Priest: March 10 Interview

March 10 Interview - Priest News
MMORPG.COM recently got the opportunity to interview Jason Kim of JC Entertainment, creators of the horror/western MMORPG due for release mid this year.

We were also fortunate enough to score a set of exclusive screen shots from JC Entertainment.  If you would like to discuss this interview, please click on the link at the bottom of this article.

MMORPG.COM - I understand Priest is going to be one of the first Wild Western MMORPG's that will feature a gory horrific setting. Will the younger teens be looking at a NC-17 rating prohibiting them to purchase the game? Do you plan to put a parental code system inside of the game which allows gore to be toned down or shut off completely?

JASON -  far as ratings go, we hope that younger audiences would have as access to our game.  We have no current plans to include a parental code system as we feel that that would undermine the integrity and fun of the game.

MMORPG.COM Exclusive Screen

MMORPG.COM - One major movie that comes to my mind when I look at the setting of Priest is "Army of Darkness", a great film where a man is portaled to an outer universe, but only in the medieval times, but knows how to use weapons of our modern day. I was browsing through some screenshots of Priest and I see a man with a machete when others run around with guns, what influenced you to go off and take this route for a MMORPG?

JASON -Well, we wanted to break ground with a new kind of game setting so naturally we looked to westerns like Tombstone and Unforgiven for some guidance in terms of settings and costumes.  As far as influences from other games go, I think one might be able to strike some similarities between Priest and Max Payne.  But all in all, the influences are somewhat few and far between.

The comparison that you made to Army of Darkness is actually quite perceptive.  I regret to report, however, that we won’t have any of Bruce Campbell’s witty little quips.

MMORPG.COM - Will there be races and classes to choose from in Priest or would everyone begin as the same and develop and evolve as the world turns?

JASON -We believe that a character shouldn't evolve unless he does something.  So no, players will have to take active roles in raising their character level and also worry about increasing their own individual skill.

As far as races and classes go, there will be two factions to choose from—the Templars and the Heretics.  Each faction will consist of four classes.  Each class will have its strengths and weaknesses. Each class specializes in a rating (strength, dexterity, intelligence, tech).  For example, if one picks the marshal class, one can upgrade the strength rating faster than all of the others.  But as each character levels up, the player has the choice to devote his upgrade points to whichever rating he wants.  Thus, it is conceivable to have a strong “attacking” unit with lots of intelligence and abilities as opposed to hit points and strength.

So really, a player has a lot of freedom to tailor make his character to his choosing.  But, the primary goal of each player will not simply be to raise his character level.  The true test of a player’s might will depend on how well he aims and moves.

MMORPG.COM - One of the major problems with MMORPG's today is the developer's worse nightmare: Balance. Have you got a new concept or idea to actually fix this issue or do you as a person feel as though it is impossible and it will always be impossible to balance a game?

JASON -You’re definitely right on.  Balancing is probably one of the hardest and most onerous tasks that confronts a developer.  We’re working to resolve balancing issues ourselves. 

However, I do have to say that balancing won’t be as significant in Priest as it is in most games. Most developers create a game in which balancing matters too much.  In other words, a lot of MMORPG's rely too much on character level; combat basically boils down to who has the higher level and the most items.  Priest departs from that model in that we require our players to develop skill.  If a player can’t aim or maneuver, he will die regardless of level.  Sure, items and ability will count for something.  But what makes Priest interesting is that it IS possible for a lower level character to succeed if he possesses skill.

MMORPG.COM - Will Priest feature a dynamic questing system? If so, what is different with the questing system for Priest from other games of the same genre today?

JASON -Our questing system will be quite useful to users.  We have a Quest Generation Engine that will assess certain conditions and produce a wide array of different quests.  The stories within these quests will be very important.  If one goes to story quest area, he can acquire a quest.  The background and results of this quest will further illuminate the overall storyline of Priest.

MMORPG.COM Exclusive Screen

MMORPG.COM - Another huge movement into today's MMORPG genre is weather effects and visual effects. On the lands where Priest takes place, does the sky change and the weather as well? Can the weather affect the game play?

JASON -The ambient changes that take place in most MMORPG games will also take place in Priest.

When a faction takes control of the town, the skies will darken or lighten up based on which faction wins the town.  The appearance of the surroundings will change as well.  The setting will either appear more horrific or tranquil.  The hours of daylight will change as well.  This will have a direct impact on combat as Heretics receive a 10% bonus to their attacks when they fight at night.

MMORPG.COM - Since Priest is based in a "Wild Wild West" setting then one would only think of Horses and old Locomotives, etc. Will Priest be introducing ridable mounts? Also will Priest be offering the great Locomotives that will all have come to adore in those Wild Western flicks and comics?

JASON -Yes, we will have mountable units and we’re quite excited about the combat possibilities.  As far as trains go, there are plans to incorporate train fights but we’re still working out the details.

MMORPG.COM - I notice that there will be factions and they will battle each other for the rights to towns, will there be a benefit to winning towns? Will they provide some type of resource or skill bonus?

JASON -The faction with the most towns won’t gain any extra experience or resource per se.  What will they gain is directly related to combat.  When the Heretics control more towns than the Templars, the night will last longer.  Conversely, when the Templars control more towns, the day will last longer.  Heretics receive a 10% bonus on their attacks at night.  Thus winning towns will have a cumulative advantage for both the Heretics and the Templars.

MMORPG.COM - Exactly how big would you consider the world where Priest takes place to be? As in how long would expect it to take for a character to run from one side to the other and try to disregard any confrontation that the character may run into on the way there.

JASON -The towns will not be huge worlds.  They will be large enough so that players can roam freely.  But we didn’t want to create terribly expansive worlds because these are, after all, towns within counties.  Also, to accommodate battling, we couldn’t create an environment where players would be wandering around “looking for a fight”.  We wanted to facilitate combat as much as possible.

So we designed the game so that each town will have certain zones.  One will be an actual town where a player can interact with others, buy equipment, etc.  Another zone will be a creeping zone, where a player can go hunting, gain items, and practice their skills against NPCs.  And finally, there will be one or a few zones dedicated to fighting against the opposing faction.  This final zone is where the real battling occurs.

MMORPG.COM - Will you be placing any sort of level cap or skills capping on the characters of Priest or do you plan to keep adding more advancement opportunities as Priest moves on in its releasing stage?

JASON -Right now the level cap is 400.  We may consider changing that in the future as interest in the game grows.

MMORPG.COM - Lastly, will characters have the ability to completely change their look from the character creation screen? Most MMORPG's seem to stray away from allowing total diversity and then later adding it as content i.e.: helmets, chest gear, leg wear... etc.

JASON -In Priest, the ability to customize the look of the character will increase as the character progresses.  We decided to this for a couple of reasons.  First of all, an entire faction of characters relies on swapping body parts to increase their skill.  And when they first start off, they’re not going to have the ability to mount complex parts so their appearance will remain relatively simple.  Similarly, low level Templars will not have the money to purchase fancy clothes or carry advanced weapons without having learned how to use them.

Secondly, we felt there needed to be a system that distinguishes players of a lower level with those of a higher level.  Characters who have more battle experience and money should be recognizable on the battlefield.  This allows other users to know exactly with whom they’re going into battle with or against.  Also, because higher-level characters are generally more powerful, they have superior weapons, armor/clothing, or items. 

We would like to thank Jason for taking the time to answer our questions.  It looks to us like Priest is well on it's way to becoming one of the most original MMORPG's around.  Keep us well updated guys!

You can discuss this interview in our forums by clicking here.

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