Questions by Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
Answers by Multiple Developers on Battle for Graxia
With MOBAs seemingly becoming the next big thing in the F2P online industry, it’s good to keep an eye on the market as a whole as the first to market tend to stand the test of time much like the Ultimas, Everquests, of course World of Warcraft have in the fantasy MMORPG realm. That said a certain MOBA has been under my radar for some time, namely Battle for Graxia, a MOBA developed by none other than Petroglyph Studios. Once I realized such an iconic studio known for developing strategy titles was behind this one, I got in contact to get a quick rundown on what Battle for Graxia brings to the genre as it nears the end of beta testing.
OnRPG: Hello and thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. First off, please introduce yourself and your position with the company.
BFG Team: Greetings! My name is Mathew “Berek” Anderson, Community Manager at Petroglyph. I also coordinate a lot of the website and marketing elements as well, so anyone let me know if you ever get a broken link on one of them :). Some of the questions here are also answered by our design team.
OnRPG: The first factor I feel sets a MOBA apart is the backstory and how the graphical style captures it. What’s the deal behind Battle for Graxia and is there a defined style your immortals are designed after aesthetically to match this tale?
BFG Team: Battle for Graxia is set in the Graxia fantasy universe. Petroglyph developed this world as its own property (IP) and also marketed a few games previously around it, such as the board games Guardians of Graxia and Heroes of Graxia, as well as the PC version for Guardians of Graxia. You can find that one and other games by Petroglyph on Steam.
The style and aesthetics in large part comes from the Graxia universe, but the designers had a lot of free ability to create whatever fit best in the game. Because of this freedom of design you get a lot of unique and diverse characters. A MOBA game like ours lends itself well to this diversity.
OnRPG: Tell me about the artifacts and discipline trees and how they offer incentive for players to level up their account as well as master individual Immortals.
BFG Team: As players progress, they unlock more points to spend in the discipline trees as well as more artifact slots. The wide range of artifacts and discipline options allows us to cater to any play style the user prefers. Being able to grow bigger, faster and stronger with each level should, coupled with the vast amount of customization that these systems add, offer a nice incentive to level up your account.
OnRPG: Maps often define the soul of a MOBA. What principles were focused on when creating the Vale of Kings map?
BFG Team: A core MOBA experience. The Vale of Kings map's strategic layout is a fairly standard 5v5 MOBA map designed with three lanes that connect the two opposing bases. It gets real interesting in the artistic layout with the floating island scene. The floating island idea ties back to the lore of the Graxia world when the planet was shattered and islands were sent up high into the sky. Each of these islands has various races that inhabit them, using portals to teleport from one to the other.
OnRPG: Battle for Graxia has a huge selection of items for purchasing during each match. Do you think this is overwhelming for new players and how does the increased options and utility improve the overall tactics a more veteran team can use?
BFG Team: For a new player there are more items than you might need, but we've found that after a few games it really becomes apparent to players just how useful each of those items can be to their particular character build. The interface does allow sorting and filtering to help in finding items you might need for a particular instance.
OnRPG: Are the Immortals’ teams designed around a particular Meta or is team creation still rather open for players to decide on?
BFG Team: We've seen common Meta's from other MOBA's such as HoN, LoL and Dota but we have many players that are fresh to the genre that bring exciting ideas to the scene.
OnRPG: With all these factors considered, what niche in the MOBA field do you see Battle for Graxia being focused towards?
BFG Team: Battle for Graxia is a great MOBA game to play as your primary, or on the side, game with all the others you play. It doesn't have to take up all your MOBA time for example. Go play those others, but when you get bored, move over to Battle for Graxia for awhile. It's for everyone who likes these competitive, and collaborative, competition based games.
OnRPG: Looking forward, what projects is the balancing team currently focusing on?
BFG Team: As we add new Immortals, such as the upcoming Murderhoof, more balancing to all of them will have to be made. The focus comes in when the community sends us changes. We evaluate everyone's input and then start tweaking the balance dials if necessary.
OnRPG: Do you have plans on opening up to new modes or maps? Or do you find focusing on your current modes makes a better overall balanced competitive title?
BFG Team: We have ideas for new modes and maps, but there are quite a few we've rotated into the active pool that keeps the community interested. Having too many modes and maps can split the community in the queue, causing times to increase dramatically for those looking to get into a particular game. The balance is also a consideration as well.
OnRPG: With MOBAs being highly known for their toxic communities, how have you catered to policing your community? And how much of a challenge do your bots offer for those that prefer the casual PvE aspect?
BFG Team: With the launch we've added the Reputation system and Badges to help recognize players for their gameplay value. This is just a couple of ways the community can police itself. We have a full moderating team to help for other situations as well of course.
If the competitive arena is too much at times, there is PvE as you mentioned. It's a great way to team up with friends in 3vE, or just try out a new Immortal on your own in 1vE.
OnRPG: What are your plans for the next dev event?
BFG Team: Glad you asked! We actually have a couple of our Production Assistant's working on a weekly feature with the community. We receive replays from the community and take some of those and commentate on them on our Twitch.TV channel at twitch.tv/battleforgraxia. There are other events we run as well, mainly from ideas the community comes up with.
OnRPG: Thanks for taking the time to give me a better understanding of Battle for Graxia! If you haven't be sure to check out their launch trailer to get a peak of just how much this game has improved during beta