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Imaginary Numbers
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel N/A)  | Pub:Imaginary Numbers
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Mini Q&A #1

Tactica Online Interviews - By Dana Massey on April 15, 2005

Mini Q&A #1

Tactica Online Mini Q&A #1

Dana Massey asks Luke Carruthers, CEO and Creative Director of Imaginary Numbers a few questions about Tactica Online.

MMORPG.com:Let us kick off this new Q&A series with the most basic question. What is Tactica Online and what differentiates it from the crowd?
Luke Carruthers:

Tactica Online is a turn-based strategy RPG set in the conspiracy and intrigue of da Vinci’s world. Played entirely online in a persistent world, players control a squad of characters, undertaking missions that affect the ongoing storyline. Designing your squad is a matter of mixing and matching skills, equipment, and characters to achieve the perfect combination. Combat is very tactical, things like using the terrain and paying attention to your opponents’ actions matter, and the most effective teams will be those that combine the skills their characters use most effectively.

Does that sound like anything else on the market today? Our problem isn’t differentiating Tactica Online, it’s getting people to understand the game well enough to know that it will appeal to them!

MMORPG.com:Tactica seems to take the unique approach of each person controlling a squad of characters, rather than a single one. Why did you make this decision and what do you think it allows you to do that other MMOs cannot?
Luke Carruthers:

Controlling a squad of characters goes hand-in-hand with turn-based combat. If you’re going to have actual control over your squad, as opposed to directing an AI, then play really needs to be turn-based. You just can’t manage that many characters in realtime effectively.

We decided on this sort of approach because it allowed us to put a lot of options into the combat system. A combat system with real depth, that took account of the player’s tactical skills, was perhaps the most important of our goals when we first started designing the game, and that led us inevitably down the path to a turn-based system.

It’s allowed us to give an entirely different feel to the game. Longer encounters, where combat might take twenty minutes, and involve dozens of important decisions; combat that involves considered thought rather than just reaction or button pushing; and a level playing field that makes you the equal of anyone else in the game from your first battle.

MMORPG.com:As an MMO based in history, what do you draw on as your sources and will we see any familiar places, landmarks and cities recreated in Tactica?
Luke Carruthers:

We’ve gone to a lot of effort to incorporate a strong sense of history in Tactica Online, so you’ll recognize people, places and things everywhere. Even if you’re not familiar with the Renaissance as a period, you’ll recognize echoes of our modern world, because the Renaissance is the period when many of our modern ideas where first formed. More importantly, we’ve tried to evoke the scent of hidden knowledge, the certainty that secret societies are plotting behind every wall, that the Renaissance masters had command of powers we’ve lost today.

The game’s story draws heavily on the changes that the Renaissance world went through, and the Inquisition, the Knights Templar, and Leonardo da Vinci all play a large part in it. Those familiar with Renaissance history might recognize the city of Tier, where much of the game takes place, as a fictionalized Milan, and there are missions to parts of the world that were important to the time, such as Arabia, the Americas, and the Aztec Empire.

While it’s a fictionalized setting, without a good dose of historical realism it’s going to feel false, so being as accurate as including magic and advanced technology allows has been crucial to achieving that atmosphere.

MMORPG.com:Your website says that you do not need to spend hours leveling up, but rather start with a group just as powerful as anyone else. What then is the advantage to being a longtime player?
Luke Carruthers:

Great question! There are lots of reasons to become a longtime player, but the bottom line is that you’re going to play the game for a long time because you continue to enjoy it, not because you’re looking for some sort of advantage over others.

Of course, the longer you play, the more of the story you’ll be able to experience. Most casual players won’t be able to make it through all the story missions before the next expansion is released, and the story moves on, so it’s only the longtime players who will get to see everything.

Longtime players will also be more familiar with the game, and thus probably better at it, in the same way that if you’ve been playing chess for a year, you’re going to be better than someone who’s only been playing for a couple of months. Practice makes perfect!

As a player, your rating will reflect this. We use the same rating system that chess players do, which means that not only can you ensure that your battles aren’t a slaughterhouse by matching yourself against players with a rating similar to your own, but that it takes time and effort to increase your rating to the point where you stand out to other players. It’s the longtime players who will have the profile within the community.

Now there’s nothing that says you have to be a longtime player. If you pick up the game, spend a few months enjoying it, and then want to put it aside, that’s fine. You don’t lose anything, you can come back to it at any time exactly where you left off, you can pick up the next expansion to continue the story or not, it’s all up to you. As long as you feel like you’ve had fun, that’s the important thing.

We would like to thank Luke at Imaginary Numbers for taking the time to answer our questions. This is a new bi-weekly feature and we would like you to be a part of it! Swing by our new Tactica Online boards and post your questions for the developers.