Interview: Legendary Dynasty Warriors Makes Its MMO Debut
Questions Michael Sagoe (mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
Answered by Daria Fluor-Scacchi, Release Associate, Aeria Games
Dynasty Warriors fans new and old are going to be in heaven as Aeria Games have announced that Dynasty Warriors Online will be making its way to both US and EU regions. Dynasty Warriors Online (DWO) is the MMO installment to the long running hack n’ slash game series that started way back in the early days of the PS2. Players of DWO will be able to create their own characters and enter the world serving under the allegiance of the three kingdoms: Shu, Wu and Wei. Players can participate in a ton of different game modes and hack n’ slash their way through hordes of enemies in true Dynasty Warriors fashion.
OnRPG: Hi! My name is Michael Sagoe (mikedot), journalist for OnRPG and a Dynasty Warriors fan. Before we begin, would you care to introduce yourself to the readers?
My name is Daria Fluor-Scacchi and I am on the Release team at Aeria Games. I have been working on Dynasty Warriors Online for quite some time now getting it ready to make its debut to the North American and European territories.
OnRPG: The MMO market today is consistently growing with more hack n’ slash titles. With all of the titles that are on currently on the market or soon be on the market, what makes DWO stand out from the rest?
As mentioned in an earlier question, DWO is a lot more involved than simply spamming the same buttons over and over again and hoping for the best. As we have witnessed in beta, not only do weapons, armor and items play a role in a player’s success, but actual strategies are essential in PvP. Unorganized teams, no matter how capable on their own, will fall quickly against a team who has a plan in place.
For example, there was one battle where the objective was to control all the bases. Typically we see these battles take near their full duration before a victor is decided, but in this case one team had a plan in place and were able to end the match in mere minutes despite the skill of their opponents. Fortunately for the opposing team the only thing at stake was ego, but come time for Showdowns and territory control battles, not having a plan could cost you.
OnRPG: For those that have never picked up a Dynasty Warriors game before, could you give us a quick summary of the series?
Dynasty Warriors Online is based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel. Following the fall of the Han Dynasty three leaders have taken over China, all with the hope of unifying the country under their command. Players choose to join either the Wei, Wu, or Shu army and smash their way across battlefields with monstrous weapons, killing hundreds of enemies in each encounter.
OnRPG: Could you explain to us a little bit about the tactical aspect of DWO’s combat system?
While the hack ‘n’ slash genre is commonly perceived as mindless button mashing, DWO has found a way to incorporate exciting battles with crafting, upgrading, enhancing, and modification systems. All of these systems can advance your progression through the game and increase your ferocity in battle as they enhance your items, gear and weapons. Combine that with the social features the MMO aspect provides and it becomes a much more exciting and complicated world than people expect from hack and slash titles.
Guild sand allied players must work together as a team if they wish to expand their empire in territory control battles. Players also have the opportunity to play against other factions in attempt to acquire conflict points which can affect what and how many items, weapons, and gear is available for purchase in their respective markets. These are some of the many features that are not only new to the Dynasty Warriors franchise, but also establish a unique online gaming experience.
OnRPG: What are the different PvE and PvP modes for DWO?
The Dynasty Warrior franchise is all about PvE; killing hundreds upon hundreds of fodder NPCs. And while that is the meat and potatoes of DWO, there are many different scenarios to wreck havoc across ancient China. Players can partake in simple practice battles to refine their skills for PvP, or they can take up quests. Quests range from overtaking opposing bases, recovering items, defeating bandits, annihilate officers, seeking out specific individuals and more. There are quests that can be completed alone as well as some cooperative quests with players from your faction. Whether players want to take on enemies alone or with friends, there’s plenty of opportunity for both on DWO.
If PvE is the main course of DWO, then PvP is the huge ice cream sundae covered in fudge, whipped cream and cherries. Players can battle others from their own faction with up to four members per team in Mock Battles. This type of battle which allows spectators is a great way to build strategies and get used to facing off against other players. The Arena and Melee mode allows players to fight opponents from enemy factions in all-out 4 vs. 4 brawls. Successful arena and melee matches can not only affect your character’s rating, but can also affect your entire faction. As mentioned earlier, there are campaign battles that allow factions to increase their faction’s territory by taking over new cities. Finally, Showdowns are the largest scale battle of them all, allowing for two teams of 12 to go head to head.
OnRPG: Will DWO bring back any particular features from previous Dynasty Warriors titles (such as the bodyguard system?)
DWO offers a long list of unique weapons (and movesets) to obliterate enemies on the battlefield. And of course, it wouldn’t be Dynasty Warriors without the epic guitar riffs we’ve all come to love. The bodyguard system in the series has been expanded into the Lieutenant system. The lieutenants are a companion who fights alongside players on the battlefield. However unlike the bodyguards, the lieutenants can be animals such as a tiger or panda, each offering different skills.
OnRPG: The series has been known for having tons of action, enemies and effects flying on screen. With all the action that DWO has going for it, will the system requirements be accessible for today’s low and mid-ranged PCs?
Fortunately, DWO has relatively low system requirements that allow users with mid to low end machines to participate in all the action without missing a beat. Additionally, the game’s visuals can be modified in game to allow users to choose graphically-heavy gameplay, or go with performance over polygons.
OnRPG: The Dynasty Warriors series has always had a simple control scheme on home gaming consoles. Although DWO is part MMO, will this version be following the same model?
DWO allows the players to use a keyboard and/or a wired USB game controller to play. Both can be used at the same time; for instance some users will want to use the keyboard while in town but use their controller during battle, or vice versa. Players experienced with the series will find that both the gameplay and UI are very true to the console predecessors, so they will feel right at home in DWO. Those more familiar with MMOs will be comfortable using the keyboard as it uses the typical WASD keys for movement with attack keys that the right hand would control on either the keyboard or mouse.
OnRPG: Is it possible that players will be able to play as different characters from previous Dynasty Warriors titles??
In DWO, players will create their own unique characters and choose the faction they want to align with. From there, they can choose to serve under specific officers, many of whom are iconic Dynasty Warriors characters.
OnRPG: With Kingdom vs. Kingdom battles, is there any possibility of a balancing system in place for kingdoms that are considerably weaker than another kingdom?
DWO has an interesting approach to balancing the three kingdoms: in the current game scenario, Wei holds a huge amount of power over Wu and Shu. The game scenarios in DWO follow the narrative of the Romance of the Three Kindgoms novel. With each scenario change, the factions’ power will reflect their situation in the novel. With each scenario change, players will be allowed to pick a new faction if they so desire. This is where doing well in PvP battles and territory control matches really shines – right now, everyone is out to try to take down Wei, but soon enough the tides will turn and a new faction will be the next target.
OnRPG: How will Aeria Games be working the cash shop into DWO? Will there be a strong balance kept between paying and non-paying players?
The cash shop in DWO will feature many useful items that players may choose to buy. Once open, players will find consumables used for crafting and upgrading weapons (these items also drop in game), furniture that can store additional armor and weapons, and upgrades to the player’s quarters. While all these items are valuable, non-paying players will not feel underpowered compared to their paying counterparts.
OnRPG: Can you give us any details regarding the testing phases that are being planned for DWO?
The various stages of beta (Closed and Open) will contain limited content. In the closed beta, only two maps are available to select, mostly starting game content is available (including ranks and quests), and the amount of weapons and armor is limited. With open beta, players will be able to take on more quests, rank up higher, choose cooperative quests, pick from additional pieces of weapons and armor, and more.
OnRPG: One last (and important) question: Which kingdom in DWO do you prefer? (And I hope you say that Shu is your favorite, because we all know that Shu is the best!)
I hate to admit it, but I am new to the Dynasty Warriors franchise so my experience with all the factions is limited to what I’ve seen in game. Based on that, I would have to agree with you and say that I am partial to Shu – I like to root for the underdogs.
OnRPG: Any other comments you’d like to add?
Thank you for your time! I’ll be there to battle on the field of honor! Be sure to visit the official website to participate in the beta.