Mercenary Wars Interview: That Little Bit Extra
Questions by Vincent Haoson, OnRPG Journalist
Answered by ...Mike Min, Creative Director and Chris Keswani, Marketing Manager
The FPS genre is one of the genre's that finds itself in a rut in terms of innovation. It's a genre that sees itself repeating the same features over and over again. However, Mercenary Wars tries to do something different with its bot and stat system that puts a little "extra" into the game.OnRPG got a chance to talk to two people who have been working on this MMOFPS and here's what they have to say about the game.
OnRPG: It has been weeks since the game went CBT, how has the game so far?
Chris: We are very pleased with the way things have gone both internally and also with the feedback that players have provided us with. With graphics that are superior to other FPS games currently on the market, we are confident that once the game is opened up to the entire FPS (and Gamer) community it will be well-received.
Your Enemy Shows His Face
OnRPG: What bug problems were experienced during the first few weeks of the game's Closed Beta? How did you address those problems?
Mike: The major hurdle we faced was lag. We improved on it for each Closed Beta, and during the final test we were able to create a lag free experience. We would really like to thank our players in helping us find the cause of this issue, and were a great help during the whole process.
Chris: We have a very experienced team that is meticulous about compiling all of the bugs that were found during all of the closed betas and working hand-in-hand with the developers to correct these issues.
OnRPG: Why is it that Mercenary Wars has gone through three closed betas? Would there be a fourth?
Chris: The reason we had three closed betas was so that we could continuously refine various aspects of the game. There will not be a fourth closed beta because we feel that we are ready to open up Mercenary Wars to the general gaming community. The Open Beta for Mercenary Wars will begin on December 22nd and we are working around the clock setting up in order to ensure that our gamers will have an amazing experience.
He's a Dead Man
OnRPG: Mercenary Wars includes a new system not yet used by any MMOFPS, the bot system, can you tell us how does the bot system work?
Mike: Bots can basically take the place of players in a match, and can be added by the Room Leader. They are great for beginner's to practice with on the lowest difficulty setting, or can be set harder for vets to do some fine-tuning without affecting their Kill/Death ratio. The bots were really popular during the Beta Testing, and most of the rooms had at least 1 or 2 bots in them.
OnRPG: Is the bot system limited to work on specific maps or match types or is it available all throughout the game?
Mike: We must create AI scripts for each of the maps, which takes some time. Currently Bots can be used on 4 different maps, and 2 different modes (Free-For-All and DeathMatch). We're currently working on making them compatible with the other modes as well.
OnRPG: Can you set the difficulty of the AI? Why or why not?
Mike: Yep, there are 5 difficulty levels ranging from "Noob" to "OMG HAX".
OnRPG: How huge is Mercenary War's armory? How often do you update the weapons players can use on the game?
Mike: We have 14 guns at the moment, and 2 sets of costumes for each of our 4 characters. We're currently planning on having major content patches every 4 weeks, where we plan on adding new weapons and modes.
OnRPG: Is the game's armory all based on real-life weapons? Or would you include original weapons in the future? Why or why not?
Mike: Currently the weapons and armor are all based on real-life weapons. We're planning on adding some "Fun" modes in the future that include some silly weapons, but they will only be useable in that mode. But in general, the armory will be based on real-life.
OnRPG: Can you tell us a little bit about Mercenary War's Stat system?
Mike: There are two different kinds of stats, General and Weapon. General stats include things like grenade throw speed, walking speed, armor levels, etc. Weapon stats allow you to specialize in either SMGs, Rifles, or Sniper Rifles. In this way, players are able to create their own "class" without having to deal with pre-made characters.
Throw a Grenade
OnRPG: MMOFPS is all about the player's skill and internet connection, why include stats into the game?
Mike:The stats were designed so that players could customize their character to suit their play style, but at the end of the day the more skilled players will always win. We currently have 4 characters in the game (and plan on adding a lot more), and each character can be given different stats, and then switched while you are re-spawning during a match. So if one character is a Rifle specialist, but you want to switch to a Sniper-like character, you can do so immediately after death.
OnRPG: How huge would the stats affect be in the player's character? Do you think it would affect the game balance? Why or why not?
Mike: The stats do not play that huge a role on the character. You will not see some characters fly across the map, while others have 10,000HP or anything like that. They are subtle tweaks, and just by watching a player you will not be able to tell what stats he has increased. And all characters get the same number of stat points, so it is still an even playing field.
OnRPG: Wouldn't the stat system be a problematic factor for players in the long run especially for those who are loyal to the original concept of FPS games? Why do you think so?
Mike: One of our main concerns/issues that we want to deal with is ensuring a competitive gaming environment. It is one of the core concepts of our game design, and even things like the Cash Shop will not include guns/armor so that the level between CS user and non-CS user is lessened. If the players ever feel the stat system is a problem or issue, we will definitely address it. But so far feedback into the stat system has been positive.
OnRPG: How long till you Mercenary Wars goes OBT? What exactly do you have planned?
Chris: We will be starting Open Beta on December 21st at 5PM PST. The Open Beta will feature a more refined gaming experience for Mercenary Wars players. We will be offering a slew of fun events which will give players the chance to win some great prizes.
OnRPG: What are the things in store for players with the remainder of 2009?
Chris: Well, given that the year is almost done with once we launch the Open Beta, I think we have covered everything more or less that players can expect during the next few weeks. However, our development team and our marketing department are working feverishly on planning events and preparing additional elements to implement into the game in early Q1 of 2010. I cannot talk about specifics at this point, but the new characters and maps to be added to the game is something that gamers can look forward to experiencing.
OnRPG: Thank you for your time!
Chris: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us Vincent. We look forward to getting the chance to tell your community about our upcoming release.