Shaiya Interview: Eron Garcia, Producer

Questions by Brian Perry Jr.
Answered by Eron Garcia, Producer Aeria Games

Onrpg: How would you describe Shaiya to someone who has never heard of it before?
Strip down an MMORPG to its base elements (one side versus the other, dragons, magic, swords, shiny armor, PvE, PvP) then build it back up from there.  Shaiya is the classic story of light versus darkness, except that neither side is really “evil.” The ongoing fight goes back to the time when the Gods walked the world of Shaiya and there were only three races on the planet. That was ages ago, but the war continues.

On one side, you have the Elves and the Humans; they make up the Alliance of Light. The other side has the Vail and Nordein (also known as “Deatheaters”) making up the Union of Fury. And then, of course, I can go into the beautiful graphics, the gorgeous soundtrack composed by George Oldziey (Wing Commander III, IV, and Prophesy; Ultima IX: Ascension; Crusader: No Regret), the varied landscapes, the detailed characters, the engaging storyline. But I think the word “massive” really does sum it up.

Onrpg: I have been told that the game will carry a warning similar to 12-Sky that the game is not suitable for those under the age of 17. Why is that?
Well, there are some elements of the game that might be inappropriate for some game players. All right, there’s no dancing around it: there’s blood and nudity. We’re dealing with a fantasy realm here and when you kill a monster, it’s going to bleed. And, since we are in a fantasy realm, there are some monsters that have some uniquely feminine attributes; and since they are monsters, what are the chances that they can pop over to the local tailor and get a nice blouse?

Onrpg: What are some of the core gameplay elements of Shaiya?
I’ll actually highlight my favorites. First up is the fact that players won’t make just one character, level it up, and be done. No, if you want the baddest character in the game, you’ll need to cruise through the levels three times. We have “difficulty modes” in Shaiya, and you only start off with Easy and Normal available. Once you cruise through Normal, Hard is unlocked. Once you get through Hard, Ultimate is unlocked. These different modes offer up tiered skillpoints and statpoints to reward the players as they progress (more points awarded at each tougher mode) and they allow players to access more and more of the armor and weapons in the game.

Next up is the Goddess Blessing. When you engage in combat with the opposing faction, your kills gain you and your realm points with your Goddess. It’s more in depth than that, but once your side has gained enough points, the Goddess Blessing starts to kick in. The Blessing affords your entire realm bonuses like increased experience points per kill or quest, increase in attack power, reduced cool-down time for spell casting and item consumption, and so on.
The last one I’ll talk about is Bootleggery. Mainly, I just like the name: Bootleggery. Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Bootleggery is your way to make a profit off of items that your faction can’t use. Say you find a staff that no one in your realm can use. Well, you could sell in town, but you won’t make much money off of it. Instead, you run a bootleg to a secret underground facility where players from both sides of the game gather to sell their wares. No fighting is allowed, just good old-fashioned bartering.

Onrpg: What classes are there to play as in Shaiya, and what are their attributes?
Each of the four playable races have 3 different classes available to them. The two sides are pretty well mirrored for the sake of balancing, so you’ll wind up with Light having an equivalent the Darkness’s Pagan, and the Darkness has an equivalent to the Light’s Ranger.
That said, in the Alliance of Light, we have the Fighter, Defender, Priest, Ranger, Archer and Mage. In the Union of Fury, there are the Warrior, Guardian, Oracle, Assassin, Hunter, and Pagan as mirrors to their Light-side counterparts.
Fighters and Warriors are your standard toe-to-toe hack and slash melee guys. Defenders and Guardians are the tanks of the game, all hit points and defense. The Priest and Oracle are the healers of the game, but with several twists; one of those twists is that they are able to transform an opponent into a harmless animal during combat. The Ranger and Assassin are your masters of stealth and subterfuge; they can disguise themselves as animals or as the opponent and set traps for the enemy. The Archer and Hunter are your distance fighters; if they are allowed to keep their distance, they can rain death on their opponents quite quickly. Last up we have the Mage and the Priest. The Mage is your magic-wielding devastation station. The Pagan has similar powers, but they are all based in nature and the spirit world. Different approaches to the same result: expedient death.

Onrpg: Are there any unique aspects to Shaiya that are not shared by other titles?
As I already noted, Difficulty Modes and Goddess Blessing are pretty unique features. I don’t really know if other titles have anything similar, but if there are similarly set games, I’m unaware of them. Something else that sets Shaiya apart is the ability to physically dodge attacks. Players can double-tap Q or E to try to sidestep an attack, or they can double-tap S to perform a backflip. They don’t always work and you have to be quite good in your timing, but adds another layer to the combat in the game. Sure, you can point-click-attack, or you can be a bit more interactive in the game.

Onrpg: Can players expect crafting of any sort to be included in the game?
No and yes. Currently, what we have isn’t exactly crafting, it’s just weapon improvement. However, the developer has already implemented a crafting system in the next episode of Shaiya, so we will get crafting… just not yet.

Onrpg: When the game launches, what will be the maximum level players can achieve, and roughly how many hours would you say it would take to reach that point?
The characters are currently capped at level 60. Unfortunately, I have no idea how long it will take to get there. Add to that the fact that players have to do it three times and I’m hopeful that players will be sufficiently challenged.

Onrpg: How will PvP play out in the game?
Ah… PvP. There are multiple different ways that PvP will work. First up, you can duel. You can challenge a player within your faction to a battle. The winner gets bragging rights while the loser gets to slink away and lick his wounds. Next up is encounters in the Borderlands. Players from both sides can run around in the borderlands, so random encounters are bound to happen. And then there’s the big Realm versus Realm battle. This is the battle that decides which side REALLY gets the favor of their Goddess. There’s also a way for Guilds to battle each other, but we haven’t been able to see it yet.

Onrpg: Will there be anything like raiding at launch or in the future?
The portals to the opposing factions are heavily guarded by unstoppable NPCs, so players cannot launch a raid on their own. However, that’s not to say that some industrious GM couldn’t portal a mess of Union players over to the Alliance territory…

Onrpg: What sorts of items will you have purchasable by players in the item mall?
Convenience items, mostly. Experience percent boosters, portals to Bootleggery (I can’t get enough of that word!), warehouse calls, that sort of thing. But there will also be some seriously useful stuff like a Resurrection Stone… useful for those trips out to the Borderlands. We’ll also have some vanity items. Heh, one vanity item in particular might raise some eyebrows: a Sex-change Scroll. Yes folks, now you too can flip-flop your gender in the wink of an eye! It sounds weird, but it’s a great selling item overseas. It doesn’t just let you change gender -I mean, you don’t have to change gender at all- but it also lets you change the facial look and hairstyle of your character… with more options than are available at the initial character creation.

Onrpg: What is the air speed velocity of an unlaiden swallow?
Do you mean African or European? …Ok seriously. How did you know that was going to be one of the questions asked of players who want to register for the Closed Beta? I was going to ask that but changed my mind at the last second. Do you have a spy here at Aeria Games I’m unaware of?

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