be turned off to engage in friendly games.

There are several rules available and we're continuously working on new ones. Players can mix and match rules to govern a card duel which opens new ways to have challenges. Before a game begins and with the Card Steal rule enabled, players will wager how many cards they'll potentially lose or gain up to a maximum of five.

MMORPG.com: How is Eminence monetized? Do players buy card packs with real money? Can they earn card packs through gameplay?

Aeterna Studios: Eminence uses an in game currency, known as Eminence Coins, which allows players to puchase in game items similar to the way "Gil" or "Gold" found in other RPGs work. Armour, Gear, Equipment and Card packs are all purchased with Coins through NPC vendors and the marketplace.

In addition to this, players will be able to earn Coins and in game items like card packs via normal gameplay through various activities such as winning card duels, completing storyline quests and winning tournaments. Not to mention, there's also a generous daily freebie card pack all players get everyday for life.

We monetize through the sale of additional Coins. We wanted to avoid the whole pay to win structure found in so many free to play games and monetize respectfully. The game has been designed in such a way that players can experience the full game and unlock every item/reward without spending a single penny.

MMORPG.com: Tell us about the game's PvP features.

Aeterna Studios: Eminence: XT boasts a very competitive PvP system. There are ranked and non ranked PvP Duels. Ranked Card Duels pits players against one another where the winner of a single game is granted the opportunity to take a card from the losers' hand for good. This is known as the Card Steal rule and is foundational for all ranked PvP Duels. Ranked Duels allow players to traverse the PvP leaderboards as they strive to be the strongest player.

Non ranked PvP Duels are a way for players to have friendly games where the Card Steal rule is off. Players who want to duel others without wagering cards can do so by engaging in this type of duel.

MMORPG.com: What about the social elements? From what I understand you have guilds, guild vs. guild content, and even base building. Can you tell us about these features?

Aeterna Studios: Guilds are one of the most exciting parts of Eminence: XT. Players can form allegiance with others or invite their friends to join and earn bragging rights by defeating other Guilds.

Being involved in a Guild gives you access to Guild Duelling (GvG), where you and your team can challenge other teams in the Card Battle System. Your membership to a Guild also allows you to have access to certain perks which can help your duelling adventures. Guilds can additionally be assigned a focus based on a Division/Nation's goal in the story. For example if your Guild pledges to the Aeterna Empire, you can benefit from a boost in your Alchemy stats.

Guilds are also able to build a base in the open world to establish their stronghold. High ranked Guilds can benefit from additional features and perks within the base. All Guild members can contribute to building and decorating their headquarters.

With GvG, the stakes are much higher in the Card Battle System. In Guild Duels , not only are cards the wager but the bases of each Guild duelling against one another. The winning Guild will have the chance of taking both cards and a floor from the losing Guild's base. Similar to the PvP features described above, Guilds will be able to engage in ranked and non ranked GvG Duels.

Eminence: XT will also include daily Solo/Guild tournaments where players and/or their teams are ranked and placed on a global leader board against others. Ranks will be updated every day and weekly prizes will be given out to the top performers.

MMORPG.com: Why did you choose Kickstarter for this project?

Aeterna Studios: We decided to go with Kickstarter for several reasons but mainly due to limited resources. There's just three core members on the team and we work with two additional freelancers. On top of that, we're all working on this game around day jobs and parenting which makes it both motivating and difficult. Without KS, the game could still move forward but it would mean a longer release date. Reaching our targets on Kickstarter will allow us to gather more resources and release a beta earlier than planned.

We believe Kickstarter has opened a new door for developers, allowing them to connect with potential players on a closer level. For us, we saw it as a good way to validate whether people would like Eminence: XT and the chance to get real world feedback from potential players. The good thing about KS is that it facilitates direct conversations with your players, allowing them to have some involvement in the overall journey of building the game.

MMORPG.com: Finally, is there anything you'd like to mention to gamers interested in this project that we haven't covered today?

Aeterna Studios: We really hope players enjoy both the gaming and story experience of Eminence: XT. The game essentially combines three popular genres (RPG, TCG, MMO) and we hope players take well to the overall gameplay.

The Eminence story is quite complex and complicated. So as a result, we decided to split it into two games. The two games would be based around the same timeline but focus on different key characters.

Eminence: Xander's Tales is the first title, which is the MMORPG Trading Card Game. It largely revolves around the origins and history of Artalys, the world of Eminence. The story is based around the two main characters Xander and Kronos, who each play a key part in the overall events which continue onto the second title, Eminence: Chains of Delzerus. We can't say much about it other than it will be a pure RPG title. Our focus right now is on Eminence: XT though :)


Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB