Richard Charbonneau. Questions by Brian Perry jr.
“We wanted to provide gamers something different, and the turn-based perspective was what we thought would make Atlantica stand out among MMOGs, as well as attract new players to the world of online gaming” stated Kim Tae Gon of the Atlantica Online team. Atlantica Online has recently been released in the open beta phase, and its developers are working hard on creating a unique game, to satisfy the North American gaming community. We at Onrpg have had the great pleasure of interviewing Kim Tae Gon, producer of this fabled title. His vision was certainly to bring a new perspective in the eyes of today’s MMORPG gamers.
Question: What is the story behind Atlantica Online?
We wanted to create a unique and different gaming experience for people, while also making the game fun and action-packed. The result is Atlantica, which gives players the mission of finding the legendary lost civilization of Atlantis in order to save the world. To do that, players must travel around the planet, defeat monsters taken from legends and mythology, and uncover clues that will lead them to Atlantis. To go along with this environment, we devised a turn-based combat system and the ability for players to have mercenaries fight alongside them in battles, which is not the norm when it comes to game play in an MMORPG. We hope to offer gamers something fresh and distinct with Atlantica.
Question: The website says it is a “strategic turn-based MMORPG.” How would you describe the experience that an average player will have with this style of game play?
The combat system is classic turn-based action. You have up to 30 seconds to assign a move for your characters, which can total nine. So, you can have two characters attack and another defend, and you could have yet another character do nothing so that the Action Power each character is assigned at the beginning of the battle can build up in order to unleash a magic skill later. Then the enemy side gets its turn to make a move, and you must watch as their actions take a toll on your character’s health points. It alternates like this until one side’s main character’s health hits zero.
Strategy is a factor when you decide which mercenaries to take into a battle with you, since you can only invite eight to join your main character. Maybe you’ll need a few extra shamans with healing powers if you have to take on a tough enemy, or perhaps you want several artillerymen to launch a barrage of firepower in a brute-force attack. These are things to strategize about before going into battle. Once in a fight, you have to plan and decide on which move to give to each character. Do you let your Axeman from attacking now and use up his Action Power, or do you save him for a little later, building up his Action Power so he can use his Freezing Axes magic? Deciding that, along with what to do for the other eight characters, can make 30 seconds pass very quickly.
Question: Can you tell us more about the mercenaries that players are able to hire?
Players can get mercenaries from a few different ways. They can buy them from mercenary merchants, find them on the street and persuade them to join your clan with money, or even raise children to be future mercenaries. You can have more than 10, but you will only be able to take a maximum of eight into a battle with you. You can assemble a variety of mercenaries with different skills and magic. That way, they can complement your team with their various strengths.
Mercenaries are like main characters in that the weapons they use determine what kind of skills and stats they have. They also level up like your main character. On top of that, they can also be upgraded as your level increases, provided that you acquire the required number of items. For instance, the Archer mercenary could be converted to Robin Hood, who will have far superior skills and stats.
Unlike main characters, mercenaries age, so they will decline in abilities over the course of the game. Having them go through this life-cycle is one way to force players to have to find new mercenaries and get rid of old ones over the course of the game. This just gives players more things to manage and strategize over.
Question: How are player characters defined? Are there classes to choose from or is it based upon skills that players are able to choose from?
When players create their main character, they have several choices to make. The most important is which weapon, out of seven choices, their main character will use, because that will determine most of their character’s attributes like strength and defensive abilities, as well as magic skills. They also can choose the gender of their character, as well as physical qualities like face and hair.
Question: What happens when a player loses all their health/hp in battle? What about mercenaries?
When a player’s HP is gone, the battle comes to an end and the player is revived back in the nearest town and ready to go again. He does lose some experience points and money, but not any items.
For mercenaries, they can’t be used for the rest of the battle. Afterwards, they could be revived with a potion or taken to a hospital to be brought back to life. However, it might be time to find another mercenary.
Question: Are there other things for players to do other than run around and fight?
Most definitely! Building upon the political and economic systems of another NDOORS game, “Luminary: Rise of the GoonZu”, Atlantica offers a town and nation management system that players can get deeply involved with. Guilds can be formed with other players, and if you’re power-hungry enough, guilds can take over towns. Once in control of a town, you control how the town operates, from deciding what kind of buildings are constructed to dictating population policies. You can also form nations with guilds, become king, and even declare war on other nations.
Question: Why was the choice made to design the game from a turn-based perspective rather than real-time which is what many companies do now?
From the outset of planning and creating Atlantica, we wanted a game that wasn’t the usual hack-and-slash action so common among MMORPGs. We wanted to provide gamers something different, and the turn-based perspective was what we thought would make Atlantica stand out among MMOGs, as well as attract new players to the world of online gaming. Most of the three years it took to develop Atlantica was spent on getting the turn-based system right and making it work for an online game.
Question: How are you approaching the translation of the title? Are you just translating rather literally or are you truly localizing the content?
We are of course trying to get all the translations right, but there will be more than just that. There will be content in future releases that are tailored for North American audiences. It’s a global game, in the sense you have to travel the whole world. There will be adventures players will have to go through here in the U.S., which we think will entertain and amuse American audiences.
Question: What is your favorite aspect of Atlantica Online?
Well, one of my favorites is the mercenary system. I don’t know if I can just pick one favorite, but mercenaries give you a lot of options and add variety to the game. Your mercenaries might end up being Joan of Arc and Napoleon, as they are just a few of the historical figures incorporated into the game. Mercenaries also contribute to the strategic side of the game, forcing you to strategize on which mercenaries to choose for a battle, and then in combat, how to best utilize each mercenary on each turn obligates you to think fast.