Frogwares Senior Producer Volodymir Yezhov tells us about World of Battles: Morningstar, the inspirations for it, and what the future may hold for the fledgling RTS (Real Time Strategy) game.
If you don’t know what World of Battles is, by all means please read my World of Battles preview. And if you just can’t muster the strength of will to click the link, then know this: World of Battles: Morningstar is a F2P (free-to-play) real time tacical strategy game that basically blends the RTS gameplay of Total War with the advancement metagame of games like League of Legends.
[Watch the World of Battles gameplay overview video and/or check out some World of Battles screenshots.]
Bryan Edge-Salois: So, tell us in your own words — what is World of Battles?
Volodymir Yezhov: World of Battles: Morningstar is a real-time online multiplayer tactical fantasy wargame. I know that’s a mouthful, but put simply, it’s a PC game that lets you command amazingly detailed armies of fantasy soldiers in battle, using tactical prowess and magic to mercilessly defeat your opponents. It’s a series of intense action battles mixed with army management, customizing units and equipment piece by piece. It’s more than a game – it’s a life of war, a World of Battles!
What are/were your inspirations for World of Battles?
Our true inspiration grows from miniature tabletop wargames, where you command an army of amazingly detailed miniatures. World of Battles gives players the same customization and flexibility as a tabletop wargame combined with the real-time excitement of a massive multiplayer online game – two in one!
Tell us a little about each of the game’s different factions.
There are eight playable races in the game: Knights, Dwarves, Amazons, Beastfolk, Barbarians, Orcs, Dark Elves and Undead. Each of them contains different units with different abilities and spells. Each race has a specific racial ability that modifies battle stats of these units, giving them an extra attack, or more armor, or greater health and so on. Various tactics and battlefield combos, based on units of different races, define the diversity of the game. Try them all to determine which suits your play style best.
How long have you been working on the game?
World of Battleshas been in development since 2006, undergoing a number of massive redesigns. Its first playable beta was available in 2009. The latest version of World of Battles (subtitledMorningstar) features a battle magic system, an extensive army progression tree, a new automated matchmaker, a completely reworked interface and a lot of other improvements. It was released in May 2011.
What other games have you worked on?
Frogwares have produced a number of adventure games, including the well-regarded Sherlock Holmes series (you can find them on the Frogwares web site). But the World of Battles project is being developed by a separate branch of Frogwares studio, as it uses game technologies and engines totally different from those used in adventure games. The World of Battles division is, effectively, a completely independent team, with different people, different management and unique work methods.
What kind of pricing model will World of Battles use? Will it embrace the free-to-play model with an in-game store similar to League of Legends and Bloodline Champions?
Free-to-play all the way! There are two currencies in the game – gold, gained as rewards for battles, and Gems that can be acquired on the website. Both of these currencies are used in our in-game store: Gems give you access to higher quality equipment and Master units with additional spells and abilities, but there are ways to purchase them for gold, too. Aka you can get “paid” items without paying, assuming that you are persistent with playing the game. And, even better, players get Master units of their race for free as they progress through the levels.
How do you feel about the growing trend and popularity of Free to Play games?
Free to Play is the obvious choice for modern online multiplayer games. Players that are not restricted by monthly fees can play the game freely, however they see fit. In World of Battles everyone can decide for themselves what is best to acquire – a powerful new Master unit, an Elite weapon or armor with better stats, a Premium subscription to progress faster, or all of the above!
Will there be an initial cost to download the game client?
We plan to have a large-scale release on Aug 19th, where each race gets a never-before-seen unit. But players can join our open beta today, progressing through the game and getting free bonus Gems each day. Plus we guarantee that their achievements and progress won’t be deleted when the full-fledged release launches. Downloading the game is free now and will be free with the release, too – it’s really free-to-play and everyone can experience it!
And how do you plan to keep the game balanced—i.e. so players who aren’t spending a lot (or any) money aren’t easily crushed by those with deep pockets.
Premium subscription options already but their main purpose is letting a player progress faster and granting more options at their disposal, not to give them excessive power in battle. The balance of the game lies in the fact that tactical skills are no less important than good equipment and proper army management. Of course, paying players will have more possibilities at their disposal – but to use them all, they must learn how to control their army in the best way!
Can we expect competitive play? Tournaments, Ladders, etc? What can we expect in terms of online multiplayer?
World of Battles is all about the online multiplayer: its matchmaking system guarantees a never-ending stream of new gaming experience – you’ll never see the same battle, enemy formation or map twice! In regards to competitive play, we are currently preparing a system for competition between players’ clans on the world map. By fighting battles they will be able to conquer provinces and gain significant rewards, including Gems!
Obviously there will be 1v1 games—what about 2v2, 3v3, etc? Do you have an upper limit planned at this point?
World of Battles aims to provide massive team vs. team battles, and most of the games currently are 3v3 or even 4v4. The more players on each side, the more interesting the battle becomes, and the more crucial it is to exercise teamwork and combined tactics. Currently, our battlefield limit is 8 players with up to 16 units in each player’s army.
How many units can be onscreen battling at once?
Units of the game differ in size, with the largest ones having up to twenty soldiers in each. So, large-scale melees can involve hundreds of soldiers fighting each other onscreen, with more than a thousand soldiers total in the battle. Together with multiple various spell- and unit-action effects, this creates a deadly struggle of truly epic proportions!
If there will be competitive play, can we expect cool, real-world prizes as well?
Currently, most of our prizes are Gems that players can use to make purchases in game store; during the current beta period we’re even awarding free Gems to players just for playing the game. In future, we’re planning massive events with lots of cool prizes.
What kind of matchmaking technology or options do you have—or will you have—to help keep Noobs from getting mercilessly crushed and mocked? :)
A “tier system” is being developed to generate battles for players of equal rating and battle efficiency. So newbies and players with low ratings will fight among themselves, while experienced warlords with larger armies will be matched against worthy competitors.
Our current matchmaking technology creates even battles by matching teams based on size. It is easy to do because each team contains several players, so two players with larger armies can be matched against three or four players with smaller armies.
Is it a good day to die?
We see that you’ve been playing the game with the Barbarian army! A nice choice, by the way :) Don’t forget to include Elder Spearmen in your army – it’s a rare melee unit that can also deal ranged damage with its spell. And your Light Cavalry can be very fast… if the Carnosaurs they ride are properly fed!
Thank you for your time Volodymir. Now finish answering that second set of questions I sent. And…can you spare a few thousand gems? My Carnosaurs need new Carnashoes…