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SGF 2024: Throne And Liberty Hands-On Preview and Interview

Kazuma Hashimoto Updated: Posted:
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Throne and Liberty is a large-scale MMORPG that focuses heavily on player-versus-player combat. Trailers have shown hundreds upon hundreds of players contesting for castles and world bosses, and thanks to player feedback, combat has evolved from what was originally shown. 

MMORPG sat down with the Globalization Design Manager at Amazon Games, Daniel Lafuente, and Head of Third-Party Publishing at Amazon Games, Merv Lee Kwai, to inquire about the changes made to Throne and Liberty throughout the years and how guild versus guild content will manifest in the game.

For those unfamiliar with Throne and Liberty, the game has gone through something of an interesting development cycle. Announced in 2011 as Lineage Eternal, a sequel to NC Soft’s Lineage, the game was shown to be more akin to a third-person Action RPG in the vein of Diablo or the original Lineage. Updates were few and far between, as the project would go dark for several years, with new information resurfacing between 2015 and 2016. 

In 2017, NC Soft announced Lineage Eternal was now rebranded as Project TL, which then became Throne and Liberty. The game itself has vastly changed from conception, with numerous updates to gameplay happening through persistent player feedback across Throne and Liberty’s international communities. This was shown in how combat was retooled to make it less stand and attack, and more reactive and in the vein of a modern action RPG.

There are threads of Lineage II in Throne and Liberty, which include the focus on massive siege battles that can include upwards of a thousand players contesting for a single castle. And just like in Lineage II, player versus player, and by extension guild versus guild, combat is a part of the core gameplay loop. 

Lafuente explained that guild versus guild combat would appear in various forms, including “Conquest Battles,” which are more or less various guilds scrapping for territory. Then there are world bosses. Lafuente mentioned that these encounters would not be instances and, therefore, open games for guilds to fight over. This immediately made me think of attempting to tackle Antharas in Lineage II and how the clan I was part of would have to fend off various other clans and alliances in an attempt to take down this fierce dragon for a chance at a single piece of gear. It was grueling and hard, but it required a level of coordination I haven’t experienced in an MMORPG since.

Throne and Liberty

More than that, is that players will be able to contest for the throne. “This is upwards of a thousand players, with their guilds, all participating in the siege to take over the castle and claim the throne.” Globalization Design Manager at Amazon Games Daniel Lafuente said.

“I think that’s going to be the pinnacle event for Throne and Liberty, this being something that all guilds will be working towards over time. This also gives the opportunity for guilds to create alliances with each other, and create some of that deep geopolitical drama we see in other MMORPGs.” This was something that I particularly enjoyed about Lineage II, and seeing it in Throne and Liberty has me excited at the prospect of forging alliances with other players to take down a common foe and potentially take the throne. Social aspects are always present in these kinds of games, but the scheming and strategy was always my favorite, and as I was playing Throne and Liberty at Summer Game Fest, it was nice to see that the developers had these elements in mind.

However, Lafuente stressed that while guilds do play a strong role in Throne in Liberty, participation in guild versus guild activities are not the end all be all of the MMORPG. “We do feel that the best experience in Throne and Liberty is playing with others, but you don’t need to be in a large guild.” He said. “If you want to play solo, the game still offers a lot. There are solo based dungeons that have multiple levels where you’re fighting one versus one with a boss.. More time trials are being added for solo players, and there is a lot of world exploration and collecting that players can do.” With that said, Lafuente did encourage that some attempt be made at playing with others and participating in the mentioned large scale sieges.

Throne and Liberty

Though after having gotten my hands on Throne and Liberty, their pace of the game is arguably a lot slower than I anticipated. While I could transform into various beasts, such as a bird or otter of some kind and a lion made out of black miasma, to explore the dungeon we were taken through, the game itself isn’t as fast as Diablo IV or Path of Exile by a long shot. Skills are used with a level of deliberation in specific rotations, though you can assign whatever skill you want to your hotbar so long as you have the appropriate weapon equipped because there are no real classes in Throne and Liberty, and your skills are instead dictated by your weapons. 

I opted for the daggers and hand crossbows because I liked the Demon Hunter in Diablo III, and it honestly felt somewhat similar. My dagger strikes allowed me to get in close range, poisoning and debilitating a single or groups of enemies, and my crossbows allowed me to focus down multiple targets and stay out of range to keep my health in the clear. One thing that I found interesting is when an enemy is frozen, that enemy cannot be attacked or attack, which meant I was running around without anything to do until that status effect subsided. This felt like an oversight, but I guess it could be good if everyone is waiting for their skills to go off cooldown.

But it has been a long journey for Throne and Liberty to make it to the West. Franchise Lead at Amazon Games Merv Lee Kwai spoke to that, stating, “We came into the picture about two years ago. From the get-go we’ve had a strong relationship with NC Sof, so we worked very closely with NC Soft to globalize the game.” Kwai also elaborated on changes that have been made to Throne and Liberty, sharing that it has all been driven by player feedback. “A lot of changes have been through NC Soft and Amazon Games going back and forth about what Throne and Liberty truly needed to hit our quality bar. That’s how it arrived at the place it has now.”

When asked about content updates releasing simultaneously between all regions at some point in the future, Lafuente mentioned that this was the dream. However, he stated that the team didn’t want to compromise game quality, specifically localization, to make this happen. “We want to be able to get it as close as possible.” He said. “And we’ll see if we can.” The team also spoke to possible preventive measures that will be taken against bots as to not have a repeat of Lost Ark. However, they couldn’t disclose what methods they intend to use, only that this was something the team has acknowledged and that they are the most prepared that they’ve been. Hopefully this means that the launch and lifespan of the game won’t be plagued with bot accounts.

Throne and Liberty is set to release in North America and Europe in 2024. It is already available in Korea.


kazumahashimoto

Kazuma Hashimoto