GDC 2012: gPotato showcases Allods, Aika, Sevencore, and Eternal Blade

sevencore
If you're wondering what gPotato has been up to lately, the answer is, lots! At GDC, gPotato reps showed off not one but four titles, two of which are brand-new and on their way to beta. For Allods and Aika fans, there was plenty of news about the new game updates. Meanwhile, gPotato put on demos for Sevencore and Eternal Blade, which are both in production and are being prepped for release sometime later this year. Read on for a hands-on look at each of these titles!%Gallery-150628%
Allods Online
Allods Online

First off was Allods, which just had a new update, one Jeremy Stratton and I livestreamed with some of the team on Twitch recently. Our show covered some of the new content, including new islands in the Astral for groups to explore and a new currency exchange system that lets players change their in-game cash for gPotato currency. GM Aaron "Condulus" Biedma took us to one zone that we hadn't seen during our livesteam, the raid zone called Dead City. It's an ancient city in ruins, and Biedma noted that guilds are still in the process of clearing it and have not yet killed the boss. We fought one of the lesser bosses, and it contained a mechanic by which one person would randomly be targetted and encased in a pod. If that person is your tank or your cleric, and you don't free her fast enough, you could put your raid in jeopardy. I had a chance to try out the new Bard class, and as you'd expect, it has a nice mix of DPS and utility.

Biedma went on to say that the team has mapped out a plan for the next one to two years, including minor updates every one or two months months and a major update every three months, so players can expect a nice amount of new content on the way. Right now players are working on a long quest that gives them a second spec, and soon, they'll also gain the ability to build their own allods! The patch will also be heavy on content, and he said the team is working hard to match up with Russia's release dates going forward, meaning that the devs are aiming for it to go live by the summer. Lunar pets are also coming out; they're companion pets that will loot for you, and the team is working on a mentor system to let high-level and low-level players work together with benefits for all. And for those who might have seen our livestreams of astral travel in the high-end game, Biedma hinted at some upcoming quests that will introduce the astral to lower-level players.

Aika
Aika

Next up was Aika, a game that focuses on PvP and territory control. My tour guide for the game was Justin Scoggins, Project Coordinator for gPotato. Aika's territory was shattered into five parallel nations, leaving only rifts as focal points that allow for transport between nations. This creates an ever-changing dynamic by which guilds compete to build forces and take over rifts. With each rift, nations gain a buff, and the maximum number you can hold is 10. We visited one rift that was guarded by dozens of players who established a presence to intimidate an opponent from attacking. As we discovered, though, few players moved toward us when we ran from the rift, which would be a clear signal to an enemy that many of the players were actually AFK and the rift was a soft target.

Adding to the intrigue is the fact that there is a 12-man dungeon, a 24-man dungeon, and a new world PvP zone, which offer some nice perks to guilds. Tyriantor is the 12-man dungeon; it's a cathedral where the deceased warriors were buried when the island of Hessia broke up and an undead dragon moved in. Players need to go in and kill the dragon, and it becomes a race against the clock because he continuously spawns waves of undead minions. The 24-man dungeon is called Aquados, an aqueduct system where a water dragon has set up camp.

Next, we saw the island of Kerena, a PvP zone where players have to work together on world objectives to trigger a zone event. If you complete it, you unlock a world dungeon. In theory, it's to the players' benefit to work together, but it's also something that guilds can use to take advantage of one another to gain the upper hand in the overall struggle for rift control. In short, the new zones offer some terrific benefits to guilds, but they also add an intriguing twist to the politcs and power struggles in the game.

Lastly is the zone called Traban, a high-level, open-PvP zone in which there are three towers. Every so often, you have to run relics from the towers to an eye in the center and place the relics in the containers there. The nation that places the most relics or reaches 200 first gets a special debuff that gives it an advantage in Traban and also in the new raid zone of Hessia. If you win the event, you gain access to a special zone. Of course, if you participate in the event, you aren't able to guard your rifts, so it's a judgment call on whether to focus on the new content or remain active in the constant territorial struggles.

Sevencore
Sevencore

The third game we saw was a new title called Sevencore, which is currently in alpha. As Producer Patrick "Polynikes" Aurelio explained, it's a story-driven game, and there's a secret organization behind the scenes that's pulling strings, so as you play and quest, the story unravels, and it becomes murky as to what side you're playing for. Most of the 1500 quests are tied to the character stories and help drive it along. There are currently five major territories, and at launch, the devs are hoping to have their second and third continent ready. There are three classes, with a fourth on the way and plans for more later on. It's fantasy-based, but there are also elements of science fiction and steampunk blended in.

Next, Aurelio showed some of the mounts that are available in game, and they actually play a pretty important role in the game. There are animal mounts and crafted mechanical mounts, and the mounts have their own characteristics. Some mounts are built just for travel, but others will also give you cloaked abilities to make it easier to travel without being noticed. There are also offensive and defensive mounts, meaning that they can add DPS or provide damage-absorbing buffs.

What's particularly fun about the animal mounts is that you can fight while mounted, but you can also dismount and use them as combat pets, so you can send them off to fight a mob while you attack another, or you can have your mount tank for you while you stand back and DPS. Animal mounts come from eggs that drop in the world, but if you also happen to come across an animal that is being used as a mount by another NPC and you defeat that NPC, you can temporarily take over that mount for a period of time.

Meanwhile, the crafted mechanical mount that we saw resembled a steampunk rocket, and when it switched from travel mode to combat mode, two rocket guns unfolded from the sides of the mount and could then be used to attack a target. Auriello added that the devs are working on adding in a minigame that lets players race their rockets, and there are different challenges that make you choose between attack mode or the faster race mode. There are also flying mounts and water mounts, so no matter what the terrain is, you'll have a mount that can tackle it.

There are several PvP mechanics that let players duel for money, and the team has plans to add in a way to wager items as well. There are also battlegrounds; gPotato is hoping to launch with at least four. They also offer guild combat, and guilds will be able to select rival guilds and friendly guilds. Once you flag a guild as a rival, it's basically open war between the two no matter where opposing members are in the world.

Sevencore also provides opportunity for political intrigue with its system of governors and presidents. There are 20v20 guild duels, and the winners get to take on the role as Governor, which lets them set taxes and local resources and gives them a sizable amount of control over the players. Governors of an area will go up in an election to be President, and as they add continents, the Presidents of each continent will have to interact with one another. A President's term lasts two weeks, and a Governor's term lasts for one week, so guilds need to keep competing if they want to continue. Players and guilds end up helping or hurting one another based on which guilds will be fair and helpful and which ones won't.

Right now the team is working on some nice little features, like the reward system that gives you a point every 12 hours. Regardless of whether you're logged in or not, you'll accrue points, and you can either spend one point for a small prize or save up and spend a maximum of 12 points for a big prize. Another nice feature is the ability to mark a point on your health bar that will automatically trigger one of your consumables. Players can decide how low they want to go before consuming food and drink, and it's nice to not have to worry about managing it all the time. Lastly, one thing that beta players have been having fun with is the character creation because there are all sorts of sliders allowing you to adjust the size of physical features. There's a pretty big range with each slider, and it's given players the opportunity to create some very "interesting-looking" characters.

Sevencore is slated to be ready for launch sometime over the summer, with a closed and open beta right around the corner; it will be free-to-play with a cash shop.

Eternal Blade
Eternal Blade

Eternal Blade is another new title coming from gPotato, and I had a chance to try it out with Producer Jonathan "Cromiell" Hockaday. It's a fantasy-based, free-to-play game that's currently set to launch later this year. There are currently six classes: Thief, Archer, Magician, Soul Summoner, Knight and Berserker. It's a dungeon-crawler style game, and players can play it both as a click-to-move with an isometric angle or keyboard based movement with a third-person viewpoint.

One of the unique features is the holy animal system, which modifies and enhance your skills. Each holy animal affects different skills, and as you level up, the skills that they enhance get better. There are several animals available, but you choose three animals to skill up. We visited the pet trainer, where Hockaday showed the process of combining pets. You can choose which animal you want to upgrade and then can sacrifice an animal to improve your rank. You can hatch an animal at the pet trainer as well. As you kill mobs, you can collect essences, and once you have 10, you can get a pet egg from the trainer and hatch it. The success rate depends on what types of essences you turn in. If you turn in a mixture of various essences, you can get a random holy animal, but there's a chance you won't get anything. If you turn in all the same type of essence, like fire, you will get a specific holy animal.

Lastly, we visited a dungeon, and it was full of quick combat, lots of fun tricks, and colorful cutscenes. Instances can accommodate groups of up to five players and are pretty fast to complete. The boss fight required us to clear out his minions and then throw certain bombs at him to weaken him and make him easier to kill. Eternal Blade will be available this year, and details about the beta will be coming soon. The team is working on localization and then will start up a closed beta within the next four to six months, with open beta coming up after that.

As you can see, gPotato is keeping busy, both with its current titles and new ones. For more information, you can head to the official website and keep up to speed on future updates and dates for beta and launch.

Massively sent four resolute reporters to San Francisco to bring you back the biggest MMO news from this year's GDC, the largest pro-only gaming industry con in the world! From games like The Secret World to PlanetSide 2, we're on the case, so stay tuned for all the highlights from the show!
This article was originally published on Massively.