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GDC 2012: Game of Thrones Goes Sandbox Warfare

Garrett Fuller Posted:
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It is about time an MMO is being made from the Game of Thrones series of novels. BigPoint is publishing the browser based game that has the full scope and lore of Martin's series wrapped up in a great interactive piece of software. But that is not even the best part. The game will focus heavily on PvP and faction warfare between the three great houses: Stark, Lannister, and Baratheon. Even better than that, it is completely a sandbox style game. Yes you heard that correctly. Game of Thrones shocked us at GDC with its quality and epic style, all in your browser.

To begin with, BigPoint is working fully with Martin and the HBO series teams. The game will take place right at the beginning of the War of Five Kings. Players can create a character and level up in the open world. The game is skill based so it does not focus on classes. That being said, there are options for the characters to choose melee style skills, ranged skills, or commander (buff and debuff) style skills in the game.  This breakdown allows players to spec their characters however they want.

Guilds will play a major role in the game and players will create their guilds as minor noble houses. They can affiliate their house with one of the main households in the lore. However, what makes this guild system unique is that in game at a certain point player guilds can switch factions and work for another power in the world (just like the houses do when the war is on). This all ties into a political system in the game. Sadly, we didn't hear much about the political system just yet, but the team is very excited about implementing the deadly politics of Martin's world into the game.

The game borrows heavily from the HBO series. The look and style of the weapons and armor are all straight out of the show. The team is lucky to be working with the design team from HBO, which can really help flesh out the game world. There are wolves, bears and forest beasts in the land where players will have to fight and these creatures will have to be killed. This open world format allows for some amazing PVP scenarios.

The game's PvP is still in early days yet, but factions are at a war and you are in the story. The fighting goes on but you can switch factions with your guild. This gives players some serious story impact in the world. The games design also takes balance into account. This is critical to their combat. Devs take this seriously and want the game to be balanced without having players being forced to hit the item mall or anything remotely like pay to win.

Game of Thrones is very much a sandbox title with some serious PvP thrown in for good measure. They want the epic battlefield feel but also to focus on the idea of player guilds directing the tide of war. This is where the political system will really shine. In PvP your guild can capture forts, keeps, and castles all in the name of your faction.

I will say this about Game of Thrones, it looks very impressive. The quality of the game is very high and players will have a lot to be excited about once more details are revealed. Overall my impression about Game of Thrones is that it will wind up being a gorgeous and truly epic MMORPG in a browser-based wrapper. The game is beautiful look at and  it's unreal to think it is running in something like FireFox or Chrome. We were very surprised after this presentation and cannot wait to see what Game of Thrones as in store for us.  There are a lot of details to come, but whatever you do... don't discount ArtPlant's game.  This one could really shock the hardcore MMO world.


Garrett Fuller

Garrett Fuller / Garrett Fuller has been playing MMOs since 1997 and writing about them since 2005. He joined MMORPG.com has a volunteer writer and now handles Industry Relations for the website. He has been gaming since 1979 when his cousin showed him a copy of Dungeons and Dragons. When not spending time with his family, Garrett also Larps and plays Airsoft in his spare time.