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Mini Q&A #5

Dana Massey Posted:
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The Fifth Bi-Weekly Question and Answer Session

Every other Friday we feature a brief Q&A with Luke Carruthers, the head man at Imaginary Numbers and the man behind Tactica Online. This Friday is no different, as we provide you with four more questions and answers!

MMORPG.com: Your official website mentions “Campaigns”, which are evolving stories that last up to a month. Can you tell us a bit more about them, their frequency, and why you think they’re important to Tactica Online?
Luke Carruthers:

Campaigns are one of my favorite parts of the game. Focused around a particular event unrelated to the main storyline, Campaigns allow us to explore other things going on elsewhere in the world during the time the game is set. A campaign might take place on Columbus’ voyage to America, or with Cortes conquering the Aztecs, or even on the first trade missions to Japan.

Every Campaign is a series of linked missions, which you undertake sequentially over the course of the Campaign. Unlike a Tournament, you don’t have to win to keep playing, but you are awarded points for your victories, and at the end of the Campaign the results are totaled to determine that Campaign’s winner. Like many other events, the winner of a Campaign will often get to make an active choice that affects the game’s storyline and setting – perhaps the nature of the American colony, or whether Cortes will destroy the Aztec empire.

Most importantly, Campaigns also offer a variation on normal play. Instead of using characters you create from the ground up, at the start of a Campaign all players get to choose, one by one, several characters from a limited pool, in a process similar to an NBA draft. As the Campaign goes on you can customize these characters, but they can’t be used outside the Campaign, and you can’t use any of your normal characters within the Campaign, which makes it a chance to play with a slightly different set of rules.

MMORPG.com: You want players to be able to look at their rating and see what they have accomplished. Will these ratings be available online on an official site, as well as other in-game information?
Luke Carruthers:

Absolutely, ratings will be prominent both on the web site and in-game. Ratings are a badge of honor, and it will be very easy for people to identify who the top-rated players and guilds are.

Related to ratings, and just as visible, are titles, which a player might get awarded for winning a particular Tournament or Campaign. These are visible in a player’s profile, and in some cases in the details you see about a player when you are matched against them in a mission or Tournament as well.

MMORPG.com: Can you talk more about what options there will be for guilds, and how they will be similar and different from those in an average MMORPGs.
Luke Carruthers:

There are two sides to this question: what benefits you get from being in a guild, and what effect a guild can have on the world around it.

Like most online games, there are all the standard guild tools, like guild chat channels, assignable guild ranks and authority, and customizable guild halls. Guild Tournaments are one of the core parts of competition in Tactica Online though, and to really excel a guild will need to use more than just the standard tools.

Members of a guild can also share experience, equipment, and even characters amongst themselves. We expect that using this capability to give less experienced guild members a broader understanding of the various squad builds possible, and to tune squads for particular events, will be one of the hallmarks of the more effective guilds.

The more effective guilds, of course, are the ones that will leave their mark on the world, both by being at the top of the ratings ladders, and by winning the guild storyline events. This doesn’t just mean the guilds with the best players though, as there are events for those at all ratings levels.

I'm wondering how the faction battles will influence the Story as a whole...There would have to be some kind of balancing factor to prevent one side from dominating while still giving winners a sense of making progress.
Luke Carruthers:

You’ll rarely find one ideology battling another for the sake of it. Just like our world, there’s usually a particular issue that the feud is played out through. It’s these issues that make up the storyline, and that players have a direct impact upon through the storyline events, both Tournaments and Campaigns.

Because the storyline has no effect on the capabilities of a particular ideology – just because mysticism is going through a period of popularity doesn’t mean that mystics are any more powerful in gameplay terms than they would otherwise be – there’s no need for us to artificially introduce a balancing factor.

The natural effect of having three equally powerful factions is that even if one happens to dominate for a while, the others will sooner or later topple them. The real problem lies in us getting the balance wrong, and there being one faction that’s more powerful than the others. If that happens, then we’re not doing our job as designers properly, and we need to fix the problem as quickly as possible. Normally, of course, we don’t expect this to be the case, so the different ideologies will all exert a balance on each other.

Many thanks to Luke for his continued commitment to this series! If you would like to comment on this article - click here!


Dana Massey