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Q&A #15

Dana Massey Posted:
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In our latest Q&A we finally uncover the secrets of PvP

Eric Slick and Stephanie Shaver of Simutronics discuss Hero's Journey with us in a new Q&A. This week we uncover backstory, the secrets of PvP in the game and more. The Q&A comes with three pieces of concept art. We also have the first screenshot of their GUI.

MMORPG.com: Can you tell us about the humans, what makes them different, some of their backstory and why players will enjoy playing them?
Stephanie Shaver:

Their high kings are long gone. Their numbers are few. Their kingdoms are broken. And so are they.

What can be said of Humans that has not already been said, that is not already known? Quite a bit, it turns out. Of all the races of Elanthia, the Humans were the ones originally entrusted as her caretakers. Somewhere along the way, they forgot themselves. The Sundering was a rude reminder of their duties.

The Humans have lived under the dark cloud of a curse since the day the world shattered. The curse strikes at random. It may take a newborn babe. It may take a youth in the prime of his life. It may take a doddering grandmother, ripe in her old age. They do not know the when, they only know the end result. The Human becomes sick. Within a few hours, they expire -- and rise again as one of the Broken, a monster doomed to shamble across the world, hungering for the blood of the living. There is no known cure.

In the last two centuries since the Sundering, the Humans have adapted to their condition. Their art and attire expresses their fey attitude. No village is without its designated Executioner, a man or woman trained in identifying the curse-sickness in its early stages and dealing with it. Vagrants are rudely treated, if not outright killed. Exile and disinheritance are tantamount to a death sentence. With the exception of those who die prematurely from sickness, acts of violence, or accidents, all bodies are burned.

The Humans have grown tough. They are resilient to stunning effects, and exhibit strong physical prowess. Visually, they have a distinctive old-world Europe style. They're an excellent choice for people who want a melee death-dealer that can soak up damage. Their talent for magic, however, should not be underestimated.

MMORPG.com: I want to know about the Ilvari. What are they, where do they come from, what makes them unique and why will players want to play them?
Stephanie Shaver:

Once content to stay removed from the struggles of Elanthia, the Ilvari are now faced with a choice they cannot ignore: action or extinction.

The Ilvari came to Elanthia with no intent to stay. They spent at least a thousand years devising ways to get back to the bizarre plane of magic they came from, desperate to reclaim their old life. Adaption came slowly, but surely. With the catastrophic failure of the Burlorg summoning, the hope of returning to the Demesne of Magic is now a faint, fading dream.

Since the Sundering, the Ilvari have become prey to a very strange, crippling illness. Every Ilvari who lives past two hundred succumbs to a deep coma from which they cannot wake. An Ilvari in this state does not eat or drink, nor do they physically diminish -- they merely sleep. The first massive wave of Ilvari who succumbed to the malaise shortly after the Sundering included the entire elder population of their civilization. The result was a crippling loss of knowledge and leadership to their people.

Worse -- and what few realized in those initial days of confusion and loss -- is what happens to the sleeper's soul. Trapped in the prison of her own body, the Ilvari ultimately goes mad and becomes a type of Broken that devours thoughts and memories. The Ilvari have trained special warriors -- called "Soulcatchers" -- to deal with their race's malaise. The Soulcatcher's duty is to separate the sleeping Ilvari's soul from her body, and place both in a safe location. Underneath the vast tree-city of Oakhome there are many of these sleeping Ilvari resting side-by-side, waiting for the day someone will find a way to wake them. Soulcatchers are distinctive in that they have a third eye painted between their brow, and tend to be ascetics.

The Ilvari are adept at magic. They did it first, and they did it best. Their minds are strong, making them resilient to the psychic control of others. The Ilvari visual style is a combination of bright fabrics and a nature-heavy leaf motif that can be found in nearly everything they do. Ilvari melee fighters favor magical effects and quick strikes than raw brawn.

MMORPG.com: We’ve seen your cat-race the Suwari in a few screenshots. Can you explain their backstory, origins, customization options and differentiating features?
Stephanie Shaver:

The fight to end Suwari slavery is over. The fight to keep their freedom continues on.

If the Ilvari mage who made the first Suwari saw his creation today, he'd be in a state of shock. Gone are the subservient (but highly intelligent and capable) creatures that anybody who was anybody had on hand to fluff their pillows and bring cordials to visiting houseguests. The Suwari of today own land and livestock, are active members of the Triumvirate council, and are respected for their deeds. Mostly.

Unfortunately, the stigma remains stubbornly in place. At first the Suwari were hopeful that time would alter the perceptions of the others, but recent events have caused it to flourish. In particular, the acknowledgement by Suwari elders that the race is, in certain cases, devolving has ushered in a fresh era of fear and suspicion. There are even mutterings from members of the council that the Suwari need to be "collared again", or "done away with" completely. This, despite the fact that the other races have all experienced unusual -- and often catastrophic -- side effects from the Sundering.

A devolving or "feral" Suwari is one who has lost the ability to reason, and reacts entirely on instinct and spirit. It's as if the magical "glue" that binds their flesh and blood together has begun to dissolve. In its early stages, a feral can be reverted through the use of certain herbs and spells. After twenty-four hours, however, the condition becomes permanent. At all times, a devolved Suwari is extremely dangerous, and will lash out at loved ones and enemies alike. Suwari who survive an attack from a feral are in danger of becoming feral themselves. There is no known way to revert this condition, and no way to predict who will become feral. Even more frightening, certain Burlorg spellcasters appear to have found a way to cause a Suwari to devolve, and use these ferals as pets and thralls.

Suwari elders believe that restitution to the dead is one way to avert the devolving. They encourage all Suwari to make pilgrimages to major battlefields and "sites of mourning" to do penitence. In accordance with their own practical and material nature, many of these places have now been turned by other Suwari into pilgrimage "tourist traps", with garish tents, trinkets, souvenirs, and eateries.

Suwari have an extremely resilient spirit, and are resistant to things that may sap their mobility, will, or endurance. They also are uniquely suited to transferring some of their power to others, making them adept at healing. Suwari fighters are incredibly fast and hard to hit. The Suwari visual style is a combination of sumptuous, luxurious fabrics and intricate designs that bring to mind elaborate Persian rugs and dress.

MMORPG.com: Roughly how many people do you intend to have per server?
Eric Slick:

We’ve not placed any specific limits on how big or small our worlds will be but it’ll probably be on par with other games on the market. We’ll know what the right number is sometime during beta.

MMORPG.com: People have been demanding answers about Player vs. Player Combat. Can you elaborate on what your plans are – if any - for this in Hero’s Journey?
Eric Slick:

First, the Disclaimer: Our plans for Player vs Player activities in HJ are quite elaborate. Some of it will be available at launch and other parts will be made available with future expansions. What is described here is the intent of the design and may not reflect the actual state of PvP at release. PvP will exist in two basic flavors:

  • Individual, Clan and Guilds
    This is PvP that pits participants in duels, games, tournaments and PvP quests. Not only will players be able to challenge other players to duels, Guilds and Clans will be able to challenge other Guilds and Clans to duels. Additionally, individual players, clans and guilds will be able to compete for honors in game tournaments, which they can use for bragging rights or to obtain new benefits. In fact, we want to allow guilds and clans to create their own tournaments and invite other clans and guilds to participate.
  • Factional
    There are three main player factions in Hero’s Journey. Factions can conquer territory or compete for political advantages that in turn might help them gain control of the Triumvirate (the ruling political body). When conquering territories, Factions can gain control of strategic resources, which in turn can give their faction certain advantages that can include influencing World Machines, granting of new benefits, items, etc.
When players are not in a PvP world, they may be in one of three states: Opt Out, Standard or Overt. The Opt Out state prevents a player from engaging in or being a target of any PvP activity. The Standard state allows you to engage in or be the target of covert (non-combat) PvP. Certain actions, such as failing a covert PvP action or attacking someone in an Overt state can move you to the Overt state. The Overt state allows any Standard or Overt flagged player to engage you in combat.

Thank you to everyone involved.

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Dana Massey