By Mohammed Afzal (MageMoa), Onrpg writer
Uforia is a new gaming company which has released two titles already. We of Onrpg had the opportunity to question them about their game The Three Kingdoms and the future of Uforia.
The Three Kingdoms is a new game which is based on the Three Kingdom novels. The game allows us to battle in many different ways against each other and against NPCs. The many war features are unique and creative, but is the game not too generic? Lets ask Mike Min, producer of the Three Kingdoms!
Onrpg: Could you introduce yourself, please?
Mike: We are glad to be here. We have several people who answered the questions. Mike Min the Game Operations Producer for Three Kingdoms related things, GM Sabroso for the Nostale questions, and Chris Keswani for the general stuff.
Onrpg: What was the reason to start the company Uforia ?
Mike: Uforia was started on the premise that we wanted to bring exciting and unique game content to the online gaming community. We focus our efforts on the community and the content. There are a lot of games out there nowadays, but many of them do not offer players anything unique in terms of game play. We want to change that.
Onrpg: The Three Kingdoms is the second game you are publishing. Can we expect more games in 2009? And if so, could you give us some more information about that?
Mike: We are going to announce our third game title soon. I cant say too much about it at the moment, but players will be pleasantly surprised. For the remainder of the year, we will be publishing at 3-4 more titles. The best way to make sure you have the latest updates about our current and upcoming titles is to sign-up for our e-newsletter. That e-newsletter will provide you with the dates of beta tests, new game additions such as items, maps, etc.
Onrpg: Will these new games have an IP block?
Mike: We are planning on launching several more games during this calendar year. We do not anticipate having an IP block on any of them.
Onrpg: What was your reason to publish/host these new games?
Mike: As is the case with any game we already have or are planning to bring in we ask ourselves how it would fit into the line-up. We are in the process of building a gaming portal that will appeal to all gaming segments. When speaking about the individual games we are considering for inclusion, we evaluate each game based on its uniqueness in terms of content and gameplay. We have an internal team which evaluates potential games that we would like to add to our line-up. Based on their assessment of the game after testing it over an extensive period of time; we decide if the game will be of added value to our players.
Onrpg: Why did you host the North American version of Nostale?
Mike: Our version is actually Nostale: Global. It is true that we are focusing on the North American market, but to call it a North American version would be misleading since we have strong followings from Asia, Latin America and Europe as well. The reason we decided to add Nostale: Global to our line-up is because the brand already had a strong following and we wanted to offer game content that appeals to our players that enjoy the casual MMO category.
Onrpg: What kind of new events can we expect in 2009 for Nostale?
Mike: Whatever event idea comes out of my noggin. I think a lot of GMs are afraid of putting on different kinds of events because they are afraid if people will like it or they get too hung up on how it wont work without thinking of ways that it can. I look at doing events for Nostale as a very experimental process, and Im not afraid to try out any event that I come up with at least once. My next event that Im working on is like a soccer game that pits all classes against each other in the PvP arena. Oh, and the soccerball for this event is a large chicken.
Onrpg: There have been rumors about a Nostale 2. Will there be a Nostale 2?
Mike: This is something I havent heard anything about myself, but is certainly not ruled out as a possibility in the future. Weve all got a lot of great ideas of how we can make the game better and more competitive in the ever-expanding market, so well see what the future holds for Nostale.
Onrpg: What kind of MMO is The Three Kingdoms actually?
Mike: Three Kingdoms is a very PvP and PK oriented MMORPG based in the world of the famous Chinese novels of the same name. The game does have all the typical features of other MMORPGs such as dungeons and instances, grouping, quests, and raid monsters, but the focus is definitely on war and player conflict between members for the three different kingdoms.
Onrpg: What are the unique features of The Three Kingdoms?
Mike: Our game gives more power to the player than typical MMOs. Almost all of the cities and capitals from the novels are here, and each can be held by a Guild. There are daily guild battles to vye for control over these cities, and the guild leader that wins is appointed the Lord, and receives special access to features that can summon all members of the Kingdom, give out daily buffs, make announcements, etc.
And a lot of diplomacy is done by the players themselves. There have been pacts made in-game between Kingdoms to take on the big guys, betrayals, and other drama that occurs nearly every day.
Onrpg: There are three clans in the Three Kingdoms. Could you describe them for us?
Mike: The three clans are the Wu, the Wei, and the Shu. They are actually quite similar, asides from some differing starting stats. The main differences are the locations that are in their possession, but that can change via the Castle Sieges quite quickly. The main heroes/villains from the novel are also allied to their respective Kingdom, and will come protect their Capital City when under attack by players.
Later on, there are Legendary weapons that players can earn. The weapons that can be earned depend on the Kingdom that you belong to. For example, if you are of the Shu Kingdom, you have a chance to receive Zhao Yuns legendary spear. To be honest though, the players and guilds of each Kingdom are the ones that really set them apart from each other. Some dominant guilds will be more laid back, while others will set taxes (increase vendor prices for all cities in their possession, and get a cut of it in their guild funds) incredibly high and actively venture out into enemy territory to slaughter anyone in their way.
Onrpg: You have told us that the Three Kingdoms is a PvP/PK based MMORPG. Could you tell us more about the PvP and PK options of the game?
Mike: Sure. Basically there are 3 different types of PvP and PKing. The first is world PKing. This occurs on the main maps where you quest and grind monsters, and are not instanced in anyway. This is probably the most hardcore of the types, and players that are killed drop 2 items and lose experience and Honor Points as well. The Honor Points are used to purchase some of the best items in the game, so having an off-night or being ganked too many times can really set a player back.
If you are killed by the same player more than 3 times in a 24 hour span, that player is added to your Deathnote. Players that are in your Deathnote blink green on your mini-map so you can locate them more easily. There are also items available that allows you to teleport to players in your Deathnote instantly so that you may exact your revenge. Another PK related system is the Wanted List. Here, players place a bounty on the head of someone they want dead (out of their own wallet). This will place a large Wanted sign next to the targets name, and when they are killed the murderer earns the bounty.
The other 2 modes are the Castle Sieges and the hourly PvP Battlegrounds. I believe I went into Castle Siege system already, but there are 2 main types of PvP Battlegrounds. The first is the Elimination Battle, which is basically one open field, with gates for each Kingdom that lead into a central battle area. If a players dies once during the battle, they are teleported out and can no longer participate. The 2nd is PoW Rescue. In this mode, dying does not end the battle, and instead you are sent to jail with your other fallen allies. It is up to the surviving members to head back to the jail and break the gates and let their allies free, before all members of their Kingdom are placed there. There is a new mode, Capture the Flag, which will be coming soon as well.
Onrpg: Many players have been disappointed by the graphics of the game. Will these be updated?
Mike: We tried to strike a balance between great graphics and low system requirements, and erred more towards the latter to have the game as accessible to as many players as possible. You can also tweak your settings to improve the look of the game, such as turning off the glow effect for those that do not like the blurry look. There wont be big changes made to the graphics system itself per se, but we will be adding more colorful locales and are always adding new items and equipment to brigthen things up.
Onrpg: I've read the following on your website:
A Dynamic Quest System
Instead of having to run around constantly from NPC to NPC in order to receive quests like other MMOs,
Three Kingdoms; The Battle Begins delivers quests to you instantly. No matter if you are out hunting
in the fields, or simply turning in a completed quest, Three Kingdom: The Battle Begins will deliver
you a new mission no matter where you are in the world. So spend less time traveling, and more time killing!
This has really surprised me. Does this mean that you will be able to finish and receive quests without going to the NPCs? Could you tell us more about this so-called ''Dynamic Quest System'' ?
Mike: Once you have reached level 60, your name starts to become known amongst the civilians. They will send you letters requesting your help in various areas, and it is up to you whether or not you accept them. The quests range from simple delivery missions, to more complex missions that have you wiping out entire battalions. There are still NPCs that you must speak to in order to get quests after you hit level 60, but with this system players can spend less time running around for new quests and simply get new ones from NPCs via the Dynamic Quest System.
Onrpg: How did you hire a team for The Three Kingdoms?
Mike: We wanted a team that was not only knowledgable and passioniate about gaming and MMOs in particular, we wanted people who were familiar with the Three Kingdoms novels as well. The team members that werent familiar with the novels were asked (forced? ;)) to read the 4 novels and get more familiar with them. So just like the majority of our players, we are all passionate gamers that are also fans of the book. It really allows us to understand what player complaints are and what they want changed, and we almost always agree and update the game every week based on the latest feedback.
Onrpg: Why is The Three Kingdoms different from other MMORPGs?
Mike: We are the first English language MMORPG based on the Three Kingdoms in the market. It gives a lot of players that were fans of the novel a chance to play in an MMO setting, instead of the multitude of single player games on the market such as Dynasty Warriors.
Three Kingdoms is also one of the more PvP and PK centric based games in todays market. Just like in the novels, there is a sense of war and conflict between the Kingdoms, and you are bound to create a lot of alliegiances and friendships to help you survive against the other Kingdoms.
Onrpg: What kind of new events can we expect in 2009 for The Three Kingdoms?
Mike: We will have plenty of PvP tournaments so that rival guilds can duke it out for bragging rights. The winners will win all sorts of exclusive equipment and items, and might even earn special titles that display next to their name.
There will also be special holiday related events and items for all the major holidays. We will also have lots of sales promotions, and some GM related events that we have in store as well.
Onrpg: Thank you for your time!
Mike: Thanks for speaking to us!