GDC Preview: Fury
At the Game Developers Conference, Jon Wood stopped by to visit the folks from Auran and Gamecock, the companies behind the development of the combat-oriented MMORPG, Fury.
Players that love PvP above all else in MMORPGs will be impressed with Fury, the latest offering from Australia-based Auran and their North American publisher, Gamecock.
For those who might not be aware, Fury is a hard-hitting, fantasy based combat MMORPG that doesn't get bogged down in the trappings of a traditional PvE MMO.
"PvE is a compromise to a good PvP game" says Tony Hilliam, Auran's CEO and Director. Hilliam believes that as soon as a game has PvE elements, the PvP in the game is instantly compromised. As a result, Fury is a pure blooded, player vs player experience.
At the Game Developers Conference, I had the opportunity to sit down with Hilliam for a short demonstration of this PvP experience. Players familiar with online games like Battlefield will be accustomed to both the concept of the game (battling it out on teams against other players with a specific objective in mind), and with the fast-paced action that this kind of game can, and does, deliver. That is not to say that this game is in any way a clone of MMOFPS games like Battlefield. Instead, it brings the more intense game play of that genre into the MMORPG genre.
In terms of the fast-paced nature of the game, Hilliam tells me that 90% of the abilities in Fury are on a one-second call down. This means that the time is short between using and recharging an ability. On top of this, most of your abilities can be used while on the run. Only the big, powerful abilities require the player to be stationary (and you aren't very often stationary).
Fury is divided into two different kinds of area, the War Zones, and the Sanctuaries. While the War Zones serve as the place to do battle, the Sanctuaries serve as a safe zone where players can train, buy and sell and interact with other players. Each Sanctuary is equipped with six districts, one school for each of the different kinds of magic, a prep area and a Citadel which serves as the vendor area.
The game is built on a unique Realm vs. Realm structure that sees each player's server represent their Realm. In fact, the very first decision that you make upon entering the game is which realm you choose to play. Hilliam equated each realm to a sports franchise. When I start playing Fury (itself quite a competitive game), do I want to play for the New York Rangers or the Montreal Canadiens? This way, it's server pride on the line each time a character does battle.
Servers are likely to be determined geographically, there will be French-speaking servers, German speaking servers, etc. Within those servers, some of the players are going to have their own clans, teams that they always play and fight with. This is not a necessity for Fury though, and Casual and solo players can enter a que to have the game itself find him / her a group.
Players advance in Fury by using their abilities in combat and through completing trials (best described as specific, PvP quests). In doing this, over time, I can unlock new abilities to add to my character's repertoire.
Rewards are earned, as you may have guessed, through combat. Each time that you kill another player, there is a chance of a loot drop (not the other player's loot) and at least a small amount of gold will always drop.
Fury Essence is best thought of as a kind of spiritual experience point. These points are awarded on a decreasing scale at the end of every battle. The players of each archetype earns the most Essence, and on down the line. Each Sanctuary holds what the game calls obelisks. These obelisks serve as a repository for Fury Essence that can be donated by the players. The realm that has donated the most Fury Essence to their obelisk gains a +10 bonus in combat.
While I only had a very short opportunity to see and talk about Fury with Hilliam and the other folks from Gamecock and Auran, I can see that they are hard at work on something fun, unique and interesting. On top of that, the developers of this game practically bleed enthusiasm, and I've always found that to be a good sign. I will leave you with this comment from Tony Hilliam:
"We want to be the best PvP game... ever."