Rival Tide was present at Multiplay iseries 45, a huge gaming event, this past weekend, while there manager Jon and Event Tech Steve sat down with Simon from Trion Worlds to talk about their new MMORTS End of Nations
Jon: Hi, it’s Jon and Steve here from Rival Tide and we’re joined by Simon, one of the people behind the upcoming game End of Nations. End of Nations is a MMORTS, that is something quite different to the type of RTS we’re seeing currently. It seems you’re adding news layers to the RTS, having more people play at once.
Simon: That’s right and that’s what I think makes it really interesting. At the very core of the game we have a very pure RTS experience. And what we’ve added to it, by making it online connected and by giving it a massive size, it adds a whole new level to the game. So instead of small scale 1v1, 2v2, 4v4 battles, we can go all the way up to 28v28 with up to 56 players playing in a single battle at any one time.
Jon: With that in mind, what would you say other games inspired you to make end of nations?
Simon: Well, Trion worlds is partnering with Petroglyph Studios who are in a way, the fathers and founders of the real time strategy genre. Lots of the core members of Petroglyph who are working on this game used to work at Westwood Studios, who were known historically for working on Dune 2 and the Command and Conquer series. So a lot of the developers come from this type of gaming background.
Jon: It’s exciting to hear that you have a lot of people with backgrounds in legendary games from the genre, along with it being free to play and the massively multiplayer element to it. You can expect a lot of people to be signing on to that.
Simon: That’s right, and it’s one our goals. One of the very reasons that it’s free to play is so that we can introduce it to a large group of people. So there is no barrier to entry, anyone can play the game for free, there are no components of the game that are ‘pay to win’ and there is no cap to it. So as a gamer that doesn’t want to invest any money into it, they can continue to play the game and remain competitive with those who do maybe want to invest a little bit for the sake of convince, maybe they don’t have as much time available during the day to spend on it. It just really gives them the opportunity to keep up. But it is absolutely not a game that you can ‘pay to win’. Which is very important to us.
Jon: That’s good, free to play attracts so many more people and micro transactions are just a convenience?
Simon: That it yes, you can use the micro transactions to buy a new skin or another unit in the same way that non paying players can use the money they earn through the game to buy those same skins or convenience items.
Steve: Just a quick change of subject, have you had the chance to play much of the game yourself?
Simon: Yes I do, although I do work in the publishing side, I think one of the great things about Trion is that all the people who work there are very much into their games. There is a perception amongst some hardcore gamers that people who do marketing aren’t really into playing games.
Steve: One of the things I find really unique about is that it doesn’t have a base building style to it. It’s got more the elements of a role playing game.
Simon: Well it’s interesting, and that’s a really good point. Over the past few years it’s become apparent that base building has gone out of vogue in strategy games. If you look back at a lot of older games there was a lot of base building, but now it’s a lot speedier.
Steve: Yeah, Some strategy games have you needing to do certain things real quick, so you have to cue things up and if you miss any critical moments you can ruin a game.
Simon: That’s super hardcore micromanagement, and y’know base building is not within the game but what we do have is the ability to deploy base elements within the title. So whether they’re turrets, anti-air, cannons or elements that will provide defence, you’ll have that ability as well.
It’s a juggle between you being on the offensive and defensive, so you don’t need a base necessarily. But there is also a tactical component of you knowing when to be a little more defensive if you’re trying to control a resource point which you need to generate wealth within the game. So then you would then use that point to maybe deploy other units. The core components of the strategy are still there, it’s just that we’re not relying on that base building.
And taking away the base building means you’re taking away the battles that turn into a war of attrition, it’s very much more fast paced. And I think a lot of successful games out now like Starcraft are a lot like that, they’re a lot quicker to play. I would say that is a influenced by the Asian market, where speed play is a big deal for them.
Steve: When I look at games like this, I’m always a bit scared, there always seems to be so much, it can be overbearing, what do you think people’s first reaction are to these games?
Simon: Well it’s always very strong and I think one of the things we have to remember is the beauty of having the battles on such a large scale with 28v28, it means that if you are relatively new to the genre, you don’t have to be at the very forefront of the battle. You don’t have to learn and understand all the strategies of the battle; you can just take part and play a role in the team. You can still contribute and be a valued player but you don’t have to be the person right at the front leading the team.
You just have to be able to support, and that’s what important because at the end of the game they feel like they’ve contributed and played a part. It’s not like other games where you’re dropped in the middle, die a bunch of times and think what was the point in that? We want to get as many people involved as possible, we know that strategy games over the past few years haven’t been as popular as they were, say, eight or nine years ago, but what this game does is open it to a wider audience. I think it does this because it is a free to play product but it also looks like something you would pay the full price of a game for.
Jon: In my eyes this is going to be the first in a new generation of RTS, and you’re aiming it at a broad audience, but are you aiming it towards Esports and competitive gaming?
Simon: Well first and foremost, we think this is a game that will appeal to strategy gamers, we have very high credibility with Petroglyph studios and their history, secondly we think that people more involved in the pvp component will be very interested in it because there is a lot of strategy and tactics involved in it, it’s not a game where you sit back and wait for something to happen, you have to get involved. That’s why we think the campaign and pve element come in, because you’ll have a very clear objective and you’ll be doing it with lots of other people. It’ll be an ongoing campaign too.
Steve: So that’s where the MMO elements comes into it.
Simon: That’s right and that’s something we will talk about a lot more as development in the game goes on. We aren’t talking about the PVE side of things right now as we’re focusing on the PVP area of the game. We still think both sides of the game will be important though. We want to create a consistent world, so you can enter a game and see that a side you’re aligned with is losing a battle, so you can jump in and help out, it allows you to become a part in an ongoing thing.
Jon: I’m really looking forward to it. It’s like you’re pioneering a new type of game. You’ve got people who pioneered the early RTS games, and they’re here again now doing it again.
Simon: Trion is all about producing high quality titles that is what we do with Rift, which is already a very successful MMO. And is what we want to do with End of Nations. We want people to be connected all the time so they can have a seamless experience, they can enjoy it with their friends all over the world, and it means it’s a game they can come back to. We want to create a completely new kind of experience.
Steve: So does that mean you can just jump into a game while it’s live?
Simon: That would be in the PVE component of the game, in the PVP you start a game at the very start, pick your loadout. There are a number of units types to pick from based on your play style, there are fast moving ground infantry, you may be a bit more defensive and use anti-air and support another play who might be on slow tanks. So it works well for people who are relatively novice players, they can have more experienced ones take them under their wing
Jon: So from what you’ve said it looks like the game will cater to people who want to just play a 1v1 game all the way to the full 28v28 and everything in-between.
Steve: Is there any current news on a release date?
Simon: So where we are currently is we are in alpha at the moment, we’re moving to closing alpha and into a beta phase soon. And our final game is to fully launch the final game in the Autumn time.
Jon: That’s not very far away is it?
Simon: No, many people at several events such as Insomnia today are saying that it looks really good, but there are still a lot of things that need work like unit balance, understanding how the maps are working and we’re going to use the time in beta to get that right.
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