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The headliner for my visit to True Games’ office was Faxion Online. This show is the first time the developers have shown the game and I got quite a bit of information regarding to the upcoming free-to-play PvP oriented MMORPG. The developers have been working on the title for about a year, building it on the Hero Engine. Faxion Online’s story centers around the battle between heaven and hell. Basically, everything in the game is already dead, including the players.
Before entering the game, players will choose which side they want to do battle for. Why anyone would choose hell confuses me, but apparently, the majority of people who are currently playing are choosing hell. I wonder what that says about gamers. After choosing what side of the battle players will fight for, they then choose a class. Each side has three base classes – fighter, mage and healer. However, players will be able to choose a secondary class and a tertiary class and can train skills among all three classes to completely customize the kind of character they want to play. Players will only be able to train 42 skills total among the three classes and will have a limited number of skill points to use to train those skills, so each player will likely be able to be unique and play according to their own playstyle.
Heaven, Hell and Purgatory are currently all social hubs. Purgatory is where minions of both sides can congregate to talk and trade with each other, but that’s really the extent if social interaction with the opposing side. They are the enemy, after all. Most of the gameplay currently takes place in zones modeled after the seven deadly sins. Players will be battling for control in the ultimate battle between good and evil. There’s also PvE action in these zones, but the games’ focus really is on the PvP. Players try to possess control points, which they do by winning a king of the hill type battle. These are not last come-last win scenarios. It’s point based and whatever side has the most points at the end of a specified time wins that point. The zones being battled over at any given time will randomly change, so players might never know what area they’ll be fighting over. Once a zone is captured, the winning side will gain benefits and vendors will spawn for them. Once every control point is won by one side, the control points are reset and the eternal battle begins all over again.
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Skills include magical abilities, weapon skills and special moves. Each class will have quite a few to choose from and with multi-classing, making good choices for how a player wants to play is vital. Each skill can also be trained up to level 10. This is a time based training (it takes 10 hours to train up one level of one skill). Interestingly, this is probably where microtransactions are really going to come into play. Players can purchase tokens in order to train up a skill faster. On the other hand, players will also be able to log into Facebook or an iPhone app to queue up new skills if they aren’t able to log into the game when the skills are done with their timer.
There are currently no instances in Faxion Online. The world is seamless with no zoning, except when it comes to the transition between the cities and the combat areas. The world isn’t huge, although there are seven different areas for the players to explore and work through content in, as well as compete over control points, and they are giving some limited transportation options, to make travel not a burden. Death is also not going to be too painful. Players will simply respawn at a set point. After all, everyone IS already dead. So let’s not call it death in this game – let’s call it defeat.
One thing Mike Madden, Creative Director on Faxion Online, stressed quite a bit was their approach to the lore in the game. It’s very religious based, which could open a whole can of worms. However, they are taking the ‘Family Guy’ approach to the content, where they basically take shots at all religions, and doing so in a humorous and light-hearted manner. For example, one of the weapons I as shown is called the Bible Thumper, which is a giant bible on a stick.
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I was taken through one area, which was designed to represent greed. In this zone, it reminded me of the California Gold Rush, with broken rails, fool’s gold, and mines all represented. Mike described one of the inhabitants of this zone as being greedy beings who are digging with their own hands into a mountain to get gold, but the pot they are putting it into keeps overflowing the gold falls right back where it came from. There will be stories on both the good and evil side that will have players interacting with these poor, poor souls. Pride was shown and everything with Pride was very large. There was even a colossus represented in the sky. He also described another area, representing sloth, as showing everything as half-finished.
The combat will be fast paced, action-oriented combat, making great use of the WASD/Mouselook style of controls. There will be active blocking and certain actions, like blind and confusion, will actually mess with the player. Blind will actually darken the screen so the player won’t be able to see what’s going on. Confusion will switch around the keyboard configuration, so the player will actually be confused about how to move and act. Players can also get behind their opponent and do more damage as a result. Abilities will be activated through hot-keys and will have refresh timers, instead of needing to be charged up. However, some powerful spells will have to be charged, and protecting (or going after) spellcasters will be significant when those spells come into play.
There are plans for interaction with Facebook, such as server society pages and leaderboards. Another thing that was mentioned was a possible Facebook game that could be used to help an in-game character with items, but they haven’t finalized the details on that just yet, so we’ll have to wait to hear more about this feature. Once the game launches, they will also be looking at adding content like crafting and mounts and they may allow the players to have input on how they should prioritizing getting that content into the game. The plan is for about 1000 concurrent players on a server and they want to avoid instances. Faxion Online should be heading into closed beta near the end of this year, with launch planned in early 2011.