Irreverent confession: An interview with Faxion Online's UTV True Games

Justin Olivetti
J. Olivetti|01.13.11

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Irreverent confession: An interview with Faxion Online's UTV True Games
You're dead -- so sorry, chap! Fortunately, that doesn't mean your gaming adventures are over. On the contrary, according to Faxion Online, they've just begun. In the world of Limbo, players are pulled between the forces of heaven and hell as they fight each other through the physical manifestations of the seven deadly sins.

Curious about Faxion Online, we sat down with UTV True Games to discuss the deep issues of beta, religion and epeens.

Massively: How's the progress toward closed beta coming along?

UTV True Games: It's coming along at an insane pace. The team is focused and beating away at the long list of tasks that loom before us all prior to launching beta as well as the game. We are working on zones, abilities and items, along with wrapping up features and tightening the nuts and bolts of various aspects of the game. The team was able to catch their breath over the holidays a bit, so it's going to allow us to have a good strong kick to the finish.

How did the idea of Faxion come about?

My first day of work consisted of setting up my computer and being handed a design document for a game called Heaven and Hell (Working Title). This game design was handed to me with the instructions that we could take as much as we would like or as little of it as we chose. After reviewing the document over the course of around 10 days, we determined we liked the theme... and that was about it. We changed the tone of the game and also the game systems direction.

So in a weird way, it was something handed to me that we as a team made our own very quickly. We embraced not only the theme but the creative freedom UTV True Games was giving us with it. We knew we wanted to have fun and not be too serious about religions. At the same time, we wanted to be sure to cover as many of the various religions as we could. We ended up settling into Limbo where there is no time and no dominant religion to speak of. They all start their journey after life in Limbo.

Religious imagery often is a touchy subject. How does Faxion manage to use these themes without offending?

Without offending?! Now I am offended. We are not worried about being offensive, as long as it is fair and applied to everyone and everything. Faxion isn't just about Christianity; it has Buddhism, Judaism, and a variety of others, even Scientology. That said, I can't wait for the Westboro Baptist Church to show up and protest us as we pull into the parking lot. If they are too sensitive to take a joke (which we know they are, look at 'em) then let them waste their time standing out there screaming...

Seeing as how you have the Seven Deadly Sins, do you also have the Seven Heavenly Virtues?

Not yet, but isn't that just something we all love about an MMO world: It grows!

Are you worried that more players will choose the "cooler" Hell to ally with?

Not sure why Hell is more "cool", but, sure anything that may create an imbalance is something we worry about. We have done our very best to ensure that both sides have their "cool" factor. Yes, Hell often times can be the popular choice, but the game itself will be able to aid in outnumbered players.

However, we have also found that players will often times want balance themselves and coordinate at a guild and social level to ensure they have a target-rich environment to play in. And while some may find it fun to be the "bad boys," there are many gamers out there that want to stand on the side of good and yell "Go to Hell!" just before delivering the victory blow.

What is the world of Limbo like? Is there a history here, a lore and indigenous peoples?

Limbo is a place [where] all people start their journey in the afterlife. All religions through time can be found, and [their] followers are sprinkled amongst the population. The Capital City of Limbo is Purgatory, and it's a place that does not judge nor hold anyone in higher regard than another. It simply serves the residents and their needs as they find their way for their own retribution.

In addition to the city, the Seven Deadly Sins have manifested themselves into physical locations, each represented with its own theme. This brings a level of diversity to the types of locations visitors to Limbo will be able to discover and explore as they battle for the armies of Heaven or Hell.

With each manifestation of the Sin have come the people that represent it. From the Gluttonous who tend the farmlands, to the Prideful Atlans building their Tower into the skies, players will have the opportunity to meet and face off against many indigenous people and creatures that represent the afterlife, limbo and the sins.

How does the multi-class feature work?

Multi-classing is designed to deliver as much choice to the players in how they build their characters. There is no limit to what players can multi-class into, and the order in which they do choose will have an impact.

We are using the cost of abilities as a balance factor. The more you spread yourself out, the less depth within any class ability structure you will be able to obtain. We also feel this method will allow us to continue to add to the abilities as well as [add] entirely new class types later and not disrupt or penalize players who are established in a character.

Will Faxion favor the button-mashing twitch gamer over the strategic-thinking one?

I would say Faxion is a little bit of both. While we are not an "active" aim combat system, we certainly give lots of movement and action to a combat sequence. In addition, [due to] the way some classes and abilities work, there is certainly a strategic and tactical element.

That will be a constant goal of ours as we launch and continue to develop features once live. It's a balance we will be vigilant over as we balance existing and add new content to our combat system.

Players are always a bit wary when a game features a cash shop, because they're wondering if the game will actively penalize them if they don't pay. Is this the case in Faxion?

"A bit wary"? I would say most of the players we talk to flat-out avoid it. So many of the F2P games give you a few levels to entice you, and then slam you with some function that you "need" to continue to enjoy the game. Pass over their cash-shop item and you essentially turn what was a fun experience into a painful one.

Faxion Online is sticking to its Time vs. Money mentality. We will sell vanity items for players to differentiate their look, but they have no impact statistically on the game. We will sell items that are useful; however, those exact item stats can be found within the world without the player spending one dime. They will have to devote time to obtaining that item but not money.

It's important that we allow a player who does not have the time to compete a way to compete without leveraging the balance or "fairness" of the game. We are not forcing sales of items through mechanics that penalize players. Might as well call them cursed items and pay to have them removed -- hey now there is an idea!

What kind of death penalty will players deal with?

We believe losing the fight is generally enough of a death penalty. Time to get back to the fight is likely the most significant penalty players may experience. Players will come back to death (seeing as we are all already dead in Limbo) within a crypt where they are safe to get prepared to enter back out into the fray.

How are you planning to balance PvP so that a newbie doesn't get pwned in two seconds flat by a high-level, decked-out character?

Faxion Online does have levels, but they are not part of our combat system to determine effectiveness. While a level 50 player is certainly stronger than a level 30, it is not a guaranteed victory. Add in another character of around level 25 and that initial level 50 player is going to have his hands full and may find himself losing the fight.

We want players of any "age" to be at minimum, a benefit to their faction, guild, and group within the conflicts and the war.

Are there leaderboards?

Not currently, but they have been designed and are in the queue to be developed once we are comfortable with the systems we have now. We know players like to know how they match up with others, and it's a big part of what we want to offer the community through the game and the website.

What if someone doesn't want to PvP when he logs in? Are there other alternatives -- questing, crafting, etc.?

There is questing, but the [quests] have all been created within a PvP environment. You can potentially be attacked at any time in the game once you leave the sanctuary of Purgatory City and Purgatory Valley (new player lands). We are protecting players in a non-PvP environment as they get their feet wet, but after that, we kick their ass out the front door and expect these young men and women to stand strong for their faction and fight.

No matter how PvP-centric Faxion is, we also know that other areas of the game can only enhance it and make it a better experience for all players. The difference being, we will always look to tie any system back to the PvP roots of the game, from competitive dungeon run between guilds to making holding resource locations important to a crafting system.

Thank you for talking with us!
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