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Michael Hampden Posted:
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FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal is unveiled, from the developers of the now defunct FreeWorld

It's a touch confusing, but MindSurge has officially cancelled their long-awaited project FreeWorld. In its place is a 100% new game called FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal. As the CEO of MindSurge reveals below, they threw the whole thing out and started again. Here's the scoop, including three new screenshots:

MMORPG.com: Just what is FreeWorld?
Clyde Bielss:

I guess the question here would be, “What WAS FreeWorld?” We have publicly announced the cancellation of the original FreeWorld and the birth of the 100% new MMO “FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal“. This new version, though it still holds the FreeWorld name, is not a sequel to the old game; it’s a completely new game. We have taken everything from the old game, tossed it aside and started from scratch. This new MMO will have some similarities to the first FreeWorld, but even as we speak the engine is being redesigned from the ground up to improve graphic quality and game play. Everything from the combat mechanics and monster AI to the skills and quest systems are being rethought and implemented with new ideas. We hope to have a test phase for this new build starting in the next few months.

MMORPG.com: What makes “FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal” different from other MMO’s?
Clyde Bielss:

There are so many new things in “FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal” that it’s hard to list them all, but here are a few:

  1. No level caps: As MMO players we got sick of playing a game that we could get to the highest level in a month or less. In our MMO there are no level limits.
  2. Single player controlled groups: In “FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal” a single player can have up to five pets or mercenaries. You could see what looks like a party running across the land and one person could be running it all. Archers, mages, warriors, demons and many other creatures can be added to your one-man arsenal. In FW: Apocalypse Portal, if you have a party of players that all have pets and mercenaries you no longer have a party….. you have an army!
  3. Hybrid Real-time combat: The new version of the game takes the best of both worlds and combines them into one. Your attack is based off of the direction of attack and distance to the monster; then your [weapon] skill is calculated to see if you land a hit, and if your weapon hits the monster in real-time there are damage modifiers added on top of that. This makes the combat both a “skill based” and “real-time” system in one.
  4. No Classes: As in real life, your skills define your abilities, not some pre-made class. At the start of the game you get five basic skills and your choice of three more on top of that. Every five levels thereafter you unlock another skill and there is no limit on the number of skills you can learn. Since there are no level limits it will be possible over time to learn and master every skill in the game, [there are 65 skills right now and others being planned to bring the total to 100 or more before final launch].
  5. No classic fantasy or sci-fi monsters or races. We love elves and trolls as much as the next guy, but honestly we are sick of them . In the new build of the game you will not see or read any mention of any “classic” fantasy or sci-fi monsters, everything in “FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal” will come from our imaginations.
  6. Skill Levelling: In “FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal” there is no need to fight monsters to level. EVERY skill in the game gives experience towards levelling up. This makes it possible to build up a level 100 player [or higher, remember there are no level caps] without ever killing a monster. This would, of course, make them useless in combat, but some players don’t want to have to fight to live their lives.

MMORPG.com: What is the relationship between Net Charger and MindSurge? Can you tell us a little about the developers?
Clyde Bielss:

Net Charger and MindSurge Entertainment are Partner companies that both have two different talents. Net Charger, a game development company ran by David Blasdell, is based in England and handles all the coding from the game engine all the way down to the website. MindSurge, ran by myself form the U.S.A., is a game development company focused on multi-media design and game concepts.

One of the most unique things about our development team is that we work together via the Internet while living all over the world. There are only two full-time members of the team and handful of part-time employees. The major difference between us and other MMO’s is that we are designing this game on a budget of thousands of dollars instead of millions. The work on this game is done for the love of making games and not the love of money.

MMORPG.com: How many player races will “FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal” have? What differences between races will we notice when playing the game?
Clyde Bielss:

Well, like I mentioned before, you will not find elves and Halflings in “FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal”. This next test phase will include three races to start off [with plans for more], but there is no set number yet. Each of the races will be more proficient at certain types of skills than the others.

The three races you will see in the next phase are:

  • Tearen: the Tearen are a multi-skilled race. They are good at everything, but masters of nothing. This race is best for players who want a multi-talented character.
  • Sal`ruk: the Sal`ruk are the brutish warriors of the bunch. They would rather take a hammer to your head then have a conversation with you.
  • Kendric: the Kendric are primarily spell-casters. With training this magical race can melee-battle with the best of them, but they’re most suited to mage combat.

MMORPG.com: Can you tell us a little bit about “FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal“ 's "Player Level" system?
Clyde Bielss:

In the past, most MMO’s fell into one of two groups; a level-based game or a skill-based game. The new version of the game uses a hybrid level and skill system where we combine the two types of games. When you gain levels you earn points to spend on your stats, but there is no need to go into combat to level. All skills grant experience points when used. You could be the highest level player in the game and never have killed a monster in your life; crafting items or using other skills like fishing, glass-blowing, and so on can also gain you levels. There are drawbacks and advantages to levels with skills; a player may be a level 100 crafter but when he or she picks up a sword they’ll be using starter gear because their sword skill will not be high enough to use better weapons. A player’s ability to use weapons and spells is based on their skill in that category, not character level. I also want to emphasize again that unlike other MMO’s we have NO level caps; no more playing a game for a month and being as high as you can get.

MMORPG.com: How does the skill system in your game work? What impact (if any) do levels have on skills?
Clyde Bielss:

The Skill system works like real life; if you use the skill then it will improve. So, if a player sat around all day crafting spells they could be a master spell-craft at a very low level. The only impact that a player’s level has on skills is the number of skills they have available [every five levels you get a new skill], other than that there’s no impact at all. In fact, in “FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal” it works the other way around; skills impact levels. You gain experience points for levels when training or using skills, so just by crafting, hunting, mining, or using any other skills on the large list you also gain levels.

MMORPG.com: How do classes fit in with levels and skills?
Clyde Bielss:

We have a classless system. You are what you are because of your skills, just like real life. Everyone begins the game with a set of basic skills, plus their choice of three other skills from the list to start with. Every five levels you get to pick one more skill from the list. The “Alpha 1” testing phase will start off with 65 different [functional] skills and I estimate the final game will have close to, if not more than, 100 skills to pick from.

MMORPG.com: Will you have PVP? If so, can you tell us about it?
Clyde Bielss:

PvP will be a large part of the game but we plan to make it the last thing we add before launch. To properly balance combat we need to have all the other game elements working before we can successfully implement a full PvP system. We want to give hard-core PvP fans the thrill of “full, open PvP”, but still keep non-PvP players safe from attacks. In a lot of games this is done with PvP and non-PvP servers; we will be taking this idea to a new level where PvP players can start the game and live their life in a full PvP world, but have the option to cross over into the non-PvP world and back again. Non-PvP players will have the same option to cross back and forth from the PvP to the Non-PvP world. The cross over will be as easy as going into a portal and coming out the other side. PvP will also have its own XP system where players gain a PvP ranking; this XP will also go toward their non-PvP character levels, but it will not work the other way around. If a player chooses not to engage in any PvP combat they will only get normal XP and not a PvP ranking. Skill levels will increase like normal in both worlds.

I would also like to note that the PvP and non-PvP worlds will be completely different from each other. The PvP world will be set-up with PvP in mind. There will be castles to siege, flag points to control, world items to capture, global stat bonuses for clans that hold land plus much, much more. The bonuses gained by clans through PvP will also carry over to their non-PvP members. The PvP world will also include many quests that will not be available in the non-PvP world.

MMORPG.com: Can you tell us what the quest system in is like? How many quests do you hope to have upon release?
Clyde Bielss:

A new quest system has been designed for this new version. When we have played other MMO’s we noticed that players get bored with the lack of quests. This will not be the case in “FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal”. The new system has “Adventure NPC’s” in every major town. These Adventure NPC’s can give up to 255 quests in a row, most of which will be quick, odd-job quests that people can pick up whenever they want. All skill trainers will give epic quests that you’ll need to complete to realize your full potential. There are 5 skill trainers per skill and each one will give you part of a quest to complete to receive the “epic item/spell” for that skill. So, that’s 100+ skills times 5 quests each, just in epic quests. Also, the main storyline involves gathering and rebuilding a spell book that was destroyed in the past, so there will be quests to find every page of the book. On top of this there will be many other side quests to stitch together the sub-plots and plenty of random NPC’s with jobs they need done. In the final version there will be literally thousands of quests, so it’s hard to give an exact number at this time.

To go with the change over, we've re-submitted the game to our list. You can submit your hype based on what you've read here. You can also comment on this thread here.


Michael Hampden