Tome of the Sun is one of several games Chinese megapublisher NetEase is hoping will capture western minds and attention spans this year. We caught up with Game Designer Alex Liang to chat about the unique mobile action RPG and how it plays.
MMORPG: Tome of the Sun is a more straight-forward ARPG, akin to Diablo. But is the game only auto-attack based? Or are there skills you can control as well?
Alex: There are skills that heroes can cast and control along with their auto-attacks. Tome of the Sun can be played in three modes. In the manual mode, the player gets full control of their spells and targeting. In auto-combat mode, enemies are directly targeted and attacked as spells come off cooldown. There is also a semi-auto mode as well, which has auto aim and normal attack, but still allows the player to cast the spells and dodge. As players progress to more challenging gameplay, they will be required to dodge enemy attacks while casting skills at the same time. Even in auto-combat mode, you will still need to dodge damage.
MMORPG: What classes are available in Tome of the Sun? Do they have their own skills and loot to upgrade?
Alex: There are four classes in the game, Knight (tank, warrior), Duelist (assassin), Mage, and Ranger (archer). They all have their own strength and skill trees to upgrade. Aside from the distinct classes, the characters are also highly customizable with 30+ costumes, 7 wing types that provide additional stat boosts that are unlockable at a higher level, 10+ enchantment effects, and character gear that appears visually in game.
MMORPG: Can you tell us a bit more about the pet system?
Alex: Pets, also known as "daemon," are a core part of your character’s overall battle power. There are 30 different kinds of pets so far, with each pet having four evolution phases with different visual designs and names. Each pet can take on a different role in battle: Tank, Magic, DPS or Healer. Each pet also has its own passive and active skillset, and players can unlock better skills as they evolve their pets. Pets can even join your character’s team to be used during PvP and PvE fights.
Pets will protect their masters and taunt to tank damage. Players can also summon new pets by collecting soul fragments they find through dungeons or events.There are also Legendary tier pets that will be more difficult to acquire.
MMORPG: Can your own pets be equipped with items and the like too?
Alex: Yes, pets have their own gear that can be upgraded to increase their battle score, which is an indication of your current strength. You can equip pets with different gear and skills as they grow and evolve. There are four rarity grades for pets: common, rare, epic, and legend. Each tier requires stars to evolve to the next tier. Each star promotion will grant your pet a talent point to upgrade their new abilities. The stars are completed by finding a list of required items or materials.
Strategically, the game allows players to make meaningful decisions for each different class. There are plenty of ways for players to modify certain skills, abilities, and equipment enchantments.
When facing different opponents or bosses, you’ll need to carefully select your pet’s role in the fight to complement your play style.
MMORPG: What will the monetization model be like with Tome of the Sun?
Alex: Tome of the Sun contains both hard currency and a variety of soft currency. This game isn’t pay to win, however. The main benefits of using hard currency are being able to revive your character mid-combat should you be defeated and purchasing item boosts. Other elements of the game, such as purchasing weapons and items, or upgrading materials, for example, can be done using soft currency earned in the gameplay.
MMORPG: Will there be any kind of multiplayer?
Alex: Yes! There are plenty of multiplayer options that players can unlock throughout the game by reaching certain level requirements, such as a real-time PvP, PvE, and another mode called Clan Wars. Clan War is a PvP group battle ground with base capturing. Other multiplayer modes include Arena, King of the Hill, and Clan Quest, which we’ll be able to talk about more in depth at a later date.