Questions by Bryan King, OnRPG Writer
Answered by James Newkirk, Ambardia Founder
OnRPG: Hello James! Thank you for taking some of your time to answer these questions. First things first, please introduce yourself to our readers!
James: Well Bryan, I am the creator of Ambardia Online. I hold the position of Owner/ Director. We also have three other owners as well, Aradia, Merlin and Richy. I began developing Ambardia Online two years ago after helping another developer with his game. At that time I was also a minor Game Sage and Aeria Street team member for Aeriagames. One of the Game Masters at Aeriagames left to publish his own game (Immortals) and so I left Aeriagames and followed him to his new production. I was hired to be an active manager of a team of beta testers.
OnRPG: Introduce us to the storyline in the world of Ambardia.
James: Ambardia takes place in the fantasy-themed realm of Ambardia, The world was populated with simple citizens who rarely questioned their lives or their surroundings until Ambard, an ancient folk hero of sorts, discovered that the realm was decreasing in size due to an imbalance between the forces of Order and Chaos. Ambard was chosen to receive the power to re-create his land, which he passes on to his descendants. The story goes on to describe Ambard’s search to understand the world around him and the forces that tie the world together.
OnRPG: There is a heavy emphasis on lore and storyline, what was the development process taken to make this so?
James: It was very important for us to make sure that the players were aware of the storyline even if they did not want to actively role play with it. We developed our tutorial area of the game in such a way as to offer the storyline to the players with books and NPC chats to be able to move forward through the tutorial. We also did it in such a way as to not “cram it down their throats”. Most of the quests in the game take this same approach to how we incorporate the storyline into the game. If players want to become more active with the lore and history later they can always go back and speak with these NPC’s again or read the storyline on the web site.
OnRPG: Ambardia has a wide variety of unique classes; please give readers a small preview on some of them.
James: Ambardia has 11 classes/races to choose from. I would not say they are unique but we do work to make each class have a unique style of play. We combined classes and races together due to the limitations of the game engine. An Orc is an Orc and a knight is a knight. There is no Orc Knight or Dwarven Barbarian. Each class has a different set of class specific quests to help the player develop their class more fully.
OnRPG: What’s your favorite class?
James: I personally enjoy the Mage class. A lot of players think this class is weak and unbalanced however we have worked hard to make it one of the most intricate classes in the game. At Ambardia, we don’t always rely on game AI for developing continuity. Mages are supposed to be more intellectually challenging than Knights to develop. If reason and learning are not your strongest points in real life then they will not be in the game as well. If however you are into martial arts then you will probably play a great Ninja class or Knight in the game.
OnRPG: The game features an expansive crafting system, with trade skills like Fishing, Processing, Cooking, and more. How has the community received this system, and do you guys have any more skills planned for the future?
James: We love our skill system. We currently have 17 skills in the game to help players do everything from create their own food to mixing ingredients for potions to warp around Ambardia. Players can also benefit from the skills directly by earning a percentage of their skill points that are distributed to their overall level. A player who does not want to spend all his time gaining levels the old hack and slash way can also do so by relaxing by a river and fishing. The players benefit from the skills by being able to create trade goods as well as manufacture or collect special items for quests.
OnRPG: What type of Player vs. Player aspects does Ambardia possess?
James: In Ambardia, a player cannot be killed by another player until they reach level 10. They can however kill a higher level player if that player is foolish enough to AFK in a PVP area. The mainland of Ambardia is mostly PVP free so that new players can enjoy exploring around without to much fear of where they go. This is not the case in some dungeons and most of the other lands are all PVP zones as well. We also have a war system. Every few hours an automated arena battle is started and players have 5 minutes to get to the Battle Arena. There are 4 different arenas players are warped to depending on their levels. In the arena players cannot heal, use food, or any other type of buffs. Once all players are eliminated, the last 3 players left can activate their reward and be warped back into the game.
OnRPG: The graphics in Ambardia follow a simple yet well-detailed design of isometric art, are there any plans to expand on this?
James: I do have plans to introduce a more unified style to all the graphics in the future. I have worked hard to set up, model and screen shot a lot of my own 3D work. For now, we are more concerned about developing our game balance and storyline/ quest line.
OnRPG: Does the game include a cash shop that players might find a little too “overpowered”?
James: We have a donations reward system. It is heavily guild oriented which is good for more than just the players’ benefit. We offer any guild that recruits 4 or more players into their guild and creates an offsite
guild forum and a free Guild Hall. Guild owners and members can then donate by Paypal to enhance their guild halls in many ways. Ambardia strives to be a truly “free game” by indie developers who find more pleasure in seeing people play than pay.
OnRPG: Ambardia is well-known for the community team’s great events, what kind of events can users plan to see by joining?
James: I learned from Aeriagames that players love in game events. We have reworked the code of the engine to allow us complete controls for certain events that we can turn off or on at a glance. Our 5 most enjoyed events are Double Experience, Double Skill Experience, Double NPC drops, Dragonight Spawns and our Kill Contest. I normally run a double skill XP Wednesday event for 24 hours to break up the week. On the weekends we run our Super Weekend events. They run from midnight Friday to Monday afternoon and can include any or all of the 4 events. Our kill contest is especially fun because we have a points system built into the code to award points instead of kill counts for the contest. This means a lvl 60 player gets no benefit from killing 10k rats and a lvl 5 player has as much of a chance to win as does the highest level player. We award the top 3 players special awards and XP. Our Dragonight Spawn event randomly places 5 Dragon type NPC’s in random areas of Ambardia. These powerful beasts have a rare chance of dropping fabled items as well as certain special shop tokens.
OnRPG: The development team just released The Magic Garden expansion, what exactly does this expansion include?
James: This expansion has been 4 months in the making and includes a huge new land mass known as The Magic Garden. Players travel to Tolmas Castle in Zazaline where they interact with its NPC’s to discover clues and secrets about this mysterious new land. This expansion is aimed at introducing more of the Order side of the storyline into the game. Richy has done a great job with the Chaos side of the story line with the 21 Gates expansion and this new expansion helps keep the balance. It includes a major new skill as well, Mage Cutting.
OnRPG: What is the Ambardia’s strategy for keeping players interested in playing? For an independent MMO, the game has had a high life-span and manages to keep players involved, how do you guys do it?
James: Our secret is passion, we love the world we have worked so hard to create. I knew from the beginning that if I kept the development to myself and refused to seek good help that the game would go nowhere fast. We actually play and live in our game as well as develop it and that dedication goes right down to the newest players. We want everyone to enjoy Ambardia as a place they can kick back in after a hard day of real life and relax, chat and play. We also listen to our players and try to get their ideas about what we can do to continue to make it a fun game as well. We are currently holding a quest writing contest and the winner of that will get $50.00 real dollars or 50 Ambardian Tokens to spend.
OnRPG: What future expansions can users anticipate for Ambardia?
James: Class specific Schools, research halls and strongholds of advanced study and learning. More specific class only skills and items. The completion of all the quest clue scrolls to keep players on track of the over 40 quests offered. Soon we are also going to be over hauling the log in screens and player user interfaces to a more modern and mystical look. I will also be working on a complete player sprite over haul so players can change their looks after certain levels are achieved.
OnRPG: In one sentence, explain why players should give Ambardia a try.
James: Because there is more heart and soul put into this free source game than any project I have ever worked on.
OnRPG: Last but not least, where do you see Ambardia a year from now?
James: This is really a very tough question. So much has been done in the last two years. I never expected the game to be as developed as it has become now. I think the next Ambardian year is going to bring us a refinement in player, NPC and item balance as well as a lot of graphical updates. I would like to thank Krankzinnig at Sushiboxstudios for their work on our soon to be released installer. I also want to thank all the unmentioned, devoted developers and players who have helped to keep Ambardia a living, breathing world. The future of Ambardia will not be written by me but by you!