Aerrevan Interview: The Aer Will Change You
Questions by Jonathan (Ardua) Doyle OnRPG Journalist
Answered by Sean Oosterveen
OnRPG: Hi there. Thanks for taking the time to talk to myself and OnRPG about Aerrevan. So onto introductions... Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do for Aerrevan?
My name is Sean Oosterveen and I am the Project Manager for Aerrevan.
OnRPG: What can you tell us about the setting and idea behind Aerrevan?
Aerrevan is set on the continent of Lurris, a world plagued by the imbalance of a magical essence called Aer. Aer is a lifeforce of sorts and was always in perfect balance, until the Baehoman meteor collided with Lurris, bringing excess Aer to the world. Many died either by having their lifeforce stripped from their bodies or by becoming infected with excess Aer, causing them to mutate. With the onset of Baehoman came an influx of magical beasts that were able to mutate and form from other creatures. Two men came forth with solutions to the Aer problem. Great Mage Vastellyn discovered a way to disenchant the Aer and remove it from Lurris entirely.
Alternatively, Great Mage Kalam discovered a way to harness the power of Aer and use it as a source of power. These conflicting views on Aer placed Lurris in a state of war. People began to side with one of the two Great Mages and now fight fiercely for their beliefs. Aer itself is now harvested and brought to Cemdyna or Cyzerr, the cities of Vastellyn and Kalam respectively. Aer in its solid form is now highly valued and in a way has become a form of currency. It has been four years since the Baehoman meteor collided with Lurris, but the battle for Aer has only just begun. If you want to find out more about the lore and story behind Aerrevan, visit us at our website and check out the lore and library sections.
OnRPG: Humans, Elves and Orcs are fantasy staples for good reason. What sets the ones in Aerrevan apart from how they are represented elsewhere?
Well, in many ways we have stayed true to the fantasy staples. I believe that people can relate better with their characters if they follow a fantasy stereotype. I would say that our representation of orcs is far less tribal and "brutal" than some others. Since Aerrevan does not rely on races for its alliance system, I think our representations in general are a little more neutral than some others. Orcs, Humans and Elves are all, for the most part, friendly towards each other. Looking back at the world's lore you will see some wars based on racial divides, but since the Baehoman meteor collided with Lurris, the primary concern of all the world leaders is the conflict for Aer.
OnRPG: As I understand players will be divided by alliance rather than race and there will be PvP. How focused is the game on PvP?
One of our major focuses when designing Aerrevan was to make a 100% un-instanced game world with a unified set of game rules. This means that PvP and PvE co-exist within the same game world. For a player to engage in open PvP, you must join an allied guild. Once you join an allied guild, you are automatically part of the global conflict and can be attacked at any time by players of opposing alliances. Players who do not want to participate in PvP can simply not join an allied guild. So to answer your question, the global conflict, territorial control, and alliances rely on PvP, and that is a large portion of the game, however, you can choose exactly how much PvP you want to participate in.
OnRPG: Has the classless system in Aerrevan given you trouble in finding a decent balance in PvP?
Classless systems always have their challenges while balancing, but I think we've managed to put together a system that is fairly well made. As beta progresses we have been working hard to ensure that our gold release will be well balanced. One major hurdle we have had to deal with is since we don't have any class or level restrictions, keeping equips fair and balanced has been quite a challenge. As far as PvP goes specifically, I think we have done a good job of avoiding situations where certain builds are vastly superior to others.
OnRPG: Mutants! The Aer Mutation system seems to be another balancing act, but one for players. A little bit is good, too much is bad. Can you tell us more about the actual mutation system?
Aer is the magical essence of life on Lurris. When the Baehoman meteor struck Lurris, it disrupted the balance of Aer and unevenly dispersed it around the world. The Aer your character accumulates either by fighting infected monsters or visiting locations where there are high concentrations of Aer builds up, and your character can begin to mutate. There is a small window of opportunity where the mutation can increase your strength, beyond that threshold, however, you will sharply decline in strength. There will be various ways to purge Aer from your body, such as potions and priests of one of the two great mages.
OnRPG: Have items, will sell! Player run shops are always nice to see and can, by themselves, attract a subset of players. Will Lurris offer a good home to the trade inclined who want to have their own fantasy storefront?
Our intention is to introduce a player-run shop system to Aerrevan where players can set up shops in designated merchant areas. Aerrevan will also feature a system where you can hire an NPC to run your shop, for a fee. All in all, I think trade inclined players will be very pleased with what we have available to them in Aerrevan!
OnRPG: The Aerrevan beta released fairly recently. How was the shift from Alpha to Beta for you and the testers?
The transition was fairly smooth. We closed down the alpha testing for some time leading up to the beta and did all of our testing internally. Beta is obviously much larger in scale compared to alpha, so our interaction with the beta testing community is more structured and organized, but I like to think that we have done a good job of staying personal and in-touch with the community.
OnRPG: Indie developers seem to breed close knit communities. How have you been finding the interaction with your testers and future player base?
I am very pleased with the community that Aerrevan has attracted. Since Aerrevan is a roleplaying oriented game, our community is, for the most part, comprised of seasoned and mature roleplayers. We pride ourselves on our commitment to strong community ties and interaction, and we don't intend to stop any time soon!
OnRPG: What sort of server set up are you looking at for the game? Will there be several with different rule sets or one unified game world?
We will have several game shards available for our players. Each shard will have the same set of rules, however, our PvP system relies heavily on guilds controlling territory, known as guild control points. Each shard will have its own guilds, alliances, and controlling factions. This means that each game instance can have vastly different borders and territorial control. Controlling guilds will have the power to set some variables within their land, so in many ways each shard will differ. Over time I believe each shard will take on a life of its own and the players themselves will dictate what shards are more roleplay, PvP, PvE, etc oriented.
OnRPG: Anyone who crafts a world and takes the pains to create lore for it wants to see it used. Will there be role-play servers/areas in Lurris?
Aerrevan is all about roleplaying. We have tried to create a world that is very roleplay friendly with expansive lore and life. We believe that most MMORPGs don't really deserve the RPG part of that tile. In a way we are trying to bring that element that, in our opinion, was left behind in the transition from RPG to MMORPG. Only time will tell how successful we are at accomplishing that goal. So far the response on some key roleplaying aspects, such as our Dynamic NPC Conversation system, has been very good.
OnRPG: Aerrevan is currently slated as a Pay to Play game. What else can you tell us about the subscription model at this time? Will there be lifetime subs or micro transactions?
First of all, I would like to say that we are highly opposed to the concept of microtransactions. At its core, the purpose of microtransactions is to entice players to pay money to gain an advantage over other players. In a game such as Aerrevan where the focus is on roleplaying, microtransactions don't really fit in. The pay-to-play subscription method has been highly accepted in our community and often commemorated. With so many games going the route of microtransactions, I think most players are simply fed-up with the poor communities and general decline in quality player interactions that seem to plague such games. As far as lifetime subs go, I wouldn't rule out the possibility, however I can't give a definite answer at this time.
OnRPG: If there was one feature of Aerrevan you were the most proud of and wanted us to watch, what would that be?
I think that what I am most proud of isn't one single feature, but rather our ideology of trying to break the MMO mould and make something that is truly unique. If I were to pick one specific feature, it would probably be our guild control points and how our PvP system works on a whole, however, that feature really fits into the bigger puzzle of a living world where players actions actually influence the outcome of world events, borders, and the global conflict. So I guess I am most proud of how we have applied the concept of a player controlled world in a non-instanced MMO setting. Not to mention the depth of lore and story that we have packed into the game. That brings the Dynamic NPC Conversation system to mind as well. The fact that every NPC in the game has extensive dialogue and knowledge of the world around them is testament to our commitment to a living and evolving world.
OnRPG: The question of course on everyone's mind... Beta has only begun but is there an idea on when we will get a tasty gold release of Aerrevan?
For the sake of not being called a liar later down the road, I hesitate to give any sort of gold release date. What I will say is that gold may be closer than you think! Check up on us often to get the latest release information.
OnRPG: Thank you for taking the time out of the world of Lurris and the game Aerrevan to talk to us. Here's to a successful beta and hopefully we'll see you going live soon.
Thank you for the opportunity to share some information with your community.