Massively: How long has Dawn of Fantasy been in development?
The concept of Dawn of Fantasy was born in late 2003, when we sought to create one of the first MMORTS titles. But it wasn't until 2006 that the final concept was created and development really started progressing. Today, we're proud to see the fruition of all these years of hard work and experience, and can't wait until the open beta when we can share all of this with our dedicated fans for the first time.
What's the primary difference between the "normal" RTS mode and the MMORTS portion of the game?
I'll have to answer this question by describing both games modes and let your readers decide what experience will fit them best. As for the primary difference? We like to joke around the office that Dawn of Fantasy is two games in one.
Dawn of Fantasy's MMORTS mode offers a persistent and very story-driven experience with a mix of RPG/Quest and RTS elements. Everything the player does in the MMORTS mode is epic in scale -- starting from the initial development of the homecity and research tree, to the scale of the game world, Mythador. In the MMORTS mode, players will have to spend weeks to max out and fully build up their towns -- while in the RTS "Build & Defend" skirmish mode, players can have a large town up within 20 minutes. The normal RTS mode consists of three skirmish types: Castle Defense, Lay Siege, and Build & Defend. In these games, you can play with up to seven other friends and start your own empire from scratch or select one of our prebuilt NPC towns from the MMORTS campaign to defend or attack.
These two distinct game modes work together quite nicely -- if players crave action immediately - they can jump into multiplayer or singleplayer RTS mode and be fighting with thousand-strong armies, or building up their strongholds and economies, in minutes.
How many units will players be commanding in the MMORTS mode? Will they control a whole city, a small number of units, or will it vary based on their successes?
Players start with just a few units and build their way toward a huge city-state empire with alliances, trade partners, and several massive, thousand-strong armies roaming the online world. However, we've adjusted our gameplay to fit players of all styles, some prefer epic combat while others prefer smaller, more micro-managed battles. It will be up to players how big their armies will be and what kind of quests they take on.
Will players have visually representative heroes on the map, or will they just be portrait avatars a la EVE Online?
Heroes are very much visually represented and integral to gameplay. They are the strongest units in the army and present whenever you talk with an NPC. They can fight, recruit, cast powerful spells, and use special abilities. On top of that, heroes -- just like all other units under your control -- gain experience, level up, and can have their skills and stats improved as the player desires.
What level of world persistence will the MMORTS mode feature?
Everything the player does is persistent -- starting from the economy and base building to travel and global commerce. For example, a player can order several buildings to be constructed in his or her town, and send an army to travel half-way across the world before calling it a night. Upon signing back in the following morning, most of the buildings ordered will be complete, the player will accumulate a good amount of resources his peasants and economy will bring in overnight, and the army will arrive at its destination and set-up a camp. Dawn of Fantasy will also feature other persistent gameplay elements that are now standard to the MMO genre, such as a supply-and-demand world economy and dynamic weather and seasons, which greatly impact your economy and performance.
Will there be options in the MMORTS mode to fight against non-player armies, or will the focus be the armies of other players?
Of course -- the majority of quests are PvE. Outside of quests, you can lay siege to any of the NPC strongholds, some of which are truly massive and will require a whole team of allied invaders. Players can view and control their armies no matter where they are on the world map, allowing them to interact with a world populated with a variety of NPC factions and characters. In our effort to provide the gameplay experience the player chooses, players can choose to fight both PvE and PvP, or to just concentrate on one or the other.
How large will the world be?
Huge, both in its geography and its lore. Players will be able to travel from the desert encampments of the southern orc Brakental deserts, to the swamps and majestic forests of the elves in Nhob'ru, to the majestic cliff-side citadels of the men in the Southmount region, and everywhere in-between.
One of the greatest thrills is just interacting with the NPCs and discovering what each region has to offer, as well as digging into its rich history and mythology. Each region has its own character and each faction has developed a unique language and culture. In a world of constant fear and chaos following the War Without Kings, you may find yourself laying siege to the great stronghold built over the lake in which, according to elven myth, the gods created all beings from the reflections they saw in it, or in the middle of a civil war between the High Elves and the Wood Elves after a series of internal conflicts, as the orcs and men press in creating a second, dual-front war.
Are there plans to limit the number of players in a given "shard" on the MMORTS game, in a manner similar to Champions Online or Guild Wars?
Thanks to the approach Dawn of Fantasy takes with extremely low server and bandwidth requirements, we are hoping to be able to house all of the players on one server, which will allow players to find allies and auto-matched PvP opponents within seconds. Fortunately, this will never be too overwhelming on the players since they can only directly communicate with nearby players. The MMORTS campaign can be played largely singleplayer with little interaction with other players, or players can join guilds, work on quests together, and take on the world.
How far will players be able to zoom in and out of battle? For example, Supreme Commander operated on a large enough scale to go from tiny units in immediate combat to fighting movements across the entire map. Will battles go down to street-by-street fighting in large cities, or will events be on a larger scale?
The MMORTS mode features two view layers. Players can control their armies and towns and view the map of the whole world, or they can control their units and towns in a standard RTS view. While not quite on the same scale as Supreme Commander, players will be able to zoom out great distances, enough to see a thousand units on one screen. Most of the battles are large-scale sieges, but a few are smaller -- such as caravan raids.
Finally, we understand you can't say everything about the game while it's in development, but what's the most exciting part of the game in its current state?
Definitely the whole aspect of siege warfare. Fire disease-stricken cattle over enemy walls with the orc catapults, crush resistance with the elves' giant ent-like Treants and walking bolt throwers, and polish your defense with automated, counter-siege mechanisms such as pots of boiling oil, draw-bridges, secret escape routes to surprise enemy armies, and spike traps to get the job done. Siege warfare adds a whole new element to the game as players will need to be ready for anything and be able to counter these siege weapons quickly before they reach their gate.
Thanks for your time!